Maintenance schedules

The maintence light on my 2007 Honda Civic came on at 10,000 miles. The owner’s manual says this calls for an oil change and additional work such as checking brakes,tie rods ends, suspension, drive shaft, hoses, exhaust, fuel lines. Is all of this really necessary?

Honda thinks so. They made what you bought. Its all warranted.

If you want to keep your warranty in force it is. Just make a list of what the manual says and ask the dealer to do just that. Many dealers try to guilt you into unneeded additional work.

Yes, Dr Gary, it’s called preventive maintenance, and much of it is of an inspection nature to detect deterioration and possible damage. The oil change is necessary to refresh the oil and filter since 10,000 miles generates a lot of nasty contamination and the additives in the oil (up to 25% of the volume) that prevent damage will be nearly used up by then. All those checks are necessary for the long and health life of your car.

The extremely long engine and car life reported by some of the regulars is the result of being very proactive in the maintenance.

Modern maintenance is often called “Failure Prevention”, and is starting to follow the industrial and aerospace pattern. In modern maintenance, just like in Health Care, there are various level of care:

  1. Run to Failure; “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. This is the most expensive and dangerous way to operate. We still see this often in 3rd world countries.

  2. Preventive Maintenance; this covers activites to prevent wearout and unnecessary breakdown. Oil changes, lubrication, cooling system service, etc. cover this category.

  3. Predictive Monitoring; covers all those checks to determine if all is well and at what rate something is deteriorating, so we can take action to prevent failure. A good mechanic does these automatically without being told. The car manufacturer puts them in a book so that you won’t forget to have them done.

  4. Proactive Maintenance; this goes one step further and uses high quality and more durable materials to reduce the frequency of replacements and breakdown.

As an example, I kept track of one of my cars over a 300,000 miles, 12 year period. By performing the above maintenance activites, I had 4 breakdowns in 10,000 trips. Of these, one, a burst coolant hose I could have proactively prevented by more frequent inspection. The others were totally random and not preventable. In aerospace and military terms, I got a 99.96% (9996/10,000x100) mission availability. This was the result of doing nothing extraordinary and it applied to a standard Chevrolet car.

In case you wondered, only topping up the oil and not changing it will make the engine seize up at about 60,000 miles. Not changing the transmission fluid on a Ford Winmdstar will likley result in breakdown around 100,000 miles. Not changing out the coolant will cause engine failure at about 140,000 miles maximum, but likely much earlier.

My real question is, Are those maintenance items necessary or simply a way for the dealer to get money from me. Older manuals had a list of required items at different intervals. The current manual merely says when the warning light comes on do what the book says. I agree about changing the oil and doing REQUIRED maintenance. I have always kept my cars for over 100,000 miles.

“Checking” means “looking at,” and the dealer will gladly charge you to look at the brakes, tie rods, suspension, etc. They will find nothing wrong, of course, but they will charge you just the same. C’mon, at 10K miles, what could possibly be wrong with this car?

There is NO requirement to have maintenance done at a Honda dealer. As long as you can document that necessary service was performed, the warranty remains in effect. You can even do it yourself if you are so inclined.

I suggest you find an independent mechanic, have the oil changed (which IS necessary) and do whatever you want about all those “checks.” I’m all in favor of preventive maintenance, but I don’t believe in wasting money.

If you have a good, continuing relationship with the mechanic, there is a high probability he will do the checks for free and sign off on the book. That is one of the benefits of funnelling your repair business to one shop and one set of mechanics. Some of the really easy stuff is done gratis.

They checked all that on mine at 5000 and about 30 other things for $29. Checking just means making sure there are no problems with the items, that’s all. Doesn’t necessarily cost anything.

Agree; these checks will initially reveal nothing in all likelihood, just like a medical checkup hopefully will reveal nothing. However, this is an ongoing 10,000 miles interval requirement, and at 40,000 they will most likely show some areas of concern, such as break wear.

I just had the 10,000 mile service done on my 2007 Toyota by an independent mechanic. This included changing the cabin air filter(dirty) and engine air filter (dirty) as well as rotating the tires, changing oil and filter and checking all the items as on your Honda. Total cost was $98. The dealer charge for this would have been $170 for exactly the same work.

As pointed out by others, your need a documented record of all the required service having been perfromed in case you have a warranty claim.

So, if I don’t have them “check” those items will that invalidate my warranty? A mechanic once told me most of the scheduled checks were unnecessary - the only required were what the manual identified at particular mileages. But the new manuals are different.

Oh good grief, this guy’s a doctor and he’s worried about an extra $15 to check safety items?? I never understand all of the fuss over following maintenance. A gallon of gas is $4, why the big deal over a little extra labor cost every 10K miles to make sure everything is OK?

Penny wise pound foolish…

If your maintenance book does not have signed off activities as outlined in the manual, and you have a warranty problem later, YOU ARE ON SHAKY GROUND!!! Just like not rotating your tires regularly will void the tire wearout warranty.

So, as pointed out by several posters, find a good independent mechanic who will do these things for little or nothing. Most good mechanics perform these checks automatically when the car is on the hoist.

The mechanic who told you these checks were unnecessary will not be paying for your repair bills. Since emission and safety requirements are much tighter now car companies are taking a more proactive, failure prevention approach to maintenance. Hence all those checks. When you get on an airplane you can thankl all those “unnecessary” checks for the extremely high safety record of today’s airlines.

My late father-in law did not believe in regular checkups, since he was healthy. We had a healthy looking office manager in Nigeria who did not believe AIDS was a problem because she did not have it to her knowledge.