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Honda Civic Basic Maintenance Questions



  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    The procedure is in your Owner's Manual. ;)
  • sew2sew2 Posts: 2
    My first car was a 57 Chevy that wasn't very old. First Civic was a new 1975 model. Many cars in-between, mostly European/Japanese. I've NEVER seen an oil change as difficult as in the Si. I would like to meet the person(s) who allowed it to be that way. Surely it wasn't "designed". The answer is to get a wrench that tightens and grips well to loosen the factory overtightened oil filter. Then tighten the new one as described on the filter; and from then on, you can hand loosen it. I do mine while laying on the garage floor so it is possible to do. Pack rags over all the places that the oil will leak on to IOT minimize a mess, which will occur. After the change, use a degreaser(such as Gunk) on the backside of the engine, if desired, and wash off the oil that will get on the back of the engine/suspension . I still love the car!
  • Sure have about 5 times. Very easy. Buy 0w20 mobile one syn oil (4 quarts) and a oil filter. Takes about 20 mins. You will use 3.4 quarts of the oil. Saves you a bunch of money. You can even change out the CVT fuild just as easy. You will have to buy the CVT fluid at Honda, but much cheaper. Drain plug for the oil in back right side of moter, and the CVT plug is left side center of moter on bottom. Hope this helps. :)
  • Thanks, but that would have been the last place I looked! Duh,,,
  • uunfewsuunfews Posts: 7
    I have a 2001 Honda Civic LX 4Dr that I recently did a flush and fill for the cooling system. During the purging of the air I was told to watch for two cyclings of the radiator cooling fan during idling but this never happened. I however ran it idle with heater core open and blower fan maxed out for over 45 minutes till the bubbling of air at the radioator neck stopped. The car ran fine for a week now with no sign of overheating or gurgling under the dash but I am a bit concern since the gauge needle always stayed just right at the bottom of the water mark and seeing also that the fan never ever kicked on ever. I used to own Toyota before and the gauge usually stay at 1/3 . Now if I turn on the AC then both fans(radiator and condersor) will come on.

    My question is should I be concern? How often should the fan come on when car is at idle speed in 100-110 Farenheit heat say in a given time period? What interval should it come on?

    Thanks for your help.
  • I would not be concerned. Since you were running the blower with the heater core open, you were basically drawing enough heat out of the coolant so the fans would never have to turn on. If you try purging again this time with the heater core open but the blower off, you should see that fan kick on eventually. This has been my experience with both Civics I have owned. It almost seems their cooling system setup is almost "too efficient" because I have sat in traffic in the middle of a Michigan winter and have actually seen my temp. gauge drop almost back down to "C" after about a 30 minute time period which is frustrating to me because the heat output is not as strong with cold antifreeze! I even went through all the steps making sure the thermostat was good and looked over some other stuff and all checked out well.

    When I have done work on my Civics it seemed the fans kicked on for about 30 seconds at a time about every 5 minutes when they were cycling normally with the A/C off. Normally the temp. outside was about 80-95 degrees since I try to only to work on the car in the summer here in MI.
  • uunfewsuunfews Posts: 7

    Thanks for the replay except I still can't get it to cycle with the heater core blocked off by shutting down heat and even in 97-107 F outside temperature. Gauge 's needle still pegging at same location though.
  • I have a '91 civic hatchback. At approx, 63000 miles I had the timing belt and water pump changed out. The car now has 134000 miles. Do I need to install a new belt and pump?

    Is there a maintenance schedule for high mileage civics that I can refer to ?
  • Civic DX, DX-V, LX, LX-S, and the EXs require 5W20 oil.
    0W20 oils (fully synthetic) are being advertised as energy efficient and a safe substitution. Can I get some opinions on this? Good? Bad? Only on a new engine? Thanks all.
  • The 0W20 full synthetic oil is used in the hybrid vehicles because the combustion engine is continually turning on and off. The 0w20 oil is supposed to give the car a little better cold temperature (below 0F) starting protection. From what I have read, it will give you no better fuel economy or protect a warm engine any better than 5W20 full synthetic (such as Mobil1 5W20). Since I live in Texas and temperatures never get that cold, I stick with 5W20 synthetic (Mobil1). If I lived in a really cold climate, I would probably use the Mobil1 0W20. I do believe in full synthetic oils as they help keep the engine running cooler, reduce sludge build up, and improve gas mileage.

    You can switch to the synthetic any time, but I would wait until your maintenance minder tells you it is time for your first change. The oil added at the factory is supposed to have some goodies added that are needed for proper engine break in.

  • Just replaced the front brakes in my '03 Civic EX(2nd time). 1st was at 40K and now at 77K. Parking brake handle has a lot of travel and probably needs adjustment. I'm planning on replacing the rear drum brakes and think this will solve the travel problem at the same time. Anyone done this adjustment before?
  • Try replacing the shoes first and see if that corrects the problem. The newer, thicker shoe you are going to install may correct the extra travel by itself. If it does cool, if not I'll try to dig up my service manual and I'll post the procedure for you. (I own an 03 as well). I'm surprised you aren't getting better wear performance out of your brake pads. I saw better longevity out of mine. Anyways let me know what you come up with.
  • Thanks for the reply. I replaced the rear shoes yesterday. They still had quite a few miles left but were glazed pretty badly. Probably could have roughed them up with emery paper but for about $20, it was worth replacing them. Pep Boys turned the drums for me for free because I bought the shoes(and pads last week) from them. Wish I had rear discs, they're so much easier than drums to overhaul. The parking brake travel is better with the new shoes, but I still need to adjust the rears a little tighter since they are new. If your service manual has the adjustment procedure for new rear shoes, I'd like to see it. Thanks .
  • Look at Amsoil, I did a lot of research and have changed over. I own a2004 HCH 5 speed.
  • My daughter has a 2008 civic with 12,500 miles on it. We have had in since Feb. and the mileage is primarily highway miles. She took it in for an oil change last week and they told her she needed a new air filter and a new cabin air filter so she did that as well for an extra $40. She is 16 years old and I am wondering if they took advantage of her selling her things she did not need. Should I go back to the place and talk to them?
  • Unless she drive a lot on dirt roads or construction sites, I would say they got her good. Neither should have to be replaced before 25,000miles in my opinion. I've got the same mileage on my 08 and they better not try this one.
  • There is a maintenance minder sub item (#2) for this. So, she shouldn't need this done unless "2" is displayed on the maintenance minder.

    Here what the manual say about sub item 2:

    Replace air cleaner element
    If you drive in dusty conditions, replace
    every 15,000 miles (24,000 km).
    Replace dust and pollen filter
    If you drive primarily in urban areas that have high
    concentrations of soot in the air from industry and
    from diesel-powered vehicles, replace every 15,000
    miles (24,000 km).
    Inspect drive belt
  • sandman46sandman46 Posts: 1,798
    Better to educate your 16 year old to read the manual and just do the services called for at that mileage point. Or perhaps she should have called you when they tried to sell her these things. A shame that she bought these things prematurely but she could've just said "no".

    The Sandman :sick:
  • atlkep1atlkep1 Posts: 4
    Is there really something "special" about the oil that comes in a new Civic? And what is it that is so "special" about it?

    I don't think the first oil change is called for until 7500 miles.

    I have always done much more agressive oil changes on new engines (500, 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000 and every 5000 miles after that), but have been warned off of this for a Honda.

    I just don't understand what could be put into a motor oil that would be beneficial to a new engine, but then, I don't know a whole lot about motor oils.

    Does anyone know what it is that might be different about the oil that comes in a new Civic?

    :confuse: Keith
  • jet10000jet10000 Posts: 656
    If you sign into the Honda Ownerlink site (, in the maintenance FAQ it says:

    Why should I wait to change the oil the first time?

    Your Honda engine was delivered with an oil that is specially formulated for new engines that have not yet developed their "natural" wear patterns and may contain minute particles from the manufacturing process.

    American Honda strongly recommends this special oil be left in the engine long enough for these wear patterns to develop, usually until the first maintenance interval specified in your Owner's Manual, based on your specific driving conditions.

    And no, the first oil change for a 2009 civic isn't 7,500 miles. It's whenever the maintenance minder indicates it. On my civic it's usually between 5 & 6,000 miles.
  • atlkep1atlkep1 Posts: 4
    But this doesn't really say anything to me.

    Other than the ". . . . may contain minute particles from the manufacturing process.", which is why I do so many oil changes at the start of a new engine, to remove those particles so they don't become part of the "natural wear patterns".

    I don't have this car yet, so I was using 7500 because that was the recommended oil change interval on my Odyssey.

    I've never had a car with something that told me when to change the oil. I just do it every 5000 miles, which makes it easy for my wife ("If it ends in a 5 or a 0 I need to know because it's time to change the oil.")

    Thanx for letting me know about the ownerlink site. I wasn't aware of that.

  • jet10000jet10000 Posts: 656
    I've never had a car with something that told me when to change the oil. I just do it every 5000 miles, which makes it easy for my wife ("If it ends in a 5 or a 0 I need to know because it's time to change the oil.")

    With the maintenance minder, when it's time to change the oil, it shows the code in the odometer display and you have to press a button to clear it out of that display until the minder is reset to 100% by the dealership or by yourself if you have the oil change done elsewhere.
  • iluvmycariluvmycar Posts: 1
    I've got the maintenance minder sign activated with a code (B1) on the left. Just wanted to know ballpark how much we need to pay for this service. I bought my car from herb chambers and when i called them up they mentioned 140bucks. This sounds to be ridiculously high amount. Any idea how much it might cost?
  • jet10000jet10000 Posts: 656
    I've got the maintenance minder sign activated with a code (B1) on the left. Just wanted to know ballpark how much we need to pay for this service.

    The 1 is for a tire rotation. If you look over the list for B, the only thing that is not an inspection is the oil change.

    When an oil change is done at my dealership, they do a fairly detailed list of inspections at no charge anyway and give me a checked off summary sheet of the conditions. So whenever I get a B 1, I just ask for a simple oil change and a tire rotation. Saves me some money over what they'd usually charge for a B1.
  • kmp7kmp7 Posts: 1
    I am way out of my league.........
    I have a 98 Honda wit 106. miles. It spends most of its time in airport parking lots.
    I left it off at a Honda Dealer to get a new headlight and oil change and was contacted later with a list of things that needed to be done ASAP.

    I would really appreciate any feedback on the need and estimates if they sound about right.

    I do not know what "bushings" are but I guess they are important. I was told that the rear trailing arm bushings need to be replaced @$668.77.
    2.) Drain and replace brake fluid $133.09
    3.) Drain and replace Power Steering Fluid $151.69
    4.) Replace valve cover gasket and Spark Plugs $176.30

    Just checking on the urgency as it looks like I would be making their weekly budget
    in the service department!

    Thanks for any help.
  • Just my perspective, as I am certainly not an expert...

    1.) If the bushings really are bad, you need to get this done. I would get a second opinion before I spent any money, though.

    2.) Probably not necessary (brake fluid)

    3.) Probably not necessary (power steering fluid)

    4.) Are you leaking oil? The gasket, I think, would correct that. Spark plugs might improve performace, but they are very easy to do yourself, if you're so inclined.

    For the sake of comparison, I had a '97 Civic that I drove into the ground. I traded it in about a year-and-a-half ago with about 180,000 miles. I never did #2, #3, or the gasket; and I never needed the bushings replaced. Granted, that doesn't mean you shouldn't do the brake fluid or power steering; I'm just saying I never did. What ultimately killed my car was a very slow transmission fluid leak that I didn't know about until it was too late... So there is something to be said for routine maintenance, fluid flushes, etc.

    Whatever the case, you're Civic is barely broken in and you should get many more miles out of it. Good luck!
  • The brake fluid and the spark plug changes should be done according to the maintenance schedule in your owner's manual.

    You can probably get better prices on everything if you go to a mechanic you can trust.
  • I owned my last civic from about 71,000 miles to 180,000 miles which covers the time period when most maintenance items need to be taken care of, including the ones you mentioned. Based on my experience here are answers to your questions:

    First of, you are correct. You will be helping the Service Dept meet the weekly budget targets, because:

    a) Trailing Arm bushings are good to replace at a future time, but are not critical and not Have to be replaced ASAP. Not having them replaced will affect your tire's alignment and wear n tear so you may check it out later. Perhaps call around and get quote from repair facilities. Sears, Pep Boys or go to and search for independent honda mechanic.

    b) Brake Fluid change / flush:
    This is Important. But there are two things to consider: 1) $133 is too high a price. most honda dealers run specials to do this for $89.99 or $79.99. Call around to get good price. Now the second part (2) check your records to see when was the last time you changed the brake oil. Honda recommends changing this every 3 years regardless of miles driven.if you've changed regularly, then go right ahead and get this done for less than $90.
    But, if you have never had a brake oil changed, thats a whole different ball game. The thing is, old brake oil has aged with the car and its seals, that the new brake oil will be stronger and will cut through the old seals resulting in a failure of master cylinder ($600), aka brake failure.. thats a life threatening situation. I had this exact thing happened to me and then later to my brother to his 2000 civic. perhaps you can benefit from experience. Ask the tech how bad is the brake oil? Take your car to other shop and get second opinion. If you can hold off on this, thats great, but if you must change right away, keep checking your master cylinder for any brake oil leaks.

    c) Power Steering Fluid:
    Thats just total BS. Honda does not recommend changing P/S fluid, and you will notice that in the Scheduled Maintenance' section of the owners manual that p/s fluid change is not mentioned. The Honda service dept cooks this up to get your money. I talked to the Honda Master tech I've known for 10 years and these were his words. He recommended I don't change the p/s fluid.

    d) Valve Cover Gasket and Spark Plugs:
    These items are usually done when changing the timing belt of the car. Check the scheduled maintenance section of your owner's manual to see when timing belt is due. At that time you'll also need to get the water pump changed.

    If you are not married to your civic, the time has come to think about replacing it. Even though the miles are low, it still is a 10 year old vehicle and things are going to start going south soon. In the next 3 to 6 months you will need:

    a) Trailing Arm Bushings - $600
    b) Brake Fluid change - $ 90
    c) Master Cylinder change - $600
    d) Timing Belt package (timing belt, water pump, spark plugs, gasket etc) $1000

    In total you'll end up spending about $2300 on the car in 6 months with more to come soon. If I were you, I would consider the possibility to replace this car. Take the $2300 you need to fix this car, + about $5k you can get by selling it, you can make that a down payment on a new(er) vehicle that will not have these many issues.
  • I recently bought a civic LX-S with Continental tires. The car runs fine but the tires are very noisy..Are Continentals just lower quality and run noisy? Has anybody else had a similar issue with these tires.My wife also has a civic but it came with Goodyear RS-A tires which seem quieter..Any suggestions on what I can do..I do not want to go spend 400 on new tires..Any suggestions would be appreciated...
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