Oil level high

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by Louis Nisenbaum, Nov 6, 2018.

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  1. My engine oil level was well above the full line. It was actually showing oil on the metal above the plastic part. Honda dealer drained so oil level was between the high low marks on the dipstick. Told me to check it periodically. Dealer Referred it to Honda Corp. Honda told dealer it was the first report of this. I have checked it previously and was never high.
    Anyone else have this?
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  3. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    I believe high oil was the symptom Honda's problem CR-Vs were exhibiting due to their engines mixing gas into the oil. Not good.

    Has your engine been getting much running time? I doubt gas could mix with oil unless the engine is running.

    Could this be why the Owners Manual says to check the oil every time you recharge or refill the gas? As if...
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
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  4. Phunny

    Phunny Member

    Draining the oil seems like a terrible idea. Your car isn't producing oil, so it must have been diluted with a contaminant from somewhere. You need to fully replace the oil and determine the contaminant, but most importantly replace/flush the oil ASAP so you have a an engine lubricated with oil and not something else.

    Honda's explanation of fuel dilution.

    The Clarity shares this engine minus the Turbo.

    Honda is potentially facing huge costs and they are trying to mitigate the issue. Notably they did not do a recall but a 'campaign.' Nothing yet for the Clarity.

    Next time this happens, consider saving the oil for analysis.

    Please share what you can about your ICE usage. Is it cold in your area now? How long have you owned the car?
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
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  5. Robert_Alabama

    Robert_Alabama Well-Known Member

    You are right about high oil being a symptom of the fuel dilution with oil. Supposedly this was a problem with the turbo charged 1.5L direct injection engine only. The Clarity is 1.5L but is supposed to be
    • Computer-controlled port fuel injection with multi-hole fuel injectors
    Taken from their "2018 Clarity press kit". That said, however, this problem is said to occur in the 1.5L turbo direct injection when engine is not run long enough to warm sufficiently on short trips primarily in very cold climates. Our cars have lots of very short duty runs when engine starts for acceleration or just "maintenance", which tends to worry me a little. Honda also blamed the problem on the engine being too efficient (not enough waste heat to keep the fuel vapor from condensing and getting in the oil). I just checked my oil level. I hate the orange dip stick with clean oil (I've only run 10 gallons of gas so far). It looks a little above the full dot, but just short of being on the metal above the orange plastic (with engine cold). I'll check it again after I burn some gasoline...
    Also, can anyone verify that the check oil light should come on if the level gets 21 mm above full level?
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
  6. ryd994

    ryd994 Active Member

    Not saying it's not an issue, but not likely the same issue of CRV. Clarity is using non turbo and non direct inject engine. Mostly last generation technology, with timing tuned to be Atkinson cycle (other parts can be just same as an Otto engine).
    Since it's old, Honda has plenty of experience on this engine.

    The oil dilution issue is associated with turbo and DI. Turbo engine has higher chamber pressure, so more pressure pressing all the gas/oil/vapor mixture from chamber into crankcase. Honda has less experience with DI. Bad injection design can't vaporize gas efficiently, and simply jet the gasoline on to chamber wall. These gasoline on wall doesn't burn, and got "scrubbed" into crankcase.

    As you can see, neither apply to engine on Clarity.

    Never had that experience in real life, but based on random source (aka. no reference), when the check engine light pops up, the oil dilution would be quite bad. The engine won't explode immediately, but there will be much more wear.
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  8. leop

    leop Active Member

    How new is your Clarity and what is the build date? We purchased our Clarity in February and it has a build date of October, 2017. Our Clarity had 50 miles on the odometer as the dealer used it for demonstration drives. If I recall correctly, the engine oil level was well over the high mark when I checked the level just after purchase. I checked the oil level again this morning and it was still well over and just at the place where the plastic meets the metal. So, I think the level has not changed with the seven gallons of gasoline use in the past eight plus months. It appears that our Clarity and, perhaps, yours came a bit overfilled from the factory (or after the dealer's predelivery inspection). However, I will watch the oil level more carefully until the first oil change next February. And, after that oil change (to be done by me and not the dealer) I will note the oil level on the dipstick after the specified amount of oil is filled and the engine warmed up. I also want to check if the dipstick markings/length may be a bit off as this could show an overfill when there is no overfill.

    Louis Nisenbaum likes this.
  9. Maybe I did not check my oil since August. I am almost sure I have based on my obsessive nature and I remember the plastic part on the dipstick in my memory bank.
    My car was built in December and bought on Aug 3. Car has 2400 miles with a thousand mile trip included. Rest was urban city use...electric. Any changes, in my level and outcomes will be posted.
    Thanks..car is great otherwise. Hidden gem.
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  10. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    FWIW, in 8 months and 6,000 miles with about 600 HV miles (a 500 and a 100 mile trip), I am not seeing any change in oil level. But my oil is so new looking and light honey colored that is hard to get an accurate reading on the dipstick. And my MM is saying first service at 12 months after purchase.
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  11. megreyhair

    megreyhair Active Member

    I had an issue with my lawn tractor one time. The needle valve in the carburetor was leaking and gas was getting into the engine and contaminated the oil. Lou, pull out dip stick and take a sniff at it. If you smell gas, then you know the oil level was increased because of gas leak. If you don't smell then assume extra oil was put in at the factory and keep an eye on it.

    Leaking coolant can also increase oil volume and it is easier to detect since your oil's color will look different.
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  13. megreyhair

    megreyhair Active Member

    I just checked my oil level and have to report that my oil level is high too. Same level as Lou. Oil level was just over the plastic part on the metal dipstick. Anyone else have the issue. BTW, the car is still on the original factory oil. I wonder if that's the level all new Clarity are set to. So if you are still on the original oil, please check.
  14. Phunny

    Phunny Member

    My oil level is over the plastic part of the dipstick as well. It smells like gas.

    I have 1300 miles on the car. I have don't think that I have even used a full gallon of gas. Only about 3 miles were done in HV mode, though the ICE has turned on during about 10 trips so far.

    I didn't start looking at the oil levels until two weeks ago, so I can't say what the oil level was when I first got it.
  15. Richard Hwang

    Richard Hwang New Member

    Mine is also high, just over the plastic part
  16. Zor

    Zor Member

    Mine is high as well with around 5700 miles on it and also smells strongly of gas.
  17. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    OK, all these reports have me seriously worried. Our engine is not a direct injection nor a turbo so it should not have this problem as reported for other Honda engines. Mine only has 11.2 hours on the engine and I have never stopped the ICE when it has turned on. My oil level on a cold engine is at the top of the orange indicator. And I don’t know if it’s just from reading this thread but it does have a slight gas smell. But then I have no prior “dipstick huffing” to compare it to.
    Next step is to swallow my EV pride and do some HV to warm up the engine and recheck and resmell. Also will ask my trusted local mechanic about this and see if he wants to huff a dipstick with us.
    And I’m also going to send off for an oil analysis which means I’ll have to change my oil at 10 months instead of 12, but it will be worth it to know what’s going on. I will post results as soon as I can get this done and get results back.
    This is really threatening to rain on my parade!
  18. leop

    leop Active Member


    The $64K question is if your oil level has risen since purchase? Since you have said previously that your oil was still a clean color, I assume you did check the oil level but do you remember the previous height on the dipstick. Also, it is very hard to notice a "gasoline" smell from a regular oil smell for synthetic 0W-20 oil. I look forward to your oil analyse result. BTW, I try to run the engine for about a gallon or more of gas (about 50 miles or more) every month or so. This makes for a good excuse to take a trip on the Interstate. So far, since February, we have put just under 12 gallons of gasoline into the tank (had a full tank when new and is full now).

    Clarity_Newbie likes this.
  19. Richard_arch74

    Richard_arch74 Active Member

    Well . . . I just checked my oil level. I checked it previously about 2 months ago (when I was reading the owners manual about checking your oil level, where they recommend literally every charge or fill-up, give me a break!).
    Anyways the oil level is slightly higher up to the top of the plastic. Previously the level was just above the high mark. Didn't do the sniff test, never thought of doing that before in 52 years of driving. Since reading the thread, I did the sniff test and after wiping off the dip stick I smelled gas. I then went to my Explorer and smelled that dip stick. It had a slight smell of gas, but not as much as the Clarity. I'm thinking of talking to my independent car repair guy too and see what he thinks. I will let you know what I find out.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Inside EVs mobile app
  20. Robert_Alabama

    Robert_Alabama Well-Known Member

    I had noticed the "fuel" smell as well. I hope we are all concerned over what may be a small issue or even nothing. I try to keep believing that even if a little fuel is getting in the oil, that the lubrication properties are probably not too reduced, and that since most of us (probably the ones that are more susceptible to this if it does end up being an issue) will drive so little on gas and will change the oil once a year anyway... In other words, I believe that the gasoline miles every year will be so low that the risk of any damage/wear from some dilution would be minimal. Just trying to relax everyone (including myself) a little..
  21. megreyhair

    megreyhair Active Member

    Slight gas smell is normal since gas odor is so strong. BTW, i smell gas on my too. Can't wait until Ken's oil result comes back. THANKS KEN! There are 3 possibilities that can cause oil level to be high - 1. Filled too much at factor, 2 gas leak 3 coolant leak. I doubt coolant leak. I am hoping that someone in Honda made a calculation mistake or forgot to subtract oil capacity for the turbo, which we don't have and just simply overfilled all these engines.
    I have FB friend that just bought a Clarity. Trying to have him check his oil.
  22. Zor

    Zor Member

    I took the car to the dealers. They suggested waiting until the first oil change and the break-in oil smells somewhat like gas.
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  23. Phunny

    Phunny Member

    Ha! I've smelled that before in farm country. If the factory overfilled the oil they should at least do an oil change under warranty or offer an explanation besides incompetence.
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