Honda Accord Engine Break-in and First Oil Change Questions

tamu2002tamu2002 Member Posts: 758
edited September 2014 in Honda
One month after I bought our 06 Accord, I finally got a copy of the Service History booklet. But I was disappointed at the terrible lack of detail. No where in the book are the recommended oil change intervals mentioned. Someone said Honda specifically advises NOT to do the 1st oil change within the first 5K miles, but I couldn't find that info anywhere in this booklet or the manual! Nowhere does it mention the timing chain replacement (4-cy), transmission oil or brake fluid changes schedule either.

Am I missing another booklet? Can anybody here tell me where to find the recommended maintanance for the above mentioned parts? Thanks.


  • jaxs1jaxs1 Member Posts: 2,697
    Sounds like you are not reading all the manuals that came with the car.
    Isn't there a oil life monitor that lights up to tell you when he oil is due to be changed and varies every time based on your driving habits, not a set schedule?
    I have heard this before and I don't even own an Accord.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Member Posts: 9,731
    Jaxs is right

    Use the maintenance minder built in to the info display (Odometer location). Read your manual and it will explain the different functions of the maintenance minder.

    If you just can't stand it though, we have a 2005 Accord (4-cyl) that reccommends oil changes every 10,000 miles for normal conditions (not many people qualify for that) and 5,000 miles for 'severe' conditions (varying temps, stop and go driving, etc...).

    I just use the minder in my 2006 EX I-4... it seems to get me an oil change around the 7,000 mile mark (I drive fairly easily, but do a lot of suburban stop & go).
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Member Posts: 758
    Of course I read the books, very carefully. I know about the minder but I need more info than that. It'd be nice to actually know what Honda recommends regarding various maintenance issues. They don't even tell me if my car has a timing belt or chain! My salesman said it's a chain, but I wanted confirmation from Honda. Maybe it's all built in to the minder. But these issues should still be spelt out in details in the manual.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Member Posts: 758
    And thegrad, you also have an 06 right? Can you tell me where you saw the recommendation that the 1st oil change should not be done within 5K miles? Thanks.
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Member Posts: 1,134
    )) "Nowhere does it mention the timing chain replacement (4-cy), transmission oil or brake fluid changes schedule either." ((

    Timing chains generally have no set replacement interval. That's not to say they'll never wear out during the life of an engine (they and their auto-tensioner rails will...), but it may take several hundred thousand miles - or less than a hundred-fifty thousand miles. No way to predict. (Timing belts are an entirely different matter.) I don't know what Honda's recommended ATF changeout interval is, but given the 5-sp auto tranny's past problems, you'd probably be smart to change it out every 30,000 miles. If you do it yourself, use ONLY Honda Z-1 ATF. Do not let anyone who services your Honda's transmission tell you that a correction concentrate such as "Lubegard Black" added to widely available Dexron III is "just as good". It isn't, and Honda won't cover the damage that occurs with it. Hondas are no different regarding brake system flushing than any other make. It should be done every two years. Brake fluid readily absorbs moisture. Moisture in the brake lines reduces efficiency (the water will boil to a gas and result in a spongey pedal during extreme braking) and promotes internal corrosion of the steel brake lines. Any brand DOT 3, DOT 4, or DOT 5.1 is compatible in your Honda's brake system. Do NOT use DOT 5, which is a silicon-based fluid, unless the old fluid is thoroughly flushed out of the lines and the calipers are disassembled and cleaned of all traces of the old fluid.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Member Posts: 9,731
    I didn't see that reccommendation, although I've heard it from several different service techs, and our service manager. They say do NOT bring it in until it is due for a change (on the 2003-2005 I4s, the scheduled maintenance is 5,000 miles, so that's when I brought it in). I take it every 5k miles now, even though the minder generally says 40% or so at that point. I'm afraid when I actually get to the 15%, I'll be too busy, so it's easier to do it somewhere in that range of 5,000 miles -15% on the meter...About a 2,500 spread of which I can find time to get it changed.

    It is a timing chain also, I'll confirm that for you (not that my word means much:))
  • thegraduatethegraduate Member Posts: 9,731
    I believe the ATF flush is scheduled for 60,000 miles. My dad just had it done in his 2005 model, and he had about 58,000 miles.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Member Posts: 758
    Can you tell me where you saw the recommendation that the 1st oil change should not be done within 5K miles? Thanks.
  • wildman63wildman63 Member Posts: 27
    Service writer at the dealership told me first service (oil change) for the 4 cylinder is 5000 miles, and 3750 miles for the six cylinder. He avoided answering whether the car is delivered with a "break-in" type oil. Haven't seen answers to these questions in the manual.
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    Can you tell me why any manufacturer would choose to use a belt instead of a chain? It seems the chain has all the advantages and the belt none. Is it a cost thing?
  • robr2robr2 BostonMember Posts: 8,805
    Can you tell me why any manufacturer would choose to use a belt instead of a chain? It seems the chain has all the advantages and the belt none. Is it a cost thing?

    Noise - belt is quieter than a chain.

    Cost - belt is cheaper than a chain.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Member Posts: 9,731
    Read post 19313 for my response to this question the first time... :)
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Member Posts: 758
    Thanks. I missed your post somehow.

    I think I'll just keep my eye on the oil and maybe change it during the Christmas break with Mobile 1 syn. Unless the "don't-change-the-oil-untill-5K" comes from Honda directly, I'm hesitant to trust it, not to be disrespectful thegrad. ;)
  • wildman63wildman63 Member Posts: 27
    I'll be moving to synthetic in my new Accord, but not till the car has about 10,000 to 15,000 miles on it. Mechanics I talk to suggest not jumping from dino oil too early. The dealer recommended the first oil change at 5,000 miles. Can't help you with a written reference on that.

    Synthetic oil makes more sense to me using the oil change reminder system. I don't drive much. With 3200 miles showing on the odometer (bought in May), the percentage remaining shows 60%. That means I should expect about 7,000 miles between oil changes. I don't feel comfortable running dino oil for that many miles.

    I use Castrol Syntec in my Dakota pickup and change it annually (about 5,000-6,000 miles)or at 5,000 if that comes first. The Dakota is a 2001 with 38K on it.

    I will probably follow the same routine in the Accord. Use synthetic... watch the miles and change it annually or when the indicator reaches the lower limit.

    Somebody's going to get a great used car in ten years ;-)
  • elroy5elroy5 Member Posts: 3,735
    I think it has something to do with the engine configuration. The inline 4cyl chain only has to go around one camshaft, like an "O" shape. The V6 has two camshafts (one on each cyl bank), therefore the belt would be serpentine, sort of like a "W" shape, and would probably reduce horse power because of the length, weight, and all the turns the chain would have to make. The belt is much lighter, and easier to flex around all the pulleys and shafts.
  • tallman1tallman1 Member Posts: 1,874
    I wish I could remember where I read it but I know I did on something official. I've looked in the owner's manual but can't find it now. It made sense to me since the oil from the factory is supposed to be different and it helps collect the minute metal particles from the engine. It was very clear that you shouldn't change it before 5000 miles.

    Now if I could just find where I read that to make you feel better. :confuse:
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Member Posts: 2,697
    All the maintenance requirements are written out in manuals delivered with the car. I don't know why you cannot find it. Try asking the dealer to help you find it.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Member Posts: 758
    The dealer told me the 4-cy has a timing chain and don't switch to synthetic untill after 10K some miles. But Honda's manual makes no mention of the chain and its maintenance (or no need thereof); with regards synthetic oil, it only says something along the line of "make sure you use the right weight", and makes no mention of waiting for 10K miles. You'd think if they felt this were important enough, they'd want to let the owner know.

    So my conclusion is:
    1)if the 4-cy engine has a timing chain (most likely), it doesn't ever need to be replaced or the minder will tell ya;
    2) switch to synthetic anytime;
    3) do the first oil change anytime.

    What other logical conclusions can one draw from the information that THEY (Honda) provide? :confuse: :mad:
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Member Posts: 2,697
    If there is no mention of a belt change ever (like 105K or 110K miles) then it would have a chain that should last the life of the engine.
    Just look at all the maintenance requirements in the manual. Other Hondas have different levels of service like A1 to B3. A1 would be the most basic interval of only an oil change and the B3 would be the most extensive service changing alot of filters, belts, changing transmission fluid and everything else that has any maintenance requirement. The Accord is probably the same.
    Just look it up in the manual.
  • tallman1tallman1 Member Posts: 1,874
    The Accord has a timing chain, not a belt.
  • djm2djm2 Member Posts: 712
    Why do you want to spend the extra money for "synthetic oil"? Just use the regular oil, and change it and the filter every 3,000 miles. I have done this on a 2003 4 cylinder Accord, and I do not use any oil between oil and filter changes. In addition, the crankcase is VERY clean! This vehicle is used on the highway,(65 + mph), so I should be using some oil. I have the dealer perform this service, and I am in and out in less than 30 minutes. ------- Best regards. ---Dwayne :) :shades: ;)
  • jack47jack47 Member Posts: 312
    My '95 Camry manual recommends changing the oil (under normal driving conditions)every 7500 miles. While I don't drive 7500 miles/year I generally change the oil once a year...that is, if I remember to.

    The car runs like a charm and, other than buying a new battery, haven't spent one dime on it.

    Now, the question is....why (laugh) the hell am I thinking about buying a new car.
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Member Posts: 1,134
    )) "Can you tell me why any manufacturer would choose to use a belt instead of a chain? It seems the chain has all the advantages and the belt none. Is it a cost thing?" ((

    Other than your correct assumption about the cost, belts do have another advantage - they're practically silent in operation. Chains have one distinct disadvantage - they beat the livin' tar out of motor oil to the point of causing the oil to shear out of grade. (The relatively high working loads on the sprockets and the rollers between the cleats as exhaust valves are opened against the force of combustion gasses are the problem.) While chains break infrequently, they stretch as they wear - and that has a negatory effect on valve timing - read that engine efficiency. Overall though, given the choice, I'd still take a chain over a belt. (Actually, given the choice, what I'd really prefer is the timing gear train that heavy duty diesel truck and marine engines use to drive the camshafts, but with silent running helical instead of straight-cut gears. Ain't gonna happen in passenger cars, though, due to the costs involved.)
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Member Posts: 1,134
    )) "I wish I could remember where I read it but I know I did on something official. ... It made sense to me since the oil from the factory is supposed to be different and it helps collect the minute metal particles from the engine." ((

    Well, the primary collector of new engine wear metals is the oil filter ( ;)), though particulates too small to be filtered would be held in suspension by the oil's detergent chemistry. But ALL recommended API/ILSAC grades of motor oil are already heavy in the detergent department. One thing that stands out in used oil analyses of new Honda engines is the relatively high dose of molybdenum - an anti-wear agent that bonds as a solid film directly to all sliding part metals - it's burnished directly into the machined metal's microscopic asperities. Most oils contain molybdenum, but the analyzed factory-fill oils from Hondas show a LOT of moly - three-hundred parts per million or more when many oils typically show less than 100 ppm.* That may indicate a special break-in oil. But it may not, either. All automakers liberally slather on a thick assembly goo to protect the sliding parts at first start-up until oil pressure builds throughout the engine. It's possible that the assembly lube that Honda uses during engine build is particularly rich in moly. Once the engine is started, the assembly lube quickly washes into the oil where its moly content continues to function as an additive "supplement". I've read early use Honda oil analyses in which the car owner faithfully ran the factory-fill oil to at least 5,000 miles (and significantly beyond in some instances) and those in which the owner disregarded Honda's recommendation and changed the factory-fill in as little 500 miles after purchase (figuring it's better to get the factory leftovers such as remaining machining flash and casting core sand out sooner rather than later). Neither philosophy showed any significantly measurable increase or decrease in the wear metal assay nor even a general trend one way or the other. In short, do what floats yer boat. How you drive over the life of the car has a more statistically significant influence on how your Honda motor wears than whether you opted for an early initial oil changeout.

    *Among conventional motor oils, Chevron Supreme and Havoline (both made by Chevron Oil Co. - Chevron bought the rights to the "Havoline" name from Equilon) show about as much molybdenum in virgin oil analyses as used factory-fill oil out of new Hondas. But, other components of the two Chevron oils do NOT match the assay of what's found in Honda factory-fill oil. Since Honda brand motor oil at Honda dealership parts departments state on the rear label that it's made by ExxonMobil, it's perhaps more likely that Honda uses a bulk ExxonMobil oil at the factory. Whether it's "special" when compared to retail Exxon Superflow 5W-20 or Mobil 5000 5W-20 is anyone's guess.

    (What little knowledge I have about engine lubes was culled from's archived sources. If anyone knows differently, I'm always willing to learn.)
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Member Posts: 1,134
    )) "My '95 Camry manual recommends changing the oil (under normal driving conditions)every 7500 miles. ... Now, the question is....why (laugh) the hell am I thinking about buying a new car." ((

    Because you're getting bored with "Old Faithful". ;) By the way, with Pat's indulgence, V6 and I4 motors for that vintage Camry were sludge monsters - Toyota pushed the envelope a little too long regarding oil change intervals. The troubles Toyota had with warranty claims resulted in Toyota modifying their oil change intervals to their current 5,000 mile recommendation. (Toyota also extended the engine warranty to ten years, unlimited mileage, for cars with those engines from MY 1995 - 2002, as long as the owner could provide evidence of at least ONE oil change per year.) It would be really informative to pull the valve/cam cover for a look-see inside - the presence of tar-black, gritty glop would confirm your engine's running on borrowed time. The cost of a camcover gasket and your mechanic's time might "encourage" you to go ahead and trade off sooner rather than later. On the other hand, if the internal appearance is bright, shiny machinery, keep on truckin'! :D
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Member Posts: 758
    I guess the bottom line is I'm not willing to totally trust what the service dept says (who has an axe to grind), nor my own inferences from a vaguely written manual, which is why I'm asking the more knowledgable and experienced folks here like you and the others. ;)
  • don105don105 Member Posts: 6
    If mechanics don't recommend going to synthetic oil too early (10K or so) then why do Corvette, Porsche and Benz come with Mobil 1 in their crankcases? Does ExxonMobil pay them to do it? Wouldn't be surprised. But it is an interesting point.
  • ezshift5ezshift5 West coastMember Posts: 858
    .. (Toyota also extended the engine warranty to ten years, unlimited mileage, for cars with those engines from MY 1995 - 2002, as long as the owner could provide evidence of at least ONE oil change per year.)

    ...prior to '05 AV6 6M EX cpe, had un 2000 Toyota Solara V-6 5M (then) 7500 OCI resulted in 80k apparently sludge-free miles.....sold it to my old college roomie - and I'm certain he'd tell me of any problems encountered, ez..
  • w9cww9cw Member Posts: 888
    Ray - Actually, one passenger car has used helically-cut timing gears. I believe there have been more, especially Europeans.

    Volvo, with the B18 and B20 engines of the '60s and '70s is the one I am familiar with. These engines have helically-cut timing gears. I have a 1970 Volvo 144S with a B20B engine sitting in my garage, and replaced the timing gears once on the car - actually when I replaced the camshaft. These engines are 4-cylinder OHV with an extremely rugged bottom end. You mention marine engines . . . the Volvo Penta engine is a well known marine engine and the original Penta was based on the B-series Volvo engine.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Member Posts: 758
    Hah, I finally found this information on Honda's owner website, in case anyone else here is interested. After much research on good break-in procedure and optimal oil to use and at what intervals, I'm left with just as much confusion if not more. There're way too many conflicting theories and practices that can't always be judged by the end results. Then again, maybe it doesn't matter.

    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.
  • mgmtechmgmtech Member Posts: 7
    If you can find a definitive answer to this is would be unpresidented. The dealer emphatically told me to wait until 10,000 miles before my first oil change, but I whimped out at 8,000.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Member Posts: 758
    "If you can find a definitive answer to this is would be unpresidented. "

    As you can see I'm trying hard :( I'm currently at 1500 miles and my oil life monitor shows 90%. But I'll most likely change it at 5K. I also posted my questions on the synthetoc oil forum, and it's quite an interesting discussion there.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Member Posts: 758
    Do you rememebr how the oil looked at 8K miles? Last time I cheked mine it looked super clear and clean. Yeah you'd expect it to be clean 'cause it's new, but I was still surprised, pleasantly.
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Member Posts: 1,134
    Visual appearance can be deceptive. What appears "super clear and clean" as a thin film on the engine oil dipstick may not appear quite as pristine once in a clean oil drain pan or even a small, transparent container.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Member Posts: 26,440
    I find there dipstick appearance is closely related to the appearance, especially if the car has been driven recently and hasn't been sitting for several days for things to precipitate (settle).

    A good test is to drop 2-3 drops on a piece of white paper towel in one spot. Let the oil spread through the fibers. When the center darker area is the size of a dime, time to change MY oil for my cars. Doing this from when oil is new over thousands of miles will let one see the contaminant load build that leaves that darker center spot and doesn't migrate through the paper fibers.

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • mgmtechmgmtech Member Posts: 7
    "Do you remember how the oil looked at 8K miles?"

    To be honest, no. I just took it in for an oil change when I got tired of seeing the "little wrench" service light and the reminder flashing in my face each time I started the car.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Member Posts: 758
    That's essentially what I did with a napkin. The oil had less than 1K miles on it so it should look clean. But I was surprised it was THAT clean. I just checked the minder again and it's at 80% with +1600 miles. I'm planning to do the 1st oil change myself, if i can find a weekend with good weather which is not that easy in the winter time here in Seattle :(
  • beechjet21beechjet21 Member Posts: 26
    My Oil Change light first came on at 4,650 miles, seven months after taking delivery of the car. I think that I'm going to go by Honda's "Maintenance Minder" system for this car, unless my dealer talks me out of it.
  • wildman63wildman63 Member Posts: 27
    I'm with you... neither of us drive a lot. My Accord (bought in May) has about has only 3500 miles on the odometer. The oil reminder still says 60%. From what you tell me, the reminder keeps track of time as well as miles. The dealer wants the car back at 5,000 miles for its first oil change (3750 for the V-6).

    Once I get about 12-15,000 miles, I plan to switch to syntetic oil. I'll follow the reminder after that, even though I know I'm sure that might be overkill with synthetic. The owner's manual warns to follow the reminder even when using synthetic oil. I'll end up with annual oil changes on my Accord like I do with my low mileage Dakota pickup (38,000 miles on a 2001).

    I use Castrol Syntex in the truck (and have for about 20,000 miles. Synthetic oil resulted in about 1.5mpg improvement in the truck.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Member Posts: 9,731
    From what you tell me, the reminder keeps track of time as well as miles.

    I don't think that is the case, lest I be wrong. I believe it counts only engine revolutions.
  • ray_h1ray_h1 Member Posts: 1,134
    )) "The inline 4cyl chain only has to go around one camshaft..." ((

    Didn't Honda go to a DOHC head in their I4 with the '03 model Accords?
  • thegraduatethegraduate Member Posts: 9,731
    Yes, their I-4 is now DOHC.
  • magicpsnmagicpsn Member Posts: 13
    I’m new to this forum, but just bought an Accord I4. I saw that there was a lot of discussion concerning the break-in and first oil change. I talked to the service department and they recommended to go by the maintenance minder. They said that for the I4 would be 4K-5K miles.

    In reading the manual, it does look like it is based on engine revolutions.
  • goaccordgoaccord Member Posts: 23
    Hello, everyone
    I just got a 07 SE. It is mainly for shopping and pleasure because we do not need car for commuting.
    So I expect to put at most 3000-4000 miles every year on it. When should I do the first and follwoing oil changes? 15% oil life? It is estimateded about 5000 miles, more than 1 year for me. Or 3 months (from a service manager, maybe want to earn more money from me) ? 6 months (from dealer selling the car after I told him I do not drive much)? What a mess !!!
    Someone here can give me clear answer for me to follow, which can keep the good condition of my car, save my money and most importantly, meet the requirment of warranty. :confuse:
  • thegraduatethegraduate Member Posts: 9,731
    With such small amounts of driving, I'd change every 6-8 months. A year would be a bit long for me, but 3 months is definitely too little. 6 months is probably a good bet.
  • goaccordgoaccord Member Posts: 23
    Do you have any idea about what is the required schedule to be qulified for warranty? I can not find the information from manual and warranty booklet.
  • elroy5elroy5 Member Posts: 3,735
    There is no maintenance schedule for the Accords with the maintenance minder system(06,7). However, the 03,4, and 5 have the same engine, and the schedule is 10,000 miles, or one year. Which ever comes first. I would go with 15%, or 6 months myself. You decide which is right for you. As long as you don't go beyond one year (10,000 miles) you should be golden, as far as warranty.
  • tallman1tallman1 Member Posts: 1,874
    Yes, you will get difference answers from those selling the service. Elroy is correct... I believe my owners manual states clearly that you can go up to a year on low mileage. If the MM doesn't get down to 15%, change it once a year. If you want to do it more often, that's up to you.
  • autoracer100autoracer100 Member Posts: 2
    Hi all,

    I'm new to this forum and I just bought a 07 civic Si (2.0L 4cylinder Ivtec engine). The owner manual clearly states "Do not perform early oil change until scheduled maintenance time" in the break-in period section.

    I have 600 miles on the car and oil life of 90%. I would go with the maintenance reminder unless Honda is purly evil and want me buy a new car every year. But the engine is covered by warranty, so it doesn't make sense for them to do that.

    I think I will go mobil 1 oil for my next oil change.
  • newcrvguynewcrvguy Member Posts: 8
    So, does that mean a 2007 Accord V6 should get the oil changed every 10k miles? That seems like alot. I know the car has the electronic reminder, but I'd rather rely on my ability to count than depend on a computer to tell me.
    I've studied the manual up and down and can't find any mention on what the break in period is for the new V6 engine, any ideas?
    Oh, and I'm planning to use saddle soap to clean/condition the leather, any thoughts or recommendation?
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