pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
64,400 miles
Total Complaints:
77 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (41 reports)
  2. replace pistons and rings (20 reports)
  3. replace engine (4 reports)
  4. replace pistons, rings and short block (4 reports)
  5. new engine (2 reports)
  6. replace lower engine (2 reports)
2012 Honda Insight engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Honda Insight Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #77

Nov 062018


  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles


Oil consumption (OC) issue noted in Sept. 2018. Had dealer do OC test but they messed it up, adding too much at beginning an too little at end resulting in 3/4 qt/1000 mi (if > 1 qt / 1000 mi your covered under special warranty).

I doubted that dealer's equipment was up to being able to actually measure accurately enough (their oil dispensing equipment was not meant for analytical purposes). So I began my own OC test .. weighing oil needed after 1000 mi. intervals ... did this 7x. Avg was 0.95 qts needed every 1000 mi. I was waiting for equipment to come in to test a new dealer's dispensing equipment (dealer was willing to allow me to test their calibration ~ that was nice).

After 7th test, while driving, 2 cylinders died, leaving me stranded. Had the car towed to an independent mechanic for inspection. He stated it looked like a OC issue.

Towed car to dealer after that. Dealer reviewed all the information (the seven OC tests and the independent mechanic's report) and examined the engine. It was determined that it fell w/i the special OC warranty. I got a brand new engine (they say would have cost $14,000). Its been 10K miles driving w/o further issue.

One has to be aware of the conditions of this OC special warranty. Their test method for testing OC is not great and their mechanics don't understand it and their equipment likely cannot accurately read Qts to the accuracy needed for the test.

What I learned from my OC testing: a) it matters how you use the dipstick - rotating it 180 degrees and reading it can change the result -- make sure its at the same orientation during any test (a simple Sharpie Industrial mark will suffice). b) it matters how long you had the engine running and how long it was off prior to reading the dipstick ~ again be consistent, make sure all the are involved agree on these times. c) I measured the block temp and thermostat's temp with IR gun .. again, to insure consistency. d) don't trust the dealer to start the test right (mine had an extra 0.2 qts in when they did the oil change initially and had it just below fill when filled back after 1000 mi giving me a 0.75 qts/1000mi v. 0.95 qts / mile. e) no need to get angry ~ not going to help; at worst you need an engine changed -- I priced it w/a used engine (which are pretty cheap) and it would have been $2500 swap out (if the used has the same OC, who knows, right?). f) patience .. it takes time for the dealer to contact Honda, and contacting Honda directly is not going to help.

Be prepared! Have your oil change and filter change records available. I saved none LOL but luckily I only bought from Walmart and they were able to reacquire my receipts. I changed all my own oil prior.

- Bob J., Chicago, US

problem #76

Apr 152019

Insight EX 1.3L

  • CVT transmission
  • 68,000 miles

My Honda Insight Gen-2 has excessive oil consumption. I purchased the car with about 5 miles on the odometer and for the first 65000 miles did not need to add any oil between oil changes. I then suddenly had to start adding oil at an alarming rate. I drive about 260 miles per week and was adding 1/4 qt per week. I did some research and see this is a known issue by Honda and also the reason they extended the warranty for excessive oil consumption from the original factory warranty of 5yr/60000 to 8 years/unlimited mileage due to this issue.

This is where the crap from Honda begins. I reached out to Honda with my VIN number and explained the situation where with no empathy or understanding or guidance I was simply asked "Have you had your vehicle evaluated by a dealer?" I said I hadn't and I was told that would have to be done first and the conversation pretty much ended. I contacted the dealer and they let me know that I would need to come in for an oil change (I have done my own oil changes and keep receipts for oil and filter as I don't trust people I don't know with my vehicle). I agreed and thought this was unfair but did it anyway. Well several weeks past and I was then down 1 qt of oil which was when I was asked to bring it back in. Keep in mind I would never drive my car with 1 quart low ever but this was the requirement and I couldn't add any oil or it would void the test.

After spending time at the dealership it was determined that I was losing slightly over 1 quart of oil per 2000 miles. My service adviser said this needed to be addressed but he would have to contact the DPSM for approval and then they would order the parts and call me back in and provide a loaner car. What a surprise it was nearly 1 hour later to get the call that this was not approved as that was considered acceptable oil consumption. My car holds 4 quarts of oil and per the maintenance minder it's about 7500 miles between changes. This now means that I will need to add 4 quarts of oil between changes, making it 8 quarts basically per oil change. I have never had a car where this is ok.

I am now waiting to hear back from Honda as I WILL NOT ACCEPT THIS ANSWER. This car is an ULEV (Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle) and I don't believe it meets the EPA or CARB standards for this burning 1 quart of oil per every 2000 miles. I bought a Honda because I am/was loyal to the brand, but this seems like an absolute theft from the customer. You know Honda that you have an issue and are not willing to help many many customers who you have misrepresented the environmental impacts from this vehicle (Did you not learn from the VW diesel issue) not to mention it now is costing more to operate this vehicle than it would many other cars.

Shame on you Honda and this isn't the last you will hear from me. You took my money now make good on it. What Honda or any other vehicle is no longer valuable or reliable at 80000 miles?

- David B., Kellyville, OK, US

problem #75

May 302019


  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,817 miles

My insight 2012 model caught with a big prob with the engine. Without any sign, the car suddenly becomes sluggish and stop by itself. Several notifications pop up i.e check engine oil, check VSA, check hill start assist etc. Have contacted Honda and was asked to send over for diagnoses. Understand from Honda contact person there were similar cases reported before. To resolve, major overhaul required, change Piston, ring Piston, spark plug etc. Am still waiting if Honda to issue out PUD for my case so they will cover the major part Piston etc. But was told that I still need to pay for other parts such as engine oil, gear oil etc which approximately around RM2k!

In my view is not fair for me to pay since it is purely product/issue which requires replacement. Currently, am still waiting for feedback from Honda Malaysia HQ & its service centre.

- Abu B., Semenyih, Malaysia

problem #74

Jun 012018

Insight LX

  • CVT transmission
  • 62,000 miles


As many other 2012 Honda Insight owners, I've been hit with the excessive oil consumption problem. Shortly after the 60,000 mile mark on the odometer we found the car to be running exceedingly low on oil and so we brought it into our local Honda dealership (Apple Tree Honda). They performed the oil consumption test and indeed found it to be consuming too much oil.

To remediate the issue they replaced the pistons and rings, though I don't believe they replaced the short block. They covered all of the costs related to this fix under the extended warranty that now covers up to 8 years after the purchase of the vehicle with no mileage limit.

Within the next 5000 miles after the "fix" was completed, we checked the oil again and found it, once again, low. Honda at first claimed it to be a stripped oil pan, which they fixed and sent us on our way after replacing the oil again. Here we are less than 500 miles later and the car is almost completely out of oil. Trying again to get Honda to fix it, but I'm skeptical. I'm guessing that the block itself was scratched/damage and not replaced the first time, hopefully this time they'll replace the short block.

- Jonathan H., Asheville, NC, US

problem #73

Feb 012018


  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles

They said it would cost over $12k to fix. I bought this car brand new and have taken care of it. I'll be going after them.

- Erin H., Austin, US

problem #72

May 122016

Insight LX 1.3L V4

  • CVT transmission
  • 45,000 miles

Bought my Insight from a Honda dealer in 2013, certified by Honda. Only 12,000 miles on it. and no help at all. I bought an extended warranty, with HondaCare, so far no help at all with other issues I experienced. The car started using a lot of oil when I reached the 40,000 mark. Approx one quart every 700 miles driven. Initially the dealer ignored the complaints, we finally did an oil consumption test, but because I was over 1000 miles they ignored the results. Finally Honda is recognizing the issue and I received a letter where they will cover repairs fixing the oil consumption issue for few more years. I had several other issues with vehicle, mainly with engine stalling and max speed of 3/4 miles per hour, 3 times in the last 6 months, so far no solution. I will list them separately.

Update from Sep 28, 2017: I just want to mention, issue with oil check light, sometimes dipstick would be dry due to excessive oil use, but oil light never appeared.

- giacomo, Fort Lauderdale, US

problem #71

Jul 192016

Insight EX

  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,000 miles


I been having a problem with my Honda Insight suffering from burning oil. 1000 miles and oil tank is almost empty. Honda dealership has been giving me run and around. I was told to drive it again and wait see if it happens again. This can cause injuries, imagine driving it with almost empty oil tank!

- Mar V., Saint Charles, MO, US

problem #70

Apr 222017

Insight EX 1.3L

  • CVT transmission
  • 58,200 miles

I purchased this car used about 4 months ago and took it on a great trip the next week that was about 1500 Miles total. When I got back into town the check engine light when on. I have a little Bluetooth OBD-II reader that gave a p1286 code. Which is for low oil pressure sensor. So I called the dealership, set an appointment, but I got the oil and filter changed at Jiffy Lube. The check engine light went off and I thought it was fine. Fast forward another 2000 miles and the light comes on again. At this point, I had read about the oil consumption problem so I just went to auto zone. Checked the oil dipstick and got -NOTHING-, no oil on the stick at all. I put in the 3.4 quarts the car requires (~$24 of oil) and kept the remaining oil in my car.

This is where it gets REALLY scary. I'm driving about 50 miles to help a friend load a uhaul and on the return trip I've got 2 passengers and a big screen TV in the car going 80 mph in the far left lane and it just LOSES POWER. The check engine light suddenly comes on and starts flashing, and I have to make a mad dash across 4 lanes of traffic to pull over. It was incredibly lucky I wasn't in a serious/fatal car accident. The car was then able to coast down the freeway exit and I got it to run long enough to limp to a nearby gas station.

At this point my bluetooth OBD-II says that I have a Cylinder misfire. Now I don't know anything about cars, but I know you don't attempt to drive it after that happens. So I have it towed to the dealership I bought it from and they tell me it may be the spark plugs and that it's going to cost $40x8 for all spark plugs to be replaced, and if that doesn't fix the issue it may be the ignition coils which would be roughly $1800. I told them to go ahead with the spark plugs and it turns out that doesn't fix the issue. They say before they want to do the ignition coils they want to do a compression test on the cylinder that is misfiring. The next day they call me and say the engine is basically done for.

Now what they are saying is they need to take the engine head apart to find the "point of failure" and that they charge $115 an hour for labor and that's going to take 4 hours. Luckily the technician said that he could just put the spark plugs back into inventory since they're brand new and I won't have to pay for them. But it would appear that the entire cause of all this is that the car was being run on low oil despite my attempts to keep it full when the car warned me.

Coincidentally, I also received a letter from honda the next day saying that they are extending the warranty coverage for oil consumption issues to 8 years. So that's good I guess.

But for anybody who owns this car, you need to get this taken care of NOW. My car didn't really warn me that my oil was low until it was too late to not cause catastrophic damage to my engine and essentially risk my life on the interstate. I'm looking forward to any information that may be out there about a class action suit regarding this issue and it's potential dangers and possibility of recall. Thanks for reading!

Update from Apr 25, 2017: edit: I'll update this complaint post as soon as I have more information regarding whether the dealership considers this to be a warrantied issue and what the final cost to me will have been.

Update from May 2, 2017: Update: The engine was ruined. The tech said something about a valve and that the engine needed to be machined to work again. Luckily Honda said they would cover the issue under the 60,000 mile powertrain warranty, but it wasn't clear if they were covering it under their extended warranty for oil consumption issues. Luckily Honda will cover the labor and parts so I'm only on the hook for a rental vehicle from the dealership.

- Alex M., North Salt Lake, US

problem #69

Apr 192017

Insight LX 1.3L

  • CVT transmission
  • 62,831 miles

Just purchased used 2012 Honda Insight with 60k miles on March 31, 2017, after driving around 1,500 miles noticed the oil 1 quart low, I will be taking the car to the Honda dealer for its oil change soon and see what they tell me about this issue.... if this is going to be ongoing I hope Honda fixes this issue!

Update from May 10, 2017: Went to the Honda dealer notified them about the issue at hand, Honda dealer said an oil consumption test will have to be performed....

Fast forward a couple of weeks, after completing the oil consumption test Honda dealer did notice over 1 quart of oil consumed at 1000 miles. Honda dealer will overhaul or replace engine block based on what they find, very excited they will be taking care of this issue.

A Big Thank You to the Honda Dealer service rep. for helping me out with this issue and not try to band aid it with something else.

- Tony R., Bloomington, US

problem #68

Nov 302016

Insight LX 1.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,000 miles

The 'check emission systems' light was coming on in my 2012 Honda Insight, intermittently. I bough the car used at 12,000 miles. I never much paid attention to this message as I read in the owners manual that that message could be due to the gas cap not being tight. I did not check the oil level as that indicator had not come on and I was having the oil changed every 7500 miles. Still, one time when the 'check emission light' came on, around 58,000 miles, eventually the 'check oil light' come on, on the same day. I then checked the oil level, at which time I needed to add three quarts of oil! It had been no more that 1500 since the last oil change. After finding this web site I saw that this was not an infrequent problem. Armed with this knowledge, I took the car to the dealer I purchased it from, Landmark Honda in Alexandria VA. I underwent an oil consumption test (returning three times, every 1000 miles). Upon finding that the car used 1 quart of oil per 1,000 miles, the dealer contacted Honda and they agreed to replace the pistons and rings at no charge to me. There was no reluctance from the dealer to doing this needed work. I am very grateful to Landmark Honda for advocating for me, and to this website to make me aware of this recurring problem. There is definitely a problem with this 2012 model year and it should not be for each person to independently discover the problem, and who knows under what unfortunate and dangerous circumstances-a recall should be issued.

- Margery P., Washington, US

problem #67

Nov 012016

Insight DX 1.3L

  • CVT transmission
  • 65,000 miles


I have 2 2012 Honda Insight DX. Both of them have excessive oil consumption. Gonna go to the dealer next week.

- matbon, Bridgeport, CT, US

problem #66

Nov 012016

Insight DX 1.3L

  • CVT transmission
  • 70,000 miles

2012 Honda Insight DX with excessive oil consumption. More than one quart per 1000 miles. Will go to the dealer next week.

- amy38, Bridgeport, CT, US

problem #65

May 022016

Insight 4 cyl Hybrid

  • CVT transmission
  • 58,000 miles

Within the warranty period I noticed that car is consuming an unusual quantity of oil (around 58,000 miles). A warning light came on “Check Emission System”. I pulled the dipstick and there was barely any oil on the tip. I put 2 quarts of oil into the engine and it still did not reach the top fill line. The car only holds 3.5 quarts. The “low oil light” never came on, how much oil has to disappear before the oil light comes on? There are no oil leaks from the car. I notified the Manufacturer and opened a case. They advised to go to dealer to have 4 “oil consumption tests” performed – one every thousand miles. I completed all 4 test in around 3 months, the test verified that the car burns up to 1.0 qts/1000 miles. I notified my rep (Amber) at the Manufacturer of the results of testing. I was informed that my “case was closed” – manufacturer did not even bother to find out what the results were, they just “closed” my case. I requested Amber re-open case and take down the results. Amber contacted the dealer to verify the consumption data I provided. She then stated “our engineers have determined that 1.0 to 1.5 qts consumed per 1000 miles is normal for this vehicle.” I responded that this is “excessive” consumption that is not normal for ANY vehicle to consume this much oil, and that I purchased the car new and it has always been serviced at the dealer at the required service intervals. Amber refused to offer any solution or provide any financial assistance towards correcting what is in my opinion an engine defect. It appeared that she was basically reading off a prepared statement. I now have to add about a quart every 2 fill ups (around 960 miles). The oil costs around $10/ qt but I found that Walmart sells a 5 quart jug that lowers the cost to $5/qt. I add oil so frequently that I likely never have to “change” the oil, although the filter does need periodic replacement. Now I am stuck with a car that I can’t sell as it is known on the internet that these cars burn oil and has diminished the value of this car. I purchased a hybrid because I wanted a car that was “environmentally friendly” – based on these facts it’s not that at all. In addition, Honda had a “software update” for this vehicle that in my opinion was in part used to disable the low oil warning light. The oil warning light never comes on!!

Update from Dec 23, 2016: To all of you out there that have this same issue - we need to get a class action suit going - we are being unfairly denied warranty coverage. If enough of us submit complaints to the following firm perhaps we can get the restitution we are rightfully owed https://mccunewright.com/honda-insight-class-action/

Update from Feb 1, 2017: WE all need to file complaints thru our state attorney general's office - the forms can be filled out on line - What Honda is doing is negligent and bad for their reputation

- Rob W., New York, NY, US

problem #64

Jul 012015

Insight LX V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,950 miles

Car went into "limp" mode. could only drive 5 miles an hour. burnt spark plugs and low oil.

- dorronto, Hallstead, PA, US

problem #63

Jun 012016

Insight LX

  • CVT transmission
  • 70,000 miles

At about 70,000 miles, the check engine light went on. So I checked the engine, and found there was no oil on the dipstick. The oil burning situation probably started before the warranty ran out but I did not notice it. The engine had not run completely out of oil. I immediately added more oil and contacted Honda in California. They told me to begin an oil consumption use test. After 3 trips to the dealer in town, they told me that it was normal that the car used 1 and 1/2 quarts every 3,000 miles. The car was not misfiring and Honda refused to do anything about the burning oil problem. So I am left with a "lemon" and the situation is probably only going to get worse. Eventually the spark plugs will fail. The situation really sucks.

- Jackie L., Pensacola, US

problem #62

Oct 112016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

In October 2016, I took my vehicle to Scott Robinson Honda in Torrance due to a check oil light that came on the day before. After a day of diagnosis, Honda determined the engine on my Insight was burning oil too rapidly, and that the problem had been occurring for quite some time. Although this oil consumption problem is a well-known fault to the first generation of my vehicle and had been persistent since my initial purchase, Scott Robinson Honda in Torrance and American Honda Motor Co has refused to cover the cost of repair because my vehicle had just exceeded the 60,000 mile warranty limit, just a few months before.

With a little research, I came across Soto, et al v. American Honda Motor Co, Inc, case no. 3:12-cv-1377-SI (US District Court, Northern District California). The class-action lawsuit states: “A systematic design defect that enables oil to enter into the engine’s combustion chamber. This leads to premature spark plug degradation and engine malfunction.” In the case, it was revealed Honda acknowledged the problem in the July 2011 Technical Service Bulletin #11-033 stating that “the VCM (variable cylinder management) may be repeatedly switching on and off during light throttle operation, at cruising speeds, on flat roads.” In English? The engine is working much harder than it has to in normal driving conditions.

Clearly Honda knows there's a problem with their car, but refuses to do anything about it.

- Alex C., Lo, CA, US

problem #61

Sep 012016

Insight EX

  • CVT transmission
  • 61,257 miles

Last week, the car threw a p128a code. I was surprised to find a lot of owners had the same code and it means the car is out of oil. Why didn't the oil light come on? Of course, we noticed it at 62,000, just after the powertrain warranty runs out. It had never ran low on oil before. No car I've owned for the past 40 years has, except my first. It was a used 65 Comet with worn rings, which I fixed. I took the car to a dealer, but they said they had never heard of an Insight with this problem and to call Honda. I called Honda today. If I want, I can pay the dealer to start an investigation to document what's going on (makes sense), but they say there is no recall for this problem, and since the warranty is over, we are pretty much screwed. Has anybody here fixed their own insight? I wonder if you can get the oil pan off with the engine in the car.

I've always had respect for Honda, thinking they were a responsible company making good cars. I figured they would take care of repeat customers, like us and many here. Not so sure now. What a shame.

- jblock312, Fishers, IN, US

problem #60

Sep 042015

Insight LX 1.3L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

We first started noticing an excessive oil consumption issue starting September 2015 but it was 8k miles outside of warranty and we were advised to monitor the oil level and just not let it get low. Starting November or so, I was adding a quart of oil a week to maintain a healthy level. At the time, I drove about 875 miles every week, so a quart would not last 1,000 miles. The problem started to progress and eventually started causing engine problems. We had a bit of a scare in March 2016 because the car had been stalling out every now and then when I would accelerate. I was in the mountains going up hill and turning on to the road to join traffic when the car hesitated with me sitting in the oncoming traffic lane. Incredibly terrifying. It took a few seconds to get going again. I took it in the shop again and the codes were related to low engine oil pressure. It finally died June 2016 on the freeway. Everything in the car shut down and all the code warnings started flashing, Check engine, emissions system, VSA system, etc. The codes showed multiple misfires in cylinders 1 & 3. Premature spark plug degradation was noted. Spark plugs replaced, but did not solve issue. Engine failure. Honda says it needs a long block replacement for a whopping $9,700. Honda's Goodwill Assistance is only available to customers who bought it new and did all servicing at a certified Honda dealership and who are only barely outside of the warranty. They won't help despite this being a widely observed, expensive issue. They've issued settlements to many V6 models and some V4s on a case by case basis, but more needs to be done. I still owe $9k on this paper weight that I cannot fix. Honda should stand by its product and not screw its customers over.

- Diondra R., Modesto, CA, US

problem #59

Jun 232016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

Car had been burning oil for a few months, somewhere around 60,000miles. Once a month the "check emission system" light would come on. The techs at the Honda Dealer had started an oil consumption test, and then at 65,000 miles EXACTLY, the battery died and the car stopped running while I was on the highway. Barely made it onto the shoulder and had to get towed to the dealer. They replaced the battery, and then a month later after another oil consumption test, was told that pistons and rings needed to be replaced and that there was carbon buildup. All this after less than 4 years of buying this car brand new!

- H K., Jersey City, NJ, US

problem #58

Apr 142016

Insight LX 1.3L

  • CVT transmission
  • 55,000 miles

Took the car in for an oil change and the service department, at first, told me it was 3 quarts low on oil. I said, "the entire system only holds 3 quarts, so how could it be 3 quarts low". they said they were mistaken, it was only 2 quarts low. I asked how a car with 50,000 miles could be that low on oil between services. They said, "it is common for vehicles to use a quart every 1,000 miles".

So, apparently Honda is aware of the problem and is trying to avoid fixing it. Anyone who has had a similar problem, please advise... I would like to be part of a class action suit against Honda for this defect.

- thefoxs, Auburn, AL, US

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