If your Honda is consuming far more oil than it should and can’t see any sign of a leak or smoke, there are a few possibilities as to what’s going on. Below you can read the different symptoms commonly associated with a car burning oil, and then some tips on how to stop a Honda from burning oil so quickly.
Why is my Honda burning so much oil? The most common reason for a Honda to burn through oil will be blown head gasket, worn or failed piston rings, or bad valve seals. Alternatively, your Honda could be leaking oil from a spot you’ve not been able to identify.
When a car starts to lose oil, it doesn’t always mean it’s due to burning it at a high consumption rate. It might be that your Honda Civic or CR-V has sprung a leak that you’re not aware of.
You might not see a visible leak or any smoke, but it could be that the oil leak is coming through a leaky ring or worn seal. If there is no leak to be found though, it’s more than likely that your Honda is burning more oil than it should.
Honda burning oil: the possible reasons
All potential reasons for a Honda burning oil can be expensive to repair. Before I start listing the possible reasons, please do eliminate any possibility that your Honda is not losing oil rather than burning it.
If it your Honda is burning oil, you can usually tell by seeing or smelling a blueish smoke from the exhaust or white smoke that surges from the exhaust when you start the car cold. You might also notice a smell of burning oil since synthetic oils won’t produce much smoke that you can see.
In fact, if your car appears to be losing oil but there is no leak or smoke, it could be synthetic oil burning without much smoke.
With that out of the way, here are the possible reasons why your Honda is burning so much oil followed by how to the stop it.
1. Worn valve seals
Your Honda’s valve seals control how much oil goes into the valve stem system. By regulating oil consumption, they reduce how much oil you use.
Now, if you can imagine, when the valve seals become worn, they do the exact opposite and make you feel like your Honda is burning or losing more oil than you would expect. The oil leaks into the engine cylinders and can also reach the combustion chamber.
2. Worn PCV valve
Your Honda’s PCV valve sends fuel and air from the crankcase back through the intake manifold then onto the cylinders. This means harmful gases aren’t left to leak out into the atmosphere.
However, if the valve becomes worn or clogged up, you will notice increased oil consumption in your Honda. This happens when the oil gets sucked into the Honda’s engine, and not the valve.
3. Worn out piston rings or cylinder walls
Your Honda’s piston rings transfer heat from the pistons into a cooled block / cylinder wall o the engine. The heat is eventually transferred into the coolant.
When these elements become worn, oil can enter into the combustion chamber and start to burn, meaning your Honda is burning oil at a higher-than-average consumption.
The smoke produced by bad piston rings is typically white or grey but other symptoms included are:
- Loss of power.
- Bad compression.
- Bad fuel consumption.
- Oil leaks.
- Oil in the intake manifold and the throttle body.
How do I stop my Honda from burning oil?
You can stop your Honda from burning oil by identifying which is the possible cause of the loss of oil or high consumption.
Your valve seals will be easiest to replace, followed by the head gasket and finishing with the worst-case scenario, bad piston rings.
How to replace worn valve seals
Replacing the valve seals in your Honda isn’t the hardest of mechanical tasks, but it might take up to 3 hours for someone proficient with car maintenance.
This video is a great primer if you want to do it yourself.
How to replace worn PCV valve
Replacing a worn PCV valve that is causing the high oil consumption in your Honda is quicker, and relatively easy. You don’t always need tools if the valve is held in place with only the rubber grommet.
Here’s another video showing the process on a Honda Civic.
How to replace worn piston rings
This one is not easy.
The piston rings are located deep in your Honda’s engine so it will need to be taken apart to reach them. It’s a job that takes a lot of time, skill, and precision.
While all these repairs sound scary, there isn’t much you can do to avoid them if your Honda is losing oil with no visible leak or smoke.
To avoid this in the future you must maintain your Honda Accord, Civic, or CR-V regularly and, most importantly, change your oil at suitable intervals and use the correct type.
Whilst it might be tempting to turn a blind eye this issue, if you continue to drive your Honda with this high rate of oil consumption it will make the situation worse and lead to more expensive repairs.
For example, driving on bad piston rings can cause your engine to seize, making it almost impossible to repair. Prolonged driving with broken valve seals can cause oil flooding of the engine. That will cause catastrophic damage again, forcing you to replace pistons, valves, and even the crankshaft.
Lastly, driving with a blown head gasket can break the pistons, but even more easily, it can crack the engine head or cause it to distort. Whichever way you put it, it simply isn’t worth the risk, even if it means taking a taxi to work for a week or so or renting a car.
Also important for these repairs is to get a high-quality mechanic or one you can trust as they are very extensive and sensitive jobs.
Other possible reasons your Honda is burning oil
If none of the symptoms described so far are present then it might be that your Honda is leaking oil from an oil pan gasket, possibly any engine gasket, or a shaft seal.
While all three causes have the same common symptom of producing smoke, the different color and density of the smoke might also indicate the exact culprit.
That said, other symptoms include:
- Greasy spark plugs.
- Rough idling.
- Loss of power.
- The Honda will struggle to start.
I also mentioned the head gasket being a possible cause of oil being burned quicker than you’d expect in a Honda. Replacing the head gasket requires half the engine to come out and you will need to replace other parts too. These include engine head bolts, spark plugs, and you might even have to resurface the engine head.
That said, the smoke produced by a bad head gasket is often white since this will cause not only the burning of the engine but also coolant. Alternatively, it can also be blue smoke, as is the case with bad valve seals.
Here are other symptoms that a blown head gasket will show:
- Coolant loss.
- Engine overheating (here’s what to look for).
- Coolant looks like its boiling or has air in the system.
- Engine oil becomes white or has white traces.
Why is my Honda losing oil, but there are no visible leaks?
It’s very normal for a Honda or any other car to lose some oil between regular oil changes; however, if it happens often, it’s probably burning oil, and it’s coming out of the exhaust as smoke.
How much oil should a Honda burn between oil changes?
If it’s around a quart of oil every 1,400 to 1,600 miles, there’s no cause for worry. Anything more than that, and you should have Honda inspected.
What is the average oil consumption per 1,000 miles?
Depending on what kind of car you drive, a quart of oil per 1,000 miles can be normal. High-performance cars might burn even more, and many new cars.
For an average car, it should take less than a quart. Otherwise, there might be an underlying issue.
A Honda losing oil can is usually caused by bad seals, which you can check by looking if your engine is wet or leaves wet spots under the car. Still, if it’s burning oil, it’s a more serious problem.
That said, some smoke will still be expected, especially for diesel cars, so if you need to add a little oil once or twice between oil changes, it’s nothing to worry about.
Burning oil is standard for most Hondas, even brand new ones.
More simple car guides…
- Is it ok to put E85 in a Honda Civic?
- How to reset the oil like on an Accord
- Why your Honda is leaking water underneath
Image in header via https://pixabay.com/photos/flame-fire-inferno-orange-burning-726268/