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Old January 30th, 2005, 04:28 PM   #1
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Honda General/Fuel/Motor Oil/Oil Filter/Brakes FAQ



What is the break-in period of my Honda?

Help assure your vehicle's future reliability and performance by paying extra attention to how you drive during the first 600 miles (1,000 kilometers). During this period:

Avoid full-throttle starts and rapid acceleration.
Avoid hard braking. New brakes need to be broken in by moderate use for the first 200 miles (300 km).

Can I have my maintenance services performed by anyone I choose?

Maintenance services and repairs may be performed by any qualified technicians.

Therein lies the rub: who is qualified? Honda dealers know your Honda best; they're the best choice for all your vehicle's needs.

Many after-market repair services, such as the mass-marketers (chain stores), hire non-Honda-trained people to work on your high-technology vehicle. Generally speaking, their Honda product knowledge is minimal.

Some ex-dealership technicians open their own independent shops and specialize in that brand of vehicle. However, their "factory" training is usually several years old, so their technical knowledge of current model vehicles will not be as good as the local dealer's technicians, who routinely receive new model training from American Honda.

If I choose to have my maintenance services performed by someone other than a Honda dealer, must I keep records?

It's always a good idea to keep records of all services and repairs of your vehicle. The Service Records feature here on Owner Link is a handy way to keep track of each service visit.

A Honda dealers computer system automatically does this for you, as it maintains Vehicle Service History records electronically. A dealer can review any and all work performed by that store.

I'm leasing my vehicle. Why should I worry about servicing my Honda?

There are two very good reasons why you should maintain your vehicle according to the schedule in your Owner's Manual.

Regularly maintaining your car is the best way to protect your investment. Proper maintenance is essential to your safety and the safety of your passengers. It will also reward you with more economical, trouble-free driving and help reduce air pollution.

Vehicle condition is evaluated at the end of the lease period and you will be charged for abnormal conditions that reduce the value of the vehicle. This includes mechanical condition.

My "Malfunction Indicator Lamp" stays on while I'm driving. What should I do?

This indicator comes on for a few seconds when you turn the ignition switch ON.

If you have recently refueled your Honda, the cause of this indicator coming on could be a loose or missing fuel filler cap. Check the cap and tighten it until it clicks. Replace the fuel cap with a Genuine Honda replacement cap, if it is missing. Tightening the cap will not make the indicator turn off immediately; it may take several driving trips.

If the indicator remains on past three driving trips, or the fuel cap was not loose or missing, one of the engine's emissions control systems may have a problem. Have the vehicle checked by the dealer as soon as possible.

You should also have the dealer inspect your vehicle if this indicator comes on repeatedly, even though it may turn off as you continue driving.
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Old January 30th, 2005, 04:29 PM   #2
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Are some gasolines better than others? What is "Top Tier Detergent Gasoline"?

In general, Honda recommends that you buy gasoline from high-volume, major name-brand stations.

To prevent the build up of deposits inside your engine and fuel system, it is important to choose fuels that contain effective detergent additives. The detergency of some US gasolines is insufficient to provide protection from such deposits. Honda recommends the use of "Top Tier Detergent Gasolines," where available. Gasoline brands with this designation meet new, voluntary standards and have demonstrated their ability to keep engines clean through a series of demanding tests. Significantly, Top Tier Detergent Gasoline does not contain MMT, a metallic additive that creates deposits in your engine and exhaust system; (see the MMT explanation below). Fuel brands that have achieved the Top Tier Detergent Gasoline designation can be identified through their marketing campaigns, and/or by fueling station signage.

What's that sulfur smell coming from my vehicle?
All gasolines contain trace amounts of sulfur. The human sense of smell can detect sulfur odor in concentrations as low as 3 to 5 parts per million in air.

The exhaust on today's catalyst-equipped Honda vehicles will emit varying degrees of sulfur odor depending on operating temperatures and conditions. On normally operating vehicles, the odor is usually noticeable when the engine is cold, right after deceleration, or after wide-open throttle acceleration.

It may not be possible to eliminate sulfur odor completely due to the various operating conditions. If the sulfur odor is overly bothersome, please contact Honda Customer Relations or your dealer for further guidance or assistance.

Sometimes my Honda seems to idle poorly, hesitate on acceleration or experience hard starting. Why is that?

All parts of the U.S. have winter/summer blended fuel, which is needed to prevent cold or hot start problems. Winter fuels have higher volatility to compensate for cold dense air. Conversely, summer fuels have lower volatility and are less prone to "percolate."

If winter blended fuel is used in warm or hot weather, the higher temperature may cause the fuel to "percolate" within the fuel system.

Summer fuel may not vaporize adequately in cool weather.

These situations are normally localized and last only during a brief period of severe changes in climatic conditions. Normally, no vehicle repairs are needed for these situations.

Buy fuel from high-volume, major name-brand stations.

Some gas stations in our area sell oxygenated fuels or fuels that contain other additives. What's Honda's position on these fuels?

Do not use gasoline containing MMT (Methylcyclopentadienyl Manganese Tricarbonyl). MMT is a gasoline additive that is used by some refiners to boost octane. It contains the metal manganese. This additive contaminates your engine components and exhaust emission control system, and can lead to a significant increase in emissions and a loss in performance and fuel economy. Damage caused by the use of fuels containing MMT mat not be covered under warranty. Gasoline containing MMT is not common in the United States. It is prohibited in federal reformulated gasoline and in all California gasoline. However, MMT has been found in some fuels in the Southwest, mountain states, and the northwest area of New York State. MMT is more prevalent in gasoline sold in Canada, but lately many MMT-free fuels have become available. Regardless of location, the presence of MMT in the fuel will not be indicated on the pump, so it is important to ask your fueling station if their gasoline contains this additive. Alternatively, you may contact the customer service department of your preferred fuel brand with this question.

Some conventional gasolines are being blended with alcohol or an ether compound. These gasolines are collectively referred to as "oxygenated fuels." To meet clean air standards, some areas of the U.S. and Canada use these fuels to help reduce emissions. If you use an oxygenated fuel, be sure it is unleaded and meets the minimum octane rating requirement described in your Owner's Manual.

Before using an oxygenated fuel, try to confirm the fuel's contents. Some states/provinces require this information to be posted on the pump.

The following are the EPA-approved percentages of oxygenates:
ETHANOL (ethyl or grain alcohol): You may use gasoline containing up to 10% ethanol by volume.
MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether): You may use gasoline containing up to 15% MTBE by volume.
METHANOL (methyl or wood alcohol): Gasoline containing methanol is not common in North America. Your vehicle was not designed to use fuel that contains methanol. Methanol can damage fuel system components. This damage would not be covered under warranty.

Fuels that exceed the EPA's approved oxygenate percentages for conventional and reformulated gasolines must be clearly labeled on the pump. One example of such a fuel is "E85," which contains 85% ethanol. Do not use such fuels in your vehicle. These fuels will cause performance problems, and may damage your vehicle's engine, fuel system, and emission control system. This damage would not be covered under warranty.

If you notice any undesirable operating symptoms, try another service station or switch to another brand of gasoline.

Does it help to use a fuel with a higher octane rating than required in my Owner's Manual?

Refer to your Owner's Manual for the pump octane number recommended for your Honda. Use of a lower-octane gasoline than recommended can cause a persistent, heavy metallic rapping noise in the engine that can lead to mechanical damage.

There is no advantage in using a fuel with a pump octane greater than that recommended in your Owner's Manual.

I've noticed various warning signs posted near the pump areas at my fueling station. What precautions should I follow when refueling my vehicle?

Turn off your vehicle.

Do not smoke, light matches, or use lighters.

Leave cell phones and other electronic devices turned off and in the vehicle.

Do not get back into your vehicle during refueling. Remain at the vehicle's fueling point even when using the nozzle’s hold-open latch. It is important to avoid any activity that might result in static electricity build-up and discharge.

Do not attempt to "top off" your vehicle's fuel tank.

Ensure that the gas cap is securely tightened after refueling, as per the instructions in your Owner's Manual. An improperly tightened gas cap might illuminate the Malfunction Indicator Light on your instrument panel.

Never fill a portable gasoline container or refuel a gasoline-powered device anywhere inside or on your vehicle.
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Old January 30th, 2005, 04:31 PM   #3
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What type of oil should I use?

Always use Honda Genuine Oil, available at your Honda dealer. When Honda Genuine oil is not available, it is very important to choose an oil displaying the "Starburst" certification symbol, shown below. This symbol indicates that the oil meets the latest performance requirements set by the automotive and oil industries. Oil bearing the Starburst will provide superior performance in the areas of deposit and sludge protection, wear protection, and oil life. These oils will also protect the environment by extending the life of your emissions system and conserving energy through better fuel economy.

American Honda recommends the use of Honda Genuine oil for your vehicle. This oil meets the Starburst performance requirements listed above, but is also subjected to a series of Honda-specific tests to guarantee optimum performance and compatibility with your Honda vehicle.

Refer to your owner's manual to determine the proper weight (viscosity) grade for your Honda . Your vehicle was designed to use this specific weight grade. Confirm that the weight listed on your oil's label matches this recommendation exactly before using it in your engine.

What about synthetic motor oils?

You may use a synthetic motor oil if it meets the same requirements listed above. That is, it must display the Starburst symbol, and match the weight grade recommended in your owner's manual.

When using synthetic oil, you must follow the oil and filter change intervals given in the maintenance schedule.

Why should I wait to change the oil the first time?

Your Honda engine was delivered with an oil that is specially formulated for new engines that have not yet developed their "natural" wear patterns and may contain minute particles from the manufacturing process.

American Honda strongly recommends this special oil be left in the engine long enough for these wear patterns to develop, usually until the first maintenance interval specified in your Owner's Manual, based on your specific driving conditions.

How often should I change my oil after the first service?

Refer to your owner's manual for the recommended service intervals. Separate maintenance schedules are listed for "normal service" and "severe service." Read the description of severe service carefully. Most vehicles will fall under the normal service category. Note that the service intervals are listed by time in addition to distance. Your oil should be changed at whichever interval, time or distance, occurs first.

There is absolutely no benefit in changing your oil more frequently than recommended in your owner's manual. This will only increase your cost of ownership, and create an unnecessary burden upon the environment by increasing the amount of disposed oil.

Do not exceed the recommended maintenance interval. Oil eventually deteriorates and loses its ability to protect your engine, due to heat, friction, and exposure to exhaust components. Engine oil contains special additives to enhance the oil's performance, and these additives are also broken down or consumed with distance and time. Engine damage can occur if the proper maintenance schedule is not followed.

What's a "crush washer" and why is it important to my Honda?

As a Honda owner, the crush washer you should be most concerned with is the one that must be replaced every time you change your motor oil. This crush washer fits between your oil pan and the drain plug. It is a one-time-use washer. Discard the old washer at each oil change and replace with a new one. If you have your oil changed at any service outlet other than a Honda dealer, remind them of the importance to use a new crush washer.

When a new washer is installed and the drain plug is tightened, this washer "crushes" to form a very tight seal, thereby preventing motor oil leaks without overstressing the oil pan threads.

Oil changers who are not aware of its importance may think it's OK to re-use this washer. Since it has already been crushed, it will not collapse further. As a result, the installer may overtighten the drain plug to get a tight fit. This can eventually lead to stripped threads in the oil pan -- a very expensive repair.

This is another example of why your Honda dealer is the easy choice for your service needs. Honda dealers know your Honda best.

What about oil additives?

American Honda recommends against the use of any oil additives other than those already blended in the stock oil. Such supplemental additives are unnecessary when using quality oils displaying the Starburst certification symbol. Additives cannot prolong the life of a used oil, because the oil molecules have been broken down. The use of oil additives will increase your cost of ownership, and can lead to engine damage.

Does my Honda's oil system require periodic flushing?

American Honda strongly recommends against this process, which is sometimes called "engine flushing." Any engine damage resulting from this procedure will not be covered under warranty.


Are there special steps I should follow when changing my oil filter?

When installing a new Honda oil filter, make sure you torque the filter to the proper specification. This way, you fully compress the filter's O-ring so there are no leaks. Torque specifications are listed on the filter. Before you install a new oil filter, remember to inspect and clean the filter's threads and O-ring surfaces. And to keep the new O-ring from shearing when you torque the filter, smear a little engine oil on it. If the O-ring from the old filter is stuck to the engine block, scrape it off thoroughly and wipe the surface clean. Never install a new oil filter with the old O-ring stuck to the block. The filter could come loose over time.


What causes brake squeal?

All four brakes have audible brake wear indicators. When the brake pads need replacing, you will hear a distinctive metallic "screeching" sound when you apply the brakes. If you do not have the brake pads replaced, they will begin screeching all the time.

Your brakes may sometimes squeal or squeak when you apply them lightly. Do not confuse this with the brake wear indicators. They make a very audible "screeching."

Occasional noise can be caused by the light application of brakes for a prolonged distance before stopping, or from high relative humidity. These are normally temporary and are considered normal brake noises not requiring repair.

Why must I have the brake fluid flushed from my system at certain mileage intervals?

Brake fluid is hygroscopic, which means that it absorbs moisture. And when that moisture finds its way into your braking system, it can corrode metal and seals.

Flushing the system with new fluid removes the condensation before extensive damage can occur.

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