Can you trust the "maintenance minder"?



I just bought a 2007 Accord and was looking through the manual for the service schedule. I was surprised to find there was none, but that I am supposed to follow what they call the “maintenance minder” to tell me when to change oil, etc. The manual also says not to change the oil for the first time before the maintenance minder says so. The dealer says to change the oil at 3,750 miles. Who is right? Can I trust the “maintenance minder” to tell me when to get maintenance?


I find it hard to believe that Honda would fail to publish a service schedule. It must be available somewhere on request. Contact the regional office, customer service.

Yes, you can “trust” the maintenance minder but only so far. If you bring it into the dealership when advised, you have no idea what will be done to your car. You may not get out for less than $500 each visit.

The maintenance minder is intended for naive owners who have no idea a car ever needs to be serviced. It is a useful gadget for such people. You seem to have a better idea about regular maintenance. Good. Get the service schedule and follow through as you have always done.


Honda generally uses a special break-in oil that’s higher in molybdenum. They don’t want to you change it out early.


Who designed the car, Honda or the dealer? Rephrased, who can design cars, Honda or the dealer? Rephrased again, who knows more about engines, Honda or the dealer?

Honda is interested in your long term satisfaction with the car. The dealer is more interested in keeping his shop people busy and selling cars.


The Honda engineers wrote the manual. The dealer has a financial incentive to get you to change oil sooner. Who do you trust more, the Honda engineers or the dealer?

I’ll take the Honda engineers any day. That’s why I own a Honda, and probably why you bought one.

I’d say go with the maintenance minder. It’s keeping track of more than just mileage (time, ambient temperature, engine temperature, number of cold starts, engine revs, and many more parameters that effect oil mileage), and is a better indicator of when the oil should be changed.

You can, of course, change the oil every 5K miles, or every 7.5K miles, if you choose. But don’t change it the FIRST time until the minder tells you to. Again, the Honda engineers know what they are doing.


I do not know why we invoke the engineers. They do not have the final say in any of this business. The decision to use a maintenance minder may well be the brainchild of the marketing division, possibly over the heated objections of the engineers.

All manuals were written not by the engineers but by tech writers based on input from the engineers. Once again the marketing staff and public relation guys have the last word.

I know. The tech writers produced their work from my lab reports and never once consulted me, the guy who did the actual work. I never knew what the final outcome was until I read their publications.


Your company’s procedures may not be the last word about how to do it right. As much as I wish well for US car companies, Honda is not stupid.


You may want to take another look at the documents you received with the car. My wife bought a new '97 Honda Accord earlier this year and I believe I saw a maintenance schedule. I don’t think it was in the Owner’s manual though, but in a seperate book where it allowed you to record when/where the service was performed.


My Odyssey does not have a mileage indicated. The manual just informs you what the different codes (1,2,3,a,b,c) are telling you to do. It does add that you should replace the filters at certain mileage if you live in dusty conditions. Everything else is based on the maintainance minder. The dealership, however, gives out one with mileage based intervals.



I just bought a new Mini Cooper that has the same Service Indicator. The people in my forums recommended checking the oil during that initial break in period and to change it when it gets dirty. The “every 3000-5000 mile oil change” just does not apply to a lot of newer vehicles. Many new cars use a high quality synthetic oil, and changing oil more than you have to just makes money for oil companies. But if it eases your peace of mind, go ahead!


You can trust the maintenance minder.

All cars are not treated equally, some are harder on their cars than others and need the oil changed more frequently. The maintenance minder tracks key things that cause the oil to break down and determines when it should be changed.

BTW, this is usually for the oil changes only, there should still be a maintenance schedule for the other things needed, like plugs, filters, coolant and belts, etc.