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Honda Civic Care and Maintenance



  • gregoryc1gregoryc1 Posts: 766
    Thank you for the "come back" and the support.------- "Sludge" and "Carbon Build up" are the two basic causes of engine failure today. While "sludge" can be traced to extended oil and filter changes, some causes of sludge can also be traced to poor maintenance of the cooling systems. To keep vehicles running efficiently, both the oil and coolant must be serviced at regular intervals. I change my coolant every 3 years. Once an engine overheats, the damage is done, and it is only a matter of time with regards to engine failure. I believe in a "high quality" preventive maintenance program, because in the long run, this is the cheapest way to operate a vehicle. ----Have a GREAT day. -----Greg
  • bd21bd21 Posts: 437
    My mistake, I agree with you on 3 year coolant changes. It should have been looped with the brake fluid changes. I hadn't had my coffee yet when I posted. Leaving coolant in a long time will actually cause primary engine gaskets to become brittle, which translates to failure. I like reading technical reports and that's where I get a lot of my information. I have 2 years of formal small engine technical school and I constantly read long term testing engineering type data. That data helps me decide what steps I will take to prolong the life of my cars. The bottom line changing all fluids on a reasonable regular schedule, along with good preventative maintenance make all of the difference in the world. I haven't seen enough unbiased data on any additive that show they are worth the cost of adding on a regular basis. There are a few that can be used every now and then that aren't too bad. I'm an aircraft maintenance officer in the Air Force and an airframe & power plant mechanic, so I'm pretty skeptical about most additives. Even on piston aircraft, additives are not recommended and for the most part not used. Trust me if anything truly worked to prevent true damaging carbon build up, make an engine last longer, run smoother or gain power, everyone would be buying and using it. The cost on aircraft engine parts are unbelievable! Commercials are full of claims that just can't be substantiated, but people buy the product because of a great pitch, and surprise their car seems to be running better when they use it. Of course there is no real data to back it up. There are exceptions like synthetic oil. It clearly does work better than any regular oil and your engine will last longer, but back to my point. Is it worth the extra cost? In my opinion no. I pay 69 cents for oil vs $4.50 mobile 1. With 3000 miles oil changes using the cheap oil and 10,000 mile changes with the big buck stuff over the life of a car I will have saved a bundle. Both scenarios will get a car to 180,000 over 15 years later with my 12,000 miles a year driving pattern. The only difference will be, if I tear both engines down the synthetic one will have less wears and will look prettier. It's nature for a car lover to want to do everything reasable to take care of their car, but sometimes the medicine is really just a sugar pill that doesn't really produce an empirical benefit. Great sharing with you Greg. Barry
  • gregoryc1gregoryc1 Posts: 766
    Lets take a few minutes to look into the subject of new vehicle warranties and extended warranties. At this point in time, we all know that the quickest route to the auto grave yard, replacement engines, and new vehicle loans is extended oil and filter changes. REMEMBER, ---the automotive manufacturer does not have any obligation after 3 years or 36,000 miles, (with the exception of some companies that advertise special warranties). Warranties will not be honored, if the manufacturer finds "sludge" in the engine!!!!!---No matter what the original warranty states, (time & mileage), the easiest way for the manufacturer to "get out of their obligation" is to find "sludge" in a problem engine. Remember, manufacturers are only interested in their bottom corporate line, and they are not really interested in "you as the consumer"! They say that they are interested in their customer base, but it is just frosting the the cake. On the other hand, you as a vehicle owner should be concerned with making the manufacturer responsible for the quality operation and longevity of the vehicle, and it's components. ----Remember, ---when a warranty issue arises, the burden of proof of "proper maintenance" rests with you as the owner of the vehicle. NOW HAVING SAID THIS, -----extended oil and filter intervals, (as stated in the owner's manual), are for VERY IDEAL OPERATING CONDITIONS, and they are just "selling tools" to be used by the sales people in order to impress on the customer "how little service is required to own this new vehicle"! The truth is, ----if you want HIGH TROUBLE FREE MILEAGE out of you vehicle keep the lubrication, fuel and cooling system clean. This will insure that if something does go wrong with the engine, the dealer or the manufacture cannot refuse to honor the warranty based on "owner neglect". We have two Honda Vehicles, (Accord & Civic), and we have all our oil and filter changes done by the dealer. I have made it very clear to the Service Manager, that since I give him all my service business, and I give our vehicles "extra high quality" preventive maintenance, should something go wrong with the engine or drive train, he and the dealership had better "step up to the plate" and fix the problem. -----Just sharing some basic information and concepts. -----Have a nice day.-------Greg (Retired Industrial Arts Teacher)
  • bd21bd21 Posts: 437
    You lost me Greg, what's the yelling all about(caps). I support always using the extreme maintenance schedual regardless of your driving habits and I think 3000 mile oil changes are always the best way to go. I also use the highest rated oil, which is currently API rating SJ. Brand name isn't really a factor as long as it meets the manufacturer's specification. The current Civic recommends a 10,000 mile oil change interval which in my opinion is insane. As far as getting your car serviced by Honda, if they do a good job for you go for it. The dealer may or may not help you out if you have a failure out of warranty. I think Honda builds one of the best cars out there, but they have the shortest warranty of any foreign car maker. Honda also pushes some ridiculous products, like brake fluid, anti freeze, oil. Pull out your owners manual and look under service and read what Honda says about these items. Honda does not produce any of these products period. Honda anti freeze is over 12 bucks and its premixed, in other words half water. That same amount of Prestone is a quarter of the cost and you will get the same protection. DOT 3 brake fluid is DOT 3 brake fluid, yet Honda implies almost anything else would be less than idea. The only Honda product I use is the transmission fluid, because it is a different specification than you can find. I don't like using the dealers for anything except repairs under warranty. The 15,000 mile and 30,000 miles checks they push for $150-$300 are not required to keep the warranty. Every check and they do, I accomplish every time I change my oil. The whole process takes me less than an hour even when I change the transmission fluid. All you need to do is document the service in a log book and keep receipts. Internal parts on engines rarely fail as long as the oil was changed on a regular basis. I had a oil leak in my oil pan on my 91 Nissan. My car had 114,000 miles when I dropped the pan and everything looked like new, because I did 3000 mile oil changes. The 69 cent oil worked great because it has to meet the same specification as the 2 buck oil with the same rating. You seem to be pretty concerned with slug, did you have a bad expereice in on of you cars? Keep doing the service that you are doing and sludge will never be a factor and if you don't get carried away with additives you will save some money too.
  • theracoontheracoon Posts: 666
    I support always using the extreme maintenance schedual regardless of your driving habits and I think 3000 mile oil changes are always the best way to go. [snip] The current Civic recommends a 10,000 mile oil change interval which in my opinion is insane.

    You say you support the "extreme" maintenance intervals, yet you quote the "normal" interval when comparing it to your personal preference of 3,000 mile oil changes. The current "extreme" interval recommended by Honda is 5,000 miles, not 10,000.

    The real question in my mind is what's so important about 3,000 miles? Why not 3,500? Or even 2,000? Wouldn't changing the oil every 2,000 miles be even better protection than changing at 3,000?

    I agree about always using the "extreme" intervals, which for my CR-V is 3,750 miles. If had a 2002 or newer I'd do the services at 5,000 mile intervals as recommended by Honda. The Honda engineers know a whole lot more about their engines than I do. And I don't buy into the argument that Honda (or any manufacturer) sets their maintenance intervals so that the engine eventually fails and you have to buy a new car.

  • bd21bd21 Posts: 437
    Give me a little credit. I was making a point about how long Honda says you can push oil. I knew 10K was the regular service schedual. I use a 3000 miles interval because that's when I start to notice a color change. If I leave the oil in it much longer than that it gets darker pretty quick. I think changing it any earlier is just wasting money, because the oil has not picked up enough contaminates to justify the change. I think anywhere under 4000 is still reasonable, but much more is just a little too long. I'm not willing to spend money testing my oil to determine the perfect interval, so I choose to use a 3000 mile oil change interval. For every other service item I use the extreme recommended interval or less. I consider the extreme schedual the makers recommend as a normal schedual for my taste. I change my oil and filter and inspect the entire car for under 15 bucks which includes the stall fee on base. That's just what I do and think. I have never had a car that I have maintained wear out early or break down unexpectedly, so it works for me.
  • gregoryc1gregoryc1 Posts: 766
    Reasons to use an upper cylinder lubricant in the fuel: -----1.) Valve guides experience a lot of wear because of the constant friction between the guide and the valve stem, ----2.) When the guides are worn, or there is too much clearance between the guide and stem, the engine will use oil, ----3.) Valve seals prevent the guides from receiving large quantities of oil, thus increasing wear potential ----4.) Oil consumption through worn valve guides can contribute to a rapid build-up of carbon deposits on the back of the intake valves, and in the combustion chamber. Deposits on the backs of the intake valves in engines equipped with multiport fuel injection can cause hesitation and idle problems, because the deposits interfere with the proper fuel delivery, ----5.) If a valve guide is worn, the valve may run hot and burn, ----6.) Worn guides can also pass air,---- and ----7.) A worn guide will allow the valve to wobble slightly as it opens. -----Just passing on some important information. -----Greg
  • bd21bd21 Posts: 437
    All of your statements about valves and wear are true, however, they rarely come into play until an engine has way over 100,000 miles or more if the oil has been changed on a regular basis. Oil does provide sufficient lubrication to the valves if the oil is not excessively contaminated. The fuel injectors do need to be cleaned if carbon build up degrades their operation. Techron can be added one or twice a year to the gas tank to keep your fuel system in check. Additional additives aren't really required or needed, but if they make you sleep better at night go for it. I'm just curious Greg, how many miles do you usually keep a car?
  • gregoryc1gregoryc1 Posts: 766
    With vehicles that we own, we try to keep them till they reach at least 100,000 miles. I had a 1977 Ford Granada that we traded at 182,000 miles, and a 1969 Pontiac that we sold at 110,000 miles. (There were also other vehicles along the way). Since 1997, we have been leasing vehicles, (1997 Honda Accord, 2000 Honda Accord, 2000 Honda Civic), so as such, they were returned at 36,000 miles. Our new Accord is a "purchase", so we will be running up the mileage. We took delivery on Feb 10, 2003, and we already have 12,000 miles on the clock. In a period of one year, we will have at least 25,000 + miles on this vehicle. This is the reason why we purchased the 7 year 100,000 miles warranty. (since we will be traveling all over the country).---- Most likely, we will run this vehicle up to at least 150,000 miles, and then trade it back to the dealer. We plan on purchasing our leased 2000 Civic when the lease is over, (provided that the lease company cooperates in terms of the price). My basic reason for high quality maintenance is that I enjoy operating a vehicle that runs properly. I also believe in taking "vitamins". I guess you could say that Marvel Oil is the "Viatmin Package" for the internal combustion engine! ----Well now you know ---"the rest of the story" -----Just sharing my opinion and some basic information as "I know it". You have a nice day. ----Greg
  • bd21bd21 Posts: 437
    I believe in high quality maintenance too. I'm just lucky that I can do almost anything on a car myself and I enjoy doing the work. I like them to run like new and mine all do, because of good preventative maintenance practices. I'm probably going to buy a 2004 Civic LX early next year. I don't like the looks of the 2003 and the 2004 has much better lines. I have 30,000 miles on my 2001 LX Accord. It's a great car, but I did expect better gas mileage out of it. I average about 27.5 MPG on the highway at about 79 miles per hour. I have an automatic and a 4 cylinder. I have only gotten 30 MPG once and I track every tank of gas. I get 21.5 to 23 in the city. My only other complaint is the rear defroster is weak. It works slowly and it is under powered. Good thing I live in Florida because I would have a real problem in a northern climate. Other than that it is a great car. I plan on keeping it about 14 or 15 years. After that I'll be ready for something new. That is why I'm going to let My 91 Nissan Sentra go, I've had it since 90. It still looks and runs great, but it has no airbags and the back seat is tight. My kids are bigger now and the new Civic is a much nicer car. I'm going to retire from the Air Force in 05, so I want to have a relatively new car that's paid off. I should be able to get one for $16,000 out the door and that's about all I want to spend. I paid $19,000 for my Accord. Tax here is 6.5%, so that's why the figures are so high. I've owned a 70 Camaro(pig, but pretty),66 VW Bug (solid), 70 Ford Maverick (great car), 81 Toyota Corona (good car), 91 Mercury Sable(good car)and my current cars which have been great cars. To tell you the truth Greg, when I read your first post and it ended with a hee, hee, I thought you were a teenager and I wanted to save you some money that you were spending on premium gas and additives. I see people all the time putting premium gas in there cars and adding the latest additive to make their cars run better or last longer. They simply are rarely needed and most of the time they are just a waste of money. You are using good additives, but you could save yourself a lot of money by using the recommended fuel for you car, which is regular. Your car as been set up to optimize performance on regular gas, not premium. I have read study after study on this and you aren't doing your car any favors by running premium gas, unless you of course you own Exon stock. Your car will run on it of course, but it was designed to take full advantage the lower grade fuel. I'm just trying to save you some money. You are potentially spending over $1000 in addition gas cost for your vehicle over 150,000 miles of driving. It's your money and I'm definetly not trying to slam you. I enjoying trading posts with you. By the way I may become school teacher when I retire. I'm looking in to it. Happy motoring, Barry.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,238
    USA Today had an article (on Thursday I believe) about using premium fuel when the cars were designed to run on regular. Not needed... may leave extra deposits in the burning process which may mean that if you use premium in a car designed for regular, you may need to spent the extra money for the mouse milk additives to try to undo the deposites from the slower burning fuel.

    I had heard a mechanic say that the premium fuels caused deposits and now that USA Today's article verified that, I'm sure that's what happens.

    bd21: 27.5 @ 75+!!! My LeSabre does better than that mileage and it's a 3800 v6... it delivered 31.5 through the PA mountains coming back from Philly at 75. Going around Phila to Washington's Crossing it gave 35.5 on the tollroad. Have you had the car checked for something wrong?

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

  • bd21bd21 Posts: 437
    I've had the car thoroughly gone over by two different dealers. They couldn't find anything wrong. My 91 Mercury with a six cylinder got 30 MPG consistently on the highway. You bet I'm disappointed, I expected to always get at least 30 MPG on the highway and sometimes around 33-35 MPG. My father in-law's Camry gets that and I thought I should have too. Accords are not known for outstanding mileage, but they are great cars. Back up a few posts and you will see the discussion that I've been having with Greg about additives and premium gas. You hit the gas issue right on the head, but it is hard to convince people. They think they are taking car of their car by giving it the (good) stuff.
  • gregoryc1gregoryc1 Posts: 766
    Barry, ----lots of luck with your retirement from the Airforce in 05. I spent 33 years teaching Industrial Arts at the elementary and high school level. I also earned two MA degrees in the process. Prior to entering the teaching profession I graduated from Lincoln Technical Institute with a diploma in "Automotive Mechanics",(1962). I worked as a mechanic for a Buick agency. After my active duty in the Army, I returned to college to earn my BA in Industrial Arts Education. Over the years I taught Automotive Technology, Woodworking, Architectural Drawing & Model Construction and Computer Aided Drafting , (AutoCAD 2000). I enjoyed the profession and the young people, but if you want to do the job as a "professional", it will burn you out! -----With regards to using Premium Fuel in my vehicles, I think you are missing the point of my posting. The Honda manual states that you can use 86 octane "or higher". It does not state that you cannot use premium fuel in a Honda engine. When I come out of a toll gate under "hard acceleration", I find that using a mixture of "premium fuel" and MM oil as an upper cylinder lubricant gives me "maximum performance", without the possibility of a spark knock. I don't get the same feeling with "regular fuel". I also use premium fuel and MM oil in my 7.4 MerCruiser Marine engine. The engine runs VERY SMOOTH, and it has GREAT ACCELERATION!--- Like they say in the movies: ----"I love the smell of MM oil in the morning. ----It smells like "VICTORY"! -----Have a great day. Give MM oil a try, (4 ounces to each ten gallons of fuel). Hell, ---you might like it!------Greg
  • bd21bd21 Posts: 437
    I knew you had more automotive background than you were mentioning. Why did it take a crowbar to get it out of you? I didn't miss your point, I was waiting for your logic to go along with it. O.K. you sold me on your reasoning. MM is great stuff and if you can really feel the difference in your car with your driving style using premium gas, than by all means go for it. I just see so many people using premium because they think it is a better gas for their engine. Generally the average driver is better off with regular gas, if that is what the maker suggests. Again, I'm tight with a buck, so I just use the minimum fuel required. Since most car computers are set to primarily optimize their performance based on regular fuel I think your best bet is to use the grade the car is tuned for, however, you can always use a higher grade of fuel. My cars run fine on regular, so I'm happy. If it didn't I would investigate going down your path. I really enjoy these exchanges Greg. Barry
  • gregoryc1gregoryc1 Posts: 766
    Barry, --If you have any questions about going into the "teaching profession" after retirement from the Airforce, you can write to me at: -----Lots of luck. I enjoyed my military experience. (9 yrs. in the USAR). Have a nice day. -----Greg
  • seafseaf Posts: 339
    I'm planning on changing the engine coolant in my 99 civic soon. In the manual it says to drain the coolant from the drain under the radiator. But in the service manual (I bought one for about $65 a while back), it says to also drain from a bolt on the left side of the engine oil filter. I was wondering if there's any difference if I just drain from the radiator and not the engine itself. Thanks.
  • I bought a new 03 Civic Sedan. The owners manual says I need oil changes every 5,000 miles, but the car dealer I bought it from said every 3,000. What gives? Let me know please!! I'm already at 3400 and the oil seems fine.
  • seafseaf Posts: 339
    Car manufacturer wants to maximize the time so less user hassles, dealer wants to shorten the time to maximize profits. I'd go about every 5k, since I lean more towards normal driving, (more highway than city stop and go driving)

    Although the first oil change should probably be done sooner to get rid of the new engine break-in debris.
  • If you want a "sweet running / sludge free engine", change your oil and filter every 3,000 miles. Let the Honda dealer perform this service, so that all your service records are in one location, (should something happen to your vehicle of a mechanical nature). This is just my opinion. There will be people on this board who have other opinions on this subject. Naturally, the final decision is yours. ----Greg
  • Ok so here goes.

    I have a 2002 civic ex. I had the first service done a little late (around 8500). The second service (oil change) was done around 12k or so. The little sticker the dealer put on my windshield says my next service is coming up at 16,600 which is where I'm at now. What can I expect for this service? I assume it's some kind of "15k service" or is it just an oil change?

    This time around I have to take it to another dealer due to geographic circumstances, and on this particular dealer's site the have listed the basic oil change (29 bucks) and then a "every 7.5k mile service" which includes the following for 100 bucks:

    7,5K at 7,500-22,500 - 37,500 - 52,500 MILES: (Includes 3,750 mile services plus the following)
    Every 7,500 miles
    Check Coolant Condition & Top Off Fluids
    Inspect & Adjust All Drive Belts and Hoses
    Inspect Emission Control System
    Inspect Engine Air Filter
    Inspect Wiper Arms and Blades for Operation
    Inspect Drive Train for any Fluid Leaks
    Clean and Tighten Battery Terminals & Check Electrolyte Level
    Lubricate Parking Brake Cables and Linkage
    Rotate Tires
    Inspect Exhaust and Heat Shields
    Check All External Lamps for Proper Operation
    Inspect Lap/Shoulder Belts for Proper Operation
    Clean and Adjust Rear Brakes
    Inspect Tie Rod Ends, Steering Gear Box & Driveshaft Boots
    Inspect and Adjust Clutch Release Travel (Standard Transmission)
    * Brake Adjust recommended at 7500 mile intervals

    THEN, there's the "every 15k service" which is 200 bucks:
    15K AT 15,000 - 45,000 - 75,000 - 105,000 MILE SERVICE (Includes 7,500 mile services plus the following)
    Every 15,000 miles
    Inspect PCV Valve Operation
    Inspect Cooling System: Pressure Test and Cap, Inspect Hoses, Drive Belts and Core Plugs
    Lubricate All Key Locks
    Inspect Suspension Mounting Bolts
    Check Shock Absorbers/Struts for Leakage and Proper Operation
    *Replace Valve Cover Gaskets and Seals
    Inspect Distributor Cap and Rotor
    Replace Air Filter
    *Add $49.95 Cooling System Service at 45K,75K, & 105K
    *Adjust Engine Valves (*Add $55.00 for 1993 and earlier) includes Valve Cover Gaskets and Seals
    *Wiper inserts included in some services

    my question is: what do i need here? I am thinking only an oil change/tire rotation, but am i missing something? is there some big 15k service i should be doing???
  • It looks to me like your dealer is nickle and diming you to death. Read through the maintenance schedule in your manual to determine exactly what you need.

    I don't think it's so much that the inspections your dealer packages are worthless; it's that he's charging you a hunk of money for 5-10 min worth of work. An oil change and tire rotation here at the dealer runs $30-$35, and one dealer does the comprehensive inspections for free.

    Dunno how many Honda dealerships there are in your area, but I'd use these routine maintenance visits to try 'em out until I found one that doesn't gouge on service.
  • I suspected it was all pretty unnecessary. I looked in the manual, and under "normal driving conditions" there's nothing specified for 15k miles. Only 10k and 20k. So I guess at this point all I really need is an oil change, does that sound right?
  • Mine is an '02 Si, but it sounds like we have similar maintenance scheds. I use the severe sched, since most of my driving is short trip and stop and go. Thus, my oil change interval is 5K miles; and that's about it 'till 30K miles, except for the inspections.
    Take a look at the definitions of the 'normal' and 'severe' conditions and take it from there.
    I was surpised, too, at how little scheduled maintenance there is to the new Civics.
    If my dealer got what yours does for checks, I'd buy a Chilton's manual and do it myself.
  • dudkadudka Posts: 451
    Helms is the best manual out there for Honda, even Haynes manual is better than Chilton.
  • you're doing 5k oil changes for 'severe' conditions? I consider my conditions to be 'normal' and I'm doing it every 3750. Is that wrong?
  • Blue - That's not wrong. It's just more often than needed. Like I keep saying, pull out the manual and read it carefully. The definitians of 'normal' and 'severe' make sense, though I'm being conservative. There's also a section on the 'maintenance needed' warning light that I think would help.
    The maintenance schedule does indeed seem very frugal, but I guess I trust Honda on this one.

    Dudka - Thanks. Helms it is.
  • I consider myself to be driving in "Normal" conditions. In the manual it says nothing about regular oil change intervals, it only has the chart that says:

    10K - oil change
    20K - oil change + rotate tires

    I had made an appointment for tomorrow to get my oil changed (I'm at 16,600) but now I'm thinking I should just cancel and wait until I hit 20-22K before getting the next change - does this make sense?
  • That makes sense to me.

    On mine, the chart translates to every 10K miles under 'normal' conditions and every 5K miles under 'severe'.

    For the recommended service, there's a mileage interval and at time interval. So, for example, Honda recommends an oil change every 10K miles or every 12 months, whichever comes first - under 'normal' conditions. You should be fine if you realistically assess 'normal' vs. 'severe' and have the recommended service performed. Most of the simple stuff, lube locks for example, we can easily do for ourselves. Changing oil, coolant, brake fluid, filters, etc. is a little messier but still not very tricky.
    Rather than buying your dealer's "packages", I'd ask for the specific services you need according to the manual. If you get kick-back and/or confusion at that point, that's when I think it's time to find a new dealer to service your Civic.
  • An Oil & Filter change is "cheap maintenance". Engines are expensive. "Sludge" in any engine will void your new vehicle warranty. We have two Honda Vehicles, (2000 Civic & 2003 Accord). Both vehicles get oil & filter changes, (at the dealer), at 3,000 mile intervals. The Civic has 25,000 + miles on the clock, and the Accord has 15,000 + miles. No problems. Very quiet & powerful 4 cylinder engines. We use our vehicles extensively. We took delivery of our Accord in Feb 2003, and we already have 15,000 + miles on the clock. By Feb. 2004 we should have between 22,500 to 25,000 miles on this vehicle. This is why we have a 100,000 mile extended warranty on this vehicle. The final choice is yours with regards to preventive maintenance. Now you have heard the rest of the story! --- Just my opinion. -----Greg
  • That was a pretty famous commercial slogan pointing out the benefit of frequent oil changes. Going several thousand miles extra has the potential to be a penny wise, pound foolish exercise. I follow the old Honda system of 3750 mile intervals. I may be getting one change every year or two that I could skip by going further but if I'm only spending an extra $1.50 a month to further protect a $15,000 expense then I find it well worth the 1% of 1% investment.
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