Why doesn't my car's manual have a chart of maintenance vs. mileage?



I bought a 2015 Honda Civic EX last month. Now I’m an old school, change your own oil, keep a notebook in the glove compartment with dates and mileage of all maintenance done, kind of guy. I’ve owned a 78 Corolla, 90 Mazda B2200, 92 Accord, 93 Mazda MX6, 95 Ranger, and an 01 Accord. Every vehicle’s manual had a chart of maintenance items and at what mileage they should be done.

The Civic does not.

It has a dashboard notification that service is needed plus a number. You look up the number in the book and it gives you a list of service items to perform. So there is no way to know even how often to change the oil until that light comes on.

This seems goofy to me. How many cars are like that these days? I am not the kind of guy who waits for lights to come on and then hands the keys and my wallet to the dealer to ‘take care of it.’

I’m really surprised Honda would do this.


Part of the reason for that I’m guessing is b/c the car’s computer knows the mileage and how the car is being driven, what speeds, what the ambient temperatures are, engine loads, driving frequency, and is able to come up with a better maintenance schedule with that knowledge than if it were scheduled by a prescribed schedule in a book. That’s Honda’s thinking anyway I presume. You can get more specific info about Honda’s suggested maintenance schedule for your car here …



Yeah, I’ve got an Acura and the same thing. I remember the 08 had mileage but not sure about the 2012 but the 2016 doesn’t. I had a pretty good discussion with the service manager on it and we just ended up agreeing to disagree. He said they really put a lot of effort and study into the whole maintenance minder software and trusts it completely. I just want mileage. I went to the new owner orientation though and there they actually talked in terms of mileage.

You won’t find it in the book but they said 10,000 for the first differential change, then with the trans and transfer case after that. 30,000 for the transfer case and transmission. (if you have AWD) Cabin and engine air cleaners at 20,000, and I do oil changes at 5000 which is about 50% of the maintenance minder reading. I don’t keep them long enough for plugs which I think are 100K and coolant probably 5 years for the long life. I don’t like to go more than 30-40K on a serpentine belt but that’s just me. Most of the rest as needed.

Unfortunately I think everyone is going to the software versus mileage and maybe some day I’ll get used to it, but when they say you have to bring the car in to have the minder read and reset, I don’t like it.


If it’s anything like my Acura, there will be buttons on the steering wheel that cycle the display where the odometer is. One of those displays will show you remaining oil life as a percentage. You can expect the light to come on at 15%.


There’s no chart or recommended mileage for when to change the oil based on mileage because the oil change isn’t due at a certain mileage. It’s due, well, when it’s due.

GM and Honda have developed pretty sophisticated oil life monitors and the car is smart enough to tell you when it needs service. It’s not just miles. It’s miles, start/stop cycles, engine temperature and driving conditions, and other factors. Think of it this way. If you left the car in the driveway and ran it for 3 hours a day and never went anywhere and filled the tank with gas cans, you’d put 0 miles on the car but eventually you’d need an oil change. The car will tell you when that is. Let’s say you live in an urban area and drove 20 miles to work and 20 miles back. That might translate to 3 hours a day the car is on the road. Under those conditions you would need an oil service sooner than if you took the car on a 2500 mile road trip. The car knows the difference and will tell you when it’s due.

It’s quite simple. Use the correct oil, keep it full, and change it when the oil monitor tells you to.

As an addendum, let me add this: For customers at the shop, I recommend Honda oil changes at 15% oil life OR 6 months, whichever come first. That’s because the bulk of our customers are unable or unwilling to do things like check tire pressure, top off washer fluid, check for burned out lights or worn wipers, checking the cabin filter, etc. For those people it makes financial and logistical sense to get the car in for oil service and inspection twice a year.


This seems to be an example of dealer-recommended maintenance and manufacturer-required maintenance. 10K miles to change the oil in the diff? 30k for the transfer case an transmission? Sounds like someone took out a loan for a new boat.


I understand what everyone is saying, but IMHO this new practice by Honda is corporate overcontrol. I don’t like the idea. IMHO “customer satisfaction” is being compromised to attempt to lock the car buyer into a lifelong relationship with the dealership and only the dealership.

I like Hondas. I don’t like this new corporate policy. We’ll see how long it lasts. We’ll see if repeat buyers are compelled to go elsewhere the next time after having not being provided a repair schedule. .


I don’t follow. You aren’t required to get the oil changed at the dealership. It’s just telling you to do it, not where to do it.


But he dealer has all the other maintenance requirements and the owner doesn’t. That would make the owner captive to the dealer to ensure that the proper maintenance is done to schedule.

To my mind, if I pay 20, 40, 50 or more thousand dollars for a vehicle, I should get the maintenance schedule too.


Why? The manual says what’s needed with each reminder.


Well, if you’re happy not being able to plan your future maintenance, simply relying on a “chip” to tell you when to do things, that’s fine. I’m not. I like to prepare ahead of time.


I think the computer monitored intervals make more sense. Intervals based solely on mileage are a compromise that was necessary before we had the ability to do the monitoring on a car by car basis. The recommended interval chart would be far too complex to list all of the input variables that lead to a recommended interval so they boiled it down to a ‘close to worst case’ interval so they could use one number. But environmental conditions vary, user application conditions vary and so on. Now, the computer can monitor most of the relevant conditions and develop a unique interval based on those. Some people were certainly doing things more often than necessary but that’s not as bad as those who could likely have needed a shorter interval. Now everyone gets the right recommendation based on their particular situation.

It has nothing whatsoever to do with the dealership. The algorithms are built into the vehicle control systems and almost all can divulge the % remaining through some built in display. They have margins built in so that they begin to alert before the service is required and have some remaining life even when they read 0% on the display. For example, I recall reading how GM has a buffer of 10% oil life left when the computerized readout says 0%. For those procrastinators out there…


Nope, owner has it too. It’s in the manual, and also available online. Here’s an example, for my car:


You just click on the buttons that correspond to what your maintenance minder is telling you.

I get that you want to plan for maintenance, but you can plan for it with this system too. Maintenance pops are driven by oil change intervals. So when the timing belt maintenance item is due, it won’t actually light up until it’s time for an oil change. The manual, for instance, tells you the t-belt is due somewhere around 105,000 miles, and so after your last oil change before the 105k mark, you know the next oil change will also be a t-belt service, and then you watch the oil life % count down.

It’s really a better system because the old way, people often fell into the “severe service” category without realizing it, and therefore followed the “regular service” intervals and were actually getting maintenance done late.

Now that the computer monitors the conditions, it can figure out exactly when you need to have that maintenance done so you don’t do it early or late.


And they worked. And they allowed us to plan ahead.

The algorithms don’t. The policy of using these systems in lieu of old-fashioned maintenance schedules does.

I contend that there’s more of creating the owner/dealer relationship in these policies in lieu of providing a maintenance schedule than there is in any technical explanation.

Ii understand the technical explanations. I also understand the way manufacturing decisions are made at senior levels. I’ve been both engineering and manufacturing senior management. And what I’ve stated is what I believe.

And I prefer to have a schedule. Period.


And they worked. And they allowed us to plan ahead.

They still allow you to plan ahead. It’s not a black and white defining moment when the light illuminates. The sky is not falling. It’s telling you to go have this done as soon as reasonably possible.

I contend that there’s more of creating the owner/dealer relationship in these policies in lieu of providing a maintenance schedule than there is in any technical explanation.

I don’t see the connection. There’s nothing stopping you from reading the manual and interpreting the results. You do not need the dealership or anyone else to tell you what they mean or how to respond. When the reminder pops up, you open your manual, read what it means and if appropriate, schedule maintenance with your preferred repair facility at your convenience.


You can read the manual and it’ll tell you what buttons to push to determine the code for the next service. Let’s say it’s B1. The book will tell you exactly what B1 means. For instance, it could be oil change, tire rotation, cabin air filter, engine air filter, check this and that. And it will tell you how to reset the maintenance reminder

I do not feel there’s any reason to go the dealer to have such a car serviced

And I feel it IS possible to plan ahead


I’m happy for you if you like this.
I don’t. I’ve stated what I prefer without telling anybody else what they should do. You should try this approach. It’s far less arrogant than yours.

And don’t talk down to me. I understand the issues, perhaps even better than you do. I simply disagree with you. I’m sorry you can’t accept that.



I don’t see anything arrogant about that paragraph :neutral_face:

I read the same thing as everybody else, and I don’t see anybody being talked down to


I’ve stated my preference for physical service schedules. I’m sorry you’re unable to accept it. I’m sorry you feel that you know better than I what I should have or do.

By the way, I can read. Giving people unsolicited step-by-step instructions is insulting.


Of course you don’t.