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How important is it to use manufacturer brand fluids

I recently bought a 2007 Honda Civic. When reading through the manual, I found that for most of the fluid replacement (transmission, brake, steering, coolant), it specifies that it must be replaced with Honda branded fluids. How important is this? Most of me is calling this a stunt for Honda to make money but there is a small part that says maybe there is some good reason. Thanks for the help.

Hondas are VERY sensitive to fluid type, especially transmission and differential fluids.

Brake fluid is brake fluid, and as far as I know that goes for PS fluid as well, but you REALLY need the Honda transmission fluid. That goes for manual and automatic transmissions.

My older Honda uses standard green anti-freeze, but the newer models may require something different. Better to be safe than sorry.

It is not important at all to use manufacturer branded fluids. Manfacturers don’t make their own fluids, but have them made and bottled with their name on it.

BUT, it is VERY important to use fluids that meet the specifications provided by the manufacturer. If you choose to use fluids not sold by the manufacturer, be very sure the fluids you use meets the specification, or serious and expensive damage may result.

A very strong word of caution: Hondas do fine with most brands of motor oil and coolants, but are very specific with transmission fluid and power steering fluid.

This is just Honda’s way of covering up the poor basic design of their engines. If, for some reason, you need “special fluids” to keep your car alive, what’s the design problem you are trying to cure with the Honda brand lubricants?? That’s the dark side…

On the bright side, perhaps, as a world-wide marketer of cars, Honda feels there is just so much low-quality, below standards products out there that can cause problems, why not eliminate the guess-work and shoddy products and just require fluids bare the Honda name to protect the warranty and eliminate a lot of shouting in the service department… Besides, it’s a nice profitable side-line for everyone involved…

It is illegal under Federal law to require ‘only’ Honda fluids unless those fluids are offered free (Magnuson-Moss Act).

It seems every manufacturer uses different specs with transmission fluids. Ford uses Mercon. Chevy uses Dextron. Chrysler likes ATF+4. All of these are ‘defective’ transmissions covered by ‘special’ fluids? C’mon.

This has been covered to death here lately.

You can find Honda rated fluid from oil companies at auto parts stores. They are as good as the Honda labeled fluids. Honda does NOT make their fluids. They are made for them by one of fluid making companies. But make sure it says it’s for Honda and the year for your vehicle.

Honda compatible transmission fluid is tough to find. And if you do find it…it’s usually as expensive or more then the Honda Brand fluid. Same for power steering fluid.

This is just Honda’s way of covering up the poor basic design of their engines

WHAT…Where have you been living…Honda consistently has made some of the MOST durable engines made in the past 20+ years. Just because your caddies are JUNK after 100k miles…doesn’t mean other manufacturers are.

I am driving a 13 year old Civic with 200,000 miles on the odometer. I don’t use the Honda brand power steering fluid, now, but I did when my car was under warranty. Now I use “power steering fluid for Hondas,” made by Gunk or some other brand. The same goes for the transmission. When it was under warranty, I used the Honda brand manual transmission fluid. Now I use synthetic 10W-30 oil. I never used Honda brand brake fluid in my brakes or my clutch, and I have never used Honda brand oil. However, all of the fluids I use meet Honda’s specs, and I change the fluids often. I don’t think Honda even has an interval for changing the clutch fluid and power steering fluid, so I just change my fluids when they start to look dirty.

If I had a Honda with an automatic transmission, I would only use Honda brand automatic transmission fluid, and I would change (drain and refill) the fluid every 30,000 miles. Honda’s automatic transmissions are an expensive weak spot, so baby yours.

The good thing is that the fluids where it can make a difference are those you change rarely. PS fluid? How much could you ever use? AT fluid? Refill with Honda every 30k, not a big deal. Brake fluid not an issue. One area to watch is coolant - I used to be a Prestone guy, but now there are many different requirements, make SURE you use one that’s compatible. Doesn’t have to be Honda brand, but it must be the correct type. Subarus are so picky I used Subaru coolant.

It’s not a matter of brand; it’s a matter of whether that fluid meets the specification called for by the car manufacturer.

I find the design flaw logic interesting. So by that token, you can design crappy engines and transmissions and make them last a long time as long as you do a good job on designing the matching (crappy!) lubricant.

BS comes to mind. Maybe bad fluid is behind this particular problem.

Just one of many, but apparently Honda has a few engine hiccups of their own.

Maybe bad engine oil??? :wink:

Agree; Honda engines are very durable. My brother still has his 1987 Accord which does not use any oil. Some of the worst engines produced by Detroit in the last 15 years, on the other hand, have been Cadillacs. A friend who is well off bought a Cadillac 5 years ago, and had a litany of problems. So, their current, and very trouble-free car, is an Acura, made by HONDA.

In any case, Honda engine oil is standard API/ASTM spec oil. Honda transmission fluid, on the other hand, and differential fluids are special.

Last month I had to top up the power steering fluid on my Nissan. I went to the dealer, who does not stock any power steering fluid for Nissans. They use standard Transmission fluid, which I bought a quart of at Walmart.

Thanks everyone. Very good information.

Any automotive engine that uses a rubber cam belt gets the POS rating from me…Even Honda has seen the light…Junkyards are FULL of Hondas with blown engines and or transmissions…My '89 Caddy Allante (160K miles) has many shortcomings but every drop of fluid in it came off the shelf at AutoZone…Common, run-of-the-mill automotive lubricants and fluids…it’s not worth much today but it’s CERTAINLY worth more than any '89 Accord…

Junkyards are FULL of Hondas with blown engines and or transmissions.

BULL…had to find a radio knob for my wifes 96 Accord…figured I get one at a salvage yard…SORRY…none to be found in a 100 mile radius. At least not one that’s not a complete wreck…

Any automotive engine that uses a rubber cam belt gets the POS rating from me

And GM started with a timing belt in the 70’s.

My '89 Caddy Allante (160K miles) has many shortcomings but every drop of fluid in it came off the shelf at AutoZone.

ANY car should be able to last 160k miles…SO WHAT…I have over 160k miles on my 05 4runner…I buy all my fluids at WallMart or BJ’s (same a Sam’s Club). Try 400k miles or 300k miles and get back to me.

it’s not worth much today but it’s CERTAINLY worth more than any '89 Accord…

GEE…your Caddy cost $56k NEW in 89…the Accord cost $14k NEW in 89…

The current price of the caddy now is worth about $4k…and the Accord…about $3k…

Caddy had a price depreciation of $52K…while the Accord $11k. If the Accord depreciated as much as the Caddy you’d have to give people $30k to take it off your hands.

Keep dreaming if you think the Caddy is even in the same League as far as durability goes as Honda…NOT EVEN CLOSE…

A DESIGN flaw is when a company (um GM) designs an intake manifold gasket that leaks anti-freeze into the oil that will DESTROY the engine…And they knew about for YEARS…Finally after 12 years and MILLIONS of cars with the problem they decided to do something about it.

If you use fluids that meet the manufacturers specs and use them on a regular basis (especially in regards to engine oil and trans fluid changes) you will be fine.
After all, Honda is just like everyone else; their Honda branded fluids are likely manufactured by the same people who make fluids for Ford, Toyota, or any one of dozens of other makes of cars.

In reality, every car is a conglomeration of aftermarket parts. The car makers build the engine, stamp out the sheet metal, and slap it all together. Everything else from brakes to electrics to seats and airbags, transmissions, etc, etc, etc, are outsourced.

In reality, every car is a conglomeration of aftermarket parts.

Actually, the manufacturer specs the parts and finds an outside manufacturer to built it to spec. They work closely with that manufacturer, usually do their own QC once the parts are shipped, and that part becomes OEM. ‘Aftermarket’ manufacturers get the specifications for the part, but not the close relationship or car-maker’s QC of the parts. In some cases, this is a big difference.

I also got a chuckle out of that comment. But I guess we all have a right to our own opinions.

My response woudl be, not quite. The car makers work in cooperation with the aftermarket supplier and the AM suppliers do not blindly build what’s thrown in front of them. They have their own engineers who are on top of this and they follow accepted and approved manufacturing guidelines. An AM supplier is not going to produce a non-reviewed design and risk being part of a multimillion, or billion, dollar lawsuit.

TRW comes to mind because they produce steering and suspension components, seat belts, airbags, elec. modules, brake components and so on for a large number of car makers. TRW is worldwide and they are not going to allow themselves to be named as a defendant in a multi-billion dollar class action lawsuit by churning out inferior products.