Proper lubricants for car

My Honda owners manual specifies to use only Honda brand oils,antifreeze ,PS and power brake fluids, etc. Is there any reason name brand after market products can’t be used? They’re much less expensive.

You can safely use afermarket fluids if they meet Honda specs. After all, Honda doesn’t manufacture their fluids; they’re likely produced by the same companies that are putting the aftermarket ones on the shelves.

The only thing I’ve heard specific to Hondas is their auto trans fluid. If I owned a Honda, I’d use their AT fluid.

All mfg’s recommend using their own brand of fluids. In most cases I’d say the mfg branded fluids aren’t different than quality products from you local auto parts store. In the case of Honda I don’t follow my own rules.

Honda radiators, motors blocks, and parts used in the cooling systems use some more exotic alloys and materials than other brands of cars. Therefore I will stick with Honda brand coolant when I change the coolant in my Civic. I also feel the Honda manual trans fluid is different and somehow unique, so I only use Honda brand manual trans fluid. I figure a trans or new radiator are going to more than the extra $$$ for their brand of fluids since the coolant and manual trans fluids are changed infrequently.

As far as brake fluid, power steering fluid, I’m not as picky. I don’t think I’d risk my Honda auto trans to a non compatible fluid so I’d use Honda ATF branded fluid if I had a Honda with an auto transmission.

For most fluids, I use any brand name, but with PS fluid, you should use either Honda’s stuff or other brands that are made specifically for Hondas. In some cases, it isn’t worth it to use non-Honda fluids. For example, for my Civic’s manual transmission fluid, the price really isn’t that much higher than the synthetic 10W-30 motor oil I sometimes use. For the rear differential on my Honda Shadow (motorcycle), it would be impractical to search for and find a suitable gear oil, so I just use the Honda brand.

You know, you don’t have to buy the fluids at the Honda dealership. They are much cheaper online. Google “genuine Honda parts” to find an online supplier.

A decent amount of revenue to the OEM is in licensing and vending of proprietary fluids. Did GM REALLY have a need to come up with Dex VI? Why do you think XOM co-ops with all the Euro engine builders in creating a spec? They get to charge an ante to those who want to meet it. Honda managed their lock on proprietary fluids for a while, but their just not that special. The ATF genie has shown that it’s more a case of The Imperial Emperor’s New Clothes.

You can use any oil that meets their specs. If this is a new Honda, that would be 5w20 that is a synthetic or semi synthetic. You would be safe with the full synthetic.

The universal antifreeze will work fine. If you like, you can use the propylene glycol instead of the ethylene glycol as long as it is the HOAT formula.

There are some aftermarket PS fluids specifically for Honda. There are also some aftermarket AT fluids that meet Honda specs, just make sure it is on the label, but for a transmission oil change, you only need 3 qts (2.5 actually) and it $7.50 for the Honda fluid, $5. for the aftermarket. $7.50 is worth some peace of mind every 30k miles.

In fact the difference between paying Honda’s cost vs qualified aftermarket fluids just isn’t that great considering the total cost of ownership.

Generally speaking, when manufacturers recommend using “special” lubricants, usually only available at their dealerships, they are trying to milk the cow at both ends or are trying to cover up a design flaw by using some unique lubricant or other fluid in an attempt to keep some poorly designed part from failing when still under warranty…I believe there are aftermarket replacements for ALL these “special” fluids available at a fraction of the dealership price…

Honda has to be careful about how they handle this. According to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a mfr may not require a proprietary brand maintenance item in order for the warranty to remain in effect. If they do, they must supply the item free of charge.

As an example, our new GM car requires synthetic oil per GM4718M Standard designation. At first, Mobil 1 was the only brand that met this standard but now other brands do also indicating that GM has made their requirements available to make it possible to select engine oil from a variety of brands. Honda must also do this or they could face trouble.

My owner’s manual does not state that GM4718M oil must be used to keep the warranty in force but you just know that the dealer will use failure to follow instructions in the owner’s manual as a reason to avoid engine warranty work. The Magnuson-Moss act has put a reasonable limitation on that.

If your Honda is automatic pay close attention to the fluid being Honda compatible. Older Honda’s were finicky on automatic transmission fluids.