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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wondering if any of you have noticed a strange film on your dipstick. Here's the situation. My oil level is right near the top line when I check it cold, and it looks completely normal, but lately I've been noticing above that the dipstick has a film on it which one would expect. There probably is always a fine film of oil the whole length of the dipstick, but mine looks almost frosty, or kind of like it has oil emulsified in coolant or water. I've checked the oil cap and there is no milky appearance there, and I've kept an eye on the coolant level and it does not seem to be going down. Thinking back to when I checked the oil in warmer times, I don't remember seeing this so I'm wondering if it can be related to the cold weather or just what is causing it. Any ideas?
 

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Even My Mower Is a Honda!
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Just wondering if any of you have noticed a strange film on your dipstick. Here's the situation. My oil level is right near the top line when I check it cold, and it looks completely normal, but lately I've been noticing above that the dipstick has a film on it which one would expect. There probably is always a fine film of oil the whole length of the dipstick, but mine looks almost frosty, or kind of like it has oil emulsified in coolant or water. I've checked the oil cap and there is no milky appearance there, and I've kept an eye on the coolant level and it does not seem to be going down. Thinking back to when I checked the oil in warmer times, I don't remember seeing this so I'm wondering if it can be related to the cold weather or just what is causing it. Any ideas?
I have not noticed this on my Accord, but my 5.7L in my Magnum it would do similar as you describe in the winter.

Jay
 

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Just wondering if any of you have noticed a strange film on your dipstick. Here's the situation. My oil level is right near the top line when I check it cold, and it looks completely normal, but lately I've been noticing above that the dipstick has a film on it which one would expect. There probably is always a fine film of oil the whole length of the dipstick, but mine looks almost frosty, or kind of like it has oil emulsified in coolant or water. I've checked the oil cap and there is no milky appearance there, and I've kept an eye on the coolant level and it does not seem to be going down. Thinking back to when I checked the oil in warmer times, I don't remember seeing this so I'm wondering if it can be related to the cold weather or just what is causing it. Any ideas?
You must not drive your car much or very far. Sounds like it's not getting hot enough to burn up the condensation that forms in the engine when it cools.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You must not drive your car much or very far. Sounds like it's not getting hot enough to burn up the condensation that forms in the engine when it cools.
I really don't think that is it. I live in rural central WI. My minimum standard trip to town is 10 miles and often I go to the nearest larger town, Oshkosh or Fond du Lac, about 30 miles highway to either one. How many small trips do you think it would take for this to be noticeable? Could you see it after one short trip. You say condensation forms when the engine cools. That could be the reason right there because I only check my oil when the engine is stone cold in the garage. Maybe I'll look at the dipstick when it is hot one time. I'll let ya know. Thanks for the input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Updating this. Checked the oil this morning and the film is still on the dipstick. In addition, there is an accumulation of mocha-looking oil inside the dome of the oil cap. It really looks like what you would see if you had an internal coolant leak. But the coolant recovery bottle is right up to the full level and I popped the radiator cap and the coolant was right at the top in the radiator. I took a 20 mile (1-way) trip to Walmart and checked when I got there. Didn't think to look for the film on the dipstick, but the mocha was still in the cap, although somewhat less than before the trip. I think I'm going to the dealer tomorrow.
 

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You must drive very short trips and you are not heating up the oil to burn off any condensation. Especially during this cold snap in Chicago even with about a 30-35 minute daily drive this v6 just don't heat up. All my other cars from other makes would boil that condensation off with no problem. It just means we need to replace the oil more often because of the dilution possibilty.

Oh well!

Devil Dog already mentioned this earlier.

I'm not telling you not to go to the dealer but this is very common IF you consistantly drive those trips. Even a 15-20 mile trip ain't gonna do it.

Remember these engines are much more efficient and therfor do not get as hot. Hot enough to work fine, but not as before with excessive waste heat.

Cost of efficiency? Maybe. I don't get the film on the dipstick but I do get it on the plastic cap. The plastic would have a different heat retention than the aluminum head so the condensation is going to occur more on the plastic cap than the MUCH hotter aluminum. I just wipe if off occasionally and get on with life.

Miker
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks, Miker. The distance necessary to avoid this was one of the questions I had in a previous post. You've put a little perspective on this. I would say my average longest trip (1 way) around here is 15 miles, with maybe some real short trips in the middle, then 10-15 back home. Yesterday was about 30 to Oshkosh, short trips there and 30+ back home, and then about .75 miles round trip to end the day. Then this morning the condition I mentioned. So, I guess I could just wait until the next oil change to go to the dealer. Thanks again.
 

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Definitely the start of sludge from short trips in cold weather. My '13 takes about 20 minutes just to start the needle moving in real cold weather (-14 this morning). That is just for the water, the oil takes much longer. You need quite a long trip to get the oil up to temp.

Chrysler is famous for this issue and had some recalls for new oil caps.

I would switch to synthetic oil - this helps quite a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the input, Dudley. I've decided to hold off on going to the dealer about it. If the condition still exists when my next oil change is due I'll get it on the record.

I do have Mobil1 0W-20 in there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Turns out I did take it to the dealer yesterday because, on my way home from work the night before, the temp gage never went above 1/4 above the cold mark. In fact, 2/3 of the way home, (10 mile trip), the gage was no higher than 1/8. It seemed to be hanging there. It finally got up to 1/4 by the time I got home.

Anyway, the dealer was super, (Zimbrick Honda in Madison, WI). I told them I was also concerned about the oil condition because the engine temp might not be getting high enough. The tech checked it out and they let me onto the repair floor to talk to him. He said they are seeing all kinds of this stuff with our frigid winter. He said thermostats can be intermittent, so they could change mine out if it happens again. I'm somewhat reassured.

I also asked them, and my salesman, about the Siri update. They have not done any and are not yet prepared to do so, but they think when they do they will charge .6hr labor time initially.
 
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