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Honda Civic, CR-V Oil Dilution Problem, What You Should Do Now

If you own a Honda Civic or CR-V with a 1.5-liter turbo engine you could have problems. Here’s what you can do.

You’ve heard about the Honda Civic and CR-V oil dissolution problem, not what should you do? If you own a 2017 to 2018 Honda CR-V or a 2016 to 2018 Honda Civic with a 1.5-liter turbo engine, you will now have an extended warranty covering your vehicle for another year. If you experience problems, Honda says you will be covered, but only for certain parts.

Complaints from owners say they can smell raw fuel inside the cabin and outside the vehicle. This is due to gasoline seeping into the engine oil. The problem has raised concerns about the durability of the 1.5-liter turbo engine and about the vehicles potentially stalling, especially in cold weather. But problems in summer months have also been reported in California and Texas according to Consumer Reports. Oil dilution could even result in catastrophic engine failure.

2018 Honda Civic

If you suspect you have a problem in your Civic or CR-V, check your oil level. If it’s above the full mark, there’s likely fuel seeping into your oil and it could ruin your engine. Apparently driving your vehicle short distances can exacerbate the problem.

Honda’s solution

Honda is now providing you an extra year of coverage, six years from the time of purchase, with no mileage limits. But it only covers some powertrain components; the camshaft, rocker-arm assemblies, and spark plugs. Honda says oil dilution in the Civic and CR-V 1.5-liter engine is rare and that the company is “acting to provide peace of mind for its customers.”

Honda has also issued an update to these Civic/CR-V models and is notifying owners in cold-weather states to bring their vehicles to dealers for repairs. WardsAuto reports, Honda spokesman Chris Martin says updates involve transmission and engine software changes that allow the engine to warm up quicker, reducing the possibility of un-evaporated fuel collecting in the engine oil early in the drive cycle. Ignition timing, CVT control, and air-conditioning operations are modified to help the engine warm up and retain heat.

2018 Honda CR-V

Some owners are reporting Honda dealers are telling customers engine oil contamination is considered normal and are being denied warranty coverage for the necessary repairs and are being forced to pay for replacement engines and repairs out-of-pocket.

What should owners do?

If you smell gas fumes in your Honda Civic or CR-V and your oil level is above the full mark, you need to go to your local Honda dealer and report the problem. Make sure you document everything by getting a detailed repair invoice and especially get the service advisor to put “no fix is available” if they tell you repairing your vehicle is not needed. Keep bringing your vehicle back if the problem keeps occurring. Under lemon laws, you have rights to seek recourse, even if they cannot properly fix the problem or maintain they still do not have have a solution.

2018 Honda Civic

No recall has been ordered because the problem isn’t considered a safety issue according to Honda. Because of the widespread problem, the law firm of Sauder Schelkopf LLC is investigating a class action lawsuit on behalf of owners of Honda CR-V and Honda Civic vehicles (model years 2016, 2017 and 2018) that are prone to engine oil contamination. If you have purchased a 2019 Honda Civic or CR-V all 2019’ models are being updated at the factory.

Please watch the Youtube presentation of Honda's oil dilution problem and solution as well as click to subscribe to Torque News Youtube Channel for daily interesting news on Automotive industry.

If you have experienced engine oil contamination within your 2016, 2017 or 2018 Honda Civic or CR-V vehicle, you can contact the lawyers at Sauder Schelkopf here for further information and updates.

You Might Also Like: 5 Reasons To Trade Your Older Honda Civic On An Improved New-Generation Model

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Photo credit: Honda USA


AB (not verified)    August 4, 2019 - 11:36AM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

Yes. So bad I sold the car off at a major loss. My first on a Civic to dump and this will be the sixxth I have owned. Bought my first one new back in 2008. I may never buy another Honda. The year with that car was just pain. Gave full disclosure and sold cheap. EX-L w/navi. All the electronics worked great. Would have gladly given up some of the bells and whistles to have a good running car.

Kirby Logan (not verified)    May 26, 2021 - 7:07AM

In reply to by AB (not verified)

I bought a new 2021 Honda CR-V exl and it has only around 2000 miles but smelling fuel on my dipstick so I immediately called honda’s service department and he is acting like it’s ok as long as it’s not above full line. He said he’s had no problems with oil dilution at this Arkansas dealership but after reading many reviews across the country i’m worried this is standard procedure by Honda. What is your advice on my best recourse on what I should do.

Marion Gregg (not verified)    September 27, 2021 - 1:27AM

In reply to by Kirby Logan (not verified)

I also bought a 2021 CRV and afterwards learned about the oil dilution issue. I just had my first oil change and had the mechanic collect an oil sample which I sent off to Blackstone labs to get documentation in case I have a problem. I have smelled gas (slightly) in the cabin a couple of times. If there is any issue with the oil analysis I will take it to the dealership and request that they keep it on file (which I will do as well). If I have a problem I will continue to get the oil analyzed with each oil change.

Steven Acker (not verified)    August 11, 2019 - 3:23PM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

Own a 2017 CRV Touring model with the 1.5L which I purchased new. I follow all service schedules to the tee and then some. Oil changes at 2500 to 3000 mi. with tire rotation every other oil change. Keep looking show room new. Oil looks dirty after only 100 mi after having it changed and now with app. 14.000 mi on it and 1500 mi. since last oil change it is 1/2 inch above the full mark. Also need new tires put on at 14,000 mi. as they were severely cupped and causing such a road noise it was NOT FUN to drive. Was told rear alignment was off. This started after first rotation. I am very displeased with Honda and am considering dumping it if not resolved soon. Dealer said we can't do anything until your service light comes on per Honda. Sounds like they really don't give a S_ _ _ about anyone but them selves. I was a Toyota owner for 15 years why in the world did I switch? Well I did presume Honda was even a bit better. What a huge mistake. Come on Honda put on some big guy pants and step up to the plate and be honest and forthcoming you have an issue and deal with it.

Randy hughes (not verified)    August 13, 2019 - 10:55AM

In reply to by Steven Acker (not verified)

We have a 2018 CRV Touring model with the turbo engine and have had the exact same experience. We had the software updated in January as part of the recall program and immediately had a 10% reduction in fuel economy. The oil level is above the full mark and has a gasoline odour. The turbo is noisy and the tire noise excessive. All of this was brought to the attention of the dealership and Honda Canada and I was told that this was normal and they have no other reports from owners with similar issues. I guess I am just lucky.

Gingin (not verified)    September 13, 2019 - 6:53AM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

Yes, while out of state, five messages appeared on dashboard...I immediately stopped, which is the best idea, got towed and it took Richmond Honda dealer one day to figure out gas leaked into engine oil. All fixed FREE but
I need to know could it happen again. Do not drive it once errors appear, only leads to more damage.
I told Honda HQ about it, Honda Civic 2017 turbo. I had driven over 150 miles before it happened and do not
live in a cold weather zone.

msbav8r (not verified)    January 28, 2020 - 10:19AM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

Yes. And the 'fix' performed by the dealer made it so the 2018 CRV produced no heat until driven @ high rpm for 15-20 mins.
Couldn't clear ice or fog from windows and the interior was ice cold, even with 2 10 mon remote starts.
Honda said that's normal and also that I should change my oil every 2500 miles.
That plus daily failure of the safety systems on my drive home from work, prompted me to trade itin and never buy another Honda vehicle.

Deric (not verified)    February 16, 2020 - 6:24AM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

2020 civic Si sedan. I smell a STRONG oder of fuel when I pull off my oil cap for my engine. I have two buddies with the same issue with a 2019 civic Si sedan and a 2018 civic ex-t sedan. This issue obviously has not been resolved.
Out of all three of the vehicles, my oil had the most rich fuel smell.

Relevant information;
My first oil change for my 2020 civic Si was at 5,500k miles.
I have only driven about 1,000k miles since noticing this issue.
I have about 6,500-6,700k miles.
It appears that my oil is about 1/5th of a quart higher than the full mark.

Cecil Baker (not verified)    March 28, 2020 - 1:13PM

In reply to by Denis Flierl

own a 2018 ext civic sedan and only 51,000 miles and my oil smells like straight gasoline I reached out to Honda on twitter and they told me to take it to a dealer. But the dealer said the same that's normal and since there isn't an engine light on then we can't do any work on it. My mechanic even said its got too much in it, I'm still paying on it I wish they just issue a recall. The excuse is drivers don't let it warm up is a lie I always let mine warm up and I live in Arkansas and drive over 500 miles a week mainly on the highway.

Devon (not verified)    July 6, 2019 - 12:59PM

I am up in Alberta, Canada and have yet to experience this problem. With my 2018 hatch never smelt fuel nor have the oil level change. Before and after the recall was done. Gave it then proper brake in when I first got it and I don't do short 5min drive. Its direct injection what do you expect.. short drives in the cold has never been good for cars to start

Spencer (not verified)    July 6, 2019 - 9:46PM

We bought a new 2017 1.4 L CRV in Florida and experienced the dilution issue. The local dealer was useless. Honda of America was even worse.

Opened a case. They promised me a software patch, then reneged inexplicably for geolocation reasons. To be clear, they ghosted me and pretended they never opened a case, promised a fix, then closed the case and did nothing, but this is exactly what they did.

It's our 3rd Honda and our last. We sold it.


Spencer (not verified)    July 27, 2019 - 1:56PM

In reply to by WAYNE (not verified)

A well built car, maintained properly, lasts 10 years on average. The 2017-2018 EarthDreams engine makes that impossible.

If you think Honda offering a firmware update, then retracting the offer, is good customer service, you must work for one of the dealers.

M (not verified)    October 1, 2019 - 1:18AM

In reply to by WAYNE (not verified)

I have only ever owned one vehicle less than 15 years old. Many of them were older than me, one of which was 30 years older than me and had the original bottom end of the engine (valves had been re-milled and pistons resleeved) which had done over 1 million km. It was only taken off the road when someone rear ended me at a stop light (and has since been restored by someone else with the same engine).

Fred (not verified)    November 24, 2019 - 1:07PM

In reply to by WAYNE (not verified)

You say most cars won’t last over six years anyway? What planet do you live on? You are clueless when it comes to automobile knowledge. Please educate yourself before making such a stupid statement.

xTWISTEDx (not verified)    February 23, 2021 - 7:44AM

In reply to by Fred (not verified)

I mean he is that far off. Todays cars are not like your Toyota, or even prelude. The body is even different materials. Todays cars are built to make it 10 yrs. I think the avg cars life time today is just that.

We just sent our Nissan to the junk yard, it was a 2011 256k miles and never had one issue other than the MAF. The cvt never serviced and never changed. In 2021 it still drove strong, however, the body was being oxidized pretty bad. The engine was about to break its timing chain.

Amazingly , that car was sad to see go just because of that reliability factor. This Civic 2017 touring, its a nice car not built even to the standard of that 2011 Nissan however, the AC has been out twice now, the axle was shot after 40k. The car began smelling like shit around then too. The wiring has been horrid in terms of breaks in them, faulty connections, misfiring for no dam reason. Already i've changed out the injectors, spark plugs 3 times now, new coil packs, new upstream o2 sensor, not to mention my axles are making noise again, the alignment pshh, shocks non existent and the road noise was insane! The fog lights broke in the first few months even. Ive also been through 3 windshields. Went in for the ac this last fall, also asked if they would check into why i was getting 300,301,302,304 codes all of sudden, they recommended a valve adjustment... I had enough funding to address one large repair for backup and i knew better that it wasn't the problem for the misfiring.

She talked me into it " oh yeah it could cause misfires.." and i also read that morning that the service interval was also to have the valves adjusted. The past 4 months ive gone back to this dealer 6 times now for the same shit. Misfire limp mode. Cant drive it in with limp mode, restating the car fixes for a second or doesnt. Hell, ive even picked up the mechanic there, tossed him in the driver seat and said, "get on it.., drive it like you stole it. " Finally he felt it , no code tho and without that code he cant know what to fix.

Once we got back to shop, i took my dipstick out and said do me a favor and tell me if you smell gas and shoved the stick to his nose i said i never have smell oil thats this strong. He smells it , " ah man i cant tell i smell this all day. UgH. I love Hondas until now . As im installing my o2 sensor today, praying my converter is still ok. Worst of all is that smell. Its pretty bad and embarrassing. Shits a joke .

Kinda stuck with it and am upside down with the ride financially due to these things and milage. Ive cut the maintenance down to 3500 ish miles about 40-50% oil life left i swap it out. We have paid a shit ton in money out and vow to never buy their cars again. I say that all of it as im sitting here looking at my 1992 toyota 4runner snd shit its still a beast. Looks shining and like it did when we got her. We just decided to buy a new car and welp i can tell it will be lucky to see 10 yrs too. However, a lot better.

Anyways, they are all bad the newer cars but who used to be good and reliable like Honda, they have changed ... sadly.

Rob L (not verified)    July 7, 2019 - 3:07AM

There is also widespread air conditioner failure taking place for thousands of 10th generation Civic sedans. Honda forums and message boards are full of reports of faulty compressor and condensers not able to remain pressurized and causing all the refrigerant R1234yf to leak out. These compressors and condensers are faulty in brand new vehicles but the buyers only find out months later because it often takes that long for the freon to leak out. Dealers are then trying to charge thousands to 'repair' what was faulty components in the first place. There needs to either be a recall or free repair for Civic owners who's AC systems are breaking shortly after warranty expiration which for ac is a short 24,000 miles.