1. How often should I change my oil?
Honda recommends that on year 2000 and up cars you change the oil every 7,500 miles. Oil companies advise an oil change every 3000 miles. GT suggests that you change your oil every 3,750 miles. Here are the factors to consider on oil change intervals:
- Highway mileage is easy on the car. If most of your driving is highway driving, longer intervals are suggested. GT suggests 5,000 to 6,000 mile intervals.
- Short trips blacken oil quicker and break down its additives. For this type of driving a 3,750 mile interval is recommended.
- Mountain driving, with its long grades is equally hard on oil stability. GT recommends the 3,750 mile interval here, as well.
- Folks who drive in dusty environments, such as on dirt roads or construction sites should use the 3,750 mile interval.
- Sometimes we have customers who drive 6,000 miles or fewer per year. For these drivers we recommend a 6 month interval. This allows for a periodic safety inspection, airing the tires, topping off the washer fluid and checking the battery.
In conclusion, exercising a 3,750 mile oil change interval will keep the interior of your engine pristine. This also gives the tech the opportunity to check and maintain other vital parts of the car in a timely fashion.
2. Is doing periodic maintenance important?
Yes, regular maintenance is always a help to any car. Periodic servicing of your Honda or Acura addresses several important systems in your car:
- The oil in the engine is its lifeblood. It must be clean so that it will clot and become thick. The additives in the oil that keep it from turning into foam must stay strong. Motor oil also contains detergent that neutralizes corrosive acids that result from combustion.
- Brake fluid, such as DOT brake fluid, used in ABS brake systems and conventional brake systems should be flushed every 2 years. Over time, brake fluid absorbs moisture and becomes acidic, attacking metal components in the system.
- Transmission fluid has a host of properties that go way over time, making it necessary to change this fluid every 30,000 miles. Failure to do this will cause transmission seals to harden and friction and heat to build up, which is a main killer of transmissions.
- Some cars feature a separate drive train component called a differential. It operates in a fluid that should be replaced every 2 years or 30,000 miles. At times, when this fluid is old, friction will build, creating a howling noise on sharp turns.
- Antifreeze is another vital fluid. Its job in the car is to take heat from the combustion area of the engine and deliver it to the radiator, where it is dispersed into the atmosphere. If there is an absence of antifreeze, the engine will overheat and damage itself. If the antifreeze is over 3 years old, it becomes corrosive and eats vital engine parts. Metal engine parts can become pitted; coolant hoses will start to harden and become brittle; water pumps seals stiffen and begin leaking.
- Last, but not least, windshield washer fluid should be added periodically, protecting your driving visibility.
- Chassis Maintenance
- In chassis maintenance, which pertains to everything that holds the wheels onto the car, our techs inspect all hinged and pivot points. All the hardware is re-torqued and alignment performed. This will keep the car noise-free and tires wearing to their maximum life.
- Body Maintenance
- In body maintenance, twice per year, our techs lubricate the ignition switch, window run channels, door hinges, door locks and hood latches. We also apply dry silicone to rubber door seals, keeping them from drying out. On Odysseys, the sliding doors are lubricated with silicone grease to prevent roller breakdown.
Honda and Acura products feature 3 filters:
- The oil filter, which is replaced at every oil change.
- The air filter should be replaced every 30,000 miles, to increase gas mileage.
- The cabin filter, located behind the glove compartment, should be replaced every 2 years, to maintain a clean atmosphere within the car.
Most Honda and Acura products, model year 2000 and up, have a 105,000 mile interval for tune-up. Having regular tune-ups keeps your engine running stronger, smoother and keeps your gas mileage high. Older models need tune-up every 30,000 miles. When we tune your Honda or Acura, we:
- Replace the air filter.
- Replace spark plugs.
- Replace ignition rotor.
- Clean throttle body.
- Analyze car computer data.
3. How often should I replace my timing belt?
The answer to this question depends on the age of your Honda or Acura:
- If your car is a newer model, 1997 or later, the timing belt should be replaced every 105,000 miles or 7 years.
- Model years 1990 to 1996 need replacement every 90,000 miles.
- Cars from 1989 and older (“Dinosaur Cars”) should have the timing belts changed every 60,000 miles.
Replacing the timing belt at the recommended intervals will prevent this vital part from breaking while you are driving.
4. What happens if my timing belt breaks?
- If the timing belt breaks, your car will, figuratively speaking, have a heart attack. Let me explain what I mean by this. The engine is, in a sense, a giant pump, pushing air and fuel through itself. Without the precision timing orchestrated by the timing belt, moving engine parts will clash together. When that happens, valves will bend, preventing air and fuel from moving through the engine. The result of this is that your car will stop dead in its tracks.
- Repairing this damage requires us to actually split the motor in two, in order to replace all bent valves. This is an expensive repair, so staying in the recommended Honda and Acura intervals will keep your car running.
5. When should I ditch my car?
When considering whether to ditch the old jalopy, there are 3 questions to ask yourself:
- Do I like my car?
- Does it meet my needs?
- Do the numbers crunch?