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Only Honda fluids for a Honda?

I posted another question on here about my 04 civic and several responses mentioned to only use honda brand fluids in a honda (mine is due for its 90k maintenance) however the mechanic I have found (the highest rating on of any I've seen and also cheaper by more than half) said that he uses castrol brand fluids and has never had a problem with that. Any thoughts?


  • edited February 2011
    You should use Honda automatic transmission fluid. Even Jiffy Lube uses Honda AFT-Z1 for Hondas. You can use another brand of brake fluid, but you have to be careful. A DOT3, synthetic, non-silicone fluid with the highest boiling point you can find will do the trick. I use Valvoline fluid, but there may be others. The safest thing to do is use Honda fluids. Which fluids did you have in mind?
  • edited February 2011
    The Honda ATF is the only fluid that should be the Honda brand. Now Castrol has an ATF they claim meets Honda, Toyota and several other makers specs, but it costs almost as much as the Honda Z1 ATF.
  • edited February 2011
    I have a manual transmission, so automatic transmission fluid isn't a concern. I didn't have any fluids in mind, but the shop I'm taking it to (which came highly recommended and services a lot of civics) doesn't use honda fluids and I didn't know if I should be concerned.
  • edited February 2011
    As for coolant, make sure it's compatible and meets Honda's specs. Also power steering fluid, I think.
  • edited February 2011
    I use generic oil, coolant, and brake fluid in my Honda, but it's older than yours.

    I recommend, and use, only Honda transmission oil, regardless of transmission type. I'm sure there are other brands that will work in a manual, but I wouldn't risk it with an automatic.
  • edited February 2011
    You should use only Honda brand manual transmission fluid. Same with coolant, stick with Honda brand. I use Honda power steering fluid too. Oil I use any brand. Brake fluid I use a good brand name (not necessarily Honda) the meets the specs given by Honda.

    I buy the fluids from a Honda dealer and provide them to my mechanic. When he deletes the cost of fluids from the bill, it comes out the same total cost.

    The manual trans fluid and coolant are the most critical in my opinion.
  • edited February 2011
    Remember my other post when I said to leave a shop that says they use "universal" fluids in Hondas? This is the shop. LEAVE. The mechanic does not know what he is talking about.

    Castrol is the cheapest name-brand oil sold at my local Wal-Mart. This is why the guy recommends it. Heck, I recommend it and use it in my Toyota. Never in a Honda.

    BTW, Honda says in their book you can use another type of MANUAL transmission fluid as a temporary emergency replacement, but to drain and fill it with Honda fluid ASAP. Do not do this with an automatic.

    What makes me Mr. Expert? My wife has this exact same car (2004 Civic) which runs and drives like new after 130k miles because I follow the "severe service" schedule in the owner's manual.
  • edited February 2011

    First off...All of Honda Fluids are made by one of the oil companies...They are a very specific blend to meet Honda's engineering specs.

    There are ATF fluids that meet Honda's specs besides Honda...however they are as expensive or more expensive.

    Engine Oil...There is no Honda Specific engine oil. Just use the right API type that's stated in the manual.

    Power Steering fluid. Again there are other companies that make a Honda fluid...HOWEVER...I found that the Honda fluid from the dealer was the cheapest. It was half the price of the STP Honda fluid I could buy at Pep-Boys.

    Manual Transmission fluid is just gear oil. Everyone makes one that will meet the Honda specs. But I think it's GL-4 and NOT GL-5. If GL-4 is specified do NOT use will eat away at any brass in the transmission.

    Coolant - There is no specific Honda coolant. Just get the right type specified in the owners manual.
  • edited February 2011
    I use Honda power steering fluid, and if I had an automatic transmission in my Civic, I would use Honda ATF, but since I have a manual transmission, I use synthetic 10W-30 oil in my transmission, any brand name brake fluid in my clutch and brake systems, and any brand name coolant of the correct type in the cooling system.

    For some things, like automatic transmissions and power steering, you should stick with Honda fluids. For everything else, just make sure you use the right type, regardless of the brand.
  • edited February 2011
    Honda manual transmission fluid for my Civic is just 10W-30 motor oil with a few additives to keep it breaking down over time. I just use synthetic 10W-30 oil instead. It's slightly less expensive.
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