Honda Civic Hybrid Owners Care & Maintenance

Karen_SKaren_S Member Posts: 5,092
edited September 2014 in Honda
Discuss your Civic Hybrid's routine care and maintenance.


  • dselldsell Member Posts: 18
    If you have changed the oil yourself on your HCH, changing the CVT fluid is almost as easy.

    You will need:
    * Long neck funnel (has to reach over 1 foot in length)
    * 10" or longer socket wrench extension (I had to use an 8" and a 2" extension in tandem)
    * 3/8" socket wrench
    * 3 quarts ATF-Z fluid
    * Aluminum washers for the drain and fill plugs

    Take the bottom plastic engine pan off like you would to change the oil.

    Place the 3/8" socket wrench (without a socket) into the head of the drain plug and loosen it. The drain plug is keyed with a square drive head, so the 3/8" socket wrench fits just fine. If you cant find the drain plug, it is located closest to the drivers-side of the car towards the back of the transmission. Still cant find it? Invest in a shop manual!

    Drain the ATF fluid and dispose of properly. Wipe the excess debris off of the magnetic side of the plug. Make sure not to leave any foreign particles. Be as clean as possible. Throw away the aluminum washer and replace it.

    The fill plug is a 17mm bolt (if I recall correctly) and can be easily reached with a long socket extension of at least 10". Again, depending on how dirty your engine is, take care not to get ANYTHING in the transmission. Degrease the housing around the plug before you remove it if necessary. Replace the fill plug washer as well.

    Use the long funnel and replace the fluid. Tighten the drain and fill plug to specs (look them up).

    If I missed anything please post it here. I just did this after 30k miles and the fluid was really dirty. I may increase the frequency of CVT fluid changes to hopefully make the transmission last longer. :shades:
  • mistermemisterme Member Posts: 407
    That was a geat post!
    Where did you get the fluid, what type is it and how much does it require, how much does it cost?

    Thanks in advance
  • dselldsell Member Posts: 18

    The fluid is called ATF-Z. You get it from the honda dealer. I just asked them to give me enough for one change and they gave me 3 quarts. It was just enough according to the dip stick. I will have to check with the shop manual to get an exact amount.

    Also, I looked at the socket extension I purchased for the job, and its a 10", so I added the 2" on top of that to reach the fill plug. Make sure you have at least a 12" extension to reach the plug.

    I dont remeber what it cost per quart.. I think it varies per dealer.
  • tekgeektekgeek Member Posts: 1
    I've had my HCH for 3 days and just read the manual today. Did you have to put the car up on a lift of some kind or did you just jack up the front end. According to the manual, you have to lift the car to do even simple maintenance like change the oil. Is this really true?

    Also in the manual, it states that synthetic oil is acceptable, anyone know where to find 0w-20 synthetic oil? Do they make it?

    So far on my first tank, I've averaged 42.3 MPG. This seems to be alot better than what alot of folks got on their first tank...and with gas prices over $3/gal, I'm very happy with my investment. :)
  • motherwearymotherweary Member Posts: 38
    A question elsethread reminds me to ask about this. I have been bringing my '03 HCH into the dealership (sharks) for an oil change every 5k miles. This costs an arm and half a leg, so I have questions:

    Apparently the HCH takes a hard-to-get oil weight that nobody else carries -- is this true, or is there another source?

    Does the oil really need to be changed every 5K miles?

    Will I void my extended warranty by taking the car elsewhere for an oil change (assuming that this is possible)?

    Thanks in advance.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Here are some oil answers for you:

    1. Other people make 0W-20 oil. Mobil 1 discontinued it recently, but rumours are they are going to start making it again in the Fall. Pennzoil also has a newly released "Hybrid Car Oil" in their Platinum line. Not sure if they make 0W-20 or not. Amsoil makes a 0W-30 that I have used in my hybrid also.

    2. The oil does not have to be changed every 5000 miles. The oil of today has a lot more "good stuff" in it, especially the Synthetic oils, which allow for longer changes. I used Amsoil for 22,000 miles between changes in my Chevy Avalanche, and it's still going strong at 85,000 miles. A good number is 7,500 or 10,000 miles between changes if you use Synthetic oil.

    3. You will ABSOLUTELY not void your warranty by using different oil nor will it be voided if you change it elsewhere than the dealer. There are laws to protect consumers in that regard.

    Hope this helps !!! :D
  • motherwearymotherweary Member Posts: 38
    Thanks, larsb. I was worried that a hybrid engine might foul or break down the oil faster than a non-hybrid engine would ... although I fail to see how, but I'm no automotive engineer.
  • jujudeejujudee Member Posts: 7
    Piggyback questions:

    I bought my 2004 HCH used from a Mitsubishi dealer. Since there is a sticker right on the oil cap about the OW-20 oil, I assumed they used the proper oil when they did an oil change when they acquired the car. Now reading this I am not so sure-- I doubt they would have had it on hand. I also doubt I could get a straight answer out of them at this point, 2 months later. So is it worth it to take it to a Honda dealer for another oil change? It's only been about 700 miles since it was done. Is the proper oil just for increased mpg, or does the wrong oil also harm the car?

    I also have read about a recall repair and have no idea if that was done on this vehicle or not, so could get that checked out at the same time I guess.
  • hondakittyhondakitty Member Posts: 1
    Hi - I just joined this chatgroup -- and I really appreciate all the info!

    I bought a Civic Hybrid '05 in Sept - and I commute more than 120 a day (mostly NJ Turnpike) My odometer reads about 8,600 miles.

    I drive pretty fast -- and I average 42 mpg.

    I've already added a quart of 5W/20 (I'm not a car expert at all.) I have NOT added any coolant. The Honda dealership just called and said I should come in for first service checkup. My questions:

    Should I wait til 10,000 miles, as stated in the manual?
    Can I take the car to a place like JiffyLube? (I live an hour away from the dealer!)
    Should I first buy Honda coolant and oil?
    Does winter in NJ require different coolant for the hybrid?
    I'm worried about snow (I traded a Subaru Forrester for the hybrid -- and the AWD Forrester was GREAT in snow.) Are there certain snow tires I can put on the hybrid?

    Sorry for so many questions. Again -- I'm grateful for your patience and any advice you can take the time to give!
  • kominek1982kominek1982 Member Posts: 3
    I am new to this forum and would welcome any imput from the many learned members here. I will be attempting my first at-home oil change of my 2003 HCH. I have done many oil changes on other cars before and would like to know if there is anything special/different on the HCH. How many liters of oil do you use, how do you get that plastic shield off under the engine.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • admdzadmdz Member Posts: 3
    Hi everyone!

    I am not from USA and in my country HCH is planned for sale at the beginning of next year. I wish to buy it but concerned about some exploitation issues. For example does anybody has problems with usage HCH in low temperature climate. I mean 20F and lower.

    Thanks for feedback in advance.
  • kominek1982kominek1982 Member Posts: 3
    I am from Chatham, Ontario, Canada. We have had many days and nights at -5 to -10 degrees Celcius (20 F). I have had no problems whatsoever starting the car first thing in the morning. I have installed a block heater which I have on a timer. It turns on about four hours prior to my morning commute. I would also suggest 0W20 motor oil. It is very thin when cold and perfect for those early morning start-ups. I would highly recommend this vehicle to anyone.
  • dselldsell Member Posts: 18
    Hi all... thought I would respond to a few things since I havnt been on the boards in a while.

    Q: Lift required for maintenance?
    A: NO. It does help, but you can do oil changes and tranny fluid changes on the car with a regular floor jack and jack stands (ALWAYS use jack stands!!!)

    I have 51k miles on my 2004 HCH. My average lifetime mileage is still 46.1 MPG. I do all maintenance on the vehicle. The only time it has been in the shop was for recall service. I HATE other people working on my cars and I avoid taking my car to anyone unless absolutely necessary. Even with the Hybrid, I expect to do most work myself except for major engine repair or replace the transmission.
  • pojamanpojaman Member Posts: 25
    Does anyone has the Honda filters (air,oil fuel, tranny etc) numbers for the 06 civic Hybrid? or equivalent. I do my own oil change and stuff.The car is speck brand new,I like to change the oil after the first :) 1000 miles ,I have done this in all my cars over the years. The engine works harder when brand new and changing the oil on the first 1000 miles will get rid of any metal filling that may be in the crank case from the manufacturing. It also seems my 06 wsa built in Japan and came with standard motor oil,I'm going to switch to synthetic. It's worth the extra money.
    I'll be back
  • jjm22jjm22 Member Posts: 3

    You may want to check with the service people at the dealership about the early oil change. I used to do the same but was told not to because keeping the oil in the engine for 5000 miles will help with break-in.

    Good luck with your HCH. It is a terrific car!

  • pojamanpojaman Member Posts: 25
    Thanks for the tip,first time I hear this,I'm looking around to buy some synthetic oil.Not much available out there.Pennzoil make a 0W20 oil for hybrid and that's about it.
  • ahavemannahavemann Member Posts: 1
    Hi, I bought my manual '05 HCH a couple of months ago and am only getting 32.5mpg! :cry:

    I drive too fast and speed between stop lights and have to stop doing that. anything else a beginner should know?
    - what kind of oil should i use
    - what kind of gas should i use
    - what other tricks do i need to increase my lousy gas mileage?

    Thanks, any thoughts, suggestions would be useful.
  • jonallenjonallen Member Posts: 30
    The HCH has all sorts of gages on it to help with efficient driving, but the one I find most useful is the tachometer. The tach not only lets you know how hard you are making the engine work to get up that hill, but it also lets you know when the engine isn't being asked to do anything but idle while you are maintaining a modest speed down a slope, even though you haven't quite let go of the accelerator. On top of this, I have found that I can get around quite adequately while consciously backing off on the accelerator before the tach climbs above a paltry 2,000 rpm, and this is generally all that I need to do to get nearly 50mpg on my 20 mile stop-and-go drive to and from work. If you can manage this technique and still get crummy efficiency, you need something corrected.
  • gm88gm88 Member Posts: 2
    When I'm changing the oil on my 2003 Civic Hybrid, the nine holding clips (or rivets) that hold the plastic cover under the engine sometimes break when I pry up the center button with a screwdriver. The dealer charges $4 apiece for the clips. Has anyone found a good tool for removing the clips without breaking them? I think it might help if the tool could hook under the center button on two sides simultaneously to grab it and pull it out. Or have you found an inexpensive source for the clips? (Auto parts stores sell similar clips, but I couldn't find an exact match.)
  • manoy1manoy1 Member Posts: 6
    Since the HCH emits low emmisions, does anyone know if this car is exempted from California smog tests every other year?
  • manoy1manoy1 Member Posts: 6
    Diamond lane use by select hybrid cars in California will expire in January 2007. I bought an 05 HCH because of 1 1/2 hours one way commute and usage of diamond lane to save time. Does anyone have an idea how this previledge can be extended beyond 07?
  • wjnorriswjnorris Member Posts: 1
    Actually, the sunset on the bill is January 1, 2008. The full text is available at, but the relevant section reads:
    (k) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2008, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2008, deletes or extends that date.

    So yes, there is a way to extend it... write your state representative and let them know how you feel. My understanding is that were going to be monitoring the effect this bill had on traditional carpool users (non-hybrid). As long as there is no significant negative impact, the bill will possibly be extended. But again, the only way for sure is to voice your opinion to your lawmakers.
  • oakwiltoakwilt Member Posts: 12
    If anyone has a '06 civic hybrid and digital camera and
    does their own fluid changes, I would appreciate a blow-by-blow demo on doing an oil and transmission fluid change.
  • manoy1manoy1 Member Posts: 6
    Thank you for the info wjnorris. Just to inform backyard mechanics I changed my 05 engine oil to synthetic. I noticed the mileage increased to 3 mpg on the average.
  • edjonesedjones Member Posts: 1
    I have an '06 and am coming up on my first oil change. Do other folks here recommend switching to synthetic, or no?
  • cjaross2cjaross2 Member Posts: 2
    I would highly recommend synthetic oil. The motor seems to be quieter and the mileage is getting about 3 mpg better in the city. I found the oil at walmart mobile one 0w20 for about 5.68 per quart the dealer changed my oil for 21.00. This would cost about 45.00 if he supplied the oil.
  • manoy1manoy1 Member Posts: 6
    I just bought the following from a Honda dealer in N. CA
    1: CVT transmission fluid - $10.14 ea (3) for $30.42
    2: Dust & pollen filter - $13.75 ea (2) for $27.50
    3: Engine air filter - $27.32 ea
    Does anybody know of any place cheaper to to buy these parts ?
  • manoy1manoy1 Member Posts: 6
    Since I just bought the 2 filters; I am ready to replace same. The problem is I do not have a manual. Can somebody help?
  • lloronallorona Member Posts: 1

    Sorry if this is a silly question.

    Do I have to go to the Honda dealer to get oil changes on my hybrid? Or, would your typical oil change shop (i.e. Jiffy Lube, Oil Changers) know how to do it?

    Thank you!
  • stevedebistevedebi LAMember Posts: 4,098
    "Do I have to go to the Honda dealer to get oil changes on my hybrid? Or, would your typical oil change shop (i.e. Jiffy Lube, Oil Changers) know how to do it?"

    You can go anywhere, just be sure and keep the receipts in case something happens to the engine. Honda has to know the car is maintained properly.

    However, you might check prices. My Honda dealer is cheaper than Jiffy Lube. And my service history is right there in the Honda computers.
  • robert47robert47 Member Posts: 13
    Hello everyone,

    I purchased my 06 civic hybrid in December 2005. I had first oil change when it was 7500 miles. My dealer told me that I should have changed it when it was 3500 miles. I told him that I just followed maintenance reminder screen. Now it is 12300 miles and maintenance reminder says 40% to oil change which will be the time I guess 10% about 15000 miles. The dealer sticker says 10500 miles or 9/1/2006. I am confused what I should do. Listen to the dealer or maintenance reminder. I need an advise for the time period of oil change.

  • sodaguysodaguy Member Posts: 84
    You should always follow the Maintenance Minder system. Your dealer wants you to service on a more frequent basis so they may increase their profits.

    As long as you check your oil level on a regular basis, and the correct oil and filter are used, there is no harm in following the Maintenance Minder system. Be sure to keep your tires inflated to the proper pressure between services as well to maximize fuel economy.
  • sodaguysodaguy Member Posts: 84
    The Honda 0w20 oil should be mostly Group III, so I'd say that the oil should be mostly synthetic. It is difficult to blend a 0w20 oil with Group II base oils. So, I wouldn't refer to Honda 0w20 as a dino oil.
  • commandrinecommandrine Member Posts: 3
    I am driving a 2006 HCH and using 0w20 synthetic oil - what is the proper interval between oil changes?
  • commandrinecommandrine Member Posts: 3
  • rab48rab48 Member Posts: 8
    The dashboard display has an oil life readout. 100% is new oil, and 0% indicates it is time to change.
  • rab48rab48 Member Posts: 8
    First, try your local parts stores. I have a 2001 Insight Hybrid and I have been able to get parts there. I also get a good price on filters from I live an hour north of Boston where they are located, so check shipping charges.
  • rab48rab48 Member Posts: 8
    yes it is to increase mileage, and yes it could do damage. the tight tolerances may not allow a thicler oil such as 5w20 to flow at lower temperatures. stick with honda oil over mobil1. 10,000 test with each shows the honda oil gives 2-3 mpg increase. have not tried other brands, such as penzoil.
  • partsgirl203partsgirl203 Member Posts: 1
  • rogerb46rogerb46 Member Posts: 9
    Just ordered cabin filters from for $7.79 each. Think they have other stuff as well.
  • shermittshermitt Member Posts: 2
    Hey 2005 Civic Hybrid is approaching 60,000 miles and I have been told by the dealer that it's a 'major' scheduled service. However, the cost of the service is over $400. The one thing that I know my car is overdue for is a transmission service, which the 60,000 mile service includes. But $400 is a lot of money, is it an absolute necessity that I get it done. Or can I just bring it into the dealer for a transmission service? Please help.
  • kemtidkemtid Member Posts: 6
    Hi Folks, AS I am about to do my first oil & filter change myself, I was wondering if anyone has changed to the Ams Oil Synthetic product instead of the Honda oil? I cannot find any other oil around here in Connecticut other than the Honda Brand for the 0W20 grade. Does anyone use anything else? Thanks for your help.

    Kevin in CT
    2006 Civic Hybrid # 2
    2003 Civic Hybrid # 1 Sold in 2003 with over 50k Miles for $13k
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    I used Amsoil in my 2004 HCH several times. No issues. Go for it.
  • skohskoh Member Posts: 1
    Check out ENEOS, manufactured by Nippon Oil - the largest oil company in Japan. Nippon Oil supplies the factory fill fluids for Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, etc. and they recently launched their aftermarket brand of fully-synthetic engine oil, ATF, and CVT fluid in the United States.

    ENEOS has 0W-20 Engine Oil and an attractive option for CVT ($10/quart) vs. ($18-25/quart) at the dealership.

    For more info:

    Full disclosure: Yes. We are an ENEOS distributor. :)
  • caazcaaz Member Posts: 209
    the best thing you can do with your oil change is an additive.....i recomend Prolong and or'll get better gas mileage as well as engine life and protection.
  • kemtidkemtid Member Posts: 6
    I did go for the AmsOil. My wife's cousin is a mechanic and dealer for them. He has most of her family into it :) Its not to bad in price less than $8.00/qt and the filter is $16.00. So for about $50.00 you can get 25K miles between changes. I am going on a trip starting tomorrow to Baltimore. So I will follow the gas mileage. Has anyone noticed a difference in their gas mileage with the AmsOil? My wife's cousin wanted me to keep him updated on that as well. Thanks for the insite Folks!

    Kevin in CT
    2006 Civic Hybrid #2
    2003 Civic Hybrid #1 Sold in 2006 with over 50k for $13k :shades:
  • gautam12gautam12 Member Posts: 1
    I am driving 2003 HCH. I would like to change the oil myself. How often should I change it? What kind of motor oil should I buy?

    Responses would be appreciated.
  • jonathannjonathann Member Posts: 55
    I have 25,000 miles on a 2007 HCH and the maintenance-minder says to change the transmission fluid.

    The manual says the fluid should be drained and refilled, then the car should be driven for a short distance. This process should be repeated 3 times, then drain and refill a fourth and final time. This seems ridiculous. Why would you not just replace with new fluid every 6,000 miles instead of wasting 9 quarts of new fluid each 25,000 miles?

    I checked with the Honda Dealer Technician and was told no, they just drain and refill.

    Which procedure are you using?
  • jonathannjonathann Member Posts: 55
    I think that I was misreading a very confusing manual.

    The manual says:

    "To thoroughly flush the transmission, the technician should drain and refill it with Honda CVT fluid, then drive the vehicle for a short distance. Do this three times. Then drain and refill the transmission a final time."

    Just after that, the manual says:

    "The transmission should be drained and refilled with new fluid when this service is indicated by a maintenance message in the information display."

    The information display says:

    "Replace transmission fluid."

    I am going to take that to mean the drain and fill (once) instruction.

    There is no "Thoroughly Flush" instruction on the maintenance display.

    Thank you for your reply.
  • supermikussupermikus Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2007 HCH that I purchased brand new from the local Honda dealer...It basically performed to spec on fuel connsumption at 47 miles per US gallon ( 6.3 litres per 100 km) for the first year and than after my second maintenance was done ( oil and filter replacement), it has dropped to 35 miles per US gallon( 8.5 litres/100 km). As far as I know there is no difference in our driving habits other than less highway miles...we try to use the cruise control around town as much as possible and its a struggle to get better then about 37 miles per US gallon. What's happened?
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