Dear Car Talk:
I own a 2014 Honda Accord LX, and it has been a very good car. So good that I am thinking about buying a new Accord. At least I was thinking about a new Accord until I started seeing stories about the engine oil being diluted by gasoline.
This does not sound like a good situation, but I am wondering how bad it really is. I would love to hear your take on this. Thanks! --Joseph
While Honda’s engineering is generally excellent, they seem to have stumbled with their 1.5 liter turbo engine, Joseph.
There are a number of complaints about gasoline diluting the oil. That’s not a good situation. Gasoline is not nearly as good a lubricant as oil is, so this has the potential to shorten the life of the engine. Not to mention, it’ll cause your car to smell like the corner Exxon station.
The gasoline fumes that mix with the oil are supposed to evaporate and be expunged from the crankcase. And apparently, in cold weather -- or if the car is rarely driven long enough to really heat up -- the gasoline condenses and builds up in the crankcase until your dipstick reads: “Whoa! Drain out a quart.”
Honda says the problem is limited to 2016-2018 Civics and 2017-2018 CR-Vs with that 1.5L engine. They also say that it’s limited to cold weather states. And they’ve offered a fix and an extra year of limited warranty coverage to buyers in 21 states.
But we've certainly seen complaints from owners of late model Accords with the 1.5L engine. And Consumer Reports says they received complaints of oil dilution in summer conditions from California and Texas.
So we’d urge caution.
If you really want another Accord, Joseph, one option would be to get the 2.0 liter engine instead.
It’s a pricey option, but we haven’t seen complaints of oil dilution for that engine. And as you know, other than the fact that you’d have to join OPEC as an oil producer if you have the 1.5L engine, the Accord is an excellent car.