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Only Honda fluids for a Honda?

I posted another question on here about my 04 civic and several responses mentioned to only use honda brand fluids in a honda (mine is due for its 90k maintenance) however the mechanic I have found (the highest rating on of any I’ve seen and also cheaper by more than half) said that he uses castrol brand fluids and has never had a problem with that. Any thoughts?

You should use Honda automatic transmission fluid. Even Jiffy Lube uses Honda AFT-Z1 for Hondas. You can use another brand of brake fluid, but you have to be careful. A DOT3, synthetic, non-silicone fluid with the highest boiling point you can find will do the trick. I use Valvoline fluid, but there may be others. The safest thing to do is use Honda fluids. Which fluids did you have in mind?

The Honda ATF is the only fluid that should be the Honda brand. Now Castrol has an ATF they claim meets Honda, Toyota and several other makers specs, but it costs almost as much as the Honda Z1 ATF.

I have a manual transmission, so automatic transmission fluid isn’t a concern. I didn’t have any fluids in mind, but the shop I’m taking it to (which came highly recommended and services a lot of civics) doesn’t use honda fluids and I didn’t know if I should be concerned.

As for coolant, make sure it’s compatible and meets Honda’s specs. Also power steering fluid, I think.

I use generic oil, coolant, and brake fluid in my Honda, but it’s older than yours.

I recommend, and use, only Honda transmission oil, regardless of transmission type. I’m sure there are other brands that will work in a manual, but I wouldn’t risk it with an automatic.

You should use only Honda brand manual transmission fluid. Same with coolant, stick with Honda brand. I use Honda power steering fluid too. Oil I use any brand. Brake fluid I use a good brand name (not necessarily Honda) the meets the specs given by Honda.

I buy the fluids from a Honda dealer and provide them to my mechanic. When he deletes the cost of fluids from the bill, it comes out the same total cost.

The manual trans fluid and coolant are the most critical in my opinion.

Remember my other post when I said to leave a shop that says they use “universal” fluids in Hondas? This is the shop. LEAVE. The mechanic does not know what he is talking about.

Castrol is the cheapest name-brand oil sold at my local Wal-Mart. This is why the guy recommends it. Heck, I recommend it and use it in my Toyota. Never in a Honda.

BTW, Honda says in their book you can use another type of MANUAL transmission fluid as a temporary emergency replacement, but to drain and fill it with Honda fluid ASAP. Do not do this with an automatic.

What makes me Mr. Expert? My wife has this exact same car (2004 Civic) which runs and drives like new after 130k miles because I follow the “severe service” schedule in the owner’s manual.

First off…All of Honda Fluids are made by one of the oil companies…They are a very specific blend to meet Honda’s engineering specs.

There are ATF fluids that meet Honda’s specs besides Honda…however they are as expensive or more expensive.

Engine Oil…There is no Honda Specific engine oil. Just use the right API type that’s stated in the manual.

Power Steering fluid. Again there are other companies that make a Honda fluid…HOWEVER…I found that the Honda fluid from the dealer was the cheapest. It was half the price of the STP Honda fluid I could buy at Pep-Boys.

Manual Transmission fluid is just gear oil. Everyone makes one that will meet the Honda specs. But I think it’s GL-4 and NOT GL-5. If GL-4 is specified do NOT use GL-5…it will eat away at any brass in the transmission.

Coolant - There is no specific Honda coolant. Just get the right type specified in the owners manual.

I use Honda power steering fluid, and if I had an automatic transmission in my Civic, I would use Honda ATF, but since I have a manual transmission, I use synthetic 10W-30 oil in my transmission, any brand name brake fluid in my clutch and brake systems, and any brand name coolant of the correct type in the cooling system.

For some things, like automatic transmissions and power steering, you should stick with Honda fluids. For everything else, just make sure you use the right type, regardless of the brand.

Honda manual transmission fluid for my Civic is just 10W-30 motor oil with a few additives to keep it breaking down over time. I just use synthetic 10W-30 oil instead. It’s slightly less expensive.

Thanks, it does seem like you really know your stuff…this isn’t an untested shop though: his ratings on yelp at least are amazing so I’m not sure what to think about the fluids thing.

My '88 Accord called for 10W-40 in the manual trans., but the last time I put that in (~3 years ago) the shifting just didn’t feel quite right, especially when cold.
I did some research and it turns out that motor oils are formulated a little differently (friction modifiers) than 20 years ago.
I refilled with Honda MTF, which was also obviously less viscous than 10W-40 and it made a big difference.

I knew a mechanic at a Honda dealership years ago and he mentioned that they replaced leaky steering racks on a regular basis due to people using other than Honda power steering fluid.

Personally I would not worry much.

Simply changing the fluids put you ahead of 80% of the other folks out there who don’t bother.

Also on transmission fluid likely 80% who use non-Honda fluid are changing it way too late because of shifting problems. Instead of blaming the person holding the mirror they blame the non branded Honda fluids.

Any brand name fluid that meets the car manufacturers specs will work fine.

Thanks so much to everyone! Sounds like although there are some varied opinions I should at least use honda steering and transmission fluid. I’ll be sure to discuss all this further with my mechanic as well.

ah! interesting theory…sounds pretty logical. I’m just really confused because I got a really good feeling from this mechanic and then a ton of “NO NEVER put non-honda fluids in your car!” advice.

It’s hard to believe there is something unique to Honda’s that requires them to need special fluids…I suspect Honda uses these “special” fluids as a profit center or to try and cover up design flaws in poorly engineered automotive systems like transmissions…If a Ford power steering system can last 15 years or more on generic ATF why can’t Honda’s power steering do the same?? Then there is this angle…“Oh, you didn’t use Honda transmission fluid…We are sorry your transmission crapped out at 62,000 miles but your 100,000 mile powertrain warranty will not cover this…” Saves them millions of dollars a year. First, you offer a 10 year, 100,000 mile warranty…Then you build in as many ways possible to weasel out of it…

…I suspect Honda uses these “special” fluids as a profit center or to try and cover up design flaws in poorly engineered automotive systems like transmissions

Talk about a stretch…We had two Honda’s last well over 200k miles…One…last time I knew had well over 350k miles…NEVER had a problem with the tranny or engine. Honda had a 3 year stretch of transmissions prematurely dying. If there was a design flaw…it would be showing up…and it’s not…Still considered one of the most reliable vehicles made…

No reputable supplier of fluids that are claimed to meet this or that spec is going to foist off an inferior fluid. They would be opening themselves up to a lawsuit (class action or otherwise) and a lot of bad press.

Honda has their fluids manufactured by a 3rd party; just like every other car maker and this includes most parts on a car.
There’s a good chance that the Honda fluid on the dealer parts dept. shelves came out of the same vat that filled the XYZ Brand containers at the ABC parts store.

If the mechanic the OP mentions uses Castrol brand fluids and has no issue with them then there should be no problem. If those fluids were a problem that mechanic would not have his reputation and hiney on the line by using them.