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post #1 of 41 Old 01-24-2016, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Low oil issue

Any suggestions? Love my 04 accord ex 4 cyl. I have 280,000 miles that I put on. Still drives amazing. Problem I am noticing, about every 3,000 miles, I am getting about 2-3 quarts low on oil. Why? No oil leaks at all externally. No smoke at all, no odor??? Any ideas suggestions?

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post #2 of 41 Old 01-24-2016, 05:16 PM
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Thread moved.

OP, please determine where the right subforum is before posting.


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post #3 of 41 Old 01-24-2016, 05:41 PM
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Check your coolant overflow bottle for drops of oil in it. Something's seriously wrong.

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post #4 of 41 Old 01-24-2016, 05:47 PM
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At that mileage, you could be burning oil, or blowing it through the head gasket into the coolant. Check the condition of your coolant, I had a problem like that with my '00 Civic, it was blowing compression into the coolant, along with a little bit of oil. The car run fine, until one night in traffic the temp gauge shot up and the thermostat bypass hose blew.

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post #5 of 41 Old 01-24-2016, 07:01 PM
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The most likely cause is probably that your rings are a bit worn and some oil is getting through them. Not surprising for that mileage.

A head gasket, like the other posters have suggested, seems unlikely. If a head gasket was the cause, then coolant would also be getting into the engine oil, and you would likely be seeing some white smoke while the car was running. Also, when you changed the oil, you'd likely see a milky brown color if there was a significant amount of coolant in the engine oil.

If you are really concerned about possible head gasket issues, do a $30 used oil analysis through Blackstone labs. Then you'll know for sure if you've got coolant leaking into your engine.

2-3 quarts of oil consumption every 3000 miles sounds like a lot, but it's actually within the warranty limits for most new cars, much less a car with 280k miles! For example, if you bought a brand new car today and it burned 1 qt per 1000 miles, most manufacturers would actually classify that as within acceptable limits. With that level of consumption, it's possible that you would not be able to notice smoke from the exhaust.

I would just add a quart of oil every 1000 miles and not worry too much about it. You can try switching to a high-mileage oil if you haven't already, or a slightly thicker grade like 5W-30.
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post #6 of 41 Old 01-24-2016, 07:08 PM
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Very possible that you're burning it. What oil do you use? What weight? Try something High Mileage, and maybe a heavier weight. Pull your spark plugs out and check to see if any are oily.

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post #7 of 41 Old 01-24-2016, 07:09 PM
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This may be your writing style, or my lack of understanding, but am I to understand that you check your oil only at 3,000 miles and not before?

Because if you are driving a car that is 3 quarts low on oil- even for 1 city block, it's game over.

If you are a Top Gun pilot you never ever leave your Wingman. And if you are a Honda Accord driver you never ever wait 3,000 miles to check your oil.
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post #8 of 41 Old 01-24-2016, 07:11 PM
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Find a shop to do a leak down test:

1. If you hear hiss from intake or air filter, intake valve is leaking
2. If you hear hiss from exhaust, exhaust valve is leaking
3. If you hear hiss from PCV or oil filler hole, the ring(s) is leaking
4. If you see bubble in coolant, your head gasket is leaking.

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post #9 of 41 Old 01-24-2016, 07:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aviography View Post
Find a shop to do a leak down test:

1. If you hear hiss from intake or air filter, intake valve is leaking
2. If you hear hiss from exhaust, exhaust valve is leaking
3. If you hear hiss from PCV or oil filler hole, the ring(s) is leaking
4. If you see bubble in coolant, your head gasket is leaking.
The car's got 280k miles on it. Even if the leak-down test found an issue, I'm not sure it would be cost effective for the OP to fix #1, 2, or 3, given the current value of the car.

I'd run a $30 used oil analysis first (as opposed to a $1-200 compression/leakdown test) to confirm whether there is coolant in the oil. If not, I would simply keep the oil topped off. His current level of oil consumption is not too severe.

Honda's official policy is that 1 qt of oil consumption per 1000 miles is considered "normal" for a brand-new car. OP's car has 280k miles on it, so I'd say it's not doing too badly.

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post #10 of 41 Old 01-24-2016, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 03EX View Post
The most likely cause is probably that your rings are a bit worn and some oil is getting through them. Not surprising for that mileage.

A head gasket, like the other posters have suggested, seems unlikely. If a head gasket was the cause, then coolant would also be getting into the engine oil
Depends on where it blows, in my case, I got no coolant in the oil, and only a little oil in the coolant.

My guess at that mileage is rings and or valve stem seals. Just add oil more often and keep maintaining the car normally otherwise, try using a heavier weight, though going too heavy will effectively raise oil pressure and push more oil out the exhaust, if it is in fact, the rings or valve stem seals.

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post #11 of 41 Old 01-24-2016, 09:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidog74 View Post
I am noticing, about every 3,000 miles, I am getting about 2-3 quarts low on oil. Why? No oil leaks at all externally. No smoke at all, no odor??? Any ideas suggestions?
Quote:
Originally Posted by RickBlaine View Post
This may be your writing style, or my lack of understanding, but am I to understand that you check your oil only at 3,000 miles and not before?
If Rick is right, the high miles are not to blame. Even a low mileage car can burn oil. However, the extent to how much is burned, is greatly accelerated by neglect. Snowball effect... the lower the oil goes, the more the rings wear, the more oil slips past them.


Quote:
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The car's got 280k miles on it. Even if the leak-down test found an issue, I'm not sure it would be cost effective for the OP to fix #1, 2, or 3, given the current value of the car.
#4 is head gasket, the costliest job of all. LOL

OP, explain how you're checking for leaks. Simply looking at the ground is not enough. Have a look at the V-tech solenoid to see if it's leaking (leaks only while driving).

Bad head gaskets almost always cause coolant loss, whether slight or major. Easiest head gasket test is a chemical test to sniff for exhaust gases in the coolant. Autozone rents the tester, or you can buy it for $26 from them. The fluid is about 7 or 8 bucks. Very easy to perform. I now test cars before buying. When testing, reach over and raise the RPM in case the leakage is very small.

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post #12 of 41 Old 01-24-2016, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Drew03Accord View Post
#4 is head gasket, the costliest job of all. LOL
#1, 2, 3 are things unlikely to cause major engine failure in the short term, assuming he kept the oil topped off.

#4 (head gasket) is something I'd consider more urgently in need of repair than the other 3.

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post #13 of 41 Old 01-25-2016, 05:41 PM
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Change the PCV valve. It's ten bucks,super simple, and at that mileage it should be changed anyway. Eliminate that first, move on to other causes.

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post #14 of 41 Old 01-26-2016, 05:55 AM
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My 2001 prizm burned 1qt every 180 miles or so and I saw no smoke either until I engine braked down a long hill followed by accelerating up the other side.

Check your plugs for fowling.
Check that you aren't leaking from the valve cover or the oil pan.
Monitor your oil level to keep it between the marks on the stick.
Consider switching to a heavier oil as it may (or may not) slow the leak).
Keep extra oil on hand. I carried a few qts with me at all times in my old car.

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post #15 of 41 Old 01-26-2016, 04:11 PM
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Didn't the (Geo?) Prizm have a Toyota engine? I thought it was mostly a Corrolla with a different body.


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