First oil change? When?

Is it advisable to abide by Honda recommendation to not change the oil until 5000 miles even on the first 5000? I changed my so-called break-in oil after 170 Miles and put in 0w20 Mobile 1 synthetic; Is this fine or did I make a mistake?

Honda is one manufacturer that actually puts in special break-in oil for a reason. You knew this and second guessed Honda and put in Mobil 1 at 170 miles. Now you want to know if that was a mistake? Too late. Break-in oil is there for a reason, perhaps to make sure metal parts seat properly. Mobil 1 is a super good lubricant it won’t help anything seat properly. I think you made a mistake, but nothing you can do about it now.

Honda is known to use high levels of molybdenum in their break-in oil. I would not have changed it until close to 5000 miles.

Cue the music: Mwaaah, Mwaaaaaah.

Your bad

Actually I didn’t second guess them I didn’t know about a special break-in oil until I drained it and noticed something different about the oil. I was not told about it, only that the change intervals were every 5000 mi. However, I have read other mechanics say that this special Molybdenum Disulfide additive is not going to make a difference one way or another. But that I just need to follow the special instructions for the first 600 miles of operations and the engine will break-in just fine.

Well, truthfully, I don’t recall any car manufacturers that go into a technical discussion of the oil in the crankcase upon delivery.

Owner’s Manuals explain how to check the dipstick (and how often), and they also list the specification and recommended viscosity for the oil. Maintenance schedules deal with intervals for changing the oil. However, I have never seen any new car print materials that inform you about the chemical composition of the oil in the crankcase, so if you were expecting that, I don’t think that you were being realistic.

While long oil change intervals are not a good thing, IMHO, I agree that you made a mistake by changing your oil after less than 200 miles. But, what is done is done. Try not to lose sleep over this issue, and whatever you do–DO NOT reveal to the dealership that you drained the break-in oil at 170 miles. Otherwise, they are likely to attribute any internal engine problems in the future to that early oil change–whether the oil change actually had anything to do with a problem or not.

Even though Mobil-1 is a very good synthetic oil, just remember that you can’t go any longer than Honda’s specified oil change regimen without voiding the warranty on your engine. So, be sure to read and heed Honda’s maintenance schedule.

Oh, and by the way, unless your oil containers move around on their own, they are not “mobile”.

An engine is generally broken in within 20 miles so I would not worry about it. The extended break-in periods often mentioned is just a bit of insurance against a problem that may be caused by that small percentage of drivers who will beat their new car into the pavement.

I doubt if you did serious damage to your engine, but frankly it would have been better to follow the instructions in the owner's manual.  

[i] after 170 Miles and put in 0w20 Mobile 1 synthetic[/i] 

 Is 0w20 recommended in the owner's manual?  Don't try and second guess Honda's recommended maintenance.  Read the manual.  Look for the key words "severe service" and pay attention.  Don't substitute the recommendations grandpa told you.  His cars were not close to today's cars. 

 There is one exception I make to the owner's manual.  If you have an automatic transmission, I would add a fluid change and filter cleaning every 30 - 40,000 miles.

It remains to be seen if the break-in was adversely affected by the early oil change, but this is another one of those things where the '60s are over. Machining technology, and therefore the engines made with it, is much more tightly controlled than it was 50 years ago. Engines don’t really need the elaborate break-in that they did back then.

The real question I have is what does the owners manual say about the oil change interval?
Does it specifically say not to change the engine oil until xxxx miles?
Some manufacturers actually do have this written in their owners manuals.

I had the same questions when I bought my Nissan Altima back in Dec '06.
So I compromised. I sent an oil sample off to Blackstone Labs to be analyzed, and asked them if they thought I should change my oil early, according to the condition of the engine oil sample.

They inspected the oil, and said that there were only trace amounts of anything in the oil, and I should wait until the first oil change interval that Nissan recommended. That was ~3750 miles.

So when that mileage came, I did an oil change, and sent another oil sample to Blackstone Labs, to get an idea of what it looked like at that point in time. Well, their analysis said that the oil was pretty used up, and needed to be changed.

So, in my case, it appears that Nissan knows what they are talking about.
I would hazard a guess that the people over at Honda are probably just as good, if not better, than Nissan’s people.

In fact, here’s a thread on an Altima Forum with a good portion of all my oil analysis’ that I’ve posted over the years. I actually have a couple more samples that need to be sent off, but you know how life goes.

This will give you everything you ever or never wanted to know about oil changes, and analysis results.


The manual calls for 5w20. 0w20 meets or exceeds all of the specs for 5w20 and so it can be used instead, without violating the manufacturer’s requirements. 0w20 is marginally better than 5w20.

Thanks guys for all those who had something worthwhile to say re. my question.
I’ve read an article by Kit Sullivan who’s been in the auto lubrication and repair business for over 20 years and I also e-mailed him and received a response back. His opinion is that cars that are mass produced still need to be broken in. His recommendation is to change oil at 200,500, and 1000, and thereafter every 1000-1500 miles until you reach 12k. And then at that juncture to use Mobil 1 synthetic oil. His reason is: you will have filings in your oil and you need to get them out if you want your car to have a very long life. I still have yet to examine the oil I drained from my car but I believe I felt metal filings in the oil when I drained it. So the question is not whether the oil itself is breaking down but is that the engine has to wear in a way that no factory could ever accomplish in the short time it is being assembled. Grains of metal I don’t think is a good thing to be in your engine. Sure your engine may still make it to 200,000 but I’m looking for 300,000 or more!

Bringing up some old memories here but I feel comfortable saying we did first oil changes on BMW’s at 1200 miles up until the early 90’s. There is no such thing as the 1200 mile “first service” any more if memory servers me correctly.

I find it extremely amusing that the armchair engineers seem to emerge at the strangest times, especially after what amounts to most people’s second largest investment in their lives- a new car.

The manufacturer is extremely cost conscious. They want to eliminate anything that does not add value for them and minimize their costs wherever possible.

There is strong evidence that Honda does indeed include a special additive in their initial oil fill. Some pople have gone so far as to have this oil analyzed and the summary does show additives not normally found in over the counter oil. In addition, Honda provides specific instructions in the Owner’s Manual not to replace the oil during break-in until the first scheduled oil change.

Whay would they do this if they did not feel it was necessary? It costs them more money to formulate, stock and deploy a special oil formulation. They devoted a section of the Owner’s Manual to it with specific instructions on what NOT to do. And yet, people who have little to no understanding of why it was done seem to know better. You can lead a horse to water…

I’m right there with you. Why would someone try to second-guess the engineers who designed and built the car? Baffling to say the least, especially when it is spelled out for them in the owner’s manual.

Maybe the OP can go to a Honda dealer and buy 5 quarts of the break-in oil and put it back?

That oil is not available at the dealership, to the best of my knowledge.

You don’t think they have an ax to grind? Do you think that they might be only wanting to cover their Warranty and extended Warranties so they put that break-in oil to guarantee just that? Why should they want your car to go 300k or more - of what benefit does it get them? You don’t think that they are not at all thinking of the bottom line? Then why does Porsche and Corvette to name a few use Mobil 1 as their break-in oil. Maybe Honda should contact Porsche to show them how it should be done i.e. Honda’s special break-in-oil way.

No, if Honda had some special superior way of protecting your engine better than anyone else, I wager that most of your top name car companies would probably be doing the same.

Why should they want your car to go 300k or more - of what benefit does it get them?

The benefit that they get is repeat business and a reputation that gets them even more business. A car brand that routinely lasts for 300K miles will sell more cars than one that is known to only last for 100K miles.

So, your complaining that Honda is trying to insure that their engines make it through the warranty period with no problems? Then at the same time this oil will then proceed to shorten the life of the engine so you will buy more Hondas?

You asked the forums opinion and they told you that you probably didn’t really cause damage, but you still should have followed the owners manual which tell you not to change the oil before the first scheduled oil change.

Sorry, but the Honda engineers know more about their engines than you do or Kit Sullivan for that matter.