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Honda Jazz engine failure. - mal
Regarding the earlier thread on the ride "quality" of the Jazz a few of you might recall my past criticisms. of our own car known to us as "Mr Bumpy".
Anyway to get to the point. For a while now we have noticed a noise coming from the engine from cold untill it was warmed up. this was mentioned to the garage and it was left to me to arrange to leave the car overnight for them to check it out.
In the meantime we decided to finally get rid of the Jazz and started looking for a replacement. During this time the noise was getting worse but as it was still under warranty concentrated on seeking a replacement.
We finally decided to stay with the Honda brand and yesterday secured a good deal on a pre-registered pre-facelift model Civic Exetutive 1.6. While in the showroom I mentioned to service that the noise was now worse.
Imagine my surprise on recieving a call today from service requesting me to book the car in for a replacement engine!.
I was informed that the noise I described was in fact piston slap which is beginning to appear in earlier models up, to a certain chassis no.
Iam relieved to have sold the car in time to avoid the hassle of having the work done but someone is going to end up with a car in mintb condition with hundreds of pounds of extras and a brand new engine
Honda Jazz engine failure. - J Bonington Jagworth
Not very encouraging. How many miles?
Honda Jazz engine failure. - Maz
Tell us more Mal. Do you know the chassis numbers? Will there be a recall?

Does anyone else know about this? A Honda engine going wrong - whatever next.
Honda Jazz engine failure. - nick
Out of interest, where are the engines built?
Honda Jazz engine failure. - Aprilia
I'm not sure piston slap can be classed as engine failure as such.

Its caused by excessive clearance between the skirt and cylinder on the thrust side of the piston. All engines 'slap' to some extent - but usually it is of such a small degree that you can't hear it. An engine with piston slap will often run for many many miles without a problem - its usually worst on a cold start and is therefore more noticable as the weather gets colder.

My guess is that during manufacture they got some calculations a bit wrong and fitted pistons that were a just a little too small.
Honda Jazz engine failure. - mal
JBJ, the car has done 26000 miles in 22 months.

Maz, sorry I do not know the chassis numbers, as for a recall, I did ask and was told no.

Nick,Can't say where the engines are actually made but the Honda Jazz is assembled in Japan.
Regards Mal.
Honda Jazz engine failure. - dunkv
I thought I'd add my own findings.

I have had two Honda Jazz 1.4 SE CVT7 cars from new. The first was a 2003 model year and the second a 2005 model year.

The first I kept until 65 000 miles and it started suffering from what was thought at the time was a transmission fault but I'm not so sure. The Honda garage filled the transmission with a standard, non-honda, non-cvt, automatic transmission oil at 50 K miles (first CVT oil change). I noticed this on the service bill and got the oil changed to the correct oil but even with a flush oil being used the tranmission performance post oil change was affected. A difficult to locate noise was also evident soon after, so I changed the car rather than to go through several fix and repair cycles with the accompanying stress and disappointment this hit and miss approach so often used by garages causes.

The second car is now (Jan 08) at 87 000 miles. The CVT7 transmission has worked flawlessly in this car and I have been very fussy about the oil used at CVT oil changes making sure that Honda CVT-F transmission oil was bought in and insisted on having the remainder of the carton for "topping up" such was my distrust and fear of mistakes being made.

Irrespective of my careful and regular servicing including ensuring that the service scheduled but extra-cost valve check and adjust operation was carried out at major service times (a £90 extra-cost), and an extra, unscheduled, engine oil and filter change occuring every 6K miles (my choice), I eventually got the dreaded piston-slap. It started all of a sudden at 85K miles, a week after the 3 year 90 K miles Honda warranty ended!

I have planned to change the car in Dec 2011, this would at 150 000 miles. I am wondering whether to invest in a new short block (middle of engine including pistons and crankshaft) and about £500-600 of labour to ensure the car gets to the mileage. I have heard of a few customers of the Honda garage I patronise having 140K miles Jazz cars but I'm not sure of their condition. I don't want to be driving a jallopy but neither do I want to go through the pain of refinancing to buy another car.

Outside of the slap issue, the Jazz is performing well and aging gracefully otherwise I perhaps wouldn't be thinking of the overhaul option. What's everyone's advice.

Cheerio folks,


Edited by dunkv on 18/01/2009 at 13:14

Honda Jazz engine failure. - Altea Ego
>I am wondering whether to invest in a new short block (middle of engine including pistons >and crankshaft) and about £500-600 of labour

and how much is the parts?

either way - its not an investment.
Honda Jazz engine failure. - Bill Payer
an extra unscheduled engine oil and filter change occuring every 6K miles (my choice)

I know some people change their oil even more often than that but on cars doing such a high mileage as yours I'm dubious it's worth it. In fact it may even be a bad idea - In the US some owners do used oil analysis and engines wear faster with new oil and the wear peters out as the oil ages.
I eventually got the dreaded piston-slap. It started all of a sudden at 85K miles
a week after the 3 year 90 K miles Honda warranty ended!

Have you approched Honda? There are stories of them replacing engines and gearboxes way out of warranty. Although they may well judge that the noise is acceptable.
I have heard of a few customers of the Honda garage I patronise
having 140K miles Jazz cars

Wow - I'd no idea there were such high mileage Jazzii around. We've owned a (now 30K mile) 2003 Jazz from new. While it's ideal around town, I'm sure doing 30K+ per year in it would make me suicidal!
Honda Jazz engine failure. - DP
I agree with Bill Payer - give Honda the opportunity to inspect the car and come to a decision. On a FHSH'd car just out of warranty, I would be very surprised if they weren't interested.

Honda Jazz engine failure. - boxsterboy
Piston slap from cold? Just like my old Moggy Minor nearly 30 years ago.

Plus ca change ....
Honda Jazz engine failure. - Chesskt9
I had a short motor replacement 6 months before the warranty expiry with a £4000 bill to Honda UK under the warranty. The problem returned and I have taken the car back to the dealer several times. On each occasion, they claim not to hear the noise--which is obvious from cold. A year out of warranty, I am now badgering Honda UK again to get this fixed as it is still their moral responsibility. The original warranty repair didn't work, and I have told on more than one occasion. All very disappointing. The car's slap noise now carries on longer. Once it goes, though, it sounds like a new engine. Honda need to introduce a KIA style 5 year warranty to restore my confidence!
Honda Jazz engine failure. - mike hannon
2.7 Legend/Rover 827 V6s mostly knocked or tapped for a few minutes from cold and it wasn't reckoned to be the hydraulic tappets. Piston slap was just one explanation. Everyone seemed to know about it, nothing seemed to cure it and it never appeared to cause heavy oil consumption or any other problems, as far as I recall.
Honda Jazz engine failure. - nick
Some Subaru flat 4's suffer piston slap from cold. It seems to cause no problems or affect engine life.
Honda Jazz engine failure. - William Stevenson
I hope to prove you wrong. Trusty Astra sadly just failed to make 150,000, so I had to get Jazz earlier than intended- I had hoped to get a UK one. Therefore I experimented with downsizing and got a 5000 mile 1.2 old shape. This is an A4 engine. Seems fine and I expect to do some long trips despite the reduced power. I can't detect the much reported deficiencies with ride, electric power steering etc. and my experience with Honda bike engines leads me to expect admirable longevity and reliability and they can cope with revs. if I need to use them to compensate for lower power.
Honda Jazz engine failure. - dunkv
Hi guys,

OK. So I've talked to my garage now, I have read many pages discussing slap over many differing manufacturers and models and discussed the issue with a mechanic I trust.

I have run the car for five thousand miles more and listened to the noise grow louder and softer depending on the ambient temperature at start up time. Yes it is an annoying noise. Something that people notice, comment on perhaps. However it lasts a maximum of a three minutes on an -10 deg C start and as short as 30 seconds at +6 deg C. Also by making less demands on initial cabin heating I can shorten this noisy time.

Once this "slappy time" has passed the engine is quiet and just like the iDSi is like from new. So I have decided that I'm going to keep the money that an overhaul would cost and use it to keep me in tyres, brakes pads and oil for the foreseeable future.

I don't have a crystal ball but I aim to ask the Jazz to get me to 150K miles and cost nothing more than routine servicing consumables and wear and tear maintenance items.

If something terrible suddenly happens to the engine to do with the slapping I'll remember to add this to this column.

Irrespective of the slap issue, I believe the Jazz has been a reliable, user friendly, efficient, practical and dare I say fun car. I do think it has been really good value for money. I have had one issue in the car's life (89K miles so far) to do with a faulty alternator bearing which I think was an unlucky manufacturing defect on a single alternator - I've not heard of another Jazz with the same fault. I have not suffered the EGR valve fault in my model, and had no water leaks from seams in the rear of the car.

When I finally get to 150K miles I should have arrived at Dec 2011 and should be putting my order in for a brand new Jazz Hybrid. Hope every one else has as much fun in their Jazz as I'm having in mine, and no, this isn't me being sarcastic :)

Bye for now!

Honda Jazz engine failure. - jazzy
Don't worry about piston slap - it won't cause any problems, its just an annoying noise.

As long as it goes away when engine warms up it isn't serious.

I agree with you that the Jazz is a fun car, so easy to drive and with a lot more room inside than people would guess from the outside dimensions - and really good on fuel if you drive it properly.

Honda Jazz engine failure. - oilrag
" It started all of a sudden at 85K miles,"

*Suddenly* .....something`s happened then... assuming it`s not the oil or filter - I would be thinking of moving it on while I still could.

Edited by oilrag on 22/02/2009 at 14:41

Honda Jazz engine failure. - whoopwhoop
The Jazz is an amazing car in terms of practicality - with load-space to match many 4x4's and mid-size estates. Economy is also very impressive with almost diesel levels of mpg.

Reliability is average / mediocre / hit & miss - pretty much as with all Hondas post mid-1990's. Not bad but not great either.

But I cannot for the life of me imagine doing 150,000 miles in one. I had the (mis)fortune to use one for an occasional 300 mile round trip a few years back and each time it left me with ringing in my ears and in need of a hot soak in the bath to recover from the backache!

The gearing is way too low in top, the engine far too buzzy, the wind-noise too intrusive, the engine lacks the torque needed to maintain a relaxed high speed, the body is too top-heavy and the aerodynamics too slab-sided which means it gets blown about by every lorry you pass.

It's a town car.

A brilliant town car.

But it really is a lousy long distance motor!
Honda Jazz engine failure. - nortones2
Reliability judged by which criteria? Everything I read on them in relation to reliability has them top of the pile! Which seems to be true of all Hondas except the current Civic. For a 1.3 petrol the gearing is fine, the engine makes little noise at 4000 and is well able to manage 70+ without changing gear. I don't drive ours too often, and would never want to drive 300 miles in one go because I find the seats too narrow for my over-developed shoulders:). We don't have to: we have a better alternative. But it makes quite a few 50-70 mile Mway journeys. But which small car is better for long journeys assuming a modest petrol engine?

Edited by nortones2 on 22/02/2009 at 19:24

Honda Jazz engine failure. - whoopwhoop
Everything I read on them in relation to reliability has
them top of the pile!

Does that include the thread in which your post was made, entitled "Honda Jazz engine failure"?! ;-)

Seriously though... I speak from first-hand experience of 15 years+ of Honda ownership.

2 Honda Preludes (mk2 mk3), 3 Honda Civics (mk3 x2, mk4), 1 Honda CR-V (mk2). All of them were very "average" in terms of reliability.

The last Honda I owned - the CR-V - was appalling and was what made me change to Audi and I've not looked back since. It was the CR-V's terrible reliability that put me behind the wheel of a Jazz courtesy car on numerous occasions. The problems were too numerous to list, but included both mechanical and electrical problems, some of them significant enough to leave me stranded at the side of the road on 3 seperate occasions.

Honda UK weren't interested.... until my solicitor got involved, at which point in time they couldn't settle out of court quick enough.
Honda Jazz engine failure. - nortones2
When talking of reliability, anecdotes are not what I had in mind! It seems you have been unfortunate, and suffered poor service, which is regrettable. But individual instances do not make a trend, do they?
Honda Jazz engine failure. - 1400ted
Does anyone remember the original Jazz ? Made around 1986, It was an attractive little car. I went to a couple of them locally on breakdown calls but I seem to remember they were very reliable and any problems I dealt with were driver caused, flat battery, puncture, etc. I wonder if any still roam our highways.
Honda Jazz engine failure. - jazzy
Whoopwhoop - you must have broken dozens of mirrors, walked under untold ladders and run over many black cats to have the problems that you say that you have had with Honda cars.

I have owned hondas for along time now without having to replace anything but tyres, exhausts, brake pads and the odd battery and cambelt - one did 180K and still had original clutch, alternator and had never been into a garage except for MOT and cambelt change - still flew through emmision tests and never used a drop of oil between changes.

One owner I knew in Australia had a Prelude for 14 years and besides normal disposable parts only ever had replaced a water pump when it was about 13 years old.

There must be a reason that Honda can regularly have at around 4 to 5 out of top 10 cars in JD Power, with Audi nowhere in sight (8 or 9 out of 10 normally Japanese, with only one german car getting a mention, normally BMW).
Honda Jazz engine failure. - jazzy
The so called 'jazz EGR problem' only normally happens on cars that do regular short trips with stop-start driving, and the EGR valve will cause this problem on any make of car under similar usage - what the car needs is an occasional long run on motorway or main road and this will normally sort it out.

Piston slap is also a feature of a lot of modern engines as manufacturers seek to cut down the friction between piston and cylinder wall by opening up the skirt clearances.

So called 'supermarket fuel' is the cause of some of the ailments on our car engines. Supermarkets reduce the price by cutting down on the additives that reputable fuel companies mix with our fuel to keep our fuel systems clean. Any car will normally get improved mpg from non-supermarket fuel which helps to offset the higher price, and your injectors and fuel system generally will stay cleaner and more efficient.

Honda Jazz engine failure. - dunkv
Thought I'd give an update on my experiences with piston slap on the iDSi engine of my Jazz 1.4 SE CVT-7.

Last weekend I locked the car for the last time before handing the keys to my Honda dealer. Since getting the car from new in December 2005 I drove 115400 miles. The only issues with the car was a faulty alternator replaced under warranty at 85K miles, replacement of a section of corroded brake pipe at 100K miles, and replacement of the front wishbones at 105K miles.

As described in my first posting I started to hear piston slap around about 80/90K miles. I thought I'd say how things stood at 115K. The slap sound only occured at start on cold days when temperatures were below 3 deg C. The slap noise continued whilst the engine warmed up but had always disappeared by 5 minutes since starting.

After a recent cold period where the car was started at air temperatures of -12 deg C, I can report the slap noise again was present on start-up but disappeared by 10 minutes in.

Note the slapping sound never got any louder than a light ticking sound - and certainly no noiser than a modern diesel at idle. Also the noise disappeared completely within a few minutes and only ever heard when the starting temperatures were less than 3 deg C.

Some background - I have a long commute of 90 miles per day and always ran the car until I heard no slap noise before setting off. I think this approach has helped maintain the engine in its great condition. For instance, I would not recommend driving whilst the slap is occurring. I did notice if I drove whilst the slap was occuring particularly if a hill climb was the first piece of driving the noise became worrying. Based on noise alone it just sounded like the engine was being damaged hence I decided always to wait until the slap noise was not present at idle before driving.

Also from 90K miles I switched to a 0W30 "fuel saver" oil which _seemed_ to have a positive affect on the slap noise. It seemed to occur less frequently and for shorter periods. I'm not sure why ... a layman's guess ... it's a runnier oil than the stock oil so I'm guessing it more quickly spreads the warmth as the engine warms up.

My motivation for changing th car was not related to the engine or CVT transmission - both of these were functioning perfectly - but more to thinking about the value of the car against the likely component failure of suspension and braking. With over 100K miles passed I would have had to consider the need to change suspension change and so forth.

Calculations of parts and labour costs set against my high monthly mileage and moderate running costs meant that changing the car rather than investing in preventative maintenance was most best for me.

My dealer valued my 2005, 115K mile Jazz 1.4SE CVT7 to be £2500 which was a good trade in price and I now have a 2008 12K mile Jazz 1.4SE CVT7. I didn't want to buy secondhand but was forced to since Honda no longer produce a CVT Jazz in their latest model (I'm assuming the 2011 Jazz Hybrid will be a CVT).

Summary: I am now on my third CVT based Jazz and am very happy with the reliability and driveability of the Honda Jazz. Summer MPG (imperial miles and gallons) 60-62MPG. Winter 55-58MPG. I also always use Shell V-Power for the cleaning affect which is has positive carbon reducing effects and worth the small premium.

And if you hear piston slap in your Jazz then first get it confirmed by your garage that it is and not some other issue, then don't worry about it. Just make sure you warm up before setting off. If you can treat your engine to 0W30 oil then put some in!

Honda Jazz engine failure. - L'escargot
Just make sure you warm up before setting off.

The usual recommendation is to drive off as soon as you've started the engine in order to minimise engine wear.
Honda Jazz engine failure. - Bill Payer
>> The usual recommendation is to drive off as soon as you've started the engine in
order to minimise engine wear.

Although he explained why he didn't do that.

(Thanks for the update, Dunkv)

Edited by Bill Payer on 12/01/2010 at 10:06

Honda Jazz engine failure. - WorkshopTech
Piston slap sounds worse that it really is. Mild piston slap is nothing to worry about. The GM 2 litre engines used in the old RWD cavaliers used to do it from the factory, its also common on some alfas and fiats. Some piston designed have small raised pads near the bottom of the piston to help prevent slap.
Honda Jazz engine failure. - Bill Payer
Piston slap sounds worse that it really is.

I'm not sure I would know it if I heard it! I imagined literally a "slap", but dunkv talks about a light ticking sound - I'd probably assume that was valvegear related.
Honda Jazz engine failure. - AlanGowdy
The usual recommendation is to drive off as soon as you've started the engine in
order to minimise engine wear.

I wonder how putting a load on an engine that has barely achieved full lubrication and with moving mechanical parts that have not reached their 'hot' dimensions can minimise engine wear.
Still, the experts must know what they're talking about.

Edited by AlanGowdy on 12/01/2010 at 10:56

Honda Jazz engine failure. - dunkv
An update. My second-hand Jazz CVT did not turn out to be the car I had expected it to be. Goodness knows what had happened to it. After covering 800 miles in it I had compiled quite a list of concerns and I had to activate the Honda Exchange programme to change the car.

Having had burnt my fingers with the used CVT Jazz, I decided to take a big risk and go a brand new Honda Jazz 1.4 iVTEC SE i-SHIFT. I took one for a good test drive and on balance decided I could live with the compromise.

If you'd like to read about my learning experiences with the i-SHIFT you are welcome to read my blog at

Honda Jazz engine failure. - barney100
Honda keep being cited as one of the top cars but they seem prone to all sorts of engine problems. They also seem expensive for compared with similar makes.
Honda Jazz engine failure. - Dutchie

They are excellent cars we have had our jazz for a year now the 2008 model ctv auto.The car has done 18000 miles plus,town driving and long motorway hauls.I use the bp premium petrol regulary and the car is running fine.The magic seats are a one off.We willbe keeping the car for three years.Regarding comfort on long drives Iam over six feet and no back problems or any other problem.I suppose horses for corses.I would have a word with the dealer regarding piston slap never hurt to talk.
Honda Jazz engine failure. - Lygonos
Not sure if I'd categorise piston slap as engine failure, but a new short engine would likely sort it out.

I wonder if affected engines have not been thrashed often enough, as they are Honda engines after all.

Pootling about under 3000rpm all day can't be good for an engine designed to run faultlessly at 6500rpm.
Honda Jazz engine failure. - Dutchie
I agree with Lygonos ,drive the car once in a while on the motorway i have donethis with all the cars i have owned touch wood very few problems .Maybe luck.I used to drive whilst working for BP the adibis test cars bmw mercedes on different oil spec .They used different oil ratings the cheap stuff and the expensive ones.On the high milage mercs it made very little difference to the engine wear after the test so the chief mechanic told me.Driving the cars was a nice perk on my days off.The petrol was free and the family and me drove all over the country.Thats wy high milage cars wouldt worry me if i had to buy one
Honda Jazz engine failure. - SteveLee
Leaving a cold petrol engine idling is the worst thing you can do, it will stay colder longer meaning the engine will be running ?on choke? (cold-start fuel enrichment) longer too, this rich mixture will cause an amount of bore-wash (literally washing the oil from the bores) increasing piston skirt wear which is causing the slap in the first place, also the cold unloaded engine will not ?light up? the catalytic converter reducing its life and increasing emissions. Luckily your 90 mile commute would likely undo the damage to the cat. Camshaft wear is also at it's maximum at idle - with cold oil you not doing it any favours.

If your engine suffers from piston slap, start it up and drive immediately driving gently without lugging or over revving the engine until the noise disappears. Modern engines tend to have a short stroke design with ever shortening piston skits for reduced friction which means this is becoming more common ? in the old days it was plain poor manufacturing tolerances that caused slap.

Value my car