I need some assistance from those that know more about cars, engine, and oil than I do.
I have a 2009 Honda Odyssey with just shy of 95,000 miles on it and the 3.5 6 cylinder engine with the cylinder deactivation. Over the past couple years I’ve noticed that it seems to be using oil pretty good at times. I checked it one time and there was NOTHING on the dipstick. I added 3 quarts of oil to get it back to full (holds 4.5). I check the oil with the engine cold and sitting on a level surface.
At the beginning of January the maintenance minder came on that it was time for an oil change. So I stopped in and waited for them to change the oil. I also mentioned that it seems to use a good amount of oil. They didn’t find any leaks so it must be burning it, but no signs of blue smoke. They pulled the spark plugs and four of the six were fowled so bad they looked like they had pudding on them. The four bad ones were the ones that the computer will shut off fuel to if it determines it doesn’t need the power. The engine can run on 6, 4, or 3 cylinders depending on load. With the spark plugs fowled that bad, the dealer said Honda knew of this issue and they started the paperwork to fix the issue (re-ring the four pistons and replace the four spark plugs on the four pistons that are part of the cylinder deactivation). Cost to me would be nothing. Van runs fine, no knocks, pings, surging, loss of power or mpg. The issue has to do with the software that shuts off fuel to the four cylinders and issues with the piston rings on those four cylinders not getting properly cooling or lubrication apparently. This causes the rings to wear excessively and cause the oil usage. Since the spark plugs and timing belt need replaced at 100,000, I’d pay for the other two plugs to be replaced and the timing belt. I took the van home while they got everything lined up. Next morning I get a call from the dealer. Honda wants to confirm the oil usage. What? Why? I ask. Since there are no error codes to go along with the excessive oil usage, they require an oil usage test before Honda will cover any repairs. OK, I figure won’t take long to use a quart.
I stop at the dealer on my way home from work to pick up the oil usage paper work. I’m to drive the van until it’s a quart low on oil. I’m to check it frequently obviously. I happen to look at the paperwork and see that I’m to check the oil while the engines hot. REALLY? How is that a valid test? I’ve always checked the oil with the engine cold, but oh well. If it uses one quart in 1000 miles then I’m good and Honda will pay to fix the issue. 1100 miles later and I’m only down 1/3 of a quart. The farther I go past 1,000, the less likely I am to have Honda cover the repairs. It dawned on me that maybe I screwed this up myself by checking and adding oil when the engine is cold. I added three quarts one time, could I have caused this myself? I checked the manual and sure enough it says to check the oil with the engine warm. I’d never heard of this. How can you get a valid reading? Doesn’t help that Honda puts a dang cross hatch pattern on the dipstick between the ‘add’ and ‘full’ mark. They work great at trapping oil making it a pain to read accurately.
Option one is to just continue the oil usage test until one quart and see what happens. Dealer said to drive the van hard to use more oil. So if I do, and Honda won’t cover the repairs now what? I've beat the crap out of my van and still have to pay. Option two is to pay to have the spark plugs replaced, need to at 100,000 miles anyway and then just drive it keeping an eye on the oil level. I can’t afford to get rid of it. It’s paid for. Sorry for the long post, just looking for some ideas as to where to go from here. I’m not real happy with Honda right now. Might be my last Odyssey van I’ll ever own and this is our third one since 2004.