Oil Change concerns?

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by ww_Crimson, Jan 10, 2008.

  1. ww_Crimson

    ww_Crimson New Member

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    So lately my car has been getting shitty mileage (16mpg, 2001 Honda Accord) and I've been concerned about it, but unsure of what to do. I have a new CAI, tires are good on pressure, and plugs are relatively new as well.

    Today I went in for an oil change and the dude tried telling me that my car might be burning oil because I was low on oil. I told him with 48,000 miles there is no way I'm burning oil. Then when they drained the oil he showed it to me and it was pitch black. He asked if I had missed an oil change, and I haven't. Faithfully had it done every 2800-3000 miles.

    I feel like my mileage blows (and I've addressed this in another thread) but I believe a big factor in it is how short of a commute I drive. It's 2.0 miles to my work each way. My car rarely has time to fully warm up, especially being that it's winter now. Also, winter gas I typically read about having an impact on people's gas mileage, so I'm not terribly worried about that.

    I know that oil change places tend to try and sell you every extra thing that they can (offered me some $70 engine cleaner shit that I denied), but is it regular for oil to be so dark with regular changes?


    Cliffs: Oil was pitch black after regularly scheduled oil change. Normal?
     
  2. bigjd

    bigjd New Member

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    you def got problems i think. No way a 2001 accord could get that shitty mileage. Is it a v6? :big grin: i would be concerned. Go get it checked at a dealership.
     
  3. ww_Crimson

    ww_Crimson New Member

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    4 cylinder.. It's been getting 17.5 MPG since I bought it when it had 21000 miles 3 years ago. I do very very very little freeway driving..

    I seriously think I just want to fucking sell it and buy a GTO or something.. Just so nice having cheap insurance and no car payment.. It runs fine, just extremely low mileage IMO.
     
  4. bigjd

    bigjd New Member

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    my friend with a v6 99 accord gets 20 something combined. Just get it checked out.
     
  5. GuiltySparc

    GuiltySparc OT Supporter

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    have them do a compression test. If one of the cylinders is low you might be losing oil through that cylinder. Although if you have been seeing 17.5mpg regularly and now you seeing 16, thats not that big of a difference.
     
  6. ww_Crimson

    ww_Crimson New Member

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    I want to get it looked at but im not really sure what to ask for. I called the dealership last year because I was thinking that 17.5 seemed low but they wanted like $275 to run a diagnostic. Any suggestions on which tests I should ask to be done besides a compression? I'd like to get it done somewhere other than the dealership if possible to save a few bucks.
     
  7. Scottwax

    Scottwax Making detailing great again! Moderator

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    Black oil is normal towards the end of its useful life. Oil has detergents in it to keep the inside of your engine clean. That's one of the reasons you change it.

    Your shitty mileage is probably because of your short commute, especially during winter. Your car doesn't warm up enough to go into closed loop mode where the engine is more efficient. You also might want to check the thermostat and make sure it is working properly. The longer it takes your engine to warm up, the worse the mileage will be.
     
  8. 4W4K3

    4W4K3 New Member

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    I'd be looking at your O2 sensor and thermostat. Most people recommend a new O2 sensor every 50,000 miles.

    Short trip and cold weather = bad gas mileage, just like Scottwax said. It might help out to start your car and let it heat up for ~5 minutes before you drive it. If it's still not warmed up after that, more than likely you have a bad thermostat or another serious coolant issue.

    A fuel system cleaning might be in order depending on your mileage. Something as simple as SeaFoam might help you out a lot. Most oil change places have a fuel system service that costs upwards of $50, but it's a waste. Most are simply SeaFoam in a different bottle, a gas tank additive, and cleaning your throttle body. Do it yourself and save money.
     
  9. ww_Crimson

    ww_Crimson New Member

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    I've only got 49,000 miles on the car, but now that you mention it I think its very possible I have a thermostat issue. I had a CEL a while back and had the code read and it said it was a thermostat problem but the light went off and never came back. I assumed it was fixed.

    Can anyone give me some information on locating the theromstat in my car?
     
  10. Scottwax

    Scottwax Making detailing great again! Moderator

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    If I remember right from my '90 Accord, the thermostat on the 4 cylinder cars is a little above where the tranny bolts up to the engine.

    Invest in a Chilton's or Hayne's manual for your car.
     
  11. alltracman78

    alltracman78 New Member

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    Take the car for a couple of long drives and see if the code comes back.
    That code isn't directly read from the thermostat, the ECU monitors how fast the engine takes to warm up; until it's warm it [the ECU] won't go into closed loop [this is when you get your best gas mileage].
    If the code comes up it could be the thermostat, or the coolant temp sender.
    There is also a slight possibility of it being the ECU itself.
    The code is P1486 if you're interested.

    Driving your car 2 miles one way in the winter [and to a lesser extent in the summer] can drop your gas mileage, but just so you know, the engine doesn't have to be fully warmed up [above say 180*F] to go into closed loop; most new ECUs go into closed loop once the coolant temp is just a bit above 100*F, which you should reach in roughly less than 1 mile [assuming you're at say 20*F or higher].

    That's ridiculous.
    Autocrap tells people that so they will sell more O2 sensors, then people think it's true because "experts" told them, so they tell others.
    Just like they want you to "replace your headlights in pairs for safety"....
    While there's always the possibility of one going bad, they normally last much longer.
    An A:F sensor [the sensor on newer cars that effects gas mileage is actually an A:F sensor, not an oxygen sensor] that drops mileage that much will cause the MIL to come on.

    Seafoam is awesome shit, it works very well.
    The one problem when it's used at home is the way it's put into the engine.
    It's introduced just like a carburetor [sucked in], which means it doesn't distribute evenly, so it won't necessarily clean evenly.
    Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking this stuff, I've used it many times.

    While most places you go that do fuel system cleanings put their product in the same way [sucked in, poured in tank and maybe clean the TB], some places actually aerosol their cleaner.
    The cleaner is put into a small tank that is hooked up to a compressed air line, or the tank is pressurized.
    This way the cleaner is sprayed into the engine as a very fine mist, which will coat the parts much more evenly and will clean better.

    So, there are times when it's worth it to have it professionally done.
     
  12. ww_Crimson

    ww_Crimson New Member

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    Thanks for the very informative post. At this point here are the changes I'm going to be making.

    New cap/rotor, new thermostat, new spark plugs. It'll be about $100 in parts total and my dad is going to help me install everything... Should be done by the end of this weekend. I'll probably just take the car out for a decent drive and kill a 1/4 - 1/2 tank of gas to see if things are looking any different.
     
  13. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Your rings could be stuck in place from all the accumulated crap in your engine left behind by short trips, and that could be causing the rings to not seal properly, allowing combustion gases to blow by.

    I recommend an application of Seafoam through a vacuum hose attached to the intake manifold (or an aerosol application if you can manage it), and a full can of Berryman's Chemtool (in the metal can!) in the gas tank, followed by a trip to see someone who lives in another state.
     
  14. dguy

    dguy She smells like angels ought to smell.

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    Jesus man quit it with the bullshit armchair mechanics schtick, you're not helping anyone by regurgitating what you've read on a forum. The use of seafoam can have its merits, however theres no chance in hell that it will 'unstick' his rings if its at the point of causing awful oil condition, also rings generally don't 'stick', they catch a piece of debris and score the sleeve providing a poor sealing surface and causing blowby. Now, on to your other suggestion... chemtool in gas? That shit is so corrosive towards rubbers that I would NEVER in a million years EVER recommend something such as that to a customer nor to anyone that I've never met over the internet.

    That said, heres what you do to start tracking down your bad mileage as well as poor oil condition; First, start by doing a leakdown test, if you've got poor sealing in one or more pistons then well, you know you're getting blowby which is causing your oil to turn to crap as well as give poor power/fuel consumption. After that the only way to REALLY fix the problem short of using stupid bandaids that have no guarantee of working is to have the engine rebuilt. If you're short on cash you can just have someone do an in car rebuild, they essentially take the head and oil pan off, pull the pistons, and use a hone on the cylinder walls then slap it all back together. It usually saves you a huge chunk of time because you're not dealing with any of the accessories, so while its not the best course of action it is A proper way of fixing the problem.
     
  15. Jakeiscool

    Jakeiscool New Member

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    still have to bundle up to smoke,mi
    Just use mobil 1 10w30 and call it a day. i wouldnt use seafoam or ANY engine cleaners. I used seafoam on my h22 but only because it was running pig rich for a long time. that shit blow out gaskets:wtc:
     
  16. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    I've used Chemtool in the gas on several cars, Japanese, German, and domestic, for years. One of them has 300,000 miles on it and has needed zero fuel system maintenance despite about ten cans of Chemtool in the gas over its lifetime.

    It's the only gas system cleaner that I can actually feel a difference before and after. Maybe that's just the toluene in the Chemtool, but whatever the case, the 300,000 mile minivan is also still on its original injectors and the last time the mechanic pulled them, they were flawless.

    But yeah, I'm sure the stuff is terrible for systems designed to handle distilled petroleum products. :hsugh: I could give a shit if you agree with me. I'm speaking from firsthand experience on this one.

    Anyway, with regards to stuck rings, if he drives two miles to work every day, his engine never heats up enough to self-clean the cylinder walls. It's entirely possible his rings are so gunked with oil sludge that combustion gases can't sneak between the rings and the piston to force the rings up against the cylinder wall properly, allowing those combustion gases to blow right past the rings and into the oil, making the sludge problem even worse.

    That's all hypothetical though, I'm not inside his engine so I can't say for sure that's what's happened. But it's happened before on other engines, so it's worth looking into.
     
  17. dguy

    dguy She smells like angels ought to smell.

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    Toluene is an aromatic hydrocarbon you dolt, by definition it eats rubber and seals in injectors which is why gasoline distributors have a max allowable armoatic content they're allowed to run. Neat that you've done it in other cars, its still stupid and shouldnt be run in a car that someone wants to be reliable.
     
  18. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Toluene comprises up to 50% of premium gas. Adding an extra 16oz can of various aromatics to a 16 gallon tank to help dissolve gunk and flush out water isn't going to affect a damn thing compared to the thousands of gallons of aromatics the fuel system will see in its lifetime.

    Before you say "if there isn't enough extra aromatics to damage anything then there can't be enough to loosen buildup", yeah, I agree it seems odd when you look at it that way, but I have ECU-monitoring equipment and I've seen fuel trims change and stay changed after running a can of Berryman's.
     
  19. danonboost

    danonboost I invite you

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    Vacuum leak. Hook up gauge and see how many inches at idle.
     

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