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Honda Civic Care and Maintenance



  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,241
    Most other oil filters have had the antidrain
    back valve for years. That's not a Honda exclusive.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • barisbaris Posts: 6
    Hi folks,

    Thanks a lot for the responses to the oil filter question.

    Nick gave me a furher cost cutting idea. Using synthetic saves money in addition to time. Yes, it is 2.5 times more expensive than Castrol GTX, but that pays off for the labor I pay my mechanic for changing the oil.

    My question is can I use the Purolator filter that Nick has suggested on synthetic oil? Or do I need the Mobil brand to get the 7-8K milage? The PepBoys shop here only carries Purolator.

    Oh, BTW, I have 11K on my '03 Civic EX. Changed oil twice so far at 5K and 8K. Is it OK to switch to synthetic or is it too late now?

    Also, how do you figure out if your car needs an oil change? For me, I feel I should when my engine sounds diesel-like, and it happens after 3.5K miles.

    Thanks again!

  • You can use any filter with the Mobil 1. My mechanic that I use for service on more major issues I can't fix myself actually recommends Purolator over any other filter. He has been in the business for 29 years and specializes in foreign autos. Mobil 1 filters do not have a special additive or anything to go with the oil, it just depends on the quality of parts used to manufacture the filter. As I stated earlier, the only reason I switched to a Mobil 1 is because my local auto parts store stopped carrying Purolator, and the only other choice was Fram. It isn't too late to switch to synthetic oil. I don't think it ever is. However I have heard from several people that it is bad to switch back to regular oil from synthetic oil after you have been using synthetic oil for awhile. Someone correct me if you know I'm wrong.

    If you keep using regular oil, I would still extend the interval to at least 5,000 miles as the owners manual states, as you are wasting your money if you change it in shorter intervals. (Unless your normal driving includes sitting in a parking lot on a local expressway or driving through a constant duststorm, you get the idea...) The newer engines are a lot more clean and efficient and therefore do not need an oil change as often.

    I have used synthetic oil in my previous vehicle, (a 95 civic) as well with a Purolator filter and have never had a problem. In fact I actually went on 15,000 mile intervals with the synthetic oil for about 80,000 miles just changing the filter every 7,500 and then changing the oil every other time I changed the filter. I would look inside the valve cover occasionally for buildup and never found anything. Basically synthetic oil does not break down nearly as fast as regular oil, as long as you keep it clean.

    Last comment, go with Dudka's advice and change the oil yourself!!! I change my own oil and I only do about 20 minutes of actual labor. The rest of the time spent is letting the oil drain out of the car. I usually let it drain for a good hour to let out as much as possible. Your Pepboys store will help you get the proper filter socket, and thats the only special tool you need. Once you raise the car up on a jack or a lift the filter is very accessable. It will save you a lot in the long run.

  • dudkadudka Posts: 451
    I don't know about the rest of the civic's but on the Si, all I have to do is remove the passenger side front wheel to acess the oil filter and the plug. If you are more fliexible than I am, it is possible to reach the filter and drain plug by turning the wheel all the way to the left.
  • barisbaris Posts: 6
    OK guys, I now know all I need to know regarding oil change. Thanks a lot for the help.

    While I have you here, could you also tell me one last thing : Do you do front wheel or all wheel alignment for your Civics?

    The owner's manual has specs for rear as well, so I thought it is 4W alignable. My mechanic disagrees (BTW, he's a German car passionate and I am starting to think that he has a grudge against me because I sold my 95 Golf to get the Civic).

    Many thanks! Again!

  • ...and I have to say I love it. Once the "I got a new car" euphoria wore off I realized that I've got a great everyday car to drive. There are only a few quibbles I have with it. Why aren't both windows auto down/up? Why does first gear stick a bit? Why is the HVAC so hard to find the perfect temp? But other than these, I love my car. I have the mudflaps for it and plan a few other things. I want fog lights and the spoiler. I just have a few questions.

    The owner's manual says change at 5000mi. I drive my car pretty nicely but rev it up occasionally. Also the roads are really bad here. I'm just concerned about making sure my car stays as nice as possible.

    One more thing. I was told NOT to use Armor All on the dash. Has anybody heard about this?


  • bd21bd21 Posts: 437
    You definetly need a 4 wheel alignment. For the record, most cars today have adjustments on all four wheels.
  • I have the exact same car only the 2003.

    You don't get auto up/down windows on both windows because even though the Honda Civic is very well executed, it is still Honda's economy car. Do you have a M/T or A/T? If you have a manual transmission, you will always find in any M/T first gear is always a little stubborn to shift into, especially when you are moving. You will get used to the HVAC system in the car. It took me a little getting used to going from a slider to a knob. Follow the owners manual recommendation of changing the oil in 5,000 mile intervals. You are wasting time and money if you do it in shorter intervals. I put a set of Pilot fog lights on my car in the spot where the dealer installs them and they look great under there. I found that those were the only size that would really fit well under there unless you go with the factory option. I also have the factory spoiler on it and it looks great on there! IMO, MUCH MUCH better than those aftermarket ones that stick up higher than the car itself. I've got a few other things done to it to just let me know if you want any other tips or advice and I'll answer them the best I can.

    About the alignment, yes it is 4 wheel like bd21 said, however my family and I have owned 5 Hondas so far, a 1985 Accord which was totalled @ 192,000 miles, it never needed an alignment, a 1989 Accord which we retired with 260,000 miles, it never needed an alignment, a 1995 Civic, sold it with 140,000 miles, it never needed an alignment, you get the idea. Unless you do something on the road severe enough to throw off the alignment, Hondas generally never need to be aligned. And our family does drive on some pretty severe roads as we live in the pothole king of America....Michigan.

  • irnmdnirnmdn Posts: 245
    I am close to buying a buying a used 2002 EX Sedan 5 speed from a private party. Does this model year have any issues to watch out for?
  • I'm just an average guy. i don't normally do my own oil changes i just go to a quick oil change place. whats wrong?
    i'm buying a new 04 civic Lx in a few days.
    any advice
  • If you don't like doing your own oil changes, that's fine. I would recommend you going to a Honda dealer to have it done though unless you know for certain that the quick change place will be using 5W 20 oil in your new civic which is recommended by the manufacturer. Most quick change places generally use 5W 30 or 10W 30 which is not even mentioned in the graph that the owners manual provides.
  • dudkadudka Posts: 451
    I agree with ncampbell2002 that you will be better off going to your honda dealer to do oil change. It will help you in the future with possible warranty issues. I am sure I will be critisized for saying that, but your local dealer can make it very difficult for you to get warranty service if you have not developed a "relationship" with them. And by "relationship" I mean forking over $24 for 15 minutes of labor and $6 in parts. But you are better off paying $24 at the dealer than $19.99 at Jiffy lube. At least at Honda you have some sort of recourse in case something goes wrong. The fact that "Quick Change" place does not have 5W-20 has nothing to do with my recommendaiton against it. The difference between 5W-20 and 5W-30 is almost negligible.

    The reason I do my own changes is because it is more economical, faster, and I don't have to schedule an appointment 2 weeks in advance. I use Exxon 5W-20 and Honda filter. Once my engine stops using oil I will switch to Mobil 1 5W-30 (the closests grade to 5W-20 availabe at Costco) and Honda filter.
  • bd21bd21 Posts: 437
    Dudka, what did you mean you will switch to synthetic when your car stops using oil? If your car engine is tight, you shouldn't have any noticeable oil loss between oil changes. During break in, which is totally complete within 3000 miles you just have to refrain from extremely hard accelerations and extended same RPM driving long term. And most of those precautions are only semi-critical the first 1000 miles. If you are using oil now, it will only get worse, it doesn't get better. Synthetic may even make your oil loss worse, because it flows even better. The standard acceptable oil burning for all car makers is one quart per thousand miles. Hopefully, you are not losing anywhere near that much. Sometimes it is the luck of the draw, but ideally you shouldn't be using any oil between changes that is noticeable. Yes at high speeds (80 plus) you will burn a little, but usually not enough to add any.
  • My Civic is only 3 days old. I opened the hood today, and I saw the oil cap IS NOT closed. Yes, it had been opened since I got the car 3 days ago. The cap is up side down on the top of the engin. Anyway, the first thing I did, of course checking the oil level. Here is the problem. The oil is so clean and thin, I can't see the level is low or high. Any suggestion?

    I read the driver manual. It said "do not change oil until 5,000 miles". The maintance page said that oil change at 10,000 miles. So when is the time for the first time oil change? 5,000 or 10,000 miles? The manual also said oil change only at 10K, no oil filter require. It said oil filter only requires every 20K miles. Is that true or 2004 is different?

    Thank you for the input.
  • I'm not sure what you mean by your car is losing oil and when it will stop. You might want to get that checked out. My 89 accord with well over 200k never used oil, as with my 95 civic, and now my 03 civic. However if you are going to switch to Mobil 1, I would recommend using the 0W 20 that Mobil 1 puts out which is also their recommended oil for the new Fords and Hondas that recommend or require 5W 20. That is all I have used in my 03 Civic so far.

    As for the person with the 04 lx, you probably didn't lose any oil out of there unless you notice oil splash all over the inside of the engine compartment, and change the oil at 5,000 miles unless you are doing almost pure highway travel at a constant 65 mph which I wouldn't recommend anyhow during the break in period.
  • Thanks for your input. I saw a very little oil splash under the hood and the area around the oil cap.

    I am not very good for the cars. I want to know what will happen if the car running without the oil cap closed. Will the oil pumping out much? Thanks.
  • The oil pump itself is not necessarily pumping out the oil if the cap is open, but what you have when the car is running are 16 valves moving back and forth underneath the valve cover which splashes the oil around to keep the vital parts lubricated. With all that splashing around, it is likely that some oil may have come out if the cap was not screwed on correctly. Open your oil cap and take a pen light and you will see all the valves sitting in there with the oil in there as well. Thats what is underneath there. The oil pump is to take that oil from the valve cover, run it through the filter and take cleaner oil from the pan and the cycle just keeps going back and forth. I highly doubt any damage was done to the vehicle, but I would at least take it back to the dealer and see if they will clean up the mess for you and maybe give you a free oil change for the hassle and incompetence they exhibited.
  • dudkadudka Posts: 451
    OK, here is the situation, last January I bought a 2002 Civic Si. It was made in march of 2002, so it is one of the first to be built. I drove it home from the dealer, it only had 8 miles on it, and noticed blue smoke from the tail pipe. Called the dealer immediately, they assured me that the new Si engine has moly rings and they will leak oil for the first 10-15,000 miles. Honda did oil monitoring for me, in the first 5000 miles I was losing about 1.5 quarts every 1000 miles. From 5,000 to 10,000 miles it subsided to 1 quart every 1000 miles. I am at almost 15,000 miles and the oil loss has diminshed to 1/4 quart every 1000 miles. I figure I give it another 5000 miles and then switch to Mobil 1.
    There is no reason to be alarmed. I knew for a fact that S2000 engines use quite a bit of oil, and since Si is a high perfomance engine it is only logical to allow some oil consumption. (some other cars come to mind, Mini, VW 1.8T, ect.)
    Besides, every engine, no matter what they tell you, uses oil. If an engine is tight you will notice oil loss, if the seals are not very tight, the oil lost is replaced by the water condensation that is formed when the engine is off. So, when you check the oil it seems as the level is normal, but some portion of it is actually water. I may be wrong about it, but does make sence to me. This would explain why sometimes people see thier oil level go up.
  • I took the car to the dealer yesterday. The technician said it was losing about half quart of oil. Free re-fill of course, and cleaned up the splashed oil around the cap.

    The master key made by Honda has a computer chip build-in. Is the key can be duplicated easy by any Honda technician? Do they need an authorization to duplicate any honda key? I am thinking about the car's security. The technician who installed the alarm system knows the bypass code for the system, if he can duplicate the key very easy, then my car can be driven by any Honda technician on the street. Any idea?
  • bd21bd21 Posts: 437
    I'm glad you are only burning 1/4 of a quart per thousand miles now, that is at least reasonable. Let me clear up a couple of misconceptions that you have though. Chrome moly rings are nothing new, I used them in motorcycle engines I was rebuilding almost 30 years ago. No part of an engine, especially rings take more than a few thousand miles to properly break in. Everything after that is more accurately called wear. If you oil level ever goes up, you have a definite mechanical problem, most likely a coolant leak which will lead to engine failure. Yes, all cars do burn a little oil especially while running high RPM like I said, but most tight engines will not require adding additional oil between changes. Moisture does not build up in an engine to the point of changing oil levels! Yes, I have rebuilt an engine or two over my 30 years of working on motorcycles, outboard and cars. It sounds like you are happy with your car and that's all that really matters.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,241
    If a car is driven on short trips in cooler/cold climates with no longer trips of 15 or more miles at moderate speed, the combustion byproducts can collect into the oil pan without being drawn off hot oil by the PCV system. This can cause a maintenance of the oil level over a period of time as oil is used slightly by the engine, or possibly a slight rise.

    Then when the car is driven on a longer drive, the positive crankcase ventilation system has enough time to drawn those condensates out of the oil after the oil is warm. This can cause the oil level, which had remained steady for weeks of cold weather driving, to drop an amount the owner notices. The owner may assume the car has started to use oil based on that one trip. But the water being evaporated out of the oil has allowed the volume or "real" oil left to shrink to what it should be without the contaminants.

    Oil rising can be coolant leak, or in the old days, a fuel pump leaking into the oil.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • what is the life expectancy of a 93 del sol?
    can i assume i will get 200k plus out of it,
        like i have out of my current 87 civic si --even tho i treated it like a four wheel drive truck in our mutual youth?
    the del sol im considering has 79k, asking 4000. auto tranny (not my preference, but ... )
    will i get another 120k out of this purchase? i want something i can rely on to trek me 700m r/t once per month thru the desert for the next 5 years.

    thanks so much.
  • snarkssnarks Posts: 207
    I currently own a problem free 95 Civic EX (similar) with 200,000 miles. I have performed all required maintenance and regular oil changes. The only unexpected repair thus far is a radiator.

    Anyway the del Sol, it depends if not city miles before and also a major concern if any maintenance performed on a regular basis. If yes a likely answer is yes it probably can. Being that old though you will may have issues more to do with age than wear.
  • Hi All,

    Christmas eve, after driving 5 hours to family, I oepn up my trunk and lo and behold, everything on the left side of the trunk is soaked! There's about 2 inches of water in the well where the jack and spare tire are. The carpeting is soaked on the left half of the trunk floor - and the bottoms of the left side trunk lining are soaked as well.

    The car's only a year old and it certainly has rained before and I've never had this problem.

    The interesting thing was that water did not seem to be 'dripping from above' as a leaky gasket might cause --- all my packages in the trunk were only soaked on the part that was resting on the trunk floor. Their tops were bone dry. So nothing was 'dripping down'.....

    I tore apart the inside of the trunk and finally I found the source, though I can't figure out WHAT this part is for!

    If you peel back the trunk liner on the left side wall, there's this mysterious black plastic vent-type thing that's about 6 in wide by 4 in high. It has a little moveable flap on it on the outside. I have no idea what it does, but it's completely falling out of its opening. It's not secured in any way into the wall of the car - you can move it all around without taking it out - and there are big gaps for water to come in since the plastic piece is not sealed down.

    What does this part do? What is it called? I was driving through torrential downpours with LOTS of deep puddles - water was kicked up from the tire into this gap and soaked the trunk. How can this happen? Anyone have a similar situation? Im trying to get the dealer to fix it since it's still under warranty but no one can get me in anytime soon.

    ALSO - second question - unrelated ---- is the maint required light set to go off at predetermined intervals? I hit about 20,900 and suddenly it comes on everytime i start the car. My last oil change was only about 1500 miles ago. Anyone had this happen???
  • Sorry to hear about the trunk, unfortunately I have never heard of anything like that happening. However with the maintinence required light...yes there is automatic intervals in which it will go off. It is preprogrammed to do so as you rack up the miles on the car and is completely independent of how you maintain the vehicle. Hope the trunk flooding is solved!
  • my dealer could not get me in anytime soon :( So, the flooding will have to wait....

    In the meantime, does anyone know what that little black box thingy is FOR?? I just don't get it. I don't see how it can be 'ventilation' because it's carpeted on one side and car metal on the other (pretty close to it.)
  • thanks for the past info.
    i picked up my 04 civic lx. today
    the oil cap was a little loose.
    no highway noises and god a/t.
    thanks for the past help.
    now it's time to have some fun
  • I have put 135 miles so far. Love it. Three of my friends said it is roomy after their first seat on my Civic. I am shopping around for the motor oil and filter online. So far the best place I found is Dose anyone know the better place for honda parts?
  • H and A accesories has good deals on Honda oil filters. Pep Boys often runs Pennzoil for .89 a quart. Their 5W-20 is hard to beat for the price.
  • dudkadudka Posts: 451
    My Si had the same problem, took the dealer 3 times to find and fix it. They had a guy sitting int he hatchback with the lamp while another was hosing down the car, they could not find anything. Then I noticed that during one of those downpours that when my car was sitting still the trunk and spare tire well were dry. But as soon as I drove, it would get wet and water would build up in the spare tire well. Told the dealer about it, they found what the problem was. They told me that it was one of the seals in the under body. When I got the car is smelled strongly of plastic filler.
This discussion has been closed.