PLEASE HELP!! I have a honda civic 1997 and I've just started these classes a couple towns away so I have a 45 minute drive 5 days a week for 3 weeks. I have been forgetting to put oil in it. My car burns a lot of oil as it is. I put like 2 quarts in it to keep it full every month. So I've been driving it around now after 3 weeks putting no oil in it and it starts to lug out and I think my motor is about to blow up but I'm not sure. I put oil in it and I drove it home and it ran fine but after a couple minutes it was lugging out again. But when I let it sit for about 15 minutes it starts back up and runs for a couple minutes perfectly fine and then it starts to lug out again.

Do i let it sit for a while for it to get into the motor more? Or is my motor toast??

  • 1
    Don't want to assume anything here, so please don't be offended by my questioning...You said "I put like 2 quarts in it to keep it full every month.", but have not said anything about checking the oil level (with the dip stick). Are you?
    – CharlieRB
    Jul 14, 2017 at 14:52
  • "lug out" what the heck does that mean?
    – Moab
    Jul 15, 2017 at 18:14
  • Lug out would mean like the rpms re low and it dies. I say lug out i dont know why i should have specified
    – Brie
    Jul 26, 2017 at 2:01
  • If i would not out anything in it for one month then the oil wouldnt show in the dipstick. So to keep it full i put about 2 quarts in it once a month to keep it to the top hole on the stick.
    – Brie
    Jul 26, 2017 at 2:04

1 Answer 1


Oil is pretty important... in fact, way important. When you run super low on oil (or fail to change the oil regularly every 5000 miles or so) the oil can't do its job and things wear out. When things wear out, they just don't last long. When main bearings wear out, the crankshaft can move in undesired ways. When that happens, the front and rear main crankshaft seals wear out fast, and the car leaks more oil. Its a never ending cycle.

I've actually seen a car that was built with incorrect spacing at main bearings. The car would start, the engine would show a low oil pressure light, the car would make lots of noise. As the bearings got way hot, they would expand, things tighten up and the oil pressure would increase; the engine would run well for a minute or so. As things cooled down, the bearings would shrink again, oil pressure would drop and the cycle repeated. Obviously the car required a total rebuild.

I do have to ask. Where is the oil going? Is it leaking on the ground, or burning out the exhaust pipe? Both are bad, but if the car is low mileage, and its burning out the exhaust pipe, that may not be a crazy expensive fix (likely rebuild heads and replace valve seals...)

How many miles on this car? My suspicion is that a 1997 Honda Civic should last around 200,000 miles or so (perhaps 220,000) assuming regular maintenance including oil changes. How many miles on this vehicle?

Its not really magic, but exactly how many miles did you expect to get out of this car? Your car is now officially 20 years old... (and more likely 21 years old... )

Now if you really like the car, and the mileage is high and want to keep it, perhaps an engine rebuild is in order. You could probably rebuild it yourself for under $1000, assuming you had tools and knowledge. If not the rebuild would be pretty expensive...

  • My car has about 190,000 miles on it. And it doesnt leak oil. Also the throw out bearing is taking a crap so i dont know if that has something to do with it. This is my first car and im a girl and im learning how to take care of it. Ive had it for about 3 years
    – Brie
    Jul 14, 2017 at 7:13
  • Its awesome that you are interested in taking care of your car. First thing: purchase a Chilton or Haynes $20 repair manual on your car. Available online or at autoparts store. The throw out bearing repair is pretty inexpensive for parts, but will take a considerable amount of knowledge and tools and a safe place to work . The car will definitely need to go on jack stands. For a do it yourself, that would take two folks about 6 hours or so.
    – zipzit
    Jul 14, 2017 at 7:19
  • Oh.. and I would suspect your days on this car are numbered. When I first wrote my note, I had placed 185,000 as the expected life (and up to 200,000). Its a guess on my part, but I've worked on cars for quite a while now... Honda has a good reputation, but a lot depends on how regularly the oil was changed... Replace heads with rebuilt should run you $500 in parts, transmission bearing $60 in parts or so? Having those done at a shop, dunno, but big $$$.
    – zipzit
    Jul 14, 2017 at 7:22
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    And your gender has nothing to do with this... you need to revise that sentence above to This is my first car and im awesome and im learning how to take care of it. Its great that you are trying to make this right. Its unfortunate that the repairs you may well need are so expensive...
    – zipzit
    Jul 14, 2017 at 7:30
  • I appreciate the advice you gave me its been pretty helpful. I just hope i can save it until i can buy a new car! haha
    – Brie
    Jul 14, 2017 at 7:46

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