Honda 2008 Civic transmission fluid question

civic
honda

#1

I am about at my wit’s end with this, and am hoping someone here can help me. A few weeks ago, my Honda’s (Civic 2008) maintenance minder lit up telling me I need to change transmission fluid. Last week I went to Pep Boys, and did like the manual said, told them to use genuine Honda transmission fluid. they said they did. I get home, look at the receipt, and lo and behold, stupid me, it listed 12 quarts of Castrol Dex/Merc (whatever that is?!?) so I call them back and ask about that. They said they flushed it out, (they said they had to do it 3 times?!?) They said Dex/Merc works with my Honda and it will be fine. I wanted to doublecheck, so I made a few more calls to other mechanics and car garages at random asking for people’s opinion. I actually got a good mix: someone say it’s fine, another said get the fluid replaced with genuine Honda right now, another says it’ll be fine for now, but next time you change fluids do the genuine Honda…etc…I can’t get a unanimous answer.
I decide to drive out to a Honda dealer next day, told them the story, and they said not to worry. They changed it using genuine Honda transmission fluid, but this time my receipt only had 3 quarts of Honda ATF listed. Is there a reason they used 3 quarts and Pep Boys used 12 quarts?? Does this mean the Honda dealer didn’t “flush” out everything? The Honda guy said they can’t really get all the old fluid out anyway but that was normal. So now I’m worried I have a mix of genuine Honda fluid with Dex/Merc fluid.
Should I be worried about this??


#2

@dbhalberg
"I decide to drive out to a Honda dealer next day, told them the story, and they said not to worry. They changed it using genuine Honda transmission fluid, but this time my receipt only had 3 quarts of Honda ATF listed. Is there a reason they used 3 quarts and Pep Boys used 12 quarts??" Does this mean the Honda dealer didn’t ‘flush’ out everything? "The Honda guy said they can’t really get all the old fluid out anyway but that was normal. "

Time out!
You shouldn’t ask us that. We don’t have your answers. Call the dealer or go there and have a discussion. Let us know what they say. With additional information you could receive meaningful help.
CSA


#3

"I went to Pep Boys"
Hope you don’t do that again!
Just say no to franchise auto shops.

Using 3qts means they did a drain-and-fill, not a flush.
Did the Honda service cost less than “The Boys”?
A couple more drain-and-fills spaced a week apart would mostly clear it out.
That could get pricey unless you DIY. It’s a pretty easy job since Hondas have drain plugs.
Going forward I would look for an independent shop that will do a fluid exchange without lying to you about what they will put in.


#4

Thank you for your advice! I don’t mind the expense, believe me I’ve wasted way more money in my life! Yes, the Honda service cost about $30 less. So what you are recommending, is that I go get the same 3 quarts of genuine Honda fluid, bring it to a shop and have them drain and fill every week until it’s mostly the Honda fluid, and the Dex/Merc stuff is out, correct? So basically, drain and fill, then drive for a week, then repeat it a few times? Would you say about 3 times is ok?


#5

Hearing stories of how Pepboys operate…they probably only did a drain and fill with 3 quarts but charged you for 12.


#6

These Cars Hold Up To 12 quarts in the system (or is that a flush amount?), but will only allow 3 quarts to drain out at the plug?

My GM transmissions (and cooling system) hold 10 quarts total, but will drain 7.4 quarts of the 10 at the pan.

If Pep Boys got 12 in then they must have flushed it, eh? Why did the dealer not re-flush?
CSA


#7

Alright, time get off Pep Boys. If I promise to never use them ever again, can we move on? What’s done is done. I’m asking you car folks what to do now.
I don’t know why the Honda guys didn’t re-flush it. They said they didn’t need to flush out the entire thing again, even when I told them it has Dex/Merc stuff in it at that moment. I even showed him the Pep Boys receipt with 12 quarts. The Honda receipt has 3 quarts, and the Honda guys said it would be fine, that they couldn’t get all of it out anyway! And it’s been a week and a half and so far no problems, at least none that I can notice. (But I wouldn’t know what to look for.)
I don’t know a lot about cars. I usually just lurk around on forums whenever I have issues, but it seems like everyone has their own opinions on what to do. I never thought it would be like that - I thought most cars work the same. Like if someone put non-genuine fluid in a car and then it got screwed up, it would happen that way for all the cars of that particular make and year! But I guess not. Learn something new everyday, I suppose.


#8

The Honda dealer is probably not going to connect your transmission to their fluid exchange machine and contaminate it. You can do three to four normal drain and fills and this would be about the same as a fluid exchange done right. Done right means they drain and fill, then hook up the fluid exchange machine.

A drain and fill should not cost any more than a normal oil change. You unscrew and pull the drain plug, put it back in and refill, unless you have one of those newer transmission that fills through the drain, then you need an additional pump to get the ATF in. You should be able to find an independent mechanic to do this for you, you just buy the ATF at the Honda dealer and take it to the mechanic.

Find a good independent mechanic and have them do all your maintenance, including oil changes. In the long run it will be cheaper.

BTW, the last Honda I had (97 Accord) used 2.5 qts of ATF for a drain and fill. Total capacity was 6 qts.


#9

From the 2007 factory shop manual:

Using a non-Honda ATF can affect shift quality.

No change in shifting? Then no emergency.

Fluid Capacity: 2.5 US qt at change 6.2 US qt at overhaul

Sounds like the old fluid was pretty dark from the “3 times” comment, so good to get it out.

Two more “drains and fill” and you’ll be in good shape.

Drain and fill every 30K miles from now on.


#10

Castrol recommends their TransMax import multi vehicle ATF for a 2008 Civic:

On the Castrol site the Dexron/Mercon shows that it was designed for use in older Ford and GM vehicles.

Of course this is what Castrol recommends now, I have no idea what they may have had out in 2008 and time marches on.

The fun part is that if you get off the import vehicle specific choice on the page linked above and look at the high mileage or synthetic option then they are a single option for what appears to be all cars and not just the imports.


#11

For three quarts all they did was pull the plug and drain the pan. So you now have 3 quarts of Honda and 9 quarts of Pep Boys fluid in it. You have to do a complete flush to get the Pep Boys stuff out. Honda is pretty specific to only use their fluid and it isn’t any more expensive than other fluids. Now what? I dunno. Maybe buy 12 quarts of Honda fluid for $100 and back to Pep Boys to have them flush it with the proper fluid for free. Next time just go to Honda.


#12

There can’t be 9 quarts of Mercon in the transmission, the capacity is 6.2 quarts.


#13

They used most of the 12 quarts to flush the lines and cooler, and replaced the correct Honda atf with the generic Dex/merc atf

What’s most disappointing is that OP specifically asked for genuine Honda atf to be used, and Pep Boys did not do what he asked them to do

They should have said “We don’t have genuine Honda atf in stock. But we’re planning to use brand x dex/merc instead. Is that okay?”

At which point OP would have said “No. You’re clearly not set up to service my transmission. I’ll take my business elsewhere”


#14

Personally I don’t think there is a problem with using the Castrol. I guess the Honda dealer felt the same if they only replaced 1/3 to a 1/4 of the fluid with the super special magic Honda fluid.

But the customer did specify to use the Honda brand fluid, so I think Pep Boys should have sent someone to the dealer for the correct fluid.

I also don’t see how doing an exchange would contaminate their exchange machine. It not like they are filtering your old fluid though a used coffee filter and then selling it to the next customer. But then again…maybe they do!!!

Yosemite


#15

I’ve no experience w/Honda automatic transmissions myself, only Ford C4, but folks who do have Honda auto trans experience seem to think it is best to use the Honda oem transmission fluid. I think what I’d do in your situation is consistent with most of the advice above, slowly flush out what’s in it now and replace with fresh Honda fluid doing several a drain and refills. Drive a 100 or 200 miles in between. If the trans pan hasn’t yet been dropped and thoroughly cleaned out, the old fluid sieved, inspecting for unusual metal debris, and the filter replaced, now would be a good time to do that too, if your transmission is configured such.


#16

I don’t know what the complication is?

If PEP BOYS used the wrong fluid in the flush machine, you take it to shop will that will use the correct fluid in the flush machine.

And the tranny fluid can be replaced in fifteen minutes.

Not rocket science.

Tester


#17

I do need to clarify my comment on the Honda specific fluid vs Castrol fluid etc.

I have heard many here advocate only Honda fluids for Honda’s and maybe they are on to something.

I once used a “Auto parts store brand” fluid in the rear end of my Dakota but needed to add a tube of modifier and this was supposed to be equal to the Dodge Dextron IV that was called for in the manual.

For the next few months I could hear a faint rubbing sound from the rear end. It sounded much like a brake pad as it hits the high spot on a warped rotor…a swish…swish , sound as the driveshaft turned. I only heard it when slowly moving forward or backward and turning hard either way.
I almost always back into parking spaces for a better line of sight when I leave, so I heard this sound a lot.

I finally bought a higher quality Dextron IV and replaced the fluid. I have never heard the sound again.
It just so happens that it was Castrol Dextron IV.

I then bought a case of Castrol Dextron IV and pumped as much of the store brand out of my tranny and replaced it. If it wasn’t right for my rear end it wasn’t right for the tranny I figured.

I’m not trying to sell Castrol as the best fluid…it could have been Quaker state or Mobil or any other brand.
My point is that if you get the cheap stuff, it may be missing something. Having to add a modifier seems to be fixing what they left out…and on my dime.
I would rather pay the little extra for a better brand of fluid/oil and get it right the first time.
Because of this I stick with the brand names and stay away from the re branded stuff that the store sells.
Yet on the other hand I cannot see paying twice the price for the fluid at the dealer. The dealer wanted just over $10 a quart for the Dodge Dextron IV and buying a case of Castrol it was about $5 a quart. The store brand stuff was about $4 a quart.

Yosemite


#18

Let me state that I believe your vehicle is fine. Don’t do anything. Your tranny shifts fine, Honda feels you are fine, don’t overthink this. Just wait for next maint interval and change it again. Fluids are mostly Honda currently anyways. just drive on.


#19

I once used a “Auto parts store brand” fluid in the rear end of my Dakota but needed to add a tube of modifier and this was supposed to be equal to the Dodge Dextron IV that was called for in the manual.
I then bought a case of Castrol Dextron IV and pumped as much of the store brand out of my tranny and replaced it. If it wasn’t right for my rear end it wasn’t right for the tranny I figured.

No Dodge truck that I am aware of uses ATF in the rear differential, you should have used 75W90 gear oil.

As for the transmissions; only the Jeep AW4 transmission uses Dextron ATF, the Dakota uses a specific gear oil in the NV3500 and Mopar ATF+4 in the automatic.


#20

I think Honda is very specific in their owners manual. Same thing for some, but not all of the other fluids. I did use the generic in my son’s Acura before I knew any better and didn’t seem to have a problem but then it didn’t get that many miles on it before it was wrecked, and I’d never do that today.