Are you planning to purchase a Honda and you heard about the Honda oil dilution problem and you want to learn if your potential vehicle has this problem? If this is the situation that you are in, then you are at the right place because this article will be all about the Honda oil dilution problem.
Getting yourself properly informed before you jump out there on the market is key. There are simply a vast number of cars and almost all of them have problems more or less. Some of these problems like the oil dilution issue can be damaging for your engine as well as for your budget since fixing the issue costs a ton of money to do so.
That’s why learning the potential issues will give you that extra edge when it comes to making the right decision on purchasing the vehicle or not. Since buying a new car is not grocery shopping but an investment. And it’s best for you that this investment pays off. If else, you will probably get furious that you have spent all of your money on a basket case. And we are going to help you out in making the right decision. This article will be all about the 1.5L engine.
First, we are going to learn the basics of this engine and the specs. Then we will learn in what cars was this engine used. Then we will discuss the Honda oil dilution problem and what Honda did to fix this problem here in the US and abroad. Later, we will discuss other problems that this engine has. So, without further ado, let’s get into it.
What Is The Honda 1.5 Engine?
So, before we discuss the Honda oil dilution problem. Let’s first cover some of the basics about the 1.5L engine that is made by Honda. Since this engine is the one that is affected by the oil dilution and the only engine that we are going to cover in this article to simplify things.
This engine was introduced by Honda with the 2016 Civic. The idea with this engine was that with the help of downsizing to make the same power numbers. So, what is downsizing? Downsizing is a term used in the car world to explain the shift from big displacement engines to smaller displacement internal combustion engines.
But when you downsize you lose power right? There is no replacement for displacement? Or no? Well, not quite, there is still replacement for displacement. Even though this replacement is not that sufficient in some areas you can still feel how the car simply is not even similar in performance in comparison to a car with a bigger displacement engine.
Still, there is a replacement for displacement. And this replacement was made possible by forced induction. Namely, turbocharging. Almost all carmakers shifted to turbocharged engines in recent years. Was this a smart move? Not necessarily. But it is what it is. We are witnessing a world that is moving towards better sustainability, as they say, this is one of the things that will move us forward. No car guy probably approves this shift. But that’s how things go right now.
So, Honda has introduced this engine to replace the naturally aspirated engines and this engine delivered a good performance. But more on that in the following chapter where we will cover the specs of this engine and later the Honda Oil dilution problem.
Honda 1.5L Engine Specs
Now before we discuss the problem with the Honda oil dilution. Let’s first focus on the engine specs of this specific engine. Specs are always welcomed to know if you are on a market for a Honda and you want one specifically with this engine. So, let’s cover them real quick.
The Honda 1.5L as its name implies is a 1.5L engine manufactured by Honda. This engine is a straight-4 engine design. What is peculiar to this engine is that the exhaust manifold is cast into the cylinder head. A really strange design I must admit and probably the only engine in the world running on this spec.
This head design also has some benefits like helping the engine to reach up to temp faster. But this way is also cheaper to make the engine.
The bore of the cylinder is 2.87mm and the stroke is 3.52 inches with an overall displacement of 1489cc or 91.4cu. As you can see, pretty tiny engine overall.
The compression ratio of this engine is high at 10.6:1. The oil capacity of the engine is 3.7 quarts of oil. So, you can expect cheap oil changes.
The power numbers that this engine is making are between 174 and 205hp depending much on the application. The torque numbers are also between 162lb-ft and 192lb-ft of torque.
Overall, although small, it is a really peppy engine. All this is made possible by the turbocharger that is installed on it. This turbo makes it able to produce so much power. But what about the Honda oil dilution? More on that in a bit.
Honda 1.5L Engine Applications
Now before we learn the Honda oil dilution problem. Let’s first learn more about what cars are using the 1.5L engine. Since this is the starting point if you are in the search for a car with this engine. You need to know the applications of this engine to be able to find a vehicle for you with the 1.5L. So, what are the applications? Let’s elaborate.
The 1.5L is mostly found as a standard engine in the Honda Civic and the Honda Civic Si. The Civic Si has the most potent engine option. Meaning that the engine on this model is tuned to deliver up to 205hp with no sweat. So, if you are on the market for a Civic that delivers a lot of power. Then the Si might be the right one for you. The earliest Civics that got the 1.5L engine were built in 2016.
This engine also found its way in the Honda CR-V which is a mid-size SUV. In fact, the 1.5 is one of the most popular engines in the CR-V with more than a few hundred thousand cars sold. This engine in the CR-V produces about 182hp. A bit more than the base Civic. Since it is a heavier vehicle, this is quite understandable. In addition to the CR-V, this engine was also included in the Acura CDX. The CDX is basically a rebadged CR-V under the Acura name.
This engine also found its way in the bigger Honda Accord. Namely, as a base engine of this model. Personally, I think that the Accord is too big of a bite for the 1.5L engine and the Accord seems to be a bit underpowered with this motor. But that’s what you get as the standard.
Honda 1.5L Engine Problems
Now let’s talk more about the problems of this Honda engine with the main focus on the Honda oil dilution problem.
Not that we are not going to talk about all of the problems that this engine has but our main focus will be on the oil dilution and how Honda is tackling this problem that bothers a lot of car owners and makes their life difficult. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.
1. Honda 1.5L Oil Dilution Problem
Now let’s get down to business and talk more about the Honda oil dilution problem. What is oil dilution in general? Oil dilution in the simplest definition is when the oil gets mixed with gasoline and then the oil is diluted. Meaning that the engine is definitely not getting the right lubrication and also not producing the right performance.
This situation is not ideal. But also it’s not the end of the world. Since everything is good with the engine. But somehow gasoline passes through the cylinder walls and ends up into the oil compartment. Polluting the oil in the process and ruining the engine performance. A small oil dilution is normal. But what happens in the 1.5L it’s not.
This problem is by design. To be more precise, this problem happens because the gasoline is not ignited well inside of the cylinder at below-freezing temperatures. The gasoline simply sticks to the cylinder walls. Then as the pistons move, they bring the gasoline down to the oil compartment.
The engine needs some time to heat up and burn the gasoline well. In this case, the cold engine block of the 1.5L is causing this problem. Once the engine warms up, everything works well. But the gas which is already there will mix with the oil and you will experience the Honda oil dilution problem.
This problem often happens in areas of severe cold temperatures. More precisely in winter where temperatures are extreme. The 1.5L simply doesn’t work well in cold and the oil dilution is one of the consequences of this. Especially if you are doing some short trips. The engine simply can’t heat up well and Honda oil dilution happens.
Honda Oil Dilution Symptoms
So, we learned about the Honda oil dilution problem. Now let’s see what are the symptoms that you will probably face whenever you experience a problem like this in a Honda 1.5L car.
The first and most obvious symptom is the misfire in the engine. This engine is not happy when it works at really low temperatures. And precisely these misfires are making things worse. Because the engine when it starts at cold temperatures is misfiring when it reaches the operating temperature. These misfires mean that the gas is not burnt completely and will come down into the oil pan and dilute the oil.
Another symptom connected with this problem is the loss of power. This is understandable since you are experiencing misfires, it is logical that the power will be down as well. Nothing too serious but in extreme situations, it will be noticed. In addition to this engine, stalling is also present in extreme cases of oil dilution when the oil level is way too high and is impairing the engine to work right.
Luckily for you. Most of the owners didn’t report very serious problems with the dilution. Yes, there is a mixture of oil and gas. But nothing that significant. The important thing when you have this engine is to do oil changes more regularly. But more on that, we are going to cover later in the article where we will learn about the ways you can try to avoid this problem of Honda oil dilution.
Now, let’s see what Honda did to sort this problem in US and Canada since these two countries are one of the most affected by the Honda oil dilution.
What Did Honda Do To Fix The Oil Dilution In Canada?
So, we learned what is Honda oil dilution and now let’s see how Honda is tackling this problem in Canada. If you are from Canada and you are reading this. This will be very useful for you.
More precisely, Honda has decided to allow the vehicle owners to get a warranty extension for certain engine components. The affected models were the 2017-2018 Honda CR-V as well as the Honda Civic produced from 2016 to 2018. The warranty extension was up to six years after purchase with no limit on the mileage.
A quite fair move by Hond to help their customers who purchased one of their cars. But was this the case with the US? Let’s find out in the next chapter.
What Did Honda Do To Fix The Oil Dilution In The USA?
So, we learned what is Honda oil dilution and what Honda did in Canada for their customers by extending the warranty of the affected cars. But what Honda did do for the US market?
For the US, they took another approach. This approach affected only owners to five states where temperatures are extremely cold. Namely, North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, Maine, and Minnesota. But it wasn’t too soon that more than 21 states were granted the same benefit. And since recently this campaign spread across the whole country. But what does this move by Honda includes?
Well, it includes an extended powertrain warranty for vehicles that are less than 6 years old. This campaign includes checking your car at the dealership and performing a software update.
In addition to this, there was replaced the drain plug washer and a fresh oil change. With this software update, Honda models with this engine reach up to temperature sooner and this problem becomes less of a problem if you know what I mean. Since the engine gets hotter sooner, there will be less gas that will pass to the oil compartment and dilute the oil.
So, if you have a Honda that was produced from 2016 to 2018 with this engine, you are highly likely that you are eligible to sort the Honda oil dilution problem at their dealerships. Just take your car there and make sure that they sort it out.
What To Do To Avoid This Problem?
So, we learned what is the Honda oil dilution, why it happens, and what did Honda to fix it. Now let’s see what you can do to avoid this problem in general.
Even after software updates, there could be some dilution. So, what are the recommended things that you can do to make sure that you don’t end up with a damaged engine?
The number one thing is to perform regular oil changes. On these engines, the oil change recommendation is to be done every 9,000 miles. But if you want to play it on the safe side. The best would be to flush your oil every 6,000 miles.
Or, if you are really into it, you can take a sample from your oil to a lab. Then they will check based on the mileage of how much the oil is diluted and will specify to you the right intervals that you should follow if you want to avoid this problem to become worse and possibly damaging your engine.
Another good tip when it comes to Honda oil dilution is to take your car more often on longer trips. This will guarantee that the engine heats up well and also performs as it should.
Still, pay a visit to your local Honda dealership and see what they have to tell on this topic and whether or not you are eligible to participate in this service of theirs that involves updating the software to help fight this problem of Honda oil dilution. This would be your best bet.
2. Other Problems On The 1.5L Honda Engine
We learned more about the Honda oil dilution. Now let’s discuss some other problems that this engine has. And frankly, there are a few of them that are worth mentioning.
Not something scary but only for you to know that they are there and are basically in every one of these engines. So, what are the other problems with this engine? Let’s elaborate in-depth in the following chapters.
Carbon Buildup Because Of Direct Injection
Another common problem with this engine except the Honda oil dilution is the carbon buildup in the intake ports.
This is something that all of the direct injection engines are struggling with. And this problem is by design. In classical MPI injection, the fuel is cleaning the ports when it falls down in the cylinder.
With direct injection, the fuel is injected in a different manner with the help of a high-pressure pump and injectors. Meaning that the intake ports are not touched. So, the carbon keeps accumulating on them and creates a real mess.
The carbon buildup can be so large that could make the valves get stuck and experience problems like misfires, loss of power, and other things that you don’t want to experience.
That’s why on this engine and every other direct-injection engine, carbon cleaning is highly recommended. Some shops are doing this with a method called walnut blasting. Some use dry ice, some use special solutions that decompose the carbon. Either way works. The important thing is to do this regularly. More precisely every 60,000 miles or so.
You will have to pay for this service which costs between $300 and $600. But still, you will avoid some worse problems later on.
Fouled Spark Plugs Because Of Carbon Buildup
We learned what is oil dilution and now let’s see what are the other problems. The last problem that we are going to cover is the spark plug fouling that often happens on these engines. The spark plugs on these engines can fail more often than on other engines.
This is mainly because this is a turbo engine. So, turbo engines along with direct injection are not making the life of the spark plugs easy. All of these engines often require replacing spark plugs much sooner than their naturally aspirated versions.
On this engine, you can expect to replace the spark plugs every 30,000 miles or so. Which is relatively soon. Considering that the spark plugs on naturally aspirated engines last for 100,000 miles in some cases.
What is good though is that the replacement of these spark plugs is cheap. There are 4 in total so, $50 in the worst case if you replace them by yourself. Nothing scary like the Honda oil dilution problem.
Conclusion To Honda Oil Dilution
In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to the Honda oil dilution problem. In the beginning, we focused on the 1.5 engine since this is the engine that is most affected by this problem. Then we learned more about its specs and the applications in which this engine is included.
Then we covered the problems of this engine with the main focus on the oil dilution issue and how big of a deal this problem is. We learned that Honda has issued an extended warranty for cars produced between 2016 and 2018. So, if your vehicle is eligible, you can take it to a Honda dealership. Lastly, we covered the other problems that this engine has.
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