2002 Honda Civic Maintenance Question



Hi, I was wondering if anyone had any advice on what kind of maintenace might need at this point in its life. It has an automatic transmission and has approximately 145,000 miles on it. I previously posted about my catalytic converter and a mysterious noise, and since I’m taking it to the dealer tomorrow, I thought I might as well address other concerns while I’m there. From the repair records my dad gave me, it looks like the following has happened so far:

-Regular oil changes and a few state inspections (DE doesn’t even want to look at your car for the first 5 years of its life, but it has had a few PA state inspections.

-Mysterious service done at around 60,000 miles. Parts were $81.51 and labor was $250.80. Looks like it might have been the 60,000 service, but part of the invoice is missing. It was done at a Honda dealer in NJ.

-88,593 miles: Front brakes were completely replaced.

-104,269 miles: Air filter replaced, throttle body cleaning to remove deposits of some sort, and the timing belt and H2O pump were changed.

-142,505 (Car under my care at this point): Replace serpentine belt, A/C belt, upper and lower rad hoses, and coolant system exchange (insludes pressure test, and coolant flush)

That’s what has been done so far. I consulted my owner’s manual, and it looks like some things may have never been done (unless they were done in the 60,000 mile maintenance).

1. Transmission fluid replacement

2. Replace spark plugs (How could they never have gone bad?)

3. Check valve clearance

4. Replace engine coolant (Same as what I just did above? Or no?)

Should these things be addressed immediately, and is there anything I am missing? I’d really like to extend the life of my car and treat it well. It looks pretty prisine on the outside, but I don’t want it to be suffering on the inside. Thanks in advance!


Excuse my grammar/spelling… sleep deprived = (

Note: Throttle body cleaning was because the gas pedal was sticking. I didn’t connect the two until I saw a post about a sticky gas pedal and the solution.


You did 4. You should do the other three, or talk with your dad and find out if he had any of these done, or did them himself. You need to establish a baseline for these.


Glad I did at least one of them, haha. Since the 60,000 mystery maintenance was done in 2004, I doubt my father will remember what he had done, but I suppose I could always call the dealer and ask them if they have a copy of Page 1 of the invoice. Otherwise, I’ll just have the stuff done, for peace of mind. Had I known I was going to inherit this little bundle of joy, I would have kept better track of what he was doing to it.


I would assume that the transmission fluid and was changed at 60,000 miles, although you should do it again regardless. The valve clearance is checked when the timing belt is replaced, which should be done every 60,000 miles. Yes, the cooling system flush that was done at 142,000 miles included new coolant, so that isn’t necessary. As long as you are getting the timing belt changed, also get a new water pump and new timing belt tensioner. I get these all changed once for every two timing belts. When you get the new timing belt, timing belt tensioner, and water pump, don’t be suprised if you also need a new crank shaft oil seal. Chances are it leaks. Your spark plugs are probably long-life plugs, which means they only need replaced every 100,000 miles or so. If yours are the originals, they should be replaced. The same goes for the spark plug wires.


Update: Had transmission fluid changed, 4 new spark plugs (they were most likely originals), and they said it was optional to check the valve clearance. Asked me if I ever hear tapping when I first start the car, and my answer was a definitive “no”. I will hold off on that until a bit later, since the engine must be cool in order to inspect it. On Wed, I will be getting a new brace for the catalytic converter and a cover/shield for it, as well as an air filter change.

Any thoughts on whether I should request a fuel filter at some point?

Eh, timing belt at 60k miles? My owner’s manual states it should be changed with the water pump at 100k and then every 60k after that, I think. Also, are spark plug wires not replaced along with the spark plugs? If not, why is my beloved Honda service manager not suggesting things like this and other random expensive things to do for my baby to keep it alive and his wallet full? Am trying to avoid ever hearing the words “You need a new engine” or “You need a new transmission”.

The Honda dealer put a sticker on my car at 145,000, telling me that my next oil change should be at 150,000. That’s a joke, right? Do they want my car to die an early death? I get an oil change every 3,000 miles or 3 months, whichever comes first. Next time, I will have them write the sticker for 3,000 miles. Also, I was thinking of asking to have the cabin air filter changed… not sure if it performs any actual function, because my allergies are terrible, and I don’t know how common it is to change it. I think I read somewhere that you have to remove the glove compartment to reach it.

Should my air bags ever be serviced or checked? I question their usefulness, but they are there, and I wouldn’t ever want them deploying in a situation other than a serious car accident, which I hope I will never be in again (no, it was not in my car, thank god). I don’t recall seeing a separate book for the air bags, and don’t remember seeing anything in the maintenance schedule for them.


JMHO, but the fluid in an automatic transmission should be changed every 40-40k miles at the longest, no matter what an owners manual states. Trying to make their cars appear to be near maintenance free is the reason for this.

Spark plugs should be changed every 60k miles at the longest; also for the same reasons as above.

Valve clearance should be inspected every 30k miles on mechanical lifter engines. I realize that some car makers like Honda or Toyota state check this every 100k miles or more, but this is also utter stupdity IMHO. If the valve lash tightens up, the car starts running badly, and you then discover the lash is too tight; then it’s too late since cylinder head valves will be burned and now you need major mechanical work.
Most likely the lash will be fine but the INSPECTION, and adjustments as necessary, are needed to verify it is correct.

I really get irritated over Toyota’s recommendation on this issue; “listen” to the valve lash and “determine” if it’s fine!
No way, no how on any planet can this be done. It’s not the noisy ones you have to worry about as much as the quiet ones.

JMHO anyway for what it’s worth.


Yes, and when you walk into the dealer and demand these things be checked, they look at you like you have two heads. I guess they’re not used to people who try to prevent things from happening to their cars. Maybe Honda and Toyota should make a maintenance schedule for people who want their cars to last more than 100k miles.