Im not car savvy at all, but I know when something is wrong. I have
been having to add a fresh quart of oil every couple of weeks for the
past couple of months. And just today I noticed that when I was giong
to add more oil (because the oil light flashed on) -- I opened my hood
to notice the oil cap had POPPED off and there was a spew of oil under
What do I do? Im a poor college student and I really dont want my
car to die on me. Its in really good condition.
thanks SO much in advance
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I'm not sure on a 94 where the oil pressure sending unit is located,
but on my 91 it was on the back side of the block under the intake
manifold, just above the oil filter. There is a seal on the unit that
is prone to failure, asit is rubber or urethane and it eventually gets
brittle and breaks. If this is the same problem I was having, it's a
simple fix, as the sender is around $15.00. The only problem was
reaching it. Another thing to look at is to see if your oil filter is
leaking around the crimp where the canister meets the sealing ring, or
even if the filter was installed too tightly. You may also want to
check your PCV valve, as blockage may cause excessive back pressure.
These are all of the simple things that I know of to check, good luck
and keep us posted.
Cleaning the PCV valve is a good place to start. A blocked PCV valve will
cause the pressure in the crankcase to rise because of blow-by from the
cylinders and will try to force oil out everywhere. Cheap carburetor cleaner
is as good as anything for cleaning the valve and it is a pretty easy DIY
job in most Hondas. What model is yours, and how many miles?
Little aside: My can of carburetor cleaner explicitly states
it is also for use on PCV system components like the PCV
valve. I use it on my 1991 Honda Civic's PCV valve once a
year, removing the valve completely first.
If the OP's car is very old, some consideration should be
given to just replacing it. Its parts do wear with time. If
the OP's PCV valve is the original one, I'd definitely spend
the $20 or so to buy a new one.
Of course, I agree that replacement (of the valve :-) ) is best since the
valve is probably 13 years old. Cleaning should improve this crisis though,
and I know what it is like to nurse a car along on a shoestring.
I hope the timing belt makes it through the starving student period. I fear
in a '94 it may be the original. Sometimes it is better to be lucky than to
I am more than a little concerned by your maintenance habits. First,
the oil light is not the "time to add more oil" light. It is the OH
SHIT YOU ARE DESTROYING THE ENGINE light. If you have been using the
light as your cue to add a quart, you have likely already done serious
damage to the engine which is why you are now getting the signal every
couple weeks. The is especially true if you didn't immediately stop
the engine and add oil as soon as the light cam on. If you have been
adding just a quart when the light came on you have been habitually
running the engine with insufficient oil. (The oil light wouldn't
dome on due to low oil level unless you were at least a quart or two
below the minimum.)
I doubt that the oil cap popped off. More likely you forgot to
replace it (or at least didn't tighten it) the last time you added
oil. I doubt if you lost much oil but it sure made a mess. Guess how
I know this.
Cleaning or replacing the PCV is a good thing to do, as would a
complete oil and filter change now. You can check for leaks, but
unless it is leaving a major oil slick every where you go, that won't
explain your problem. Use the dip stick to check the oil level at
every fill-up and keep track of how many quarts you add over a couple
thousand miles. If it is more than a couple, you have a real problem.
Also, have a friend follow you as you let the car coast down and then
hit the gas. Then ask them what they saw. If they say, "Nothing, the
blue smoke was too thick," you have a real problem.
So fess up. How many miles on this car? How long have you owned it?
How often do you change the oil? How many times has the oil light come
You must add oil based on the dip stick level.
I suggest you change the oil and filter, then watch the level very
Also have the oil pressure light checked.
Observe for oil smoke in the exhaust.
The oil cap could have been loose, or the PVC system not working
Put on a cap and check the PVC system, replacing the valve if it looks
Your car sounds like it may have engine problems, which you need to pay
attention to else your will have real troubles.
Maintaining a car is the lowest cost way to drive.
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