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Honda Civic 2005 and earlier



  • It's not just the oil industry. Honda themselves suggest 5K miles oil changes at least where I live. The recent problem Toyota is having with engine sludging is in part due to infrequent oil changes as well as a design flaw in the engine. I think the sludging problem is rare on vehicles that have followed the severe service intervals and not Toyota's manual suggestion of 8K.

    I do not know how many cars you have owned but if the 10K oil change works for you, then it is really not an issue. And if that is what the service manual says, they can not deny warrantee coverage either.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,551
    I don't think there is a "wrong" answer. Honda feels that 10K intervals are the maximum people should go under non-severe circumstances.

    Some people like to take better care of their cars than that. I am one of those people. My wife's new CRV will never go more then 5000 miles before an oil change.

    Am I wasting money? Perhaps. I've seen the inside of a dirty engine and it isn't pretty.

    Also, I plan to keep this CRV a very long time.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I personally change my oil at 5K miles always, no matter what the manual says. I think 3k is too soon, and I don't trust 7500 intervals that most manufacturers recommend.
  • dudkadudka Posts: 451
    Ok I understand where people come from, but not all oils are the same. I do my own changes as it not only cheaper, but Paragon Honda that I used to go to secretly put the cheapest oil they could get. They were not using Honda oil, but rather a brand called "Wolf head" or somethign like that, they did not care for the weight either. I saw a tech pour some from one case and some from another.

    Anyway, back to the subject. I have been using Exxon Superflo 5W-20 recommended by the manual. When you first pour it in it is thin and amber. After 3000 miles is it thick and black. Same with Motorcraft 5W-20. But when I used Mobil 1 5W-30 it was still amber at 3000 miles and getting dark at 5000 miles, but still not as black and thick as dyno oil at 3000 miles. But financially it is not equivalent, dynooil costs me $1/quart and Mobil 1 cost $4/quart. f it were able to stand up to 12,000 miles I would buy it, but for now I am sticking with Exxon. I would like to try Amsoil that someone has been prasing here, but it is not sold in stores which raises my suspisions a little. One day I may also buy that Honda branded 5W-20 and see if it is as special as Honda claims it to be.

    I have an Si so I visit red line often and that may contribute to why my oil is deteriorating at 3000 miles.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    I asked a mechanic friend of mine who does not change the oil in my car so gains nothing off of his opinion. He is the shop foreman for my local Mitsubishi dealer. He believes strongly in the 3k oil change, but says it is ok to push it to 5k. He said the "normal" schedule is based on perfect driving conditions that are met just about nowhere, except in a controlled lab environment. The severe schedule would include high speed driving, city traffic, hot and cold temperatures, etc. In other words, the kind of driving conditions everyone encounters. He recommends following the severe schedule if you want your engine to last. Since he deals with repairing engines gummed up from sludge due to infrequent oil changes quite often, I'm willing to believe his real world experience over some lab tech writing a manual. I also see how dark the oil turns by 4k in all my cars, which tells me the lubrication properties are tainted by breakdown and chemicals. A couple of my cars actually alert you to dirty oil by tapping the valves. As soon as the oil is changed, all is quiet again.
  • bd21bd21 Posts: 437
    Your mechanic is right on target. I would seriously question any mechanic who supported anything differently if you are using Dino oil. Very few people out there truly fall under normal driving conditions. If you want to keep you car past 100,000 miles then always follow the severe schedual, but if you don't keep cars with this kind of mileage, go ahead and extend your oil changes. Just remember when you try to sell it, a real mechanic might look down the oil cap and will easily be able to determine your car was neglected. Also, I always check service records, if the oil wasn't at least changed at 5000 miles I wouldn't recommend buying the car.
  • dunworth: The Lexus sucks gas like an athlete sucks water. Great car but he is tired of 20MPG during his 80 mile round-trip commute. It really adds up.

    I change my oil at 7500. At the 15,000 mile mark I switch over to Syntec and continue the 7500 mile oil changes. It would be hard for me to let the odo get to 10,000 before changing the oil even though I am sure it wouldn't cause any problems unless you drive under severe conditions.
  • Yes that is a gas guzzler, especially compared with a Civic. Is the GS300 not equipped with the same family of V6 (albeit different tuning) that is in the Camry/ES/Avalon et al?. My dad's Avalon is good for 37 mpg (imperial) or 31 mpg (US) when cruising on the highway.

    My brother's BMW does not need oil changes as regularly, I think the interval after the first couple is 15,000 km (10,000 miles). They use a synthetic. But ofcourse they charge over C$100 for the service instead of C$30 from Honda so you do not save money, but you do save time.
  • The GS/IS use the inline 6. He is leaning towards a 1996 Civic EX sedan, a 1993 Civic EX coupe, a 2003 Civic Si, or a 2004 EX coupe. As soon as the Dakota sells we will start looking more seriously.
  • seafseaf Posts: 339
    I believe I read somewhere that in Europe where environmental waste is more strictly regulated, oil change intervals are more closely scrutinized, and a study showed that it's not really the exact mileage but really the weather and driving conditions. Some manufacturers are considering putting in sensors to detect oil quality so as to prevent unnecessary oil changes. I also remember it mentioning that winter driving is harsher than summer, so a longer interval for the summer months than winter months.

    It's hard to translate these into actual numbers in the U.S. But I think a safe bet is to change the oil right before winter so it has fresh oil to go through the harsh winter months, then change it again in late spring. This results in a change every 6 months or about 5-6k miles. it's more time-based rather than mileage based. Since anytime I put more miles than usual into my car is due to highway long distance trips and they're more gentle than city traffic miles.
  • I am thinking about buying a new civic to replace my '92 DX 4 door sedan with 123K miles. I was surprised to find that the highway mileage rating of a new sedan is only 38 mpg. My old one has averaged 39.2 mpg over the car's lifetime, which has been spent in Massachusetts. No more than a third of the 123K is highway mileage, the rest being a mix of city and country. Does anyone with a civic of recent vintage have a good idea of mileage? Thanks in advance for any posts.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    Which was more than my 93 CX.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    So you still have the Civic, or did you replace it already?
  • dudkadudka Posts: 451
    I think BMW uses opacity sensors in the oil pan to determine when an oil change is needed. Then a light on the dash board lights up. Problem with BMW is that you don't anticipate the oil change and when the light is on you have to get your car into the dealership. Which is a problem of its own. There are waiting lists month long to get service at BMW dealership. And the frosting on the cake is that if you did not buy you bimmer from a particular dealership, they will not let you perform maintenance at their dealership. I am talking about Darien BMW in CT and Westchester BMW in NY. It may be different in other parts of the country.
  • mdrivermdriver Posts: 385
    Actually, "normal driving" is not that rare. I do it and I've checked every possibility that I don't fall into the "servere" schedule and I don't. My oil is still quite clean looking at 7500 miles. Still, how can a mechanic at a corner gas station say that 3k should be adhered to when the company who built the engine (Honda) and tested it says differently. Does anyone believe anything else the manual says who is it just the oil change interval that is suspect? What about all of the other maintenence that is suggested? See that's different becuase there is no huge industry saying change the brake fluid every 10k miles, so we are left to believe the manual.
  • Alot of people get above the EPA rating after a few thousand miles. Still 38MPG vs. 39.2MPG isn't that bad if you consider the 03-04 Civic's safety rating and size compared to the 1992's. And it has 20 or so more HP.
  • jjpcatjjpcat Posts: 122
    mdriver, you are not the only one who follows Honda's recommendation. I have never got into any engine problems for the 5 new cars I have owned, by following the normal driving schedule. But, I didn't keep any of them past 50k miles. So I can't tell if they would get into troubles further down the road. So, I would like to hear those FIRST-HAND experience after 100k miles.

    As for the engine problem reported against Toyota 3.0L V6 engines, it's because those owners didn't even change oil for 20k-30k miles. I have owned 3 cars equipted with them engine and none of them has any engine issues.

    My 01 Civic LX (auto) is consistently getting 38-40mpg on the freeway (70-80mph). It would drop to 35-36mpg if I cruise at 90-95mph. When I cruised at 55-60mph, I alway got 42-43mpg.
  • Actually, alot of the Toyota owners had receipts showing that they had the oil changed as recommended in the owner's manual yet they still had sludge and seized engines which Toyota would not pay for. Nothing inherently wrong with the cars, they just recommended the wrong interval especially for those that drove under severe conditions.
  • mdrivermdriver Posts: 385
    If the problem with the Toyota engines developing sludge was due to a too long of an oil change interval, don't you think Honda would know this too? Why would Honda suggest a long interval if they thought even for a second that it may cause sludge or any other trouble.

    The trend for longer oil change intervals will increase in the future. Oil sensors can allow some cars to go to 15k miles without a change. This is progress for the consumer and the environment, but damaging for the oil change industry. I wonder why people aren't as passionate about changing the brake fluid.
  • dunworthdunworth Posts: 338
    Pretty well since the day I bought it, my 2003 Civic 5-speed gets 47-49 mpg imperial gallon or 39-40 us gallon if I cruise at around 100-110 kmph/63-68 mph. This car is more powerful and far roomier than your old car (which is still better than many newer small cars). My old Saturns were good for up to 53-56 mpg imperial or 44-46mpg US. So I lost some mpgs buying this new car.

    The only cars that get better fuel econ these days are the Corolla and Echo. Both are quite a bit smaller inside and are not as fun to drive IMHO (I own a Corolla).
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    Honda is only concerned that their engines last 36k. After that, if something fails, it's the owner's responsibility, not theirs. Ever notice how those with higher powertrain warranties have lower oil change intervals? The company with high liability is going to cover themselves as much as possible. Obviously, Honda would be potentially damaging their reputation for quality if they got too lenient in maintenance and things started breaking too early. But still, not that many people keep their cars past 100k anymore so they are trying to make the cars look cheaper as far as maintenance costs go rather than worry about engine longevity. After 100k is where the oil change interval will make a difference. Tear your engine down at 150k and I guarantee you it will not be in as good as shape as one who changed their oil every 5k, unless synthetic oil was used.

    As far as other maintenance intervals go, their is nothing to really contend. Brake fluid isn't under the same conditions as oil so it's fine to change it every 30k. Same goes for the tranny.

    Lastly, do you never see temperatures that exceed 90 or go below freezing? You never encounter stop and go traffic? You never exceed 60 mph on the highway? If you do encounter these things, than how can you consider yourself under "normal" circumstances? These all fall under severe circumstances. Ultimately, it is your car so if you don't care how it lasts past 100k than don't worry about it.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    Honda doesn't offer any other warranty besides the 3/36 on their cars? I didn't know that actually, as I never have shopped seriously for a Honda due to the fact that the dealer always treated me rudely when I went there.

    I had read in a car price book that Hondas don't have any roadside assistance, one of the only carmakers out there who don't. I find that kind of disappointing actually.
  • dunworthdunworth Posts: 338
    Up here in Canada Honda's have a 5 year/100,000 km/60,000 mile warrantee. Bumper to bumper is 3 year/6000 km /36 miles. No road side assistance is standard.

    My experince with Honda engines is that they last a really long time. Even well maintained Civics from the 1980s routinely have more than 300,000 km/180,000 miles on them.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    ...on a Scion xA of all things. You can read my impressions on the Scion on the xA message board.

    Basically if you are only going to have one car, the Civics are better - more middle of the road - but a little plain vanilla - and the xA is a lot of fun to play with.

    I'll let you know if the fun wears off, and what the gas mileage is.
  • seafseaf Posts: 339
    Let's assume that Honda is only concerned about engines that are covered under warranty and don't care how long it runs afterwards. That means if they recommend long oil change intervals, they leave the impression their cars need less maintenance, but they risk a lot of engines dying prematurely. This means their "reliable" brand image would be tarnished (one of the main selling points of a Honda for the average buyer).

    So I don't think Honda would want the potential disaster of being known as makers of engines only lasting 50k miles just to gain the image of needing less maintenance. Therefore I believe their decision to recommend a long oil change interval was studied very well and it's a decision that meant they truly believe their engines will perform just as well with the longer oil change intervals.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,551
    Assuming honda doesn't care after the 36,000 mile warranty runs out is pure rubbish!

    Of course they care! They have built their reputation on building bulletproof engines that go 250,000 miles and more.

    Why would they want to risk ruining that by suggesting oil change intervals that are too long?
  • dunworthdunworth Posts: 338
    Oils do last longer now adays and up here Honda uses a semi synthetic which is why our service intervals are 8,000 km (5,000 miles) not 5,000 km (3,000 miles).

    Ask anyone with a really high mileage engine, Honda or otherwise, and most will have done more oil changes than fewer. Most engines will last a long time today, even the cheap little Alpha 1.5 in the Hyundai Accent will last 240,000 km/ 150,000 miles if properly looked after.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    Funny you should mention the Accent. My co-worker has a 1995 with about 100K on it, and it runs like a top. She said she changed the oil every 3-5k in it.

    Civics do run forever anyway. I would guess it's because when they get to a higher mileage, owners become more careful with them and treat them better.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    I didn't mean to say Honda doesn't care about their reputation or that they would willingly build engines that self destruct after 50k. I was simply trying to point out that changing your oil more often will lead to a longer lasting engine with a much lower chance of oil burning. Tear down an engine with 10k oil changes and one with 3k and you will see a difference in the amount of wear. Does Honda care that more wear will occur? Not really, since the wear will take plenty of miles and Honda's liability for repairs will be long gone and its doubtful their reputation for quality would be harmed. From what I have heard from mechanics, no one fits the normal schedule and if you are concerned with keeping your car a long time, than you should follow the severe schedule. Following Honda's normal schedule is ok if you don't plan on keeping the car for the long haul. It does save money and resources. But believing that Honda knows their engine will not suffer any consequences from 10k oil changes is just plain silly. Honda may have good engines, but they can't change the stress and contamination that occurs as a natural byproduct of combustion. The engineers are making a compromise between longevity and cheaper maintenance.
  • bd21bd21 Posts: 437
    I could not have said it better myself! You are right on every point. I suggest the people that think they are mechanics, but really have done little work on engines, go talk to a real mechanic and get the real story(not Honda or the Lube Center). If you want to keep your car for as long as possible, you should follow the severe maintenance schedule regardless of what you think your driving habits fall under.
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