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Maintenance Minder v. Dealer Scheduled Tune Up

I have a 2009 Honda Fit with 33k miles on it. I just brought it in to the Honda Dealer for scheduled maintenance, based on the Maintenance Minder showing 5% oil, “A” “1” and “2.” The dealer suggested that I do their 30,000 maintenance, which cost $600, when I asked what it would cost to just do what the Maintenance Minder was asking for, he said $300. I’m not 100% sure what the difference was, I think something about anti-freeze and transmission fluid. I think that the Maintenance Minder also has me come in less frequently than the dealer would suggest.

Assuming there is nothing broken, and I’m just dealing with regular maintenance, if I listen to the Maintenance Minder and the user manual instead of the dealer am I risking not properly caring for my car, or am I just avoiding wasting money on work that primarily serves as my mechanic’s boat payments?

I would suggest doing the transmission every 30K if you plan on keeping this vehicle for any length of time. I’ve been corrected on this point, and after lots of research, this seems to be the overriding consensus for long term transmission care. 30K (or 3 years I think - mine don’t make it that long, it’s always mileage).

As for the rest of the maintenance, I can’t say. The manual is most likely your best bet, however, they’re not putting as much in them as they used to. In fact, some aren’t using manuals at all.

Once you’re done with the warranty period, I would stop using the dealer and find a good local mechanic. There are very few things a decent mechanic can’t do.

The maintenance minder and the owner’s manual were designed and written by the Honda engineers, who know more about the car than anyone else.

The dealer’s suggested maintenance schedule is designed to increase their profit.

Which do you trust?

If your Fit has an automatic transmission, I suggest allowing them to replace the transmission fluid approximately every 30K miles, regardless of what the minder says, and ONLY Honda automatic transmission fluid should be used.

It’s cheap insurance.

Transmission fluid and antifreeze replacement should not cost anywhere near $300.

You could probably save money having your car serviced by an independent mechanic rather than the Honda dealer.

I’m with chaissos regarding the transmission. Other than the transmission fluid specification (which you must follow) do not pay any attention to what the owner’s manual says about transmission service (unless it says to do something more frequently that every 30K).

As for anything else, what you need to do is get specific if you want advice. Some of the things the dealer suggests may be a good idea. Others are probably mostly about making money for them and won’t do a thing for your car.

So specify what your owner’s manual/maintenance minder says; the specify what the dealer proposes to do.

While it’s often assumed that the people who build the cars know best this is not the case. Many of those "factory recommendations are ill-advised to put it politely and in a more disrespectful tone, some are downright ludicrous or laughable.

At one time someone who had purchased an almost new, low miles Subaru with no owners manual contacted SOA (Subaru of America, the sales/parts/service wing of Fuji Heavy Industries) about transmission fluid change intervals. Below is a cut and paste from SOA’s response and that response falls into the ludicrous/laughable category.

“I researched previously with our Technical Services Department as to when these fluids need to be replaced. They advised: The transmission fluid in your Subaru should be replaced if it is really black and smells burnt.”

By that standard your transmission is already fried so why even bother with a fluid change. That response is embarassingly bad.

Here’s what the 30,000 mile service interval requires on your Honda Fit.

*Adjust valves if noisy.
*Replace engine air filter.
*Replace cabin air filter
*Inspect the drive belt.
*Replace transmission fluid if vehicle is towed behind a motorhome.
*Reset maintenance-minder light.

That doesn’t look like $600 worth of service to me!

Take the vehicle to an independent shop and they can provide the same service as the dealer at a much lower cost. And as long as you keep the receipt for this service, it doesn’t effect the warranty on your vehicle.


I’m with Tester on this, but I always change oil at about 50% which is usually 4-5000 miles. No way would I let it get down to 5%. The problem with the Honda manuals is that they do not specify a mileage interval on most items but go by the mileage minder. I really prefer to have some mileage indication and in talking to the dealer, they helped provide the recommended mileage intervals. The trans needs to be done at 30K also.

First "the dealer"  There is no reason you must have service done by a dealer.  Dealers are no better (or worse) than independents.  

Dealers tend to be more up to date on changes, but independents tend to charge a lot less.

As noted by many above by others, I also recommend departing from the "official" transmission fluid changes or the lack there of and I recommend replacing the transmission fluid in any car's automatic transmission no less often than 40,000 miles.

Another agreement that changing your automatic transmission fluid between 30k-50k is a great measure. That is assuming your transmission is automatic.

Now is a good time to find an independent garage to work on your car if you don’t have one already. Ask your friends, neighbors, and workmates who they use for repairs and maintenance. A few garages will be mentioned frequently. They are a good place to start. I think you should have the oil and auto transmission fluid replaced by your mechanic.

You can replace the cabin air filters yourself - it’s really easy. It is behind the glove box. You empty the glove box, squeeze in on the open glove box sides, and it will drop. The hinges are still attached, so it will remain attached to the dash board. But you need to empty it so that nothing falls on your feet if they are in the passenger foot well. Look behind where the glove box was, and you should see a plastic door. open it, and remove the filters. Just slide new ones in if the old ones look dirty. Close up in reverse order. The mechanic might charge a half hour for this and that’s about 5 times the cost of the filters.

You can also inspect the drive belt yourself. 30,000 miles is a bit early for excessive cracking or stretching. Look at both sides of the belt for damage and wear. If you are uncomfortable with this, ask a knowledgeable friend or neighbor to help. Once they show you how to do it, you won’t need to pay for it until it needs to be changed.

As others have mentioned, you’re dealer is way up selling you on maintenance. A12 means that you need the oil changed (not even the oil filter replaced), the tires rotated, the engine and cabin air filters replaced, and the drive belt looked at to be sure it isn’t obviously falling apart. Even $300 for that is a bit much.

The two air filters should cost $40 combined for the filters themselves. Installing each is just a few minutes work, call it another $30. Tire rotation you could do yourself, but should be no more than $20 bucks. Often, the drive belt inspection is a part of included service at oil change places. It’s like filling up the windshield washer fluid or the air in the tires. Its a visual inspection that doesn’t require removing anything. Then you have the oil change, which is $30 at my dealer, a bit more if you want to move to 0w-20 oil. Even with price inflation at the dealer, A12 service should be no more than $150.

All that said, changing the transmission fluid every 30k is a not bad idea. Even more so if you are getting the new ATF DW-1.