Losing oil - abnormal?

Reply

  #1  
Old 08-27-13, 11:26 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 67
Losing oil - abnormal?

I have a 12yr old 4-cylinder Honda Accord, and it is losing roughly 5 quarts of oil every 12 months. I don't park in the same spot all the time, so I'm not sure if it's dripping out or being burned off, but I'm guessing it's burn-off. I'll have to start leaving some cardboard underneath the engine to confirm that it's not leaking.

Is that rate of oil loss abnormal for a Honda this old?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 08-27-13, 11:27 AM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
Posts: 18,774
How many miles are involved?

Unless you drive only a very small amount, this sounds like reasonable use for the age of the vehicle.
 
  #3  
Old 08-27-13, 11:40 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 44,334
... and a lot depends on how the vehicle was maintained and used/abused. Over the years I've had several vehicles that leaked and/or burned a lot of oil, but I like the ones that don't leak/burn a lot better
 
  #4  
Old 08-27-13, 03:42 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: North Central Indiana
Posts: 912
I had a 283 chev engine that used a quart of oil every 1000 miles all its life.
 
  #5  
Old 08-27-13, 03:48 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 67
Sorry, should have included mileage. Approximately 7k miles/year.
 
  #6  
Old 08-27-13, 05:26 PM
Member
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: California
Posts: 214
I would think a Honda with 84000 miles on it shouldn't use that volume of motor oil. I have to imagine either it has a substantial external leak that you havn't picked up on or the engine is consuming oil. The only likely area that that volume of oil could go is through the valve train as in valve seals. The crankcase ventilation system could also have a problem that you might not have noticed. Watch the oil level closely and pay attention to things like external leakage meaning get under it and don't rely on puddles and oil plumes or smoke plumes on acceleration from a start after the engine is warm and you have coasted to a stop like an off ramp. A water problem makes steam and the steam will just disappear like magic where oil smoke stays intact until it rises away from your field of view.
 
  #7  
Old 08-27-13, 06:37 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 67
Sorry I meant that I put on 7k miles in the past 12 months, and lost about 5 quarts of oil in that time. Car has 130k miles total.
 
  #8  
Old 08-27-13, 08:31 PM
iceman681's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: usa
Posts: 437
and how many oil changes is that? if only one per year. then there is the problem. as oil breaks down by time or use, it makes it separate in a such a fashion that it the thinner stuff get burned off and the thicker becomes sludge sticking to the upper part of the engine, where it wont be read on the dipstick. both are bad. start changing your oil every 3k/ 3months and see if that improves your loss. it will at least improve the life of the engine.
 
  #9  
Old 08-27-13, 09:21 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 67
iceman, you may be on to something. Been about 7k miles since last oil change.

Will changing the oil help remove the thicker sludge?
 
  #10  
Old 08-28-13, 05:15 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 44,334
While it's best to have regular oil changes from day one, I have bought used vehicles in the past that used oil and after a couple of oil changes the oil consumption stopped or was greatly reduced. At 7k you definitely need an oil change anyway!
 
  #11  
Old 08-28-13, 06:14 AM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 614
Have you been putting synthetic oil in it? I don't know this first hand but it's been said that synthetic will cause external leaks in older engines.
 
  #12  
Old 08-28-13, 06:52 AM
Member
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: California
Posts: 214
I believe the OEM oil recommendation is Honda Synthetic or semi Synthetic grade 0-20, that being said an oil change at 6000 or 7000 miles is completely acceptable. There is likely a reminder based on mileage in the dash board. The newer engineered oils and of course the filters and do such a better job at lubrication and they don't break down chemically but are a lot thinner, that's about fuel economy and power conservation. I have a 2007 Honda that I service when the light comes on.
 
  #13  
Old 08-28-13, 07:42 AM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Canada (near The Motor City)
Posts: 617
Have you owned this 12 yr old Honda since it was new?

A 12 yr old Honda wouldn't recommend 0W-20 (I don't think) nor would Honda require synthetic oil. Use what it says on the oil cap or owner's manual.

If you were leaking 5 qts in 7k miles you would have one heck of a mess under the hood/car.

The Honda/Toyotas that I've owned over the decades used less than 1/2 qt between changes. I think you need some service work done on yours.
 
  #14  
Old 08-28-13, 08:32 AM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 563
That's a lot higher than the loss rate on my wife's '01 Integra with a B18B1 engine, at approximately the same total mileage, and she does have a definite oil leak at one of the cam seals that I have yet to get to.
 
  #15  
Old 08-28-13, 08:55 AM
Member
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: California
Posts: 214
Ok, you made me go out and get the owners manual for my 2007 Element. It runs a 4 cylinder transverse mounted engine with AWD. The manual says to use 5/20 detergent oil having the API cert. It says Honda premium oil or a synthetic is acceptable so long as it bears the API certification. That actually surprises me as the line I worked with required synthetic on engines starting in 96, or maybe it was 98. Oil shear is the process of lubricating the rotating members in an engine and is accomplished with pressurized oil in a tightly confined clearance. My explanations arn't what they used to be as I don't think like an instructor anymore. I might run a 5/30 at 100000 miles so long as the engine is still quiet.
 
  #16  
Old 08-28-13, 10:46 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 67
I use conventional motor oil.

I bought the car used with 115k miles on it. Park in different spots every day, so a leak wouldn't be obvious to me since any oil on the ground could be from another car that parked in the same spot earlier.
 
  #17  
Old 08-28-13, 12:42 PM
Member
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: California
Posts: 214
OK, for everyone following this thread I confused this thread with another addressing a 2012 Honda with a fuel mileage complaint. This car should use normal engine oil as if my math is still somewhat in tact is a 2001. I apologize for my confusion and anyone elses who has been scratching their heads. In a side bar my wife has a 2001 GMC Jimmy and has used synthetic oil since she got it at around 12000 miles. It now has 230000 miles and the engine has never had a valve cover off, uses around 1 qt in an interval of 7000 miles so I guess it's not a terrible waste of money.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes