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Honda Maintenance Schedule vs. Dealership Schedule

My Honda Ridgelines onboard computer moniters the life expectancy of the motor oil in percentage. According to it I would change my oil about every 7000 miles. But my Honda dealer insist that 3500 miles is when the oil has to be changed. Who should I believe???

It depends on whether you are leasing or buying the vehicle…If it were mine, I would change it every 3500-4000 miles…If you want to learn about engine sludge, then 7000 miles should work fine…

If it were me, the amount of time passed would be as important as the mileage. For example, I change the oil on my truck every six months and I only put about 2000 miles on it during that time.

So, if you go 7000 miles in less than six months, change it at 7000 miles. If you go less than 7000 miles in six months, change it at six months.

Dealers often push unneeded services, or too-rapid service intervals. I quit using mine when they pushed 15k transmission flushes. And 3500 mile changes are usually not needed. It depends on your driving habits. I’d be comfortable at 7000 or 6-8 months, whichever comes first.

What does your owner’s manual say? I usually go 5,000 - 6,000 in my Odyssey.

The Honda dealer is far more correct than any factory recommendation, oil minder widget, etc.

Many people who rely on those oil minders end up with a prematurely worn out and/or sludged up engine.

I am also of the old school when it comes to oil changes. As one of the other members of this forum says, “oil is relatively cheap, and engines are very expensive”. We have heard too many reports in this forum of sludged-up engines for many of us to feel comfortable with oil change intervals of 7k miles or more.

Personally, I aim for oil changes in the 3,500-4,000 mile range. If I did exclusively long-distance highway driving, I would feel comfortable in extending the interval to the 5k mark. Under no circumstances would I go 7k miles between oil changes, no matter what the manufacturer might say about this being acceptable.

Look at it this way–the damage that takes place from engine sludging would not be apparent until well after the warranty is over, so that takes the car manufacturer off the hook for the resulting repairs. Until the damage is apparent, they look good–so to speak–because of their relatively “maintenance-free” vehicle design.

As was already stated, if this is a leased car, or if you normally trade your cars in after 2 or 3 years, you will not suffer the financial consequences of 7k oil changes. The next unfortunate owner will suffer however, which is one of the reasons why I don’t buy used cars!

VDCdriver is dead-on about leased cars. Many people who lease know they will be turning in that vehicle in a year or two, or three, and will do as little as humanly possible to avoid spending one dime of their money on that car.

The car gets returned, the dealer has no idea how it was maintained (if at all), and the next poor soul buys a 25k miles car that looks new but in reality is on its last legs.

“What does your owner’s manual say?”

It says to follow the OLM. I looked at several Honda forums and it does appear that there is no explicit time interval. It should be covered by the OLM. I would follow the OLM. I have two cars with an OLM. One has 120,000 miles and the other has 83,000 miles. Neither has a hint of problems despite changing oil when the OLM recommends it. BTW, my OLMs recommend changing around 7000 miles.

On my CRV it says follow OLM or change at one year even if OLM shows okay. It is very particular on keeping the 1st oil in as long as OLM would let you, I guess reading the oil forum it has to do with high molibdenium content in that oil.

I am sort of going to disagree with several people here who I greatly respect.

I suggest that the first place to go to for instructions on when to change the oil is the car’s owner’s manual. Normally nothing more should be needed. (remember it is miles or months — Which Ever Comes First —.

If you are not comfortable with that generally you should be able to change the oil more often without suffering damage. (note, there are some cars/conditions that this not true and it is possible to experience more wear by changing too often, but that is not a common problem.

Remember it is not just miles or just months, it is whichever comes first.

Over the years opinions on this URL have been all over the place. I will agree no more than oil changes cost, it doesn’t hurt to change it more often than recommended. That is, if you have a careful person who does it. The Quick Lube places do not have highly qualified people for the most part.

Anyway, October 2009 I had enough of wild guesses on this URL. I drove my 2002 Sienna with well over 150,000 miles on it, to 8800 miles, with the Mobil-1 EP. I replaced it but sent a sample to Blackstone. All characteristics would have been good to 10,000 miles.

This will be dependent upon the car itself, it’s condition, and its driving pattern. My driving is all south of the snow zone, and most of it is on the highway. A different driving pattern or a car with problems will perhaps not go as far.

Another of the wild guesses here is that synthetic oil gives no advantage on anything but a race car or two vehicle. This is not true.

If you want to do what is best for your car, use synthetic oil, and change per owner’s manual, including the recommendation on hard driving conditions if relevant. There is a reason some models come with synthetic oil, and it is recommended.

If you want, change it every 3,000 miles. In most cases it is a waste of money, but it’s your car and if you want to waste the money, that is your right.

My next plan is to put in regular dino oil, and run it 5,000 miles, and have it tested. This is to deal with the claim synthetic oil has no advantage. I am not running it the same 8800 miles, because I do not believe regular oil is equal to synthetic. I will report here when I do that.

There is no one size fits all when it comes to oil change intervals. Driving habits, environmental conditions, and maintenance habits, etc. all play a part in it.

If oil could be left in there for an automotive infinity then the phrase “oil sludging” would not exist.

You can trust the oil change light. I have 235k on my Saturn using the oil change light with conventional oil. I have 176k on our Honda Accord and 165k on my Nissan truck using 7500 mile intervals and synthetic oil. There is no sludge in any of them.

I can verify that regular oil changes and proper maintenance will allow your engine to run trouble free for many years. My daily driver is an '88 Escort that has averaged about 5K mile change intervals, it’s currently at 516K miles on the original engine and never had a rebuild and it’s still running. My motto is oil is cheaper than parts. I do my own oil changes which cost about $15 each (4 quarts of oil and filter), it would take lots of oil changes to pay for a new engine. Considering $15 per oil change that would be $1545. for oil changes since the car was new and a few years ago I could do an oil change for under $10. Even at the $1500 price tag of oil changes over 23 years I couldn’t have replaced an engine for that cost.

Thank You everyone for your opinions and points of view.

There are many people who relied on oil minder lights and whatnot and ended up with engine problems due to sludge.

Do a search on this site for some of them and keep in mind those you find here are only a small sampling of the real world total.

As a mechanic who has had to face car owners who are the once-proud owners of a 25-50k miles vehicle that now needs engine work, or a new complete engine, I can say that most of them in retrospect wished they had been more diligent with their oil change regimen. A select few of course will always choose to blame the rest of the world for this problem.

While I completely agree…those monitor systems that say it’s time to change the oil at 10k miles will probably cause problems…I don’t agree that necessarily the driver is to blame. Many people don’t know about oil or cars…But they do know about following the proper maintenance of a vehicle…They follow all the steps in the owners manual correctly. I can certainly understand their frustration when they followed everything by the book…yet after 30k miles they need a new engine…And the mechanic tells them that it was BECAUSE they FOLLOWED what the manual says…How are they suppose to know any different.

If those monitoring systems are saying to change the oil every 10k miles then I think the manufacturer is to blame.

I don’t care if the monitor system says to change at 10k miles…I’m NOT going to go past 5k miles…Same with my life-time tranny fluid…I’ve already changed it 5 times.

Oil analysis is a nice idea but I can have the dealer change oil for the $25 for the test. I change mine at about 50% on the oil minder which is usually between 4-5000 miles. I feel comfortable with that.

I think perhaps you’re realizing from this thread that opinions on this are all over the map. Each of us has our own personal biases and philosophies on this. I think the only things we all agree on are that changing the oil before it’s technically scheduled can do only good and no harm, and that taking better care of the engine than prescribed will save you in the long run.

Personally, I’m uncomfortable going farther than 5,000 miles between changes on any vehicle. But I cannot support that technically. But to me, the goal is to make the engine last a long time, not to make the oil last a long time. Fresh oil can only help.

Mike, I agree with you about drivers who follow the monitor system’s advice not being responsible should the engine wearing out prematurely. Unfortunately, manufacturers won’t help at that point. So it’s better to do the changes early and often.