My SUV is losing engine oil between changes – | CarTailz


AAA Northeast Car Doctor John Paul answers a question from a reader who noticed that his SUV loses oil between oil changes.

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Q I have a 2014 Honda CR-V LX with 173,000 miles. I’ve always used fully synthetic oil in the car and had it changed every 5,000 miles or so. On the last two changes I noticed that about a liter of oil is lost between the changes. I don’t notice any licking on the driveway. Is that normal? Should I switch to a high mileage non-synthetic oil? Do you want me to do something else?

A Burning a liter of oil every 2,500 miles is more than acceptable. You may want to consider a high mileage synthetic oil that could help restore the valve seals and other seals that dry out a bit over time. If this was my car I would keep doing what you are doing. It sounds like you take great care of your vehicle.

Q Your column discussed a 2009 Volkswagen CC Sport with a constant check engine light. The owner said he was a senior facing an inflated repair bill to pass state inspection. In your reply, I was surprised that you didn’t mention Massachusetts’ economic hardship repair extension program. It was specially designed for this situation and gives the car owner an extra year to complete the repairs. I’ve used the program this year and can confirm that it works as advertised.

A Thanks for the reminder. Under certain conditions, there are both hardship exemptions and exemptions. These exceptions usually require the car to be inspected by a state-certified workshop. This is the case in many states that have vehicle emissions inspection programs. Security issues, on the other hand, must be addressed immediately.

Q How many kilometers do you recommend for a timing belt change on a 2002 Honda Accord?

A Honda suggests replacing the timing belt at 105,000 miles. No time is given but if this was my 20 year old Honda and the timing belt was not replaced I would replace it. Rubber timing belts dry out, tear and can fail. Failure of the belt can result in catastrophic engine damage.

Q My 2010 Mazda Miata is a manual transmission vehicle. While driving my parking brake light comes on regularly even though the brake is off. For a while I could move the parking brake handle and the light went out. Recently that doesn’t work. Instead, the light goes on and off sporadically. I’m wondering if you’ve seen this problem before and if you have any sense of what the fix might be.

A The red brake light comes on for two reasons: a brake fluid problem or the parking brake is on. From your description it seems that the parking brake warning switch is defective. I would test both the parking brake switch and the brake fluid level sensor. If it’s the parking brake switch, it takes a little over 30 minutes to replace and the cost of the part is under $20.

Q My 2009 Honda Accord stalls when starting. Is this a spark plug problem? What else should I check?

A Spark plugs can cause stalling on first start and that’s definitely worth a look. I would also check and clean the engine’s throttle body. If the throttle body is dirty, it will cause the engine to stall at the first start.

Q My 2014 BMW X5 with 95,000 miles keeps having starting problems. The first time it happened I couldn’t start it and had to have it towed home. My mechanic has already checked it 3 times but can’t figure out how to fix the problem. Any ideas?

A There are dozens of technical service bulletins for this model. Everything from dead batteries to bad running and starting problems. The possibilities range from problems with the immobilizer key to electronic problems. Unfortunately, your mechanic will have to go through them and check which applies based on what they can read on their scan tool. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this.

Q Is it worth reinstalling the underbody protection? Some people advise doing this after five years, others say annually. What do you think? I have never done a vehicle rust proof, but I really like my new Ford Maverick and would like to keep it for as long as possible.

A I was never a big fan of foundation until I found out about Waxoyl. Waxoyl is a single use product that I have seen on new vehicles, construction equipment and high value restorations.

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s auto doctor. He has more than 40 years of experience in the automotive industry and is an ASE-certified master technician. Email your vehicle question to [email protected]. Listen to the Car Doctor Podcast

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