so my wifes car had ran into some issues about 4 days ago when her car quit on her while driving from our sons school. she said that the oil light had came on moments before the car gave out and shut off while doing 70 on the highway. then, she told me that there was smoke coming from the valve cover, manifold, and oil cap. Getting the vehicle home was a straight challenge. So after getting the honda home, being both my wife and myself are both very mechanically savvy for we work on not only our own vehicles but other as well, this problem stumped us... our initial thought was that engine oil had some how gotten threw the seals and valve cover gasket into the cylinders.. well after removing the valve cover we noticed that all four seals we bad, and valve cover gasket was as well. so we replaced them cleaned everything and put it all back together. everything seemed well when we brought the civic out for a few mile test drive. Hours later, we attempted to run to the store down the highway about 7-10 miles down the road and sure enough the car took another big CRAP exhibiting the SAME symptoms as i explained above. well getting the car home was yet again a big hassle sop we stop at a gas station not even a mile from home because THIS TIME THE CAR WAS OVERHEATING. We popped the hood and noticed that the hose from the reservoir to the radiator wasnt even attached and who knows for how long.... lol i know right? stupid.. so we ended up buying coolant 50/50 mixed and went to put in the radiator directly and BAM!! i noticed the was engine oil IN THE DAMN RADIATOR!!!! i have not dealt with anything like this before for i mainly work on GM american engines.. and i need some serious help. does anyone have any answers for me?????? you can either post an answer here or my email that should be listed somewhere here think. PLEASE HELP US!!! THANK YOU!

  • Hi, and welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! That sounds rough! The way this site works, none of us have access to your personal info, including the email you signed up with, but we'll still be able to post answers directly on the site. It will help us out if you can edit your post to make it a bit more concise, maybe splitting into a few paragraphs by topic. Could you also note exactly how the car was acting before the engine died? Loss of power? Running really rough? Thanks.
    – Cullub
    Jun 13, 2019 at 20:11
  • The story really is, the D17a1 engine which came in the 2001-05 Civic LX isn't a very good engine where the head gasket is involved. If you do a search on the D17a1 & head gasket on google, you'll find a treasure trove of information (some on here too). I purchased a JDM engine to replace the one I had in my 03 Civic just for the head gasket reason. It was the cheapest route for me to go and get the car back on the road. Whatever route you go, use Honda coolant (the blue stuff) in your Civic. Non-Honda coolant has a problem with destroying the head gaskets. Jun 13, 2019 at 20:34

1 Answer 1


This sounds like you have had a pretty bad Head Gasket failure, and potentially your cylinder block/head have warped due to the heat causing the head gasket to no longer seal.

This can cause coolant to get into the engine oil and vise versa oil into the coolant. You should definitely replace the oil in the engine to see if it is milky.

This is bad, but not catastrophic. If you have the tools, remove the cylinder head, check the block and head for warping (place a truly flat plane/ruler over the block and head and look for visible light coming in between the flat plane/ruler and the block/head. If you can see anything, you will need to have the engine block and head machined flat again, this is probably a couple of hundred dollars from a local machine shop, you can then re-install the engine, install the head with a new head gasket, fill up with oil an coolant and be good to go!

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