"New" 1990 Civic Oil Questions - Honda Civic Forum


Fuel, Oil, Cleaners & Other Maintenance Extending the life of your Civic requires the proper fuel, oil, and cleaners, along with other regularly scheduled maintenance.

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Old 10-07-2010   #1  
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Question "New" 1990 Civic Oil Questions

Hi All,

My apologies if these questions have been asked. I searched but didn't find what I was looking for. I just got a 1990 Civic with 201,000 miles (my first Honda ever). Original engine (all stock) and original transmission (even original clutch). Here's my questions:

1) Two out of four mechanics I know have said there is a danger in switching a car this old, with this many miles to synthetic (it's always run dino oil). They said the danger is that the car will start using oil. Is this true? Is there any danger? Should I switch to synthetic, or simply go with the "if it isn't broke don't fix it" strategy?

2) I'm coming up on my second oil change since acquiring the car. The oil has always been changed every 3,000 miles, which I am continuing. There is no evidence that the engine is leaking at all...no oil on the side or bottom of the engine, no dripping, etc. The only slight leak is the seal around the shifter assembly. Even that's not enough to drip, only enough to moisten it a bit. There's also no evidence that the car is burning oil. No blue smoke, clean spark plugs, etc. However, that being said, at 2,500 miles I'm running about 3/4 quart low. My first oil change (what's in it right now) I continued with what the previous owner (my dad) had used, which is 5w30 Havoline. Any ideas?

Thanks in advance for the help.

Last edited by NeXTLoop; 10-07-2010 at 05:21 PM.
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Old 10-07-2010   #2  
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Re: "New" 1990 Civic Oil Questions

if your car is in good running condition without alot of sludge and no leaks, synthetic will be fine. you can even start on a synthetic blend like valvoline maxlife and see how it does. then switch to full syn. but im guessing with that old a motor its got some sludge buildup and switching to syn could cause some of that to come loose and cause problems. you can try the maxlife, that will help with the oil burning too. also check out auto-rx.com and lubecontrol.com
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Old 10-07-2010   #3  
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Re: "New" 1990 Civic Oil Questions

It's not a syn to use syn. Get it?

Oh man...I don't know where I come up with this. I'm a genius! Copyright that shiet!
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Old 10-07-2010   #4  
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Re: "New" 1990 Civic Oil Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by gearbox View Post
if your car is in good running condition without alot of sludge and no leaks, synthetic will be fine. you can even start on a synthetic blend like valvoline maxlife and see how it does. then switch to full syn. but im guessing with that old a motor its got some sludge buildup and switching to syn could cause some of that to come loose and cause problems. you can try the maxlife, that will help with the oil burning too. also check out auto-rx.com and lubecontrol.com
Thanks Gearbox for the input.

In terms of how the car runs, it runs like its new. If you didn't look at the odometer, I don't think anyone would ever guess how many miles it actually has.

So do you think Valvoline MaxLife would be safe? Or will I still run the same risks as with a full synthetic?
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Old 10-08-2010   #5  
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Re: "New" 1990 Civic Oil Questions

i've done a little research on this and from what i've come across, dino oil can, over time, actually "fill in" tiny scrapes in the cylinder wall. switching over to synthetic actually removes this build up allowing the synth oil to reach the plugs and burn. that's why it's a common misconception that switching to synth oil f*cks up your motor in older high mileage cars. and once that synth oil cleans off the dino oil theres no switchin back to dino in order for it to stop smoking. i've got 5w-30 havoline in mine (185,000) miles and am of the "if it ain't broke..." mentality.
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Old 10-08-2010   #6  
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Re: "New" 1990 Civic Oil Questions

regular maxlife (25% syn) will not cause problems and actually can help stop some issues like oil burn and leaks. the synthetic component is moly, the actual oil is still dino. if you find the regular maxlife works fine for a few oil changes, you can just stick with that or upgrade to the full synthetic maxlife (or any other synthetic). i prefer the maxlife myself and it actually helped repair a seal that was leaking a while back. i am currently using full syn maxlife and like it enough that i prolly will stick with it. but my car only has 95k miles. if i were you, i would stick to regular maxlife just in case.
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Old 10-18-2010   #7  
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Re: "New" 1990 Civic Oil Questions

If you are going with the 3,000 oil change, stick with conventional. There's no reason to run Syn for 3,000. It's a huge waste of money. One of the biggest advantage of Syn is to go longer on your oil change. In your see normal conditions, there's no real advantage of Syn unless you want to go longer like 5,000 + mile oil change.
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Old 11-17-2010   #8  
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Re: "New" 1990 Civic Oil Questions

Actually I ended up going with Valvoline MaxLife. Prior to using MaxLife, the car was burning almost 1qt per 3,000 miles. With only one oil change of the MaxLife, the consumption has been reduced to about 1/3 - 1/2 of a quart.

Given that most people report that you don't seem the maximum benefits of MaxLife until 3 changes, I'm very impressed and optimistic for the next 2 oil changes.
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Old 11-17-2010   #9  
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Re: "New" 1990 Civic Oil Questions

i am using regular maxlife on the 92 accord and noticed the same. it used to use a quart a month, now its been two weeks and its barely below full. i also did an auto-rx.com treatment before so im sure that helped as well to clean out some junk in there.
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