Switched to full synthetic @ 134k, now burns 1 quart/1k miles - help! - Honda Civic Forum



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Old 06-15-2013   #1
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Switched to full synthetic @ 134k, now burns 1 quart/1k miles - help!

Hi. Glad to join the forum. Long time Honda owner here.

I bought a 97 Civic EX (with leather!) last summer in Denver. Garaged, single owner, and she was a female. It's my commuter car. I have all of the maintenance history, and 1st owner changed oil every 3 months faithfully at the dealership. Service notes say "semi-synthetic" oil was used, which I take to mean a nicer conventional oil.

I've always used full synthetic in my cars, changed oil every 6 months/ 6k miles, and never had a problem.

Before switching this Civic to full synthetic, all seemed fine. Since switching I'm burning a quart of full synthetic Valvoline oil every 1,000 miles!

I highly suspect this problem came about when I switched to synthetic. The car was NOT low on oil (after 4 months / 4,000 miles) when I did the first oil change under my ownership.

Exhaust looks normal.
No leaks in the garage or driveway.
Drives great.

SO WHAT DO I DO? Should I try Valvoline "Max Life" Full Synthetic instead? I've been googling this issue for far too long -- no one seems to have an answer, but there are others out there that experienced the same thing ... oil consumption increase after switching to Synthetic at higher mileage.


HISTORY:
0 months .... Oil was changed at dealership right before I bought it. "Semi-synthetic" was used the Civic's whole life.
4 months .... I gave it its first full synthetic oil at 134,000, at Valvoline. It was NOT low on oil at that time.
8 months .... Oil light flickered on. 2 quarts low. I did 2 full synthetic "drain and fills" (including changing the oil filter) over the next 2 weeks to clear out any buildup.
9 months .... 1 quart low.
10 months .... 1 quart low.


I appreciate your help.
Scott, Denver

Last edited by DaysOfNoah; 06-15-2013 at 04:17 PM.
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Old 06-15-2013   #2
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Re: Switched to full synthetic @ 134k, now burns 1 quart/1k miles - help!

Quote:
full synthetic Valvoline
Guessing you put in some 10w30?

Quote:
SO WHAT DO I DO?
Stop freaking out and deal with it.
Quote:
8 months .... Oil light flickered on. 2 quarts low.
Erm, your fault for not checking oil regularly.
Since it was run very low it may continue to consume oil from here on out. You should be checking it all the time now.



Well over 100k, 15+years old....some oil consumption might be expected.
One quart per 1000 miles is considered acceptable, even if it is not desirable.
All engines consume oil by design, no matter if you can see it or not. It's up to you to keep the oil full.
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Old 06-15-2013   #3
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Re: Switched to full synthetic @ 134k, now burns 1 quart/1k miles - help!

Thanks for the reply ezone. I'll try to respond to each item:
#1 I used 5w30 as recommended for this engine.
#2 I'm not freaking out, I put the question in caps to draw attention to my question in the midst of a long post.
#3 I checked all fluids regularly the first several months, but less frequently once I felt confortable with the car. Obviously I didn't expect switching to synthetic to affect oil consumption so drastically.

I went from no discernible oil consumption to 1 quart / 1,000 miles, when I switched to synthetic. That is a HUGE change.

But again, nothing on the garage floor, nothing obvious in exhaust, car drives fine.

CivicForums members:
(1) Can anyone help me reduce oil consumption that knows or has experience with this issue?
(2) Should I consider using Valvoline "Max Life" full synthetic ("For engines with higher mileage") -- would it actually undo some of the damage?

Thank you. I appreciate the help.
Scott, Denver
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Old 06-15-2013   #4
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Re: Switched to full synthetic @ 134k, now burns 1 quart/1k miles - help!

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Originally Posted by DaysOfNoah View Post
#1 I used 5w30 as recommended for this engine.
Might sound wrong to you, but I bet the dealer had been putting 5w20 in it. We have been told it's ok to run 5w20 in these by our factory rep.

Quote:
but less frequently once I felt confortable with the car.
I'm guilty of the same thing.....If something suddenly changed on one of my cars, I may not catch it.
Quote:
But again, nothing on the garage floor, nothing obvious in exhaust, car drives fine.
Have you pulled spark plugs yet?
Is there white ashy deposits built up on them? (2k/2q might not be enough to show deposits yet.)

PCV?

A hot catalytic converter can hide a LOT of oil smoke.
Quote:
(1) Can anyone help me reduce oil consumption that knows or has experience with this issue?
As far as your question about Max Life, I have no experience with it.

Kinda need to know why it's using the oil first, like is it because of worn rings?
Or is it due to stuck oil control rings?
PCV?

First thought is return to what the engine had in it before. Cheapest and easiest, right?

I would switch to 5w20 (as long as the engine doesn't have bearing noise or issues.)
Counterintuitive from most conventional thinking, but it can work. Some engines respond as you would expect, some don't. 5w20 and 0w20 use better base stocks to start with.
I personally favor "thinner" oil of higher quality.

5W20 with specs of
API: SN
ILSAC: GF5
ACEA: A1/B1

If your local dealer is on the same nationwide oil program as we are (Conoco-Phillips), their bulk Honda oil will spec pretty similar to Kendall Ultimate GT1. (Most dealers only stock bulk 0w20 and 5w20).

Mobil-1 makes oil that meets all those specs too.

In fact, many/most of the oils bearing the DEXOS-1 logo will meet all the specs too. Read the labels though.

We run the bulk semi-synthetic for the full length of what the maintenance minder wants on newer cars, that can be as much as 12,000 miles. No problem.
Some 7th gens had no problems going 10k on conventional oil, as per the maintenance schedule.
The only time we have issues is when an engine burns oil and the owner never checks it.

I have been running our 5w20 in my GFs Saturn, it WAS using a quart every 500 miles due to a lifetime of JizzyLube cheap oil changes and stuck rings. I picked our oil in an attempt to clean the carbon buildup out of the ring grooves that is causing the rings to stick.
Now, after 30k or so, it is up to about 1500-2k per quart. Slowly improving without me lifting a wrench!

I have been running our bulk 5w20 in my own cars for years with no problems. Even my old Park Avenue 3.8 that calls for 10w30 got it for the last 10 years....until I gave it to my kid when I got my 12 Civic (0w20 oil).
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Old 06-16-2013   #5
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Re: Switched to full synthetic @ 134k, now burns 1 quart/1k miles - help!

"I gave it its first full synthetic oil at Valvoline"
there's your problem rite there never take your car to quick oil change shops.
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Old 06-16-2013   #6
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Re: Switched to full synthetic @ 134k, now burns 1 quart/1k miles - help!

Why don't you switch to a heavier non-synthetic oil and see if that reduces oil consumption?
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