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Honda Fit Maintenance



  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    Another poster assured you that you won't be voiding your warranty. This is true, but you have to be able to prove you did the oil change and used the required oil (5-20 API SM). My strategy would be to take it to the dealer's fast change oil lane (or use a coupon) but do my own "mid cycle" oil changes (when the indicator says 50% oil life left). I would use full synthetic and carry in the same full synthetic for the dealer to use when they change the oil for you.

    Prices can vary a lot for oil changes at dealers, so shop around. Virtually no "service" per se is required, so don't let them pad your bill by upseling a routine oil change to a "minor service" or "major service."
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I think the salesman is misinformed about sensors that actually check the oil for contamination; that would be new, and expensive (it's hard enough to check for contamination in a lab!).

    There are two current types of "maintenance minders":

    1. Simple mileage reminders, that read your mileage since their last reset.

    2. OLM or "oil life monitors" but really "oil life calculators" that take many pieces of information from your car's ECM (engine control module or computer) about the amount of time spent warming up vs. the amount of time spent driving at proper operating temperature; the average trip length; coolant temperature variations (stop and go in hot weather; short commute in freezing weather). Nothing requires special sensors, just grinding the information that is flowing through your car's computer all the time any way, and distilling it down to a personalized oil change recommendation.

    A lot of people who do easy freeway commutes (in their minds) are surprised to see the recommendation for an oil change come in earlier than expected; some drivers who think they are severe service drivers get longer than expected oil changes. For example, I have a 35 mile, one way, daily commute that entails a couple of blocks to get on the freeway, 10 blocks at the other end to get to work. Despite flying at 70-75 mph on the freeway, my trip computer indicates I only have an average speed of 38 mph, meaning the impact of the small portion of street, with a slow down or two on the freeway, is much greater than I imagined.

    The problem with OLM's (the Fit has the more sophisticated OLM/calculator, not the older "maintenance minder") is that they are driven by an industry agenda to minimize perceived maintenance costs and to be environmentally sound (longer oil change intervals).

    For example, Europe is biased towards long engine life rather than fuel economy, so the additives in most oils and very grade range of the oil itself (5-40 is not uncommon) optimize protection, not fuel economy. At the same time manufacturers like Benz and BMW demand "long life" oils which are designed to maintain a specified level of protection longer, so as to to keep their customers out of the routine service bay for as long as possible.

    Over here it is the opposite. Our oils emphasize fuel economy and catalytic converter life over longevity of engine parts; our public resists paying for full synthetic oils much less long-life full synthetic oils (the BMW and Mercedes spec oils are full synthetics); and manufacturers count on the widespread culture of 3,000 mile oil changes (which most consumers guiltily push out to 5,000 miles) to actually provide the real protection needed.

    Honda is the most aggressive about its oil change intervals (10,000 miles without a full synthetic or long-life spec requirement) and service categories (it is harder to fall into the shorter oil change, "severe service" category than it is with other manufacturers). At the same time, I bought two Hondas in the past five years from two different dealers, and both service departments scheduled me for 3,000 mile oil changes, over my protests.

    Now I ask you, who makes better engines - Honda, on the one hand, or BMW/Mercedes on the other? It's a trick question, because in many ways the small Honda engines are actually the better ones - due to their smaller displacement they get driven harder, and due to the younger age of their drivers they get driven harder. So which engines should get the better oil? If Mercedes and BMW's need full synthetic, how come Honda can get by with the cheapest oil on sale at Autozone? (That's another trick question - I don't think they can.)

    You said, in part "Stop second guessing Honda. They are the experts." I agree with the second part, but disagree with the first part. They ARE the experts, but what would they say if we told them (1) we drive our car like a taxi; or (ii) we really, really plan on driving it to 150,000 or 200,000 miles and don't want it to wear to the point of oil consumption during that interval? I suspect they would immediately get nervous and recommend 3,000 or 5,000 mile oil changes with a full synthetic or, better yet, a long life formulation full synthetic. Also, the engineers to design their cars are only part of the larger corporate "voice" that we ultimately hear.

    On that "other" website (bob's), both 20 and 30 weight multigrade oils are shown, by oil sample tests of used oil, as shearing down to 15 weight and 20 weight by the end of only 3,000 miles. Very few oils are shear stable (guess what - full synthetics do better). In manufacturer required wear sequence tests, the amount of wear permitted is surprisingly high - but the actual rate of wear (as opposed to total over the test) is less in the beginning and increases towards the end of the oil's life. The tests used prior to the development of 5-20 oil weren't even that severe, they were way out of date. That's why oils like Mobil 1 (and most recently Pennzoil Platinum) could honestly claim they greatly exceeded wear and other standards.

    Going 10,000 miles between oil changes also ignores other issues. How often do you check your tire pressure? I check mine monthly - but sometimes despite my best efforts forget. The average American consumer NEVER checks their tire pressure, it only gets checked when the oil is changed. So 3,000 (or at least 5,000, as opposed to 10,000)mile oil change intervals have significant hidden benefits.

    It would be nice to trust Honda (or other manufacturers that still have long oil change intervals - Ford and Chrysler have revised their recommendations significantly downward, and Toyota has revised their recommendation downward following their sludge problems). But in the meantime, I follow two rules:

    1. 3,000 miles for nonsynthetic oils;
    2. 5,000 miles or 50% of the OLM for full synthetic oils.

    And even for #1, I choose a conventionally priced oil that is really 50% synthetic (TropArtic).
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    I'm going to pick up the Fit tomorrow afternoon (Silver Sport Auto). I've been using nonsynthetic oil in one of our current vehicles (3,000 mile oil changes) and Mobile 1 in the other (5,000 mile oil changes). I thought that Mobile 1 was a full synthetic oil, but now I'm confused. Is it or is it a blend? Since I'm hoping to get at least 200,000 miles out of this car, I'm really interested in this discussion of oil changes and oil types.

    I will say we've had good luck with high mileage vehicles - we put 188,000 miles on a Tacoma using non-synthetic every 3,000 - 4,000 miles and 290,000 on a Nissan Hardbody with very irregular non-synthetic oil changes (my other half was terrible about getting it done on time way back when). When he sold the Nissan, it had a blown auto tranny but the engine was still running perfectly.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    Mobil "1" (the "1" is the key) has always been full synthetic. They also sell a conventional and blended oil under the Mobil name, but drop the "1". When in doubt, read the label, or if you get it at a car dealer, specify "fully synthetic" and as for the left over oil back - that's good both for checking the viscoscity grade they used and to make sure they themselves did not confuse the various lines of Mobil oils.

    Also see
  • growwisegrowwise Posts: 297
    Don't knock the timing belts. They last longer than chains in some cars (chain failure is common but not because of what you think.. it's the oiler which can be at fault). Belts nowadays are kevlar reinforced (kevlar being the fibres used for bulletproof vests) so they are not just rubber.

    As far as mobil1 is concerned, its the best oil you can get out there. They did a test on BMW once where it ran for one million miles in the lab. I can attest for mobil1 since I have put over 100k miles on my car and engine is like new. I only wish my tranny will live as long as my engine does. Note: Do your tranny fluid flush every 30k miles. I mean full flush not just part of it.
  • bamacarbamacar Posts: 749
    I did not knock timing belts, but I will now. I have had many cars and trucks with both. I have never had either break, and I have had many cars well over 100k miles and decades old. I have never had to replace or had a problem with a chain. I have replaced many timing belts some to the tune of 300 bucks.

    Yes, timing belts and timing chains have improved over the years. Timing chains tend to last much longer and require much less cost and time in maintenance.

    Soon (probably less than 2 years) this will be a nonissue with Honda and Toyota anyway. As soon as Toyota puts its new V-8 and V-6 in all models there will be no more timing belts. As soon as Honda comes out with the next Accord and Pilot/Ridgeline/Odyssey (both V6 engines), they will also have no timing belts. You may not like timing chains but you will no longer have a choice with a new Honda or Toyota.
  • shneorshneor Posts: 66
    I own a 1988 Mazda 323 with 241K miles on it, bought used with 88K miles. I use 20-50 oil with the addition of 4 oz. of Tufoil every oil chamge (5000 miles). I plan to use Tufoil on my new silver BM Fit starting with the first oil change. My Mazda engine runs very nicely but only 26 mpg.
  • Folks...

    It's nice to see so many different experiences and opinions about the FIT. I got my vivid pearl blue Sport AT last Wednesday and love it so far. But... sales person advised me that I the car has synthetic oil and it shouldn't be changed for...wait for it...

    10,000 miles!

    Now, I've gone every 3000 miles like clockwork with all my other cars. My eyebrows raised, the saleswoman indicated greed led to these 3000 mile intervals.

    I'm thinking the vast majority here are going to advise that the advice is crazy. Has anyone else heard such a thing? (I do understand there is an oil life maintenance "life" indicator as you flip through the trip odometers.)



  • gearhead1gearhead1 Posts: 408
    I'm thinking the vast majority here are going to advise that the advice is crazy. Has anyone else heard such a thing? (I do understand there is an oil life maintenance "life" indicator as you flip through the trip odometers.)

    Follow your oil maintenance minder on your dash display for your first oil change. Change it when it gets down to 10-15 percent which will probably be in the 5,000 mile nieghborhood. This is Honda's recommendation for breaking in their motor with the high moly factory fill. I don't think it's synthetic.

    If you feel you must change it arounf 3,000 miles just cahnge the oil when the minder says 50% after your first oil change. Don't reset the minder because it's tied to all the other maintenance schedules. You could change it at at 50%, then take it to zero and change it and reset the oil life minder at that point. Your car will never know what you did. ;)

    Personally after exhaustive research on this issue for myself. I am fully satisfied that even regular dino oil can comfortably go 5,000 miles or more, some say even 10,000, so I'm satisfied with Honda's recommendation which falls somewhere between 4,500 and 6,500 miles depending on your driving conditions.
  • reddroverrreddroverr Posts: 509
    I think in general 5-7k is pretty good for oil changes. 3k is overkill I believe..and probably was nudged along by the oil and oil change industry. After all they put a sticker on your window that tells you to do MUST be in your best interest. ;)

    I would follow the owner's guide book rather than the salesperson. Might even effect your warranty if you don't.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    On the oil change issue, I went into a bit of a rant in message #3520, which you can read by clicking on the "faded link" above.

    Basically I agree with the more recent posters that even dino oil (BRAND NAME dino oil) will go 5,000-6,000 miles in non-severe driving conditions (at least 5 mile trips, no extensive idling) BUT what the more recent posters fail to directly confront is Honda's recent absurd position that 10,000 mile oil changes with conventional oil are fine for almost everyone.

    The Fit of course has the newer type of algorithmic oil life calculator that takes into account individual driving habits. I would probably change oil at the 50% mark as suggested by the other poster, or at least not go beyond 20% remaining life, to allow a comfortable margin. For that matter, given the high freeway rpm on the standard transmission model, and the possibility of extended high rpm on the "sport shift" automatic version, I'd feel more comfortable with full synthetic oil - but that's just my opinion.
  • andmoonandmoon Posts: 320
    After many years of 3K changes I answered the interval question by having my used motor oil tested.
    The answer depends on the car.
    My 03 wrx that is not babied is projected to be good for 13K miles between oil changes. Mobil 1 tested after 5K miles. 10K should be safe.
    My 90 sdl (diesel) oil was tested after 3K miles (rotella synthetic) and is projected to be safe for 8K miles.
    I still change at 5K and 3K intervals but if my manual recs. 10K that's how long I'd take it IF an oil analysis says it's okay.
    New MB cdi (diesels) are set to go for 13K mile oil changes. I think vw tdi's for 10K. I see nothing wrong w/ a gasser going 10K.
  • gearhead1gearhead1 Posts: 408
    BUT what the more recent posters fail to directly confront is Honda's recent absurd position that 10,000 mile oil changes with conventional oil are fine for almost everyone.

    I didn't know 10,000 miles was Honda's official positon. I thought I heard someoone mention a Honda salesman told them 10,000 miles, and I don't doubt a salesman could say that, but it is not Honda's position. Salesman just talk, why, I don't know.

    Can you supply a link to this 10,000 mile number? I would think if this was Honda's position, I would have heard of someone's oil minder reaching zero at 10,000 miles, and I've never heard of this. The Longest mileage I've heard from a Honda oil life monitor is 6,500 I think.
  • reddroverrreddroverr Posts: 509
    you got your oil tested? Where and how much was it?

    if we really want to get nit picky...Click and Clack say that summer driving degrades oil faster. So throw that in to the equation if you want.

    It is all a bit of overkill to me. My celica was going stong after 240k miles and oil changes at less than optimal intervals at times.
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    My 2003 Civic manual called for 10,000 mile oil changes. If the oil life monitor is kicking in before then, obviously the driving that a lot of us do is "severe" or in between. My dealer wanted me to do 3,000 mile oil changes but that made my blood boil.

    I now have a Cobalt and the oil life monitor projects a 6,000-7,500 mile oil change. I have heard of other others with Chevy oil monitors getting much longer oil change intervals. Since I think I have one of the easiest driving patterns possible (35 mile freeway commute in a mild climate, light to moderate traffic, getting 35+ mpg so you know I'm not racing it) it makes me wonder what kind of idealized conditions the "longer interval" drivers are seeing. It's opened my eyes to what a realistic oil change interval should be for me on our other cars.
  • Thanks much, GH...and to everyone else who replied. Bottom line seems to be somewhere in between, but it appears as if I can trust that oil maintenance minder.

    Thanks again...happy FITS!

  • wvwolfwvwolf Posts: 4
    The Fit uses 5w20 because the machining tolerances these days are much more precise than cars of yesteryear. When pistons move, there is a very thin gap between the pistons and cylinder walls which is filled by oil to lubricate the motion as well as seal the gap. The lighter the oil that accomplishes this, the less energy lost to friction as the pistons move up and down. Thinner oil also distributes itself more quickly and thoroughly throughout the engine, even when cold. While you could use a thicker viscosity oil, it's rather pointless and will only make the engine slightly less efficient as the pistons have to push through a thicker liquid which causes more friction and heat.
    The engine is designed to work well with 20 weight oil and that's what I would use.
    As for synthetic vs. regular oil, they both do the job. Synthetic is more expensive but claims to be more viscous resulting in even less friction and heat which might increase mpg a microscopic smidge. It also claims to take longer to break down and lose its lubricating qualities than traditional oil. In theory this means you can go longer between oil changes. However, understand that one of the reasons for changing the oil, besides the lubricating qualities, is to get rid of all the microscopic metal particles acquired through wear that are now floating in the oil. If you go longer between oil changes, those particles are circulating longer.
    If you don't abuse the engine and change oil more or less frequently, the engine will probably last a couple hundred thousand miles using either type so the differences are probably negligible.
  • moonchildmoonchild Posts: 15
    Thank you for an in-depth, well written and articulate article. I will be paying more attention to items that you write. :)
  • 99accent99accent Posts: 237
    the new sonata has no belt
  • kagedudekagedude Posts: 407
    For my Honda Fit Sport, whenever I turn the wheel all the way, it feels like its hitting or rubbing on something like the tire hitting the wheel well. Anyone have this symptom? I'm not comfortable turning a full radius because of that. Thanks.
  • hungarian83hungarian83 Posts: 678
    I am guessing it is the Sport model with the larger wheels/tires. I don't have that problem on my base model, and I regularly turn the wheel all the way when driving around tight corners in parking lots, etc.

    Also, the 15" wheels in other markets have 185 tires, and not 195 like the US market. Maybe 10mm could be making a difference?
  • carfanatic007carfanatic007 Posts: 267
    I have a Fit Sport and when I turn the wheel all the way it doesn't rub. Just a very short turning radius, good for making Uturns, etc. Remember, they sell the 16 inch tires as an option so no reason the 15 inch would be too big.
  • kagedudekagedude Posts: 407
    Okay, maybe I'm describing it wrong. On other cars I've had when you turn the wheel all the way, the steering wheel locks with a clunk (metal to metal) feel. With my Fit, it feels like the steering wheel is hitting foam or a buffer is in between.
  • munchie1munchie1 Posts: 9
    When I first put the can in reverse and then in drive I hear the gas in the tank swishing around. Has anyone been hearing this?
  • cmkcmk Posts: 59
    Yes the solution is to turn your radio up.
  • Yeah, since you are sitting on your gas tank, you pretty much don't have a choice. :D
  • kagedudekagedude Posts: 407
    Someone brought this up earlier but I haven't noticed or heard the swishing sound yet in the one month I've owned my Fit Sport.
  • hungarian83hungarian83 Posts: 678
    That's surprising!
    Next time you fill up for gasoline (the sound is much more pronounced on a full tank), go to a parking lot where you can safely make some quick stops and sharp turns, and you will definitely hear it.

    Either that, or the dealership installed the "platinum soundproofing package" for you. ;)
  • kagedudekagedude Posts: 407
    ... or it could be my ears going deaf. :P I did try to look out for this symptom and I'm usually good with noticing idiosyncrasies of cars but not this one.

    Other things I noticed so far with 3800 miles:
    -No rattles yet. :blush:
    -Sometimes, downshifting gears lets say from 4th to 3rd, the RPM jumps up so much that it feels like the transmission is slipping.
    -The engine's racy sound is more noticeable now.
    -I find the intermittent wipers to be useless. The speed never jives with the rain - either too slow or too fast. My old Hyundai Accent had variable intermittent wipers and it was perfect.
    -The wipers are leaving scratch-like marks. A few times already that I had to wipe the windshield with windex to make sure its not an actual scratch. It also leaves lines when it wipes. Could it be since the driver side wiper is so long that it doesn't have even pressure on the windshield?
    -I always avoid high ramps or those concrete parking slabs because of the low Sport bumper.
    -Car feels a little sluggish right now. The car doesn't feel as peppy or sprints as well when it was new. Wait... its still new. :confuse:
  • hungarian83hungarian83 Posts: 678
    "Could it be since the driver side wiper is so long that it doesn't have even pressure on the windshield?"

    To me the pressure seems fairly even since I haven't noticed any scratch-like marks or areas where it doesn't wipe. I have never had the luxury of variable intermittent wipers in my two previous cars, so I am not missing much there. :)

    The "racy" sound is more noticeable now, but I haven't noticed anything out of the ordinary with the shifting in the transmission. It might be that you are getting used to the way the car runs?
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