This blog article is a short story on one way to save money when maintaining your Honda and Acura automobiles. There is a well known saying, “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”, but this story would apply to another old saying, “pay a little now or a lot more later”.
The other day, we had a 2005 Acura TL towed to our facility because the oil light was staying on with the engine running. Fortunately, the driver was very smart…With over a quarter of a million miles on his 2005 Acura TL, he did not want to risk that oil light just being a “false alarm”….So he called for the tow truck and had his vehicle delivered to our service facility.
Photo Point #1: For the past several oil changes, the driver had known that the cast aluminum oil pan needed to be replaced because of the worn-out threads, where the drain plug screws in….. After all, his Acura TL has 255,000 miles on it. If changing the oil every 4000 miles; the oil pan plug has been taken out and screwed into the pan over 60 times.
On Honda and Acura vehicles, the oil light has one job…. To indicate to the driver when there is not enough oil pressure to properly lubricate the engine and this includes the most vulnerable areas such as where the camshaft rides on the cylinder head cast.
Many drivers do not realize the importance of the oil light and some think that it is a false alarm if it comes on and there is adequate oil in the engine……
Many drivers will see the light illuminated, get out and check the oil level with the dipstick. When they see the level is ok, they think it is a false alarm, but the oil light is to indicate an oil pressure flow problem and does not detect low oil level…. Unless the oil level gets dangerously low so that it effects the oil pressure.
THE OIL LIGHT ILLUMINATED ON A HONDA OR ACURA VEHICLE WHILE DRIVING IS RARELY FALSE ALARM AND IF THE OIL LIGHT COMES ON WHILE DRIVING, THE DRIVER SHOULD SHUT THE VEHICLE DOWN IMMEDIATELY AND HAVE IT TOWED TO A REPAIR FACILITY.
The oil light was on because the engine could not build oil pressure. In Honda and Acura vehicles, there is an oil pump that pumps and pressurizes the oil flow, inside the engine (see photo below). Because most of these oil pumps are driven by the engine crankshaft ( photo point 5 ) , the oil pump’s speed and flow rate is influenced by the RPM of the engine. To prevent the oil pressure from being too high when the oil is thick on a cold morning or when the engine RPM is high, such as under heavy acceleration; the manufacturer incorporated an oil pressure relief valve ( photo point 6 ) in the oil pump assembly ( photo point 7 ). As needed, this pressure relief valve opens and “bleeds off” the extra oil flow and pressure, which could damage the engine in specific driving situations and temperatures.
So what happened? On this particular morning, the driver had gone out to start and warm-up the engine of his 2005 Acura TL. Noticing that the engine was not building oil pressure (the oil light was staying on), he wisely shut the engine off and called for the tow truck. Some of the worn threads (where the oil pan plug screws into the oil pan) had broken loose and were suspended in the engine oil, inside of the oil pan. These two thin pieces of aluminum ( photo point 2 ) had actually traveled through the pick-up screen ( photo point 3 ), up into the oil pump assembly and had lodged inside of the oil pressure relief valve bore ( photo point 7 ), which was holding the oil pressure relief valve partially open ( photo point 6 ).
At Accurate Automotive, we specialize exclusively in Honda and Acura automobiles. We are diligent in caring for our customers who purchase and service their Honda and Acura vehicles with us, including blog articles, such as this one; which caution our customers of problems that can mutate from small issues to big, hairy problems. An oil pan assembly, with installation on this 2005 Acura TL would have cost approx. $305 plus tax. This particular repair will cost approx. $1200, including the new oil pan…. If the customer had not shut the engine off, a used engine installed in his 2005 Acura TL would have cost approx. $3300.
Come in and see why www.accuratecars.com is the best place in Nashville and Middle Tennessee to buy and service your Honda and Acura automobiles..