I found a hole in the engine of my Honda City diesel (4th generation)

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The car has only done 83,000 km on NCR roads, is properly maintained and the engine has never overheated so engine damage seemed impossible.

BHPian cherub recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I own a 2014 Honda City diesel:

Some basic terms used here: The engine basically has two parts – the head and the block. The engine block is the lower part of the engine containing the pistons, oil tank, etc. The engine head is the upper part, containing the fuel injectors, valves, etc. The seal is a kind of rubber seal placed between the head and the block to prevent leaks.

I observed a leak under the engine compartment area, expecting simple hose damage from a rat bite, I sent the car to FNG1 (Friendly Neighborhood Garage). A very unusual problem was discovered, he found that all the pipes were intact; engine oil was leaking into the cooling system, mixing with the coolant and overflowing through the coolant filler box. He concluded that the engine block was cracked, a common problem with Honda diesel cars. Repair estimate Rs 60,000.

The car has only done 83,000 km on NCR roads, is properly maintained and the engine has never overheated so engine damage seemed impossible. Never had an engine problem in our previous or current cars (few Maruti 800, Zen, Esteem, WagonR, Innova, Etios, Ciaz – each has done over 1000km). Among them, WagonR1.1 has traveled over 1.5 lakh km, Etios-P and Innova-D both over 1.9 lakh km, and Ciaz-D is currently over 1.15 lakh km and continues to be strong (knock on wood!).

After doing some googling, the likely cause seemed to be gasket damage or some kind of engine/coolant pump damage.

Awaiting misdiagnosis by FNG1, sent to HASS (Honda Authorized Service Center). HASS confirmed the engine damage, but they said the damage was in the engine cylinder head instead of the engine block. HASS stated that the engine gasket and valve seals are cracked/destroyed due to infrequent use and long periods of non-operation. According to them the engine should be run for at least 10 minutes every week to maintain valve seals and seal health (during lockdown the car was idle for months, ran the engine for about 10 minutes to charge the battery every month). It seemed like another pathetic excuse from my Honda to blame the customer for their shoddy product. Repair estimated at Rs 45,000. They charged Rs. 700 for inspection and estimate.

Having heard completely different views on the real reason for the leak, I wanted to open the engine up for a full and thorough inspection to determine the real problem.

Engine opening and thorough inspection costs from different garages:

  • HASS- Rs. 9000
  • FNG1 – Rs. 8000
  • FNG2 – Rs. 5000
  • FNG3 – Rs. 1000

Please note here that all three FNGs predicted engine block damage even before opening the engine, a common problem with Honda diesel engines.

FNG3 found a hole in the engine block, confirming its prediction of a damaged engine block.

I contacted HASS stating that the damage to the engine block at 83,000 km is a manufacturing defect and the engine should be replaced free of charge. HASS said the extended warranty has expired and the engine cannot be replaced under warranty. (According to my information/assumptions, manufacturers generally do not undertake the repair of damaged engine blocks and perform engine replacement in such cases).

Having received a negative response from HASS and having experienced their general incompetence over the years, decided to save on towing costs and time, had the hole repaired by FNG3 to stop the loss of engine oil.

If anyone is considering buying a Honda product and planning to drive huge miles in it, please inquire with your FNG, check the service record of another similar high mileage car at the service station and checking the condition of the test car for indication of problems in the actual vehicle during the ownership period.

I have also observed that Honda diesel engine coolant replacement time is almost half the norm for extended life coolant with other brands and even Honda gasoline, a possible sign of engine problems .

I recently got the impression that companies (not just autos) in India were fearlessly exploiting Indian consumers with substandard products and services, probably due to weak and slow implementation of laws which have no bite or real consequences. Raising awareness among the general public can help Indian consumers make a more informed decision and hopefully put pressure on manufacturers for positive change. Cars are a serious investment and defects can lead to serious injuries and costs.

Here’s more news of a possible badly flawed Honda.

Please share your thoughts and experience.

Here is what BHPian scale from 1987 should say about it:

Sorry to learn of your situation. Have there been any updates? Have you tried contacting Honda directly? Finding a hole in the engine block after seven/eight years of use is not an everyday occurrence, so getting Honda involved might cause the dealership (and Honda itself) to look into it seriously.

Check out BHPian’s comments for more ideas and information.


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