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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I drive an 09 1.8, ES.

I was smelling what I thought was petrol whenever I was stopping with the engine running for quite a while. Honda checked the fuel system twice and could not find anything, when the car was under warranty.

Things got worse a few weeks after the car ran out of warranty. After I filled the tank, I could really smell something in the cabin. I called a private garage I am familiar with and they told me it might be oil vapor. So I called Honda (they were fixing an electrical fault). They asked me if something was done with the car in another garage. I told them that I had valve clearance done. They replaced rocker seal and told me it was leaking (I'm still waiting for the bill. They said the will send it by post).

The smell was still there. I took it to the private garage I know. They cleaned the top of the engine that Honda smeared with oil. They found a fresh-looking oil gathered at the bottom of the gear box but after checking all the elements, including all the hot parts, they could not find the source of leak. They suggested replacing seals on the dipstick and oil cap and see if it will make any difference.

The stink is driving me mad, help!
 

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It could be worth giving the engine a clean - They've done to top, What about the rest? :p


If you cover any intakes / questionable seals / electronics in the engine bay, you can give it a spray down with engine bay cleaner / degreaser and some hose-pressure water, perhaps via a plant sprayer. Combined with some eager wiping, this should remove any external oil residue - I'd focus on areas that get hot and may be near oil; Exhaust manifold, intake (EGR) - Anywhere oil could sit and warm up.


Once that is done, and the bay is clean, even if you don't solve the issue, you'll find it much easier to track down -
This should give you some idea.
 

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I drive an 09 1.8, ES.

I was smelling what I thought was petrol whenever I was stopping with the engine running for quite a while. Honda checked the fuel system twice and could not find anything, when the car was under warranty.

Things got worse a few weeks after the car ran out of warranty. After I filled the tank, I could really smell something in the cabin. I called a private garage I am familiar with and they told me it might be oil vapor. So I called Honda (they were fixing an electrical fault). They asked me if something was done with the car in another garage. I told them that I had valve clearance done. They replaced rocker seal and told me it was leaking (I'm still waiting for the bill. They said the will send it by post).

The smell was still there. I took it to the private garage I know. They cleaned the top of the engine that Honda smeared with oil. They found a fresh-looking oil gathered at the bottom of the gear box but after checking all the elements, including all the hot parts, they could not find the source of leak. They suggested replacing seals on the dipstick and oil cap and see if it will make any difference.

The stink is driving me mad, help!
Too bad it’s unadvisable to pressure wash the bay. Most likely you have residual oil on the exhaust components and as you run the car, the oil is heated and is burning off. If the smell is still there after a few good long runs, get it checked again. Could be a pressure issue blowing oil past the spark plug gaskets or out from the valve cover seal.

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Is it definitely engine oil your smelling? Is it possible the AC system needs disinfecting? Or gearbox oil(cause it really stinks)? TBH even back in the day when I had Ford escorts that leaked oil like the Exxon Valdez I could honestly say I never every had an oil smell in the cabin. Also get yourself a Carbon Activated Pollen filter to help with in cabin smells. No more diesel stink from buses and lorries.

Too bad it’s unadvisable to pressure wash the bay.
Sorry to disagree, Ive pressure washed the engine bay of every single car ive owned in 30 years of driving and the only issues I ever encountered was with older cars with water in the distributor, and a squirt of WD40 took care of that. As long as you cover things like the ECU you shouldn't have any issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for all the replies.

Sadly, the problem still persists.
I am wandering whether the 'oil leak' was not just oil spilled by Honda to cover the issue they could not diagnose.
After the engine was cleaned with engine degreaser and pressured air, the smell is more like petrol again...

I replaced seals on dipstick and oil cap. I bought new pollen filter. I am taking my Civic to a local garage again next week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
UPDATE:

I took the car to a private garage.
They advised me it may be the rear crankshaft seal and told me that they could change the clutch all together, since the car has high mileage (98.000).
I popped in after a few hours and was told (and shown) that oil was leaking through the crank case. Unless oil was spilled from the top during rocker seal replacement. It is not worth to remove the crank case and seal it- the costs are too high. It has been cleaned and I pray it was a residue oil that dropped from the top when the rocker seal was replaced. Sadly, there is no trace of oil dripping down to the crank case side so it is very unlikely... I am gutted and thinking of flogging the car...
 
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