Acura's J-Series V6 engines have a reputation for using more oil than advertised. The automaker defines "normal" consumption as 1 quart of oil for every 1,000 to 1,500 miles driven. That feels like a lot, which makes it even more surprising that some owners say they need to top off their oil in between changes or risk doing damage to their engine.
Consumption is a particular concern in the following vehicles with a J37 engine:
The automaker has generally been quick to dismiss complaints about oil consumption as the result of poor maintenance and driving habits.
Dealerships will often tell owners that they should be checking their oil levels as often as they fill up their gas tanks. Now, truth be told we probably all could do a better job monitoring our oil levels – but at every fill up?
Things started to shift in April of 2018 when Acura released TSB #18-009 which is now superceded by TSB B19-006. The documents describe how carbon deposits can cause clogs that lead to consumption issues. If oil levels are lower than they should be and a clog develops, the engine can become significantly damaged.
The TSB applies to the 2010-2013 MDX, 2011-2012 RL, 2009-2014 TL, and 2010-2013 ZDX.
Service departments are now being advised to perform an oil consumption test if an owner complains, because low oil level mixed with a clog in the system can result in significant risk to the engine.
If the test shows excessive consumption, the engine needs to be disassembled so the cylinder heads, spark plugs, and valve seats can be visually inspected for damage. If damage exists, the corrective action is to replace the pistons, piston rings, and spark plugs.
The plaintiffs said the "maintenance minder" displays inaccurate information about the life of the engine oil and that Acura's recommendation to check the engine oil at each gas fill-up is "unconscionable."
Honda reluctantly agreed to settle to "avoid the time and expense of ongoing litigation" and says only a small number of customers have filed complaints.
What a rousing show of support for your customers.
Anyway, if your vehicle has an “excessive” oil consumption rate (according to the settlement that is 1 quart or more every 1,000 miles) and your vehicle is within the Powertrain Warranty Extension Period (8 year/125,000 miles, whichever occurs first), you will be provided an oil consumption warranty repair.
Out-of-pocket expenses incurred before the class-action notice date if the customer submits a valid claim with supporting documents.
The cost of repairing any damaged pistons after the settlement agreement if the repair is done within the powertrain warranty or a "gap period" equal to six months from the effective date of the settlement.
This problem has popped up in the following Acura generations.
Most years within a generation share the same parts and manufacturing process. You can also expect them to share the same problems. So while it may not be a problem in every year yet, it's worth looking out for.
One day when I checked it with about 40% oil life remaining, the oil level on the dip stick barely registered. I topped it off, and just made a mental note to keep an eye on it. From that day forward, I was having to add oil every 2 - 3 weeks, just to keep it in the proper range. This was ridiculous in my opinion because the vehicle only had 30,XXX miles on it at the time, and the car was not hammered on every take-off.
I have a 2010 Acura TL and it consumes oil like a thirsty camel. In between oil changes, I'm constantly filling the oil back up with 2-3 quarts of oil. To add to the oil consumption issue, when I accelerate, my car makes a rattling noise. Took to dealership, got a valve adjustment, got the car back, same issue.
OK, Now What?
Maybe you've experienced this problem. Maybe you're concerned you will soon. Whatever the reason, here's a handful of things you can do to make sure it gets the attention it deserves.
File Your Complaint
CarComplaints.com is a free site dedicated to uncovering problem trends and informing owners about potential issues with their cars. Major class action law firms use this data when researching cases.