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Service Question

The car is a 2009 Honda Civic with 32K. I’ve had it for three years and done nothing to it but change the oil regularly. Unlike every other car I’ve owned, there was no maintenance schedule in the owners manual. I took it to a very large Honda dealer here and when all was said and done I had spent about $800 for the following: brake fluid flush, cooling system flush, power steering fluid flush, air filter, cabin air filter, transmission fluid flush. A lot of $$$ but spread that over the three years I’ve had it and it’s not so bad. In any case, was I “had” by the dealer? Did I not need all this service?


Here’s my opinion, and other guys may or may not agree with me

Brake fluid flush is technically due every 2 years, so that’s okay

Cooling system service is usually due every 5 years. A drain and refill is sufficient. A flush isn’t really needed, unless you’ve got serious problems. In fact, I would normally advise against a
coolant flush using chemicals

Most mechanics would say a power steering fluid flush is just flushing your wallet

The air filter may have been dirty . . . I don’t have an opinion without seeing it

The cabin air filter was probably very dirty. It probably was already due by time and/or mileage

Transmission fluid flush . . . I agree that servicing the trans at 30K intervals is correct. However, a simple drain and refill would have been sufficient. And replace the filter if your car has one. That said, I’m not even sure your car has a trans pan.

Many shops prefer to sell a trans flush and not drop the pan and replace the filter. Trans flushes can be quite lucrative for a shop.

Overall, I think you did okay

That is on the high end of the maintenance, in my book, but you can sleep better at night knowing it was done. I imagine there are reasons other than dealer profit built in. For me I get new brake fluid when I get new brakes, cooling based on mfgr recommendation for miles or years, power steering never done one, but certainly will prolong the life of your parts, trans, as needed based on inspection of fluid. If you don’t mind the expense they are all excellent ideas.


Unlike every other car I’ve owned, there was no maintenance schedule in the owners manual.

You can find the factory owners manual and maintenance manual for your car at:

Thanks Guys. This is all helpful.

I agree with most of the above observations. I would change the brake fluid every 30,000 miles if I had ABS. Power steering, every 10 years or so or when system is serviced. Cooling system; my Toyota recommended is every 8 years or 60,000 miles. After initial service, then every 48 months or so.

Most dealer schedules are way more frequent than the factory manuals, and often have service never mentioned in the manuals, such as fuel system service.

I’ll go a little off topic . . .

I think the “initial” coolant service intervals are pure marketing BS

For example . . . service the coolant at 10 years initially, thereafter every 5 years

I believe this is nothing more than a marketing ploy to sell the car in the first place

The customer thinks they’re buying a low maintenance car

Initial coolant service at 10 years
Extended oil change intervals . . . 10K or more
inspect the serpentine belt at 100K
"factory fill" transmission fluid
Only check valve lash if the valves are noisey
No mention of brake fluid
No mention of diff fluid or transfer case fluid

The sad thing is that a lot of people truly “buy into it” . . . and perhaps later on learn, at great expense, what a bunch of marketing BS it really is

If it was my car, I would do thecoolantrefreshat 100,000 miles and power steering flush if it is needed. I would have done the brakes and auto trans fluid at 30,000 to 40,000 miles and the air filters as needed.

You were right to have the maintenance done but you overpaid, such is life at the dealer.

You are going to need a battery replacement if it had not been done yet.

rattlegas: replaced the battery at 30K, 2K back.

Brakes and toilets are the only things that should be flushed. Honda specifically warns not to flush the transmission, only drain and refill.

Cooling system drain and refill was due.

Air filter was due, cabin air filter was due.

Brake system flush was due.

Transmission drain and fill was due.

Power steering was not due.

Doing a flush when a drain and fill was specified just added cost and in some rare cases can actually due damage.

A lot of things are due at the 30/60/90/120k intervals. Pretty much just oil changes in between. watch the time intervals too as for some items, the time interval can be more important than the miles.

I do the cabin filter at 20K along with the air filter. I think the power steering fluid was not necessary and I don’t believe Honda recommends the trans flush. Just a drain and refill at 30K which is easy with the drain plug.

The maintenance schedule can be found on PG 297 of your car’s owner’s manual.

Honda uses the “maintenance minder” instead of milage amounts, but you roughly figure out when items are due by the fact that every A/B is ~5,000 mi (every oil change interval).

Break fluid every 3 years.
Trans fluid every 30,000 mi.
Valve clearance if noisy (although many would disagree, this is what their manuals say)

Cooling system & power steering? Probably should do it around 70-80,000 miles, so probably a bit too early by a factor of 2x.

As for the engine intake and cabin air filters – they are SUPER easy to do yourself. You can get a cabin air filter on Amazon prime and install it in under 5 minutes. You just flip down the passenger’s side glove box, slide out the old one, slide in the new one. That is always a rip-off from the dealer. And a lot of times the filter doesn’t need to be replaced, you just need to clean / vacuum off the leaves and crap that have collected on top of it.