|July 29th, 2011, 04:51 AM||#1|
Excessive Oil Consumption Problems (03-07 Accords)
A very small number of 03-05 Honda Accords and some 06-07 Accords with the 2.4L DOHC VTEC 4 cylinder engines, have been reported to have an excessive oil consumption problem. It affects both coupes and sedans and automatic and manual transmission cars.
To date, I have found no complaints regarding any of the V-6 models, but this is not to say it can't or hasn't happened to the V-6 models.
There are probably 100 or so cars on the internet (when you run a google search) that people have reported either via a consumer complaints website or forum threads. This number is not inclusive of those who have an Accord with these problems, and have not reported the issue or problem.
I am one of the few with this problem. And I researched and hunted this problem down for 5 months before finding my answer, and it was very frustrating because every thread I found, had no resolution, and I figured out why. When an Accord owner has this issue or their car starts to have the problem, the owner finds out what's wrong with the car and how much money it will cost to fix the problem, and they simply sell the car or they trade it in and let it become someone else's problem, and they never post up what they found out, and the thread either dies out, or others with the same problem ask for resolution but to no avail. I finally found a few mechanics locally who have both seen the problem, and fixed it who told me what was wrong and what it would take to fix it.
Even more frustrating, Honda does not acknowledge this as a problem on their end. My car had 81,000 miles on it when it began experiencing this problem (I bought it with 79K, but it's very possible the previous owners who traded it in were experiencing the problem and that's why they got rid of it) but I didn't notice the problem until about a month and half after I bought it.
The reason Honda does not accept responsibility is most likely due to there being so few of these cars with the problem, it does not meet the necessary industry criteria to issue a recall. (example...if they made 10,000 Accords in 2003, 10,000 Accords in 2004, and 10,000 Accords in 2005) and only 100 Accords from 2003-2005 had this problem, then that does not the exceed Honda's industry standard guidelines to warrant issuing a TSB or Recall, because the percentage of vehicles having this problem are so low and follow into the category of the +/- tolerance for errors. Even though it's absolutely ridiculous that an engine (and a Honda engine at that) with 79,000 miles is burning 2-3 qts every 900 miles, Honda offered me no assistance when I placed a call to Honda American Customer Service. They did not blackball me either, but of course they wanted me to take my car to a local Honda dealership of my choice and pay for a diagnostic service to get an official Honda diagnosis. I opted not to go to a Honda Dealership, instead I found a technician willing to do it on the side and I'll just pay to fix my car and be done with it.
But if you're having this issue call Honda Customer Service
By Phone: 1-800-999-1009
Fax (310) 783-3023 (24 Hours)
The representative will ask you for your
VIN # of your vehicle
Miles at time of Purchase
Having records of the maintenance you have done on the car, as well as records of oil changes (receipts, invoices of oil changes and routine maintenance) will only help to serve you in getting Honda to foot the bill because this shows Honda, you take care of your car properly and you maintain it properly, and if you do that, then Honda usually will decide it is something that went wrong outside of your control, and they like to keep their customers happy and returning, so they are more willing to help you out. If you bought the car used and don't have access to records prior to the purchase, be sure to tell them that, as the previous owners records might be in the Dealerships records and Honda may be able to obtain that information to benefit your case.
Once you explain the problem, they will ask you to take it to a Honda Dealership to get an official diagnosis from a Honda Certified Technician.
Depending on the policy of the dealership, you may only have to pay a diagnostic fee of 1 hour (whatever the shop's hourly rate is) regardless of how long it takes. Other dealerships may charge you a diagnostic fee for each hour that it takes to diagnose the problem (but usually waive this fee if you get the work done at their shop) and that can add up (especially if they have to drop the oil pan and pull a piston out!) so be sure to clarify before any work is done, what the diagnostic fee is, and is it only a 1 hour charge or do they charge for however many hours it takes to diagnose the problem?
Here's the tough part. There is no test that will tell you if your oil control rings are bad. It is very difficult to detect. An engine compression test and a leakdown test WILL NOT tell you if you have faulty oil control rings. Compression rings only retain compression for each cylinder but do not seal oil in the cylinder. Oil control rings "seal" oil in the cylinders and prevent oil from leaking out up into the combustion chamber but they do not retain any compression within the cylinder. So if your compression rings are good, and your oil rings are bad, your compression test will be normal, and the compression numbers in each cylinder will all be within normal tolerances (160-180 PSI per cylinder). A leakdown test will also be normal. The only way to truly know if oil control rings are bad, is to pull the piston out and check, and that can be expensive.
So with this knowledge, when you go into the Dealership, you need to get the Service Manager and the Technician who will be looking at your car together, and have a little pow-wow with them both at the same time, so they know what's going on, they're aware of what to look for, they're aware of the problems you are experiencing and that it will be hard to detect. You want them both on the same page so you can get the service you need. Print this post off and take it with you and let them read it. The more knowledge you arm them with, the more likely it is they will better understand you and how to help you, and more importantly, they will care.
They may have you do a Honda Oil Consumption Test. They will require you schedule to get an oil change at the dealership (go ahead and pay for it)
Print This .pdf form off and take 2 copies with you when you go to the Dealership
Official Honda Oil Consumption Test Procedure
Once the dealership diagnoses the problem you need to get an Invoice (make sure it's got the Dealer's name, address, phone #, diagnosis of the problem, prognosis (what it will take to fix it, and get a quote on the labor and parts to fix it). Pay your diagnostic fee and head for home. When you get home, call Honda Customer Service and give them your name and info, tell them you have an official diagnosis of the problem. They will ask you to fax your invoice in.
Honda Customer Service might or might not help you. They might cover the parts and labor, they might not. But it's worth a try to find out. If they do, you've saved yourself a ton of money. If they don't you're not out anything but a little time.
If they help you, and agree to cover the costs, you will most likely be getting a new longblock from Honda. The reason I say this is, I have heard from a few dealerships and many Honda Tech's that they don't wont' swap pistons or rings at the dealership (I don't know if this true at ALL Honda Dealerships, it may or may not be, but it is it true at the dealership I went to where I live).
If they don't help you out and you feel this is unjust, you can do what my Dad did when he had problems with the transmission in his 2001 Honda Odyssey going out. He wrote the Manager of the Parts, Sales and Service Division at Honda Headquarters in Japan. They reimbursed him 90% of the bill that he paid out of pocket himself when he got blackwalled by Honda Customer Service and he got a personal reply from the guy in Japan via a letter too. It was a $2700 repair bill to get the transmission rebuilt. He received a check for $2500. Not too shabby. He still has the check stub in his filing cabinet along with the letter, which is where I also got the address for Honda HQ in Japan from, that I included in this post.
I have listed the contact information for both Japan Honda and American Honda
Addresses to submit your complaints to
Honda Motor Company Ltd.
8-1 Hon-Cho, Wako-City, Saitama 351-0188 JAPAN
Mr. Cheiko Sakamoto
Parts, Sales and Service Divison
American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
Honda Automobile Customer Service
Torrance, CA 90501-2746
Mail Stop: 500 - 2N - 7D
President: **** Colliver
Now back to the issue.
There's a few things that cause excessive oil consumption.
1.) Oil control ring failure - Your pistons have 3 sets of rings on each piston. The top 2 sets of rings are compression rings. These rings help the engine maintain the required compression in the engine for it to function properly. The bottom set of rings are your oil control rings. These rings seal the cylinder from oil leaking out on to the top of the piston and getting into the combustion chamber.
Symptoms and Signs-
Oil control rings have a few ways of going bad.
2.) Bad Valve Stem Seals - When the valve steam seals go bad, you will start to have excessive oil consumption. The valve stem seals, seal the head from oil flowing out of the wrong ports, and keep the oil flowing in and out of the designated oil ports.
3.) Faulty PCV Valve or clogged PCV Valve tubes - This is the least likely to be the cause of excessive oil consumption, because the PCV Valve is baffled and can't cause an engine to consume oil THAT excessively. It can cause slight oil consumption, which will be noticeable. However it is the cheapest of the 3 to fix. $20 part at your dealership. Change it out, change your oil and filter, and monitor your oil levels. If the consumption drops, you solved your problem. If the problem continues, it's not your PCV Valve.
Prognosis for Repair - The news you don't want to hear.
If it's bad oil control rings.
It's going to be an expensive fix. You have to drop the engine from the car, remove the oil pan, valve cover, head, cams, and timing chain to replace the piston rings. So, while you're at it and all of this stuff is apart, you might as well replace the water pump, timing chain, tensioners and sprockets, head gasket, timing chain cover gasket, valve cover gasket, oil pan gasket, spark plugs, and thermostat. It won't cost you any extra in labor, because all that stuff has to go back on anyhow, the only extra cost will be the parts. For an extra fee, I recommend having the head sent to a machine shop, have the valves inspected and grinded if needed, replace the valve stem seals. This way you've taken care of the major work all at once, and you don't have to go back in later and do it again. Preventative maintenance is PRICELESS!
Parts will run you anywhere from $350 - $600 depending on where you shop. My advice is find a place where you can get OEM Honda Parts (do not use AFTERMARKET PARTS) for cheaper prices than what a Dealership will charge you. RockAuto.com is a good place to start.
If you can do the work yourself, you will save yourself THOUSANDS OF $$$$. If you pay a shop, it will be in the $2000-$2500 range at minimum (parts and labor combined). A dealership will probably be even more than that. Just on labor alone I've gotten quotes of $1200 and up. It's not cheap. If the mileage on the engine is low enough, you may be able to talk a mechanic into putting the vehicle on a lift, dropping the oil pan, and pulling the head, and just swapping in piston rings, and putting it back together. Most shops won't do this due to liability issues or if they do, won't offer a warranty on the work, because sometimes the cylinders will need to be honed, and the block machined, so most places will prefer to do the work with the engine out of the vehicle (which is why it costs so much).
If it's your Valve Stem Seals
Won't be as bad as piston rings because all you have to do is take the cam cover and valve cover off, take the timing chain off, pull the head, send it to the machine shop to have the valve guides inspected and the valves grinded if they need it, and the valve stem seals removed and replaced. Put the head back on, set the timing, put the valve cover and cam cover back on and you're done. Of course since you'll be in there, good time to replace the timing chain, tensioners, and sprockets, along with the water pump, spark plugs, and a thermostat.
There is something you can try before the other 2 options. This was told to me by a mechanic. It may work, it may not.
Go to the parts store and buy a bottery of Marvel Mystery Oil. Park you car on a flat surface (preferably in the garage). take the spark plugs out. Fill each spark plug hole with Marvel Mystery Oil till it's full to the top. Let the Marvel Mystery Oil sit in there overnight (10-12 hours) so it can penetrate deep into the cylinder. After it sits, come back out and put a towel over the top of the engine and find something to anchor it down with (water jug, some heavy tools, etc). Put the key in the ignition and try to turn the car over 5-6 times (yes, without the spark plugs in it) or until all the marvel mystery oil has completely drained into the cylinder. (It's gonna make a mess, but it'll be ok!) Now put the spark plugs back in and put the coils back on the plugs. start the car up and back it out of the garage. it's gonna smoke for several minutes. once it clears up and stops smoking, pull it back in the garage let it cool down and drain all of the oil, give it an oil change, and new filter. Be sure to take a can of Goop Engine Brite and spray it in the engine compartment and take a hose and rinse your engine off from all the messy Mystery Marvel Oil that got sprayed every where when you were cranking your engine over.
The Marvel Mystery oil is supposed to seep into the cylinders and remove all the carbon build up and sludge from the pistons, compression rings, and oil rings, and allow the oil rings to re-seat and seal the cylinder off so oil can't escape into the combustion chamber and get burned up. Sometimes it works, sometimes it wont. But $10 for a bottle is a pretty cheap fix if it does.
Make sure you monitor your oil levels every day.
Record the following
Starting Oil Level
Oil Level on your dipstick after you are done driving for the day
If you can, keep track of Highway Mileage and City Mileage (oil tends to burn faster at highway speeds and higher rpm's, so you will see a more noticeable difference in oil consumption when you're on the highway if the problem persists).
After 200-300 miles you should notice a difference if the Marvel Mystery Oil worked and your oil consumption should be a lot less or returned to normal consumption levels. Monitor this for the 3,000 mile duration and then do your next oil change, and evaluate your oil consumption to see if it has improved, deteriorated further, or if it has remained the same. Then evaluate your next course of action.
There's a few other options you have.
When I first noticed this problem with my car, it was like . I couldn't figure out what was wrong with the car, every forum I searched online seemed to be a dead end, no one had any answers, there seemed to be no solution. My diligence paid off earlier this month when I finally was able to figure out what was wrong with it, after finding a thread on DriveAccord.net and then talking to a mechanic locally who was familiar with the problem. I will be finally getting it fixed in September. I've opted to replace the piston rings, water pump, timing chain, gaskets, and plugs and thermostat.
I know there's plenty of others out there, who have this same problem, and they're pulling their hair out trying to find out what the problem is and how to fix it, so I hope this helps to answer a frustrating question to a frustrating problem and help you determine what the best course of action for you to take is.
This could very easily apply to other models of Honda's, and very well other car manufacturers, so hopefully it will benefit someone who may be having a similar issue with their car, and can't figure it out or aren't having any luck finding anything online.
|July 29th, 2011, 08:32 AM||#2|
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Dayton, Ohio
I had this exact problem in my 2003 i4. That engine burned about 2 quarts every 1000 miles. That car was totaled and the insurance company took it so i don't really have to worry about it any more but it's nice to know it wasn't just me with that problem. Good thing my new '03 coupe is a V6 lol
|July 29th, 2011, 12:10 PM||#4|
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Dayton, Ohio
I was using Castrol GTX 5w20 in my i4. It had about 106,000 miles on it. I didn't notice it burning oil until around 70 to 75,000 miles.
|July 29th, 2011, 01:31 PM||#5|
J35 _ 5-Speed A/T
Join Date: Dec 2003
Damn fine write up WyattEarp.
Wonder if its bad batches of piston rings that cause this, the 5w20 oil, or a combination of both?
The 6th gen V6 have similar if not the same issues, but only a few number of them.
NVA-AV6 has recommneded Castrol 5w30. Since he did my J35 swap thats all I have used in the conventional variety.
|July 29th, 2011, 02:35 PM||#6|
thanks Wheelman, I can't believe out of all the threads I've read on this issue, i'm the only one to tackle this problem head on, find the problem and come up with a solution.
I love my Accord and I can see people not wanting to spend $2000 to fix their car (or not having the money), but really in the long run it's cheaper to fix it and drive it, as opposed to selling it and buying another car and having a car payment or having higher car payments. But this is the only issue I've had with my Accord, and I just don't feel like buying another car (had 3 cars in the past 13 months).
I use Valvoline 5W-30.
But my car has done it since I bought it this past January, it just a month and a half for me to notice it. I bought it at 79K noticed the issue at 81K and now it has almost 95K on it.
|July 29th, 2011, 04:44 PM||#7|
I'd like to thank FredSVT of DriveAccord.net, because if it weren't for his insight and contribution in another oil consumption related thread on DriveAccord.net, then I'd have never figured out the issue, or known to talk to ask about the oil rings to a mechanic I talked to locally. FredSVT, thanks, you played a big part in figuring this out, as well as my Write-Up that I did above.
I'm returning the thanks with my contribution of the write up, because it seems I'm the first person to successfully identify the problem, and prepare to tackle it head on, fix it, and then report back on whether it was a success or if there is still a problem (results and update to come in September).
No one else seemed to have figured out the problem (other than myself and FredSVT), and not one thread on google prior to the 5 months I invested in researching this issue had the definitive diagnosis to the problem or the prognosis, most people just speculated or took wild ass guesses which only added to the frustration, but I'm head strong and stubborn, and when I decide to figure something out, I don't stop until I have an answer and a solution, and I just decided this problem was going to get fully researched and documented for the benefit of others. So this is my contribution to this forum. I'm not looking for a pat on the back, just my way of giving back to all Honda owners and supporting a good forum.
I am taking the car to the shop to get fixed the weekend after Labor Day. Once it's back and I've driven it for a bit, I will check back in and provide an update on how the oil consumption is doing.
It will be getting
new piston rings
valve cover gasket
valve stem seals
oil pan gasket
timing chain cover gasket
5 qts of oil
2 jugs of coolant
some of the things are just preventative maintenance (doing it while I can and the engine is part). The head will also be sent to the machine shop to have the valve inspected and grinded if necessary, and the valve stem seals replaced.
The work is being done by a Honda Master Certified Technician, so I'm in good hands.
|October 5th, 2011, 11:07 PM||#9|
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Arlington, TX
At least it isn't as bad as the problems Nissan had with the early VQ35s and early rev-up VQ35s, plus the VQ25s in the Sentras. Unfortunately, just like Honda, Nissan wasn't very good about replacing engines.
Sucks when car companies won't own up to their mistakes.
What did you end up paying to have your engine gone through?
|October 6th, 2011, 10:41 AM||#12|
Join Date: Mar 2010
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