Maintenance Reminder Oil Change Schedule

The mainteance reminder on my 2008 CRV allows me to go 12,000 miles between changes which seems crazy long on a mix of city/highway driving in extreme conditions in MN. Should I trust this thing? What kind of algorithm do they use? Do they know how hot/cold it’s been? Thoughts?

In theory, Honda’s algorithm takes driving conditions into account sufficiently so that you don’t wind up destroying your engine. However, there is no way on God’s green earth that I would go that long between oil changes.

Consider this reality:
Engine damage from sludging is unlikely to rear its ugly head during the warranty period, and as a result, the mfr has little to lose from long oil change intervals. And, a driver who leases his cars and who gets rid of them after a 3-year lease will probably not suffer any financial impact from lubrication-related issues. But, a driver who keeps his car for 5 years or more will suffer a major hit to his wallet if his/her engine winds up being damaged by extended oil changes.

If, like me, you tend to keep your vehicles for 8-10 years, I think you would be very wise to change oil on a more rational schedule. For me, that means never going more than 5k between changes, and–under some circumstances–changing the oil every 3-4 months.

There are some folks who post here who swear by the system, some don’t. I’ve read posts here by pretty smart posters who explain it pretty well, but I just can’t go the 12,000 miles. Our new 2010 Civic has this type of set-up and I still change oil at 3000-4000, 'cause I know how my wife drives it (short trips, hammers it sometimes, no warm-ups in the cold, etc). The reminder has to be re-set but it’s always a lot later than when I do the oil change. I acknowledge that oils are getting better over the years, but my old oil is always BLACK when it comes out, honey colored when it goes in. I had the valve cover off on our '95 Civic and it was completely clean, no deposits whatsoever at 235,000. Same thing with my old '89 Accord with 585,000, which I’m retiring due to under body rust, not engine problems. And clean as factory, just discolored a bit from heat I suppose. Oil & filter changes are cheap. Engine repair/replacement is expensive. Rocketman

Likely you will be fine. It would be rare that following that recommendation would cause a problem, but I would worry about it and I would change it more often. Maybe not as many would, but enough that would make me feel better about it.

I’d rely on the maintenance schedule in the owners manual. Some folks posting on this forum are very old school and rely on how they learned to do things years ago. That’s not wrong but why throw away oil that has remaining useful life left. Over the long run, changing oil too soon will cost more money and create more environmental waste than necessary.

Here’s some more info (search oil life monitor systems if you want more info):

Who Cares ?
The OLM On My Wife’s Impala Usaually Reads Around " 30% Oil Life Remaining" When I Change It Every 5,000 Miles.

This Time It Was Down To 5% At The 5,000 Mile Change. What Changed ?
It’s Been Really Severe, Weather-Wise, And The Wife Enjoys Her Remote Start. Is That It ?
Who Cares ? It Gets Changed Every 5,000 Miles.

I’d never purchase a vehicle from anybody who changed their oil every 10,000 or 12,000 miles. I think some of the manufacturers are misleading their customers. Although 12,000 miles could be enough to get the vehicle through the engine warranty on many cars, that doesn’t mean it’s in the owners’ best interest for the long haul.

Could the fact that GM’s engine warranty is 100,000 miles long have anything to do with it ?
Who cares ?

Here’s my oil change schedule on my 7 cars:

ACTUAL ODOMETER READING (+/- up to a couple hundred miles)
(500) miles
5,000 miles
10,000 miles
15,000 miles
20,000 miles
25,000 miles
30,000 miles
35,000 miles
. . . Etcetera . . .

See a pattern, there ?
No worry about whether the OLM is correct or not. You don’t even need OLM.
Anybody who can read an odometer can soon figure out when a change is imminent.

Since I check underhood fluids on all vehicles, weekly, it’s not too difficult to monitor odometers and plan for upcoming oil changes. I’ve been doing this for years and it’s never failed me.
I use Mobil-1 Extended Performance motor oil, just to err on the safe side.


If you are using the maintenance reminder, you must also use the specified oil. It does not have to be Honda brand oil but it must meet Honda specifications. Same for the filter. If you go to wally world and buy their cheapest oil and oil filter, then don’t count on engine surviving very long with 12k oil change intervals.

I recommend this: Follow the vehicle manufactural’s recommend as a minim.

Chances are you would be fine with any of the recommendations, but when it is my money, I go with the manufacturer.

Also, bear in mind that your Honda manual would say to change the oil at least once a year. so if you drive less than 12K miles per year, then you stick with the yearly schedule.

Like I said before, you’ve got a $30-50,000 car and want to scrimp on $30-70 oil changes? I change at 50% OLM or 5000 miles on the Acura, 3000 miles on the Pontiac, and once a year at 200 miles on the Olds. The last car I got rid of had 530,000 miles on the original engine without internal engine repair or oil usage. I rest my case. Mfg. maintenance schedules be danged.

I’m curious because I’ve not seen one of those oil change reminders. Do they take time into account?

My car & truck manual say to change the oil every 5000 miles or 6 months, whichever comes first. Because I don’t need to drive very far I never go 5000 miles within 6 months so I’m changing my oil every six months.

The honda ones don’t account for time and note in the manual that if you don’t reach 0% by 1 year, you should change it at that point.

As for the exact algorithm, its not public, but does seem to sense/track engine temperature, rev speed, etc. Lots of short trips without warm-ups will run it down faster than highway miles. And used oil analysis by blackstone or similar generally show that the algorithm is moderately conservative (i.e., when you reach 0% oil life left, you generally have more like 2-3000 miles before the oil begins to break down or reach to high a level of dissolved metals)

Many an engine problem has surfaced due to extended oil change regimens and a fair number of them appear on this forum.
Those who have major engine damage at 25-50k miles because of following a regimen like this are usually the ones at the service counter screaming bloody murder when told the cause is lack of oil changes and they are the ones going to have to pony up on it.

An oil analysis doesn’t tell the entire story. The problem may not be visible in any oil sample sent in; the actual problem is the grunge left behind which is cluttering up the valve train, clogging oil galleys, and so on.

Five thousand miles or 6 months is about the limit; all depending upon driving habits and conditions.

The local guy who bought a brand new top of the line Ford truck and went 22k miles without changing the oil could be considered one of those people I mentioned in the first paragraph.
He blamed the dealer, Ford Motor Company, the mechanics, the service writer and manager, and the sales department for his wiped out engine in a near new truck.

A Subaru owner had a wiped engine that was not even rebuildable at only 25k miles; all due to not changing the oil. This guy even sicced Subaru of America on us and followed this up with a lawyer; both of whom told him to take a hike after hearing the no oil changes part of the story.
When complaining to the factory, it’s quite common to omit certain parts of the story… :wink:

The oil monitoring system is there for motorists who take their cars for granted. My guess is that younger people (those under 40) have much awareness of the need to check the oil regularly and the need for periodic oil changes. The monitoring system does let them know that they need to have the oil changed.
When I was growing up, we operated machinery and were effectively telling the machine what to do. In today’s computerized and microprocessor world, machines tell us what to do.
Back in 1980, I attended a convention in Boston. One of the sessions was about the changing use of computers in the public schools. The first paper investigated the question “Are computers making people robots?” The next two papers dealt with the how the use of computers in the schools had moved from programming to word processing, spread sheets and data bases. I happened to think that writing computer programs forces a student to think logically. Before 1970, about 80% of the computers used in the schools were for the students to write programs. By 1980, about 5% of the use was for programming and the rest of the use was for word processing, spread sheets, data bases and other canned programs. I made the comment that if the only use of the computers in the public schools was for word processing, data bases and spread sheets, I would rather the computers be taken out of the schools. About half the people in the session understood what I was saying and the other half did not, including the chair of the session. I said that these canned programs were fine, but that they really didn’t encourage logical thinking as happens when a student writes a program. The chair of the session finally told me that I was wrong. “Let me give you an analogy”, she said. “I supervise student teachers in my state and drive 25,000 miles a year over teacherous mountain roads. I’m a good driver and have never had an accident. However, I don’t know what goes on under the hood of my car and I don’t care to know”. I replied, “I hope that the rest of the population in your state don’t have your driving sense of curiosity” and walked out of the room.
I’m afraid too many people today don’t want to understand how something works. In their cars, they have no understanding of why clean oil is important. Many would be hard pressed to find the dipstick if they did get the hood open. We have a generation of people that have the attitude of the chair of the session I attended.

Oh @tridaq How we show our age. That would have been fun watching you walk out. Truly it is up to some of us older people that have little to lose by challenging the status quo, to do so now and then. The younger ones just can’t take the risk sometimes. Can’t remember what class it was even but the instructor was giving us the bs about having to knuckle under to politics for the boss. I called her on saying that we were always known for being truthful regardless of the politics. The sad part is that these folks are so blind that they don’t see their errors in thinking.

To show my age, my new boss called me in way back in 1974 and said I should go look at this thing called a word processor that a company called CPT had developed. He didn’t see much value in it and didn’t really want to bother with it but I might be interested. I looked at it and thought holy crapola, this is the future. Interesting that it was based on the five position mark/space scheme used in teletypes that the Army trained me for. Oh those old days.