Honda Civic Maintenance - Am I Too Old School?

I bought my daughter a new 2006 Honda Civic that now has about 15,900 miles on it. The only maintenance that has been performed is 2 oil changes and tire rotation. Do I rely on the maintenance-minder lights to appear for ALL service? What about changing the coolant? Transmission fluid? Thanks

Use the owner’s manual. It has the required maintenance schedules. You should also check the oil and tires at every other fillup just to be sure.

There is no maintenance schedule in the manual that I can see. The dealer says “let the car tell you when it needs service”.

The owner’s manual for my 2006 Honda certainly has maintenance schedules in it. It’s based on the maintenance minder light and codes, but it also mentions changing coolant and some other items based on time. But, in general why not follow the car’s on board maintenance minder?

I will follow the on board maintenance minder. I will check again for the maintenance schedules - I guess I just overlooked them. Thanks!

If you want to double check the #s, there’s an Edmunds site that tells you your maintenance requirements:

Just had that conversation with the Acura dealer this afternoon. I’m at 4500 and going nuts that the maintenance minder still shows 50%. I’m having the oil changed regardless. It would probably go up to 10,000 miles before signaling an oil change based on the computer and frequency of start ups, time etc. I just don’t feel comfortable going more than 5000 for the $30 cost. Honda is maddening though that they won’t give you mileage figures anymore, just rely on the computer.

Yes, we are old school. We can change, but we will never be really comfortable with two oil changes ion three year old car. Who can trust electronic indicators when we used to change oil at least three times in 12,000 miles?

If you want to change more then the manufacturer recommends, I do not think you should apologize. Those mileages are based on research and numbers they don’t give to you.

Back in the 50’s or 60’s, Tom McCahill reported a taxi company which ran different taxis on different maintenance schedules. Some got oil changed every 1,000 miles and some no changes at all. It became apparent the more often the oil was changed, the longer the motor lasted.

It is rather obvious the car companies know about the curve, which is totally different on modern oils on modern cars, and base their recommendations on the curve, at a point they like. But, we don’t know the curve data. So, if you feel more comfortable changing more often, it’s your car and it’s your money, after the warranty is up. It’s not like an oil change costs a fortune, if they tighten the plug and add the oil before you drive away. If you don’t change your own oil, be sure to check the plug and the oil before you start the car.

By the way, last year the Spanish version of FURROW, the John Deere magazine told of a 15 year old tractor in Saltillo, Mexico, on a potato farm. By memory I think it said that tractor had 15,000 hours on it, and the only repairs were to the clutch. if we assume the equivalent of 50 car miles per tractor hour, that sucker has the use of a car with 750,000 miles on it. He changes the oil every ten hours, which in some cases is daily at peak seasons. He also waxes the paint. It runs perfectly and he expects his kids to drive it long after he is gone.

That might seem like over-maintenance, but a tractor is awfully expensive anywhere, and in Mexico which has less capital, they cost a lot more. He gave some figures how much he saved for each dollar (peso) of maintenance, and the ratio was really high.

Well you are not going to do any damage doing it early, other than costing you are few $$ ?? ??. But oil technology and engine technology has changed a lot over the years. I can remember thinking 3,000 mile changes were long back in the 1960’s.

BTW there has been some evidence that changing oil too soon can actually reduce protection as oil with a few thousand miles on it actually is providing better lubrication in some test than new oil.

McCahill may have been right in the 50s-60s, but Consumer Reports did the same test in 1996, and found no increase in wear in 60,000 miles when comparing vehicles (a NYC taxi fleet) that went 3000 miles between oil changes to those that went 6000 mile.

I have a 07’ Accord. Like you i’m from the old school. I follow the manual both for mileage,and
for time. I’m a low mileage driver so i adhere to the TIME schedule more so.

Texases, do you remember if that test was using dino or synthetic oils?

Yeah, me too. I still change engine oil and filter at 3k miles, still using dino oil.

My independent tech doesn’t say different. Heh heh. I don’t mind, as long as the new oil IS available.

Where’s our regular poster Old School? What say you?

Consumer Reports tests were done with a variety of regular dino oils, but they had one sample with synthetice oil. They found no differences in the results. The main reasons were (not pubicized by CR) that taxi service is relatively easy service since there are almost no cold starts and New York City is neither very hot or very cold. The synthetic advantages would be lost in NYC!

A previous report years earlier identified many oils that would not stay in the right viscosity range; Texaco was one of the worst offenders! That was before the API/ASTM standards were tightened up. Almost all regular oils now are about the same quality.

Also, because of the fast accumalation of miles in taxi service, and few cold starts, 6000 miles was the mileage most taxi firms use in actual service, if not more. CR assumed that taxi service was tough service, just because most owners manuals say it is.

In other words, the CR test was very naive; and did not address the really tough service the average owner puts on a car with short trip stop & go driving, combined with inadequate maintenance.

Keep doing it! For maximum engine life, which is NOT the manufactturer’s priority, I would use 3000 miles and 6000 miles for cross country-only driving! Synthetic oil is cost-effective in EXTREME conditions; very hot, very cold, or heavy towing, and on turbocharged cars.

Thanks for the info Docnick.

I remember all these criticisms of the the test at the time, too. If anyone can document the benefits of 3000 vs. 6000 oil changes, fine. Of course it won’t hurt, just seems a waste of money to me. While I know manufacturers like to reduce maintenance requirements, I simply don’t believe that BMW, for example, is putting all their engines at risk by allowing 12-15k between changes. Likewise for GM, whose indicators usually pop on at about 7,500 miles. Like I said, I’m open to data and documentation.

BMW is not putting their engines at risk with the 12,000 miles oil change; they are just shortening the potential engine life that can be achieved!

The European union drives the long oil change iterval for environmental reasons! They want to reduce the amount of oil to be recycled! So VW, BMW and others are going to longer drain intervals.

Likewise, the position of the car manufacturer is to get the engine past the warranty period with few, if any, failures they have to pay for. As well, the first owner, who will keep the car about 4-5 years should have no serious problems either. The first owner should also have very low maintenance costs, that really sells cars!

In other words, most car manufacturers cater to their warranty managers, the government requirements and the needs of the first owner. A notable exception are those Japanese manufacturers who have traditionally prescribed the right maintenance for long life. The side-effect has been long life and good resale value of their cars.

So, knowledgeable mechanics and reliability engineers do additional maintenance, such as more frequent oil changes, cooling system service every 50,000 miles, transmission fluid & filter changes, etc. over and above what the manufacturer recommends in the owner’s manual. If you do these things to a basically good car such as a Toyota or Honda, it will live a very long life. The first owner of a BMW finds all these things very boring, and usually ignores even basic maintenance requirements!

because they used bad oil back in the day.

best for the time,but no longer is an issue.

technology is wonderful,just learn to accept it.

and all will be fine,IM sure someday I’LL be saying the same thing,but for now I love it.

time and technology march on.

you know as well as anyone the manf.would never risk a waranty claim,if they too have not made sure the system works.