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Honda's Popular Turbo Engine Is Causing Problems

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Gasoline mixing with oil? Not good.

If you're the owner of a Honda CR-V or Civic then you'll need to pay attention to this. The Japanese automaker will be extending the powertrain warranties on more than 1 million vehicles in the US. Specifically, the 2017-2018 CR-V and 2016-2018 Civic with the 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine are affected.

According to Consumer Reports, which uncovered a memo sent to Honda dealers, there have been complaints that gasoline can seep into the engine oil, which can lead to potential vehicle stalling in mainly cold weather, though CR claims it has heard from owners who experienced this during summer months and in warm-weather states such as California and Texas.

The oil in these engines, the memo claims, could be diluted due to software settings or potential hardware failures. It's possible for some affected vehicles to suffer from a lack of power, leading to cylinder misfires or engine noise. Last fall, Honda offered a free fix for CR-V owners with this engine in 21 cold-weather states, totaling around 239,000 vehicles. The fix included new engine and transmission software as well as an oil change and various air conditioning control unit replacements. However, it appears the engine software update is essential to solving this as the reason oil levels have increased is due to excess gasoline that failed to vaporize in the combustion chamber.

This can dilute the oil's lubricity and could result in serious internal engine damage. A Honda spokesperson told CR that "Abnormal oil dilution remains extremely rare, especially outside of extremely cold weather. In extreme and rare cases in the cold-weather states, where abnormal oil dilution has occurred prior to a vehicle receiving the software updates, this extension will provide extra time for any undetected engine damage to become apparent and be covered by the warranty."

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Honda also confirmed the engines in 2019 CR-Vs are being updated before going on sale. However, the automaker is not issuing an official recall here. Perhaps it should because if engines are stalling then that's a safety issue. Fortunately, the warranty extension has no mileage limit and owners, who are being notified this month, will have it for six years instead of the original five.

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