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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Vehicle: 2007 EX 4WD, 152K mi. I've got the ursa minor ecamper shell. Wearing Michelin cross climate SUV shoes (GREAT for PNW winters).
So the last 4 or so tanks of gas I've had abysmal fuel economy. Went from a fairly consistent average of 19.9 +/- 1 MPG to 16.3ish. No lights, car seems to drive fine but might be a little low on power. Honestly cant really tell. Trying to figure out what's going on. To give a fairly complete history, my car was in a fender bender in June (while parked, a lady hit my front passenger fender/wheel bad enough to jam my passenger door shut), and I had one tank before it got fixed returning just under 19 mpg (there was some spirited sandy beach driving involved, no surprise there). It took pretty much the whole month of august for the shop to fix it, and on the first tank when I got it back my MPG was in the low 16s. I chocked it up to helping move furniture around a hilly neighborhood for my friends for pretty much the entire tank and didn't think too much of it. The next tank, which was mostly highway miles, was around 18 mpg. Lower than usual, but not alarming. The last few tanks, which have been mixed driving, have been consistently low 16s. Trying to figure out what's causing this, because I've been super light on the throttle yet still returning the worst mpg this car has ever seen. I think the trans has been shifting a little higher than normal but not sure? Doesn't really feel like it's slipping. Could post a video if that could help people see what im saying.

What i've done so far:
-Check air filter. Looks fine, not particularly dirty.
-Drain and fill x3 + filter change on the transmission bc it's been 25k miles and the fluid was starting to get a little smelly. No metal in fluid, drain plug just had some friction material on it which is supposedly normal. Used to have torque converter shudder problem but drain and fill x3 a while back fixed it.
-Reinflate tires about 2 tanks ago, didnt see much improvement if any
-Check for brake drag. Rear spins easier than fronts, but pretty sure that's normal. Pretty much ruled out.
-Change spark plugs. 50k on them, replaced NGK laser iridiums with the same. Just did this so kind of early to determine any significant improvement. Plugs looked like this:
Product Material property Eyelash Cosmetics Audio equipment

Believe last valve adjustment was at 101k. Kind of at a loss. Talked to a reputable mechanic over the phone and he said he wont see it without any lights on the dashboard because he doesn't want me to endlessly throw money at it. Maybe an O2 sensor going bad? Any input would be greatly appreciated! Also, let me know if there's any other information I can provide. I have a fairly complete history of this car's maintenance.
 

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2004 EX AWD
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It could be that your front O2 sensor is going out but isn't bad enough to throw a code or there is an air leak before the O2 sensor and it is compensating by adding more fuel because it thinks the mixture is lean. But the accident is really a wildcard, especially since you say it is shifting at a higher rpm. That seems like a drag somewhere (you already checked the brakes and bearings). I am trying to think what could have been damaged up front to cause added resistance and other than brakes and hubs, I can't think of anything. I guess an air leak is my best guess.

Do they do oxygenated fuels in the fall/winter in the PNW? In California, that fuel would wreak havoc on gas mileage in the winter, but that was years ago. I don't know if they still do that since people starting realizing the loss in mileage was worse for the environment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It could be that your front O2 sensor is going out but isn't bad enough to throw a code or there is an air leak before the O2 sensor and it is compensating by adding more fuel because it thinks the mixture is lean. But the accident is really a wildcard, especially since you say it is shifting at a higher rpm. That seems like a drag somewhere (you already checked the brakes and bearings). I am trying to think what could have been damaged up front to cause added resistance and other than brakes and hubs, I can't think of anything. I guess an air leak is my best guess.

Do they do oxygenated fuels in the fall/winter in the PNW? In California, that fuel would wreak havoc on gas mileage in the winter, but that was years ago. I don't know if they still do that since people starting realizing the loss in mileage was worse for the environment.
I've never noticed fuel economy varying seasonally and I always fill up with costco 87 when possible. Also the problem began end of august, which is still in the summer months for the northwest. Someone did try to steal my cat and cut through part of my exhaust in april but I got it welded back together right away and didn't notice any issues after that was fixed. I suppose I'll have to double check the exhaust system for any leaks. I COULD also bring it back to the shop that fixed it after the accident and ask them to give another once over. Wasn't particularly impressed with their work to be frank. I ended up having to find a screw for one of the fenders, found a coupe spots where they over-sprayed the clear coat, and also had to re-plug in my fog lights because they didnt push the connectors in all the way. sigh
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wouldn't hurt to change your PCV valve.
Good point. To my knowledge it's never been changed and the car has had a very slow seeping oil leak from the valve cover gasket for a while now (potential symptom). Thankfully never noticed any drips beneath the car or notable changes in oil level.
 

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Mr. Willis,
first- I am going to agree with the member that suggested the can of SEAFOAM...
second- I am going to suggest changing your source of fuel.. I realize that the best fuel mileage you can get out of ANY Honda 4wd Element is 22mpg.
Yet the likes of Costco's, Sams Club, Walmart, Ingles, etc. buy the cheapest fuel , from the cheapest suppliers. May specify 87 octane, yet don't think it meet those numbers.
Attempt to use 91 octane if nothing other than every fourth tank full..

just suggestion.. I drive a 2005 EX 4wd..
 

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you need to use a decent OBD-II tool to check the fuel trims and O2 sensor performance to help pinpoint the problem. also what do the alignment specs look like after the repair?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Mr. Willis,
first- I am going to agree with the member that suggested the can of SEAFOAM...
second- I am going to suggest changing your source of fuel.. I realize that the best fuel mileage you can get out of ANY Honda 4wd Element is 22mpg.
Yet the likes of Costco's, Sams Club, Walmart, Ingles, etc. buy the cheapest fuel , from the cheapest suppliers. May specify 87 octane, yet don't think it meet those numbers.
Attempt to use 91 octane if nothing other than every fourth tank full..

just suggestion.. I drive a 2005 EX 4wd..
I'm afraid you're misinformed when it comes to gas. Costco uses top tier detergent gasoline, similar to shell, mobil, etc, so it's good stuff. And running a higher octane rating does absolutely nothing for an engine that isn't knocking. Honda recommends using 87 for the element; there's zero reason to pay more for 91 when there's no benefit to be had.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
you need to use a decent OBD-II tool to check the fuel trims and O2 sensor performance to help pinpoint the problem. also what do the alignment specs look like after the repair?
Might have to buy one, any recommendations that wont break the bank? And the shop that fixed it up never gave it an alignment unfortunately. At this point I'm tempted to walk back in and say the job wasn't completed.
 

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Might have to buy one, any recommendations that wont break the bank? And the shop that fixed it up never gave it an alignment unfortunately. At this point I'm tempted to walk back in and say the job wasn't completed.
You mentioned you got hit on the passenger fender and wheel, did it actually get hit on the wheel? Did the repair involve replacing, or straightening and refinishing the wheel or replacing any suspension parts? Sometimes in the bodyshop business they will cheat and after a car is repaired they may try driving it a bit and see if it seems straight and not bother doing the alignment even if they got paid for it by the insurance, sometimes they are just so busy they dont do it if it seems okay to them at the time and they just want to keep things moving through the shop. Do you still have the repair estimate from the bodyshop? Have a look to see if it includes alignment or any wheel and suspension repair or replacement.
 

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Mr. Willis,
first- I am going to agree with the member that suggested the can of SEAFOAM...
second- I am going to suggest changing your source of fuel.. I realize that the best fuel mileage you can get out of ANY Honda 4wd Element is 22mpg.
Yet the likes of Costco's, Sams Club, Walmart, Ingles, etc. buy the cheapest fuel , from the cheapest suppliers. May specify 87 octane, yet don't think it meet those numbers.
Attempt to use 91 octane if nothing other than every fourth tank full..

just suggestion.. I drive a 2005 EX 4wd..
1) Seafoam can cause issues with catalytic converters, I would suggest Techron.
2) My 4wd gets 22mpg for commutes and up to 27mpg on highway.
Fuel - Everyone gets their fuel from the same refinery, the only difference is the additive package (detergents etc). If your car is not knocking, there is no benefit to running higher octane than recommended by the manufacturer. Law requires the same additive package in the 87 octane as they put in the 9X so consumers don't have to waste money on high octane gas to get a good additive package.
 

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I'm afraid you're misinformed when it comes to gas. Costco uses top tier detergent gasoline, similar to shell, mobil, etc, so it's good stuff. And running a higher octane rating does absolutely nothing for an engine that isn't knocking. Honda recommends using 87 for the element; there's zero reason to pay more for 91 when there's no benefit to be had.
I started filling my E with 91 a couple years ago, because I dislike stopping for gas. I would get 260-270 miles per tank with 87 and I've gotten around 320 miles per tank with the 91. So I've been pleased with the results of the higher octane.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
You mentioned you got hit on the passenger fender and wheel, did it actually get hit on the wheel? Did the repair involve replacing, or straightening and refinishing the wheel or replacing any suspension parts? Sometimes in the bodyshop business they will cheat and after a car is repaired they may try driving it a bit and see if it seems straight and not bother doing the alignment even if they got paid for it by the insurance, sometimes they are just so busy they dont do it if it seems okay to them at the time and they just want to keep things moving through the shop. Do you still have the repair estimate from the bodyshop? Have a look to see if it includes alignment or any wheel and suspension repair or replacement.
Yeah I asked them to do one when they were fixing it and they said the car "felt fine". The estimate never included an alignment unfortunately. I wasn't present when the accident occurred, but I don't think it was particularly violent. I've attached pictures down below of the aftermath. There was a little bit of damage to the clear coat on the wheel, and you can see the tire was scraped.
Wheel Tire Car Vehicle Land vehicle

Wheel Tire Vehicle Car Automotive tail & brake light
 
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