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Honda Civic Oil Consumption

Problem Occurrence

When I started using my Honda Civic relatively more on expressways and highways, I noticed it was consuming more oil than before. With this 1.6 engine at fifth gear, at 130 km/h the engine runs at about 4000 RPM. I realized that traveling the same kilometer at higher RPM resulted higher oil consumption compared to low RPM.

History

When I was about to buy the car, in 2013, I also asked the previous owner about the oil consumption and he said that after an oil change, he had to fill it up from time to time in order to have enough oil in the engine. In addition, I knew that I was going to buy a car with 200,000 kilometers on it, so I didn't give so much importance to oil consumption. I also took into account that different types of oil can react differently after a while. By the way, before I bought the car, the previous owner used Castrol Magnatec oil. In the last ~5 years I have been using Texaco 10W-40, according to the factory specification.

Notes

According to the factory regulations, according to the car mechanics, you can say according to all experts, the oil should be changed every 10 thousand kilometers or yearly (whichever comes first). In my case it is usually yearly and it always happens around December - January. Maybe there was only one case when I had to change the oil twice a year, when I completed nearly 20,000 kilometers in one year. After a while, the car's oil consumption started to bother me, so I decided to try to get to the bottom of it.

The Engine

The car has a 1590cc 3-stage VTEC (Valve Timing Electronically Controlled) engine (code: D16W7). This means that almost only 8 operate of the 16 valves below ~3500 RPM, then when this speed is exceeded, all 16 valves come into operation, and above ~5500 RPM, valve opening increases. This makes it possible to achieve low fuel consumption at low RPM and high torque and performance at high RPM. The low fuel consumption at my driving style is ~6 liters / 100 kilometers, at a constant speed of 90 km/h. According to factory data, the high performance is manifested in acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 10 seconds.

I started with checking the oil level for about half year and tried to find a correlation between the operation of the engine at a given speed and the oil consumption. I recorded all measurements, oil filling, and transportation in a note. For this I had to know that between the minimum and maximum marks on the dipstick means, as in most cars, about 1 liter, which is 17 mm measured on the dipstick for this engine. Which means 1 mm on the stick is about 59 ml of oil. Of course, I performed the measurements after stopping the engine and after I waited a couple of hours so that the oil had time to flow down from the inner wall of the engine, so that the measurement results were as representative as possible. Unfortunately, I couldn't get completely reliable results anyway, because the consistency and viscosity of the oil probably changed as time and kilometers passed. Despite the fact that Honda engines and Honda Civic cars are famous for their reliability, the fact is that in this case we are dealing with a 22-year-old engine with a mileage of almost 310 thousand kilometers. This was also manifested in the fact that the initial golden-yellow oil started to change to black, it is possible that the engine seals do not function as well as it was new and I have no information about the wear of the engine.

Summarizing the measurement results, I came to the conclusion that about 300 ml of oil is consumed after driving 1000 kilometers while the engine was running at 3000 RPM. On the motorway, at a speed of 130 km/h, at 4000 RPM, doubled this consumption on the same distance.

According To The Car Service

The periodic oil change was closer and closer and I went to the Bosch Feldinger service, where I have been servicing the car for years, and then I told them what the was a problem with the oil consumption. They said that they could not tell the exact cause of the error and that the service costs could be very high. That's why they recommended another mechanic who specializes in engine problems. After I called him and explained the problem, he said he would call me back with a quote. He called a few hours later and said that the engine had to be disassembled, the valve cover and cylinder head had to be removed, the coking and oil sludge had to be removed, the seals, piston rings and oil filter had to be replaced. The price of this is about $1,300 and it is still possible that the engine is so worn that the oil consumption continues after the service. As I looked at the used cars, the same type, year, mileage, condition and I found that its value can be between $1,200 and $2,400. After a short consideration, it became clear that this service is not worth it in my case. By the way, there is a very good video on how such a service is done for an Opel Astra F.

Possibilities

According to the mechanic, this is usually requested in the case of hobby cars or young cars, because money is not important for hobby cars, and in the case of young cars, this is a relatively lower expense compared to the car's current value. The mechanic was helpful and suggested an engine flush and oil additive that may help eliminate or mitigate the problem. Then I started researching which brand is considered reliable on the market, what results can be expected after use and whether it makes sense to flush the engine and use oil additives at all.

Why Not Use Oil Additive?

Why is Oil Flush Bad?

It can happen that at some points the old deposit also "seals" and if it dissolves, a small oil leak appears. This is not the "it will definitely be like this" category, but I have seen it, especially in old cars. by Totalcar - 2023.09.09..

Why Is Oil Additive Bad?

If the additive was a "miracle drug", then everyone would only compete with it, in fact, the big oil producers such as Mobil, Castrol, Repsol, Motul and others would have long ago bought the technology or even the whole company and their own they would also use this as a raw material in their oils, since in Formula 1, Moto GP and other top-class competitive sports, the engines are exposed to really high loads. For some reason, however, these companies recommend lubricants developed by themselves, and McLaren, Ferrari, RBR, Lotus and others have also chosen the lubricants that suit them.

The reduction of friction and wear is undoubtedly a very important property of lubricants, but they must also meet many other requirements. Since all lubricants only contain relatively small amounts (3-18%) of additives, the available narrow range must be allocated very well in order to be able to adequately support all required properties. It is essential that lubricants form a balanced system with their additives, which system must remain in a "working" state during use until the oil change. Disrupting this system by introducing an external additive can have unforeseeable consequences. In our case, we will probably experience an outstanding anti-wear effect, but in exchange for this, the other properties of the lubricant (e.g. cleaning effect, oxidation inhibition, replacement period...) may be damaged due to the disruption of the internal balance. If we consider that the development of a new oil consumes hundreds of thousands of Euros, no one can seriously think that world-changing results can be achieved with a few thousand HUF additives in the small garage at home, without any kind of testing. It is also not possible to determine exactly in advance which type of lubricant the user wishes to match the purchased extra additive to. It may happen that Mobil, Shell or Total oils are made up of completely different additive packages with completely different basic properties. Will the effect be the same after loading the extra additive in all cases, or is it possible that when mixed with one of the additive packages, separations will occur, which could destroy the engine? We can't know! Just as we cannot know the composition of Metabond, they cannot know the composition of Shell or Total or any other product, which carries an additional risk factor.
by Totalcar - 2012.11.13..

On the one hand, most of these additives increase the lubricity of the oil, which is only one of the properties expected from the oil. In addition, the oil still needs to cool, keep the engine clean, protect against corrosion and maintain the elastomers. Many of these additives enhance lubricity at the expense of other properties. For example, Teflon- or ceramic-containing additives form an insulating deposit that prevents the engine from transferring heat to the oil. The oil temperature will be low, while the engine temperature will rise, so the oil is no longer able to perform one of its tasks.
On the other hand, the factory-mixed additives in engine oil are in a delicate balance. The oil companies have usually experimented with their appropriate ratio with decades of experience. We screw this up when we pour in some extra additives. This could easily prevent other key additives from having their effect.
Anyone who wants good things for their car should use a high-quality, fully synthetic or semi-synthetic oil, and above all, follow the factory specifications.
by Totalcar - 2009.07.30..

Neither the car manufacturer nor the oil manufacturer thinks at this point that anything is missing from the oil. I am basically in favor of not changing the complicated balance of engine oil. Although it is possible to influence a characteristic in a direction considered good, we do not know what we are causing in the other part of the balance. That's why I don't usually force it.
But man is a complex and emotional being: his sense of comfort and satisfaction are important. There are certainly good materials with effective advertising text, and I do not rule out that they are really good. We can't say that there are broken down cars along the roads that have had additives poured into them, but no one can say what would have happened to an engine that went 500,000 kilometers without additives.
by Totalcar - 2023.01.22..

Engine oils contain all the necessary additives at the factory, in such a ratio that they help and do not hinder each other's effect. With subsequent additions, this balance can easily be changed and it can cause damage to the engine. by Totalcar - 2017.04.21..

Why Use Oil Additive?

Why Is Oil Flush Good?

High-efficiency cleaning fluid that can be used to free the inside of the engine from disturbing deposits. Quickly and reliably dissolves oil sludge and varnish formers. It keeps all kinds of oil-soluble and non-soluble residues in suspension and removes them from the oil circuit during oil changes. An engine freed of deposits and dirt and fresh oil no longer burdened with old residues can therefore provide better performance. This reduces engine wear and increases its lifespan. by Liqui Moly - LM2640.

Why Is Oil Additive Good?

As an optimal moving seal, it reduces oil consumption and improves compression. It stabilizes the engine oil and ensures optimal oil pressure. It reduces engine noise and ensures excellent stability of the lubricating film. Reduces wear. by Liqui Moly - LM8377.

Regenerates rubber and plastic engine seals, such as shaft sealing rings, valve stem seals, and prevents the formation of oil stains under the vehicle. It works against oil dilution. Reduces engine noise and oil loss through piston rings and valve guides. by Liqui Moly - LM8375.