The 3 Most Common Honda 1.5 Liter Turbo Engine Problems

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Once you own a Honda, knowing the most common Honda 1.5 Turbo engine problems and how to solve them may be relevant to you. While this engine guarantees a fast and exhilarating driving experience on occasion, it also provides a great fuel economy equivalent to a little engine.

The Honda 1.5 Turbo isn’t perfect, however. People who own and operate a Honda with 1.5 Turbo engines have admitted a variety of engine-related faults or issues and how they impact efficiency and performance over the years.

These issues include:

  1. Over-Dilution Of Oil With Fuel
  2. Carbon Build-Up
  3. Issues With Turbo Spark Plugs

In this article, you’ll be getting a complete rundown on the common potential issues you are likely to encounter with the Honda 1.5 Turbo engine. You’ll be getting insights on how to detect the problem and solutions to get them fixed.

What Are The Most Common Honda 1.5L Turbo Engine Issues?

1. Over-Dilution Of Oil With Fuel

The first and most prevalent problem with Honda 1.5 turbo engines is oil dissolution. After receiving so many comments and concerns, Honda admitted to the issue that it issued a free product update and extended the warranties on some components.

Gasoline has seeped into the engine oil of the automobiles impacted. Users of such vehicles have reported the stench of raw petrol both inside and outside of the vehicle.

Some software settings or possibly hardware problems are reported to have diluted the oils in the engine. The Honda 1.5 turbo difficulties are claimed to be most common in locations with extremely cold weather.

However, there have been claims that individuals have also had similar issues during the summer months and in warm-weather states like Texas and California.

Symptoms Of Over-Dilution Of Oil With Fuel

  • Stalling Of The Vehicle: When your vehicle stalls during acceleration, you can suspect a possible mixture of air and fuel. This is not healthy for your car.
  • Misfires: It’s rare not to experience an engine misfire when there’s a significant defect or problem in the car. A mixture of air and fuel in an improper ratio is one of the reasons why your engine can misfire. Be on the lookout for this sign each time you drive to relate it to this irregular dilution.
  • Loss Of Power: The car will also lose power when there is too much oil in the air or vice versa.
  • Limp Mode: This is also called the limp home mode. It’s a security system that triggers itself when the transmission regulator detects a fault in the engine. For instance, the limp mode can switch off some non-mechanical parts of the car.
  • Speed Limit: A mixture of air and fuel can limit the vehicle to a top speed of 20 miles per hour. Make sure you let a technician inspect the problem.

Solution For The Over-Dilution Of Oil With Fuel Problem

Internal component breakdown or wear is not visible or noticeable until several years later. It is vital to take the necessary steps to identify and remedy this issue as quickly as possible. Honda has created software upgrades that keep users abreast and assist them in resolving fuel dilution problems.

If you notice any of the indications of fuel and oil dilution in your engine, make an appointment with a professional as quickly as possible to get your engine inspected. Fuel dilution can happen without any signals or symptoms until a serious breakdown occurs.

Occasionally, I recommend that you perform an oil analysis. It takes no time and costs nothing.

The result of the analysis will reflect the quantity of dilution that is best for your engine. As a result, you can modify your oil replacement routine as needed. Although every 9000 miles traveled is the standard oil change interval. By replacing the oil real soon, you can prevent significant dilution.

It’s also a good idea to avoid idling for long periods to keep the internal components from overheating.

2. Carbon Build-Up

One of the primary disadvantages of DI (direct injection) engines is this problem. The limitation of gasoline to the intake valves causes carbon build-up. Instead of going through these openings, fuel is directly added to the cylinder.

Typically, as you drive extra miles, your engine will generate some undesirable oil leaks called blow-by. These leaks eventually make their way into the intake tract and become caught on the intake valves, building up over time.

Fuel is directly added to the intake valves thanks to the setup/design of a port injection system engine. When maintaining the valves clean, this method removes debris and undesirable particles like oil blow-by.

Because the fuel in the 1.5 Turbo engine does not reach the intake valves, this gradually accumulates oil on the valves, which can become a problem over time.

The severity of the issue (carbon build-up) is hugely affected by how efficiently the 1.5 Turbo engine controls and limits oil blow-by on the intake valves and ports.

Symptoms Of Carbon Build-Up

  • Misfires: Engine misfires can result from a wide range of reasons, and carbon build-up is one of them. Misfires are related to almost all issues that affect your engine significantly.
    Typically, a misfire is a consequence of incomplete internal combustion in the engine’s cylinders. Some common signs of an engine misfire are car shakes, engine hesitation, stuttering sound, and more.
    You may also notice that the check engine light illuminates. But it is most ideal to run a scan on the engine to know what the source of the misfire problem is.
  • Rough Idle: Rough idle is not a strange symptom of carbon build-up. When the fuel from the fuel injectors goes directly into the combustion chambers, bypassing the intake valves, a lean air-fuel mixture occurs.
    This will cause a rough idle, leading to low performance, as well as the unsteady running of the engine, loss of power, and rise and fall.
  • Power Loss: Although you can trace the loss of power in an engine to several issues, carbon build-up is atop the list of suspects.
  • Stuttering: Stuttering is a direct reaction you receive from the engine when you’re trying to start the car. The car will sputter because the catalytic converter is clogged and there is a rough flow of fuel.

Solution For The Carbon Build-Up Problem

Walnut blasting is by far the most effective process or procedure for removing carbon build-up. The method is not difficult, but it takes time. So, you may want a DIY process if you’re short of a huge budget to splash. But you should be ready to spare enough time.

On average, the cost of walnut blasting for carbon build-up cleaning and removal isn’t set in stone. It depends on the extent of damage which in turn informs how many parts you’ll need to buy.

While the shop vac and media shells cost some fortune, the labor cost will be something in the neighborhood of $450 and $600.

While cleaning the intake valves isn’t necessary right away, make sure you act quickly if any of these symptoms appear. That’s the only way to ensure drivability gains.

3. Issues With Turbo Spark Plugs

The spark plugs issue is normally taken for granted. This is because most turbocharged engines suffer from this defect. As a result, when the Honda 1.5 Turbo engine issues are mentioned, it is commonly neglected.

As the name suggests, spark plugs are part of a vehicle engine that ignites, sparks, or powers the mixture of air and fuel in the combustion chamber. The engine needs ignition before it can run, and it is the spark plugs that are responsible for providing that electrical power between the two non-touching leads.

Typically, the plugs are insulated against heat before they are integrated into the internal cylinders close to the engine head.

However, once they go bad, the spark plugs give off certain signs indicating some defect in the system. For various causes, your Honda 1.5 Turbo engine may experience early spark plug difficulties or failure.

The 1.5 Turbo engine takes longer to warm up to its full potential. If the engine is cold, it impairs the efficiency of the spark plugs, which require appropriate heat for long-term performance.

Carbon build-up can occur when the spark plug is kept cold and does not receive enough heat, similar to the intake valves. It impairs the plug’s capability of igniting the air-fuel mixture in the cylinder adequately and without interruption, resulting in misfiring.

Symptoms Of Issues With Turbo Spark Plugs

  • Misfires: When the catalytic converter is blocked through carbon deposit accumulation, the engine will start to misfire, leading to a wide range of signs popping up.
  • Reduced Gas Mileage: The amount of fuel your vehicle consumes can increase by at least 30% if the spark plugs are bad.
    A drop in the mileage and economy of gas, the spark plugs can be responsible. Refilling or topping the gas more frequently than normal is a sign that your spark plugs might be in danger
  • Power Loss: When you’re accelerating, you may notice that the engine loses power suddenly. Power loss usually happens when the car struggles to accelerate.
    While carbon build-up is a factor to inspect, other causes of power loss include clogged exhaust, blocked fuel filters, low compression, and dirty air filter.
  • Rough Idle: Carbon build-up is one of the top suspects if your Honda 1.5 Turbo engine is experiencing rough idle. Rough idle is essentially a defect that is noticed when your car won’t feel smooth. Additionally, the revolution per minute will rise and fall.
  • Hesitation While Moving The Vehicle: When the car hesitates to move, you should check if there is carbon build-up in any parts of the engine.
    A host of other reasons can be responsible for hesitation. You’ll have to diagnose the problem to be sure the cause is the build-up of carbon deposits.

Solution For The Issues With Turbo Spark Plugs

To safely and properly clean fouled spark plugs, you should go for recommended cleaner. Many advised the use of spray-on plug cleaner or wire brush that is specifically made for this part of your Honda 1.5 Turbo spark plugs. First, use a durable knife to get rid of the tough carbon deposits before you apply the cleaner.

If you see any of the symptoms linked with this problem, check your spark plugs for carbon build-up. If the plugs are damaged, have them replaced as soon as possible.

The exciting part is that spark plugs are affordable, readily available, and simple to replace. For maximum performance, we recommend changing all four plugs simultaneously. The cost of replacing the plugs ranges from $40 to $80 on average, and anyone can do or participate in the process.

Honda 1.5 Turbo Engine Reliability

The Honda 1.5 Turbo is a powerful and dependable engine. As you may be aware, there is no such thing as an ideal machine or mechanical component. The main distinction is that one design may face a more difficult problem to solve or combat than the other.

1. Users’ Trust Is Increased

The Honda 1.5 Turbo engine is noted for its low emissions and high fuel efficiency. This engine is generally dependable and durable. The level of reliability will undoubtedly be above average if we grade it.

Irrespective of all this, the Honda 1.5 Turbo engine is a brand new design. Due to this, giving a thorough assessment of how it will stand up over time will take a while.

2. Easy To Fix Issues/Problems

The Honda 1.5 Turbo engine is associated with or tied to several difficulties. When you look at the big picture, these problems don’t appear to be that severe or complicated. However, it is crucial to know these issues, the symptoms they cause, and how best to address them.

3. Maintenance

If you’re driving a car with the 1.5 Turbo engine for the first time, you might unaware of the maintenance requirements. Here’s the deal: Maintenance is a little more difficult or time-consuming than with port-injected engines.

Let’s take a look at the specifications of the Honda L engines:

Metrics: Specs:
Turbocharger MHI-TD03 (Depending On The Version)
Displacement 1,198-1497cc
Cooling System Water-Cooled
Valvetrain SOHC & DOHC 4 Valves x Cylinder
Compression Ratio 10.2:1-13.5.1
Fuel System PGM-FI Direct Injection
Fuel Type Gasoline
Horsepower 77-205hp
Torque 81-192 ft-lb
Configuration Inline-4
Piston Stroke Varies (From 2.82”- 3.52”)
Cylinder Bore 2.87”


1. What Distinguishes The Honda 1.5 Turbo Engine From Its Rivals?

The Honda 1.5 Turbo engine has several distinguishing features that set it apart from other turbocharged engines on the market.

The most remarkable attributes are:

  • The outstanding and fast throttle response
  • Fuel economy
  • Exhilarating acceleration
  • Outstanding efficiency you experience throughout every trip

In terms of how long the Honda 1.5 Turbo engine can last, users have reported that the engine has longevity.

Your 1.5 Turbo engine is projected to live longer than 200,000 miles if you are imbibing a regular maintenance culture and faithful to addressing certain difficulties or malfunctions as soon as they arise.

The truth is that no one can accurately forecast when you will encounter any of the issues we’ve addressed. They could show up sooner or later. The most crucial thing is to recognize and address these problems as soon as they arise.

2. When Do I Replace The Oil In My Honda 1.5 Turbo Engine?

The fact is that the frequency of changing the oil in a car engine depends on how you use and maintain the engine. Typically, a Honda 1.5 Turbo engine oil should be changed every 15,000 kilometers or 9,000 miles driven. Refilling your engine oil at least once a year is a decent rule of thumb.

3. How Can Fuel Dilution In The 1.5 Turbo Engine Be Fixed Or Controlled?

When correcting or combating fuel dilution, oil changes should be conducted on a more frequent basis than typical. In a nutshell, you should reduce the oil change interval, and it does not have to be after 9,000 miles.

Final Thoughts

Despite the problems with the Honda 1.5 turbo, Honda’s reliability ratings are still higher than normal. Although the 1.5 turbo engines are reliable, individuals who are new to this type of engine should be aware that turbo engine maintenance is more complicated.

Honda’s 1.5 turbo problems caused quite a commotion a few years ago, but the manufacturer was able to overcome the concerns. They’ve also extended the warranty on the affected computers without a mileage limit.

You’ll be able to enjoy your Honda without the 1.5 turbo difficulties if you keep to their recommended maintenance schedule and have your car evaluated if any problems arise.

These issues could have either a short-term or long-term effect o your car. I am sure you know what these problems are, how to spot and deal with them on the go?