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Maintenance Schedule

I have a 2004 CRV LX and love it. I have free oil changes for the life of the car, and do it every 3-3500 miles. I keep reading in lots of places that this isn’t necessary and that every 7,000 is plenty. If the latter is true, what does that mean for the scheduled 30,000, 60,000 and 90,000 maintenance services? Should I still do those as recommended, earlier, later?

If they are free, go for 3500-4000, assumimg you do a mix of city and highway driving. If you only do highway driving in nice weather, 7000 is OK, but almost nobody drives like that.

Read your OWNER’S MANUAL to see what the other maintenance activities are. Your vehicle likely had a TIMING BELT, which is good for 7 years or 60,000+ miles, I believe. The manual; will tell you . The timing belt change is a MUST DO maintenance item.

Oil changes are like all maintenance items. It doesn’t hurt to do them early but it’s not good to do them late. The only thing you should take seriously when reading advice regarding oil change frequency is what the maintenance schedule says in your owner’s manual. Everything else is only someone’s opinion.

The 30,000 etc maintenance services are important if you want your vehicle to last. In the owner’s manual it will say 30,000 miles for major maintenance or give a time frame, whichever comes first (that goes for oil changes also).

It’s important to not get hung up on number of miles between maintenance and to pay attention to the recommended time frame if you are someone who doesn’t put a lot of miles on your car.

The free oil changes are likely from the dealer, and they are willing to do that to get your car in for the other items they come up with. You need to be careful that they do not compress required maintenance into a shorter time interval. Compare the recommended service you have received to the Honda recommendation in the maintenance manual. If they are the same, that’s great. If the dealer recommendations cone a lot quicker than the factory recommendations, you need to wonder why.

“Free” oil changes need to be qualified…What kind of oil are they using? Do they try to “upgrade” you to using synthetic oil? (There will be a fee for this). How about various types of fluid ‘flushes’, coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, tire rotation, “Complete Safety Inspection”, anything so you don’t get out the door for “Free”…I wonder if they still do “Free oil changes for life”… That promotion may not have worked out as they had planned…Unless they got you for a $600 brake job or two, a timing belt, a $1500 “check-up”…

None of my vehicles have EVER been back to the dealer for the 30, 60, 90K mile “checkups”… They all have all survived just getting normal maintenance…

Thanks, guys. I have to say, they did get me for a brake job and some other “necessary” costly services over the past few years. But I found a local car shop through the CarTalk recommendations so I had my 50,000 mile “check-up” done by them at around $300-500 less than the dealer wanted. Last year,I also decided to get a second opinion when the dealer told me I needed a strut and some other back end suspension repair to the tune of $800… but of course, I was told there were lots of “coupons” etc., available to lower the cost. I took it to my local guy for another opinion. He said he drove my car several times and did not see or feel anything that needed repair. That was 5 months ago. I have had no problems that the dealer said I was going to encounter if I didn’t get this repair done.

Who can you trust? Sometimes I wonder. But that is why I come here.

Usually the manufacturer has two schedules, one for rough service, and one for normal service. Read your owners manual and determine if your driving is is the “rough service” variety or “normal service”, then do the maintenance at the interval Honda recommends. 3,000 miles seems more like the “rough service” schedule than the “normal service” schedule. Me, I drive an older 1990’s Toyota Corolla and I change the oil & filter every 7500-10K. Usually it is closer to 10k than 7500. I always change it the same time of the year, and I drive about 10K a year. I’ve never had any trouble. I’m an old geizzer though, and mostly put around town on level smooth roads in a mostly mild climate. If I were hot-rodding it, or doing a lot of driving in harsh climates, like through the Mojave desert say, or up and down steep hills, I’d switch to a more frequent oil change schedule.