2001 Honda Civic Maintenance

In the last year I have been in a position of having to be responsible for my own car maintenance for the first time in my life. Somewhat traumatic for a middle age female. I have taken my Honda to a dealer for service since I purchased it & each time I get between $200 & $300 additional “things needing done” added on to my oil changes. Today they said I should have my brake fluid & transmission fluid flushed. I have approx. 80,000 miles on this car with no problemns I’m aware of. The brakes were replaced last year. The service man said the flushing was routine maintenance every 3 years. Is this advisable or necessary? Thanks

Your owner’s manual maintenance schedule lists everything that needs to be done and when it needs to be done. If it isn’t there, it isn’t needed. If it is there, a reputable independent shop can do it and will likely save you some money.

Get used to using your owner’s manual as your guide for most things. It’s written by the real experts in your particular car.


Dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics for almost anything you might need done on your car.  They will almost always charge more per hour and often more for parts and supplies.  They also tend to look at repairs a little different than the independent. 

A dealer may well recommend work that strictly may not be needed, but could be connected to the problem or maybe replace a part when a little repair would fix it ALMOST as good a new.  

There is no need to bring your car to the dealer for any service other than service that is going to be paid for by a recall or original warrantee.  During the warranty period be sure to have all required (as listed in the owner's manual) maintenance done and to document all maintenance work.

I suggest that most people would be better off finding a good independent (Not working for a chain) mechanic. 

Note: Never ever use a quick oil change place. They are fast cheap and very very bad.

As other posters have said, you can likely find a reputable independent shop to provide maintenance for your car. Generally, mechanics who work at dealerships are no more or less competent than anywhere else. Dealers have a habit of “suggesting” maintenance not found in your manual. A brake flush, for example, is required maintenance at intervals described by the manufacturer, but transmission “flushes” are not normally listed as required maintenance. What is advised is a transmission service (at maybe 30K) - this usually involves a visual check of the trans fluid, drain, refill & replace filter. That’s it. Honestly, the quickie lube places are known for suggesting transmission flushes…and I’d be leery of a dealer who did so.

You might think, gee - if I go ahead with the flush - how could it hurt. According to many of the knowledgeable mechanics who post here, a flush can stir up debris that can easily result in more transmission headaches. Also, start keeping your service records on the vehicle - and compare to the manufacturer maintenance schedule. Since it’s a Honda, you probably won’t have a lot of repairs to worry about.

If you don’t have the owners manual there is a site within Honda called Owners Link if I recall(still get emails…) that has oodles of information including the service schedule. Very useful site.