Honda 1.5 Turbo Problems And Reliability!

Honda 1.5 Turbo Problems And Reliability!

April 20, 2023 4 By CarGuy

Are you in the market for a Honda with a 1.5L turbo engine and you want to learn more about the Honda 1.5 turbo problems?

If that is the case, you are in the right place because, in this article, we are going to cover all you need to know when it comes to this engine and its problems.

Doing your homework is really important if you are on the market to purchase a car with a specific engine. Some cars have more reliable engines while some cars have very unreliable engines. And your homework is basically to determine which engine is a better purchase. And we are here to help you out.

First, we are going to cover the basic Honda 1.5 engine specs, then we will discuss the applications of the engine and the Honda 1.5 turbo problems. Lastly, we will cover reliability and we shall answer some frequently asked questions. So, if you want to learn more about this engine, keep up with us!

Basic Honda 1.5 Engine Specs

The Honda 1.5 turbo is a small inline-4 engine that was designed by Honda. This engine belongs to the L-family of engines that was introduced by Honda in 2001.

The 1.5 is simply known as the L15. There are L15A and also L15B and L15C. The second two engines are known under the name Earth Dreams. This was Honda’s take to create very efficient turbocharged engines.

These engines were introduced in 2015 and are still widely used in almost every Honda product out there. They are small, compact, and very efficient.

The displacement of this engine is 1.5L and has a total of four cylinders. It implements double overhead camshafts with VTEC, as well as direct fuel injection.

The performance of these engines really depends on how much boost they are running. For example, the L15B7 used in the Civic on 16.5 psi of boost makes 180hp @ 5,700 rpm, and 180lb-ft of torque @ 1,700 rpm. And this same engine in the Civic Coupe Si using 20.3 psi of boost creates 205hp @ 5,700 rpm and 190lb-ft of torque @ 1,700 rpm.

So, you can see how the performance really depends on the application of the engine. The least powerful version that you can get will only produce 150hp @ 5500 rpm and 151lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm.

Honda 1.5 Engine Applications

Let’s list the common applications of this engine and see in which models you can find this engine. We will cover only US models.

  • Honda Civic Sedan/Hatchback/Coupe
  • Honda CR-V
  • Honda Accord
  • Acura Integra

Common Honda 1.5 Turbo Problems

Now let’s briefly list the common problems with this engine and learn what troubles this engine the most.

  • Oil Dilution
  • Carbon Buildup
  • Spark Plug Failures

Now that we know what are the main problems with the Honda 1.5 turbo, let’s further elaborate on these problems and learn more about how and when they appear and also, how serious these problems are in the first place.

Honda 1.5 Oil Dilution

The biggest problem with this engine is definitely the issue with oil dilution. So, what is oil dilution?

Well, oil dilution is a situation where gasoline mixes up with engine oil. In other words, gasoline dilutes the engine oil. But why does it happen to this engine?

This situation happens in cold environments. There are places with cold weather and this cold weather can cause abnormal combustion.

This is the case because the engine could not reach operating temperature and some of the fuel was left unburnt. This caused the fuel to come down into the crankcase and mix with the engine oil.

Small dilution is a normal thing with any internal combustion car. But in the case of the 1.5 turbo, the problem was too excessive.

This problem resulted in engine misfires, abnormal oil levels, and other problems triggered by this issue. Not to mention that the problem affected the overall reliability of the engine if the problem was left untreated

So, Honda had to do something about it and they did. The problem was reportedly sorted out by a software update.

The models that were affected were produced between 2015 and 2018. So, if you intend to purchase a car that was produced during this time, you should beware that there was a recall and the car was properly recalled.

In warmer climates, this shouldn’t be a big problem because the engine gets up to operating temperature much quicker and by doing so, you will avoid these Honda 1.5 turbo problems.

Honda 1.5 Carbon Buildup

Carbon buildup is another on our list of Honda 1.5 turbo problems. This carbon buildup is a problem on many direct injection engines like the 1.5. But what is direct injection?

Direct injection is a method of injecting fuel into the cylinders. This method works differently compared to old-school port injection also known as a multi-point injection.

Direct injection has its pros and its cons. This method of injecting fuel increases fuel efficiency but decreases the overall reliability.
The system has to rely on special injectors and a high-pressure fuel pump. And one of the drawbacks of this type of injection is the creation of carbon deposits.

Carbon deposits accumulate on the intake ports of the engine. In the intake ports, you have the intake valve stems.

Over long use of 150,000 miles+, these stems will collect carbon deposits and this carbon buildup can prevent them from opening and closing correctly.

When this happens, you will have running issues like check engine light, engine misfires, engine hesitation, and overall rough engine work. The engine will not be happy at all.

This is why we recommend that you clean the engine from carbon every 60,000 miles or so. Just to be on the safe side and not experience these annoying symptoms that are associated with the problem.

Just note, this is not a problem with this specific engine. All direct injection engines have this problem and cleaning the valve stems and the intake ports in the only solution around it. Now let’s move on to the next Honda 1.5 turbo problems.

Spark Plug Failures

Spark plug failures are another common Honda 1.5 turbo problem. This engine uses direct injection and also it has some fuel dilution, at least the earlier engines. So, it is highly likely that the spark plugs will get fouled more frequently compared to other engines.

In total, there are four of these spark plugs on this engine and this is not a very difficult job to do, even for a beginner it can be rather simple. Especially for people who want to wrench on their cars.

The symptoms associated with bad spark plugs include problems with the engine idle. The car will start to idle roughly and the engine will be shaky. In addition to this, there will be a check engine light, engine misfires, and poor fuel economy in some instances.

What is good about this problem is that it is not that serious after all and also not expensive to fix. Now that we covered the Honda 1.5 turbo problems, let’s move to other topics.

Honda 1.5 Turbo Reliability

When it comes to the overall Honda 1.5 turbo reliability, we can say that this engine is pretty reliable. Besides the oil dilution problem that was sorted out and the problem with carbon buildup, there are not any notable issues.

This is the engine that you want if you want to get something reliable that will last basically forever. The engine is pretty much bulletproof from the factory. Although there can be some exceptions, Honda is making millions of these engines and there can be some problematic engines but these are exceptions.

Honda 1.5 Turbo Engine Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of this engine is pretty much good for a gas-powered engine. The average life of these engines is somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000 miles.

With good maintenance, this engine will probably last a lot more. Maintenance is key when it comes to the longevity of the engine and if you purchase it brand new and you plan to drive the car for 20 years, this is probably the engine that you need.


In this article, we covered the Honda 1.5 engine. We learned the common specs of the engine and its applications. This engine comes in a lot of Honda models nowadays, namely the Civic and CR-V as prime examples.

This engine also has some problems. So, we covered the Honda 1.5 turbo problems and elaborated on each of these problems thoroughly. Lastly, we discussed the reliability of this engine and learned how reliable is the 1.5 turbo.


What Are The Common Problems With Honda 1.5 Turbo?

This engine does not have any major problems besides the oil dilution that occurred on the earlier ones. But this problem was reportedly sorted out with a software update and is no longer a problem on new engines after 2018. Other problems with this engine might include problems with carbon buildup and more frequent spark plug changes.

Is Honda Civic 1.5 Turbo A Good Car?

Overall, the 1.5 Civic turbo is a pretty good car. The 1.5 engine is really reliable and does not have any major problems besides the oil dilution that earlier versions of this engine had. Other problems with this engine might include carbon buildup on higher mileage engines and more frequent spark plug changes.

How Long Will Honda 1.5 Turbo Last?

This engine should easily last for 200,000 miles. In some instances, this engine is able to push more than 300,000 miles with no major issues. The engine is pretty reliable and overall a good commuting engine. If you are not after high performance, this engine will be a good purchase.

Has Honda Fixed The 1.5 Turbo Engine Problems?

Yes, the problem with oil dilution was reportedly fixed on this engine with a software update. So, this problem is no longer a thing with the newer engines. Especially models after 2018 should not experience this problem at all.