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 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 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-
- High Excessive Oil Consumption (more than 1 quart per 1000 miles, some cases may be more severe like my case where I am going through 2-3 quarts of oil every 1,000 miles)
- Oily residue on the inside edge of your tailpipe (take your finger and wipe the inside of your tailpipe. If it's greasy and wet, and won't wipe off when you rub your thumb and finger together, then your car is burning or consuming oil excessively). If it's a dry carbon residue and it wipes off when you rub your thumb and finger together, then you're ok, as this is normal.
- Visible grey/white/blue smoke in very discreet amounts, usually only visible when shifting on the highway. Not noticeable at startup or when idling. The reason being, when the oil rings fail and oil leaks past the oil control rings, the oil is ejected out of the cylinder into the combustion chamber where some of it is burned up, then it is ejected into the exhaust valves to the exhaust, through the catalytic converter where any remaining oil is burned up because the catalytic converter burns at such at hot temperature to kill any harmful emissions and to keep a car within emissions standards.
- Sudden Catalytic Converter failure (if your cat suddenly fails and you have low mileage, it could be related to excessive oil consumption as the oil clogs the cat and causes it to fail prematurely)
- Sudden o2 sensor failure (oil passing through the exhaust will ruin o2 sensors)
Oil control rings have a few ways of going bad.
- Faulty install/Improperly clearanced
- Using poor quality, cheap oil (use what your owners manual suggests and use a reputable brand...Valvoline or Castrol)
- Going extended miles between oil changes (10,000 miles or more between changes, and doing this habit on a consistent basis). You should be changing your oil every 3,000 - 5,000 miles on a regular basis. Anymore than that is not advised.
- Running an engine that is overheating for an extended period of time will cause your oil rings to heat up and lose their proper gapping required to seal oil in the cylinder.
- starting the car and not allowing it to warm up for a few minutes (in the winter, you just jump in start it up and take off driving...this will cause oil ring failure, don't do this!)
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.
- Car smoking on startup (blue/greyish smoke coming out the tail pipe) it may stop after a few minutes, or it may continue at idle, or upon accelerating from a stop-light.
- Excessive Oil Consumption (more than 1 quart per 1000 miles)
- Old and worn
- Faulty seals (poorly made, poor quality material used)
- Using Abrasive engine chemicals that can deteriorate the seals
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.