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New to performing my own Routine-Maintenance of Vehicle

Recently purchase a 2013 Honda Civic coupe with 22,000 miles and am thinking about performing my own routine maintenance and have a few questions. I current have been getting my oil changed at my local honda dealer for $26.99 but I’m always afraid of getting duped and want to start doing it myself (if its more cost effective). I’m afraid that if I mess something up, I wont have the warranty that comes with getting it done by a professional and etc…

  • I can’t tell the difference between all the different oils and filters to know which brand or type is good for my honda. Like if the cheapest one I see in Walmart is just as good as the more expensive ones. Any brand in particular recommended?

  • Is it better to use brand new car air filters or are the ones you can clean and reuse just as good? The Spectre Performance Air Filters and its Accucharge Air Filter Cleaning Kits seem decent.

  • And any other pointers or options would greatly be helpful. :slight_smile:

Most people have their own favorite brand of oil that they are convinced is superior to all other brands, but the reality of the situation is that any brand that meets the API standard that Honda specifies for your car will be fine. More than likely, the standard for your car is SN, and because this is the most up-to-date standard, I strongly suggest that you use “SN” oil of the same viscosity that is specified by Honda in your Owner’s Manual.

If Honda specifies synthetic oil, then you must use synthetic oil. Even if Honda doesn’t specify synthetic oil, you might want to use it if you live in an area where winter temperatures drop VERY low, due to the better lubricating properties of synthetic oil at extremely low temperatures.

Here is some very useful information regarding motor oil:

I would not use “re-usable” filters, but some may differ with me. I strongly suggest that you avoid any re-useable air filters that require you to oil them, as these filters can cause damage to sensors in the engine’s intake system. Whether you buy genuine Honda filters ( available in bulk, online, at a significant discount) or aftermarket filters, just make sure that any aftermarket filters you buy are of a recognized brand. Do NOT buy “white box” unbranded filters from China unless you want to risk damage to your engine.

Don’t forget the most often overlooked part of car maintenance, namely changing the PCV valve every 30k miles or so. Failure to do that can lead to performance problems, a build-up of damaging sludge, and oil leaks, due to increased back pressure in the crankcase.

Additionally, even if Honda’s maintenance schedule doesn’t mention it, you need to change your automatic transmission fluid every 30k miles–if you want to get the maximum lifespan from the transmission. And, be sure to use ONLY genuine Honda transmission fluid, as Hondas are notoriously intolerant of any fluid other than the specification of their own fluid.

How would you be “duped”? That’s a good price for an oil change. Review your owners manual and know what maintenance is required. That way you won’t be duped.

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I agree with @VDCdriver on the oil choice. We al have our favorites and I favor synthetics as well. I happen to like K&N cleanable oil-type filters and have two cars owned since new using those filters. One car with 107,000 miles and another with 125,000. One is hard to find paper filters for and the other is. easy. That said, paper is easier to deal with. Remove and toss it rather than wash it, let it dry overnight, re-oil and install.

I can’t see you beating a $27 oil change from the dealer. In my world, $25 for 5 quarts of synthetic, $7 for a filter and a trip back to the store to rid myself of the waste oil.

But I also have all the tools; Jack, jackstands, drain pan, wrenches, filter wrench, funnel and Simple Green to clean the driveway because there is always a bit of dribble.

I can see you want to learn, do you also want to buy and store all the proper tools? You are concerned about the risk of doing damage. The “learn” and “proper tools” part covers that. Just things to consider.

At that price for an oil change that you most likely do every 5000 miles or twice a year why change.

This way you do not have to buy ramps or jack stands, oil filter wrench, drain pan, crush washer if needed, go purchase oil and filter and than have to dispose of said oil.

VDC has given you good advice. Follow that and you’ll have many trouble free miles.
I had to laugh, however, when I read [quote=“VDCdriver, post:2, topic:96825”]
Most people have their own favorite brand of oil that they are convinced is superior to all other brands
I think most people used the least expensive oil they can find that meets their car’s required specification. :grin:

The owner’s manual tells you exactly what type of oil to use. It lists the multi-viscosity weight, other specs, and whether to use synthetic or not. If the weight is zero-something (e.g., 0W20), it has to be synthetic. I buy brand name air filters at my local parts store. Inspect the air filters when you change the oil/oil filter. Don’t forget the cabin air filter. It is behind the glove box in my 2005 Accord, and is probably in the same place on your car.

That’s what I do, but I can recall some very…spirited…discussions in this forum about the superiority of certain brands, and the absolute inferiority of others.
Shortly after I bought my present car, in October 2010, I bought 2 qts of Valvoline 5w-30 (which was the cheapest that I could find at the time) to keep on hand for topping-off the crankcase in between oil changes.
Six years later, I still have 1 1/4 qts of it left. :sunglasses:

For my snowblower, I buy Wal-Mart’s house brand Super-Tech 10w-30, which meets the same SN standard that Valvoline, Castrol, etc meet.

I guess I’m not most people. I use only Mobil 1 synthetic in my Acura and small engines and Mobil in my Pontiac. I buy it on sale (this week again) for $25 and $14 respectively for a 5 quart jug. I would never use Walmart oil in my $900 snow blower, but that’s me. I also only use Honda and AC oil filters.

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As for filters, my personal recommendation is either genuine Honda, Wix, or Napa Gold. As you can tell by all the comments, everybody has their preferences, so you’ll have to do your own homework, I suppose

As for oil, get the correct viscosity and make sure it meets the correct spec, probably SM or SN

I believe your car calls for 0w20, so that means Costco is out, because they don’t carry that viscosity

Napa often has their house brand full synthetic on sale for $2.99/quart. Other parts stores periodically have Mobil 1 on sale for about $5/quart

I agree with the others that the price the dealer is charging you is quite reasonable.

Me too. Mobile 1 for most although I have dabbled in Royal Purple oil and gear oil. Good stuff and VERY pricey!

That dealer price for an oil change is going to be hard to beat even if you DIY. But you should always check the dipstick before you leave the lot. Anyone can make a mistake so you should check to see that the oil is fresh and at the right level, the oil cap is back in place and if you can see the filter, that it is new.

Check the oil level again when you get home, just in case there is a leak.

Do learn how to change the cabin filter. It only takes a minute in most new cars. A new filter from a parts store is all ready over priced at nearly $20, but the dealer will really go overboard and charge $75 or more to change one.

If your car takes 0w20 synthetic oil, then the filter is critical. You may want to use a Honda filter. Most vehicles use an oil filter with a built in bypass valve. The bypass valve needs to operate at a lower difference in pressure for engines on 0w20 because the cannot afford to lose as much oil pressure as engines using a heavier weight oil.

$27 for an oil change is reasonable. YOu don’t be saving much dollar wise by doing the job yourself. There are other advantages of treating oil changes as a diy job tho

  • do it at home, no waiting at the dealership
  • wait as long as you want so all the oil drains out
  • be certain you use the correct oil and filter
  • check for problems w/the cv boots and missing exhaust hangers at the same time
  • shop vac that area right under the windshield of leaves and twigs so they don’t get sucked into the hvac duct work
  • lube the door hinges

For my Corolla I’ve always used 10W-30 Penzoil and the general purpose (orange) Fram oil filters I buy at the auto parts store. For your Honda it probably has variable valve timing so make sure to use an oil that meets Honda’s specs as per the owner’s manual. I’ve heard you can buy HOnda oem oil filters at the dealership for nearly the same price as aftermarket versions at auto parts stores. If so , that’s the way to go. I’ve always had good luck w/Fram engine air filters.

I’ve been changing my own oil on my 1998 Civic coupe for roughly 240,000 miles, and I have a few recommendations:

  1. Buy yourself a valve to replace your drain plug. It’s easy to strip the threads on the oil pan, it’s hard to find the right soft aluminum washers, and using a valve will make the job a lot easier. I originally bought a Fram Sure Drain kit for my oil pan and manual transmission, one of these would work if you can longer find the right Fram kit for your car. They stopped making the Fram kits several years ago.

  2. Any of the available oil filters for your car will be fine, but I tend to spend the extra $2-4 for an expensive filter. The one I buy most often is the Fram Tough Guard filter, but I’m not brand loyal. The Purolator equivalent is just as good.

  3. I tend to use conventional store brand oil, because I change my oil every 5,000 miles. If I was changing my oil every 8,000-10,000 miles, I’d use synthetic. I don’t know what your car calls for, but you should use the viscosity printed on the oil cap. I’m betting it’s 0W-20, which is almost always sold as a synthetic oil.

  4. If you don’t already have them, get yourself some sturdy ramps and jack stands. I use my jack stands as backup when I’m using my ramps, and vice versa. You might have to get plastic ramps in order to find any that are the right size for your car’s front end body work.

  5. Don’t bother with any of those expensive oil pans. Just get the cheap plain open one. The ones that are supposed to work like a bottle, with the opening on the side, always leak.

  6. Don’t forget to do all the other maintenance that is called for at the same time as an oil change, like checking the CV boots, visually inspecting the steering linkage, checking all the other fluids, checking the tire pressure, and occasionally draining and refilling the power steering fluid. I use a siphon pump sold at the auto parts store to drain mine, but a dedicated turkey baster could be used too.

I’m a bit leery on these, as they seem to extend below the oil pan and could be prone to being hit by road debris. I had an episode many years ago where a shop had installed a rubber drain plug, and in driving through a small snow drift, it got knocked off. Luckily I was pulling into a gas station at the time.

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Our 2015 civic uses 0-20. honda has a 0-20 blend and 0-20 full syn. They use the blend on most oil changes but u can request full syn for more money. Odd that Honda blend oil and full syn is about the same price when u buy it at parts dept. But a full syn oil change costs $50+ at dealer. U do have a Honda warranty which requires u to perform servce somewhere. Just keep the receipts. Does jiffy lube have “generic” 0-20 blend stuff?

I’m pretty sure the Civic’s drain plug is on the back side of the oil pan. I wouldn’t recommend the valve on a vehicle on which it would be exposed.

Yeah that was my experience with Honda oil too. The blend was about the same price as the full synthetic. When I had the oil changed it cost something like $70 and they used the blend instead. Why? Who knows, but I just do it myself for the $30 for Mobil 1 and a Honda filter and I don’t have to wonder about what what put in.

Even if they do, I wouldn’t trust their kiddie “technicians” to put the right stuff into my car’s crankcase.
As Joseph Meehan–a long-time member of this forum who has apparently disappeared–used to say, Don’t go to a quick lube place–not even for directions.

If his dealer is only charging $26 for an oil change he is not getting synthetic and therefore does not need SN oil.