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Discussion Starter #1
Got an 07 E in November 2009 with 27K miles, certified. It now has 31K. I have called the Honda dealership a few times and no one I've spoken with has a clue how often I should change the oil. The manual has all this chatter about oil life. I was kind of hoping to have a mileage guide if possible - every 3,500 miles, or every 5,000 miles or every 7,500 miles, or whatever!

First the dealership sent me a chart that said every 7,500 miles except for the first change at 3,750. I called to confirm this info was correct because the sheet just said "Honda" and I wasn't sure it applied to the Element. The 2folks I spoke with said they've never seen the chart before, even though it was that dealership that sent it to me. One of these folks said every 3,700 or so, another said go maybe 3,000-5,000 depending upon how I use the car, but they couldn't explain what that meant.

I also couldn't get a straight answer re: whether the oil was changed when the car was certified or if they didn't do it because it wasn't at an interval where they felt they should, so I have no clue when the oil was last changed.

Is there a way we can make this not rocket science? Help would be much appreciated! Thanks!
JJ
 

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Is there a way we can make this not rocket science? Help would be much appreciated! Thanks!
JJ
But isn't rocket science more fun? There are going to be as many opinions as there are people on this forum. Therefore, even more confusing.

You have an '07, it has a maintenance minder system. The engineers at Honda did some rocket like science and that thing will tell you when you need to change your oil.

However, I change mine about every 5k regardless of what that thing tells me. Some could argue I'm wasting money by changing the oil before it needs to be changed, others would say I'm extending the life of the car.

So, at a minimum, change the oil with the car tells you to.
 

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For decades 3000 miles (or something like that) was the recommended interval. In the past decade (or so) with better oil and engine tolerances, manufacturers are recommending longer intervals. The 2003 Element came with a 10,000 mile recommendation, and a reminder light that starts blinking at 8000 miles (since it was last reset). There were lots of threads about how to reset this reminder, since oil-change techs often did not reset it.

The 2003 spec also recommended 5000 miles if used in heavy-duty applications. There was ambiguity as to what constitutes heavy-duty or adverse conditions. Many dealers claimed that local conditions (excessively hot, cold, stop-go, etc) were heavy-duty, and hence recommended the more frequent interval.

More recent models have a 'smart' reminder, one that supposedly takes into account not only miles, but speed, stop-and-go traffic, or what every clues it can get from the engine computer. It does not have any oil-condition sensors (that I know of). I haven't paid much attention as to whether owners have been happy with this 'smart' reminder or not.

Short of sending a sample of the oil to a lab for testing, there isn't a definitive answer to the question of when you should change the oil.
 

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Got an 07 E in November 2009 with 27K miles, certified. It now has 31K.
I also couldn't get a straight answer re: whether the oil was changed when the car was certified or if they didn't do it because it wasn't at an interval where they felt they should, so I have no clue when the oil was last changed.
WHAT?

Then change it NOW!

Geeze, you don't know when it was last changed and you don't even know if it was ever changed.
 

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I change it when the car tells me to (around 7k) and use moble 1 5-20.
I have put 65k on it in 2 years doing this and will let you know when I have
200k+ on it in a few years if it was a good idea. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for your various takes on this matter!

p.s I included the part about the dealership not being able to answer whether an oil change was done as part of certification because it seems really bizarre to me. It makes me think they are supposed to, but didn't, and just didn't want to come right out and admit it! Hence, I will be getting an oil change shortly.
 

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Thanks for your various takes on this matter!

p.s I included the part about the dealership not being able to answer whether an oil change was done as part of certification because it seems really bizarre to me. It makes me think they are supposed to, but didn't, and just didn't want to come right out and admit it! Hence, I will be getting an oil change shortly.
It is a good idea when buying a used vehicle, where there is no proof of maintenance, to change at least the engine oil as soon as possible. On older vehicles it is recommended that all fluids be changed after purchase. Even if the oil had been changed you don't usually know what kind (brand, weight) they put in.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Totally concur, and plan to do so next week. My main concern was getting the straight scoop re: intervals between oil changes, though of course it is also odd that the Honda dealership couldn't/wouldn't say whether oil change was part of their certification. I get the feeling it's supposed to be but isn't always done. They were tripping over their words way too much.
Thank you everyone!
 

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If they didn't give you some sort of checklist that they performed for their 'certification', I would probably also change out the oil, rear diff, brake fluid, maybe even tranny fluid. Then reset the Maintenance Minder and you are good to go.
 

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maintenance

I would find it hard to believe that those on this forum would argue against the idea that maintenance is far cheaper than repair.

Much of what we can do ourselves requires a jack, jack stands, and perhaps as much as $200 in consumable items: oils, filters, crush washers, bulbs and the ancillaries to collect oils, fluids and keep things clean. Yes, a set of basic tools also. I know, bad word, hope the mods don't get me but...here goes... METRIC tools. Service manuals are a cheap investment if you can do some amount of servicing. I am not addressing warranty issues with regard to doing it yourself.

Safety goggles, gloves, filter masks, you get the picture.

Sure, there are a host of little details like new clamps, hoses, brake bleed and other fittings rather than reusing old ones. Even code readers (OBD II) are getting cheaper all the time.

Still cheaper than your dealer hourly rate, or the 'book rate' for many tasks.

There is really only gambling that all appropriate maintenance has been done, and insuring it has ALL been done and recorded properly. Then your scheduled maintenance can make sense. I do believe that overall economy does not occur when one prolongs maintenance intervals. I can't give you that 'sweet spot' that we all want to know. Each vehicle is unique despite coming off the one and only assembly line with very limited configuration options.

You want reliability, but the price is maintenance.

Types of maintenance:

Inspection (preventative)
Condition based (premature wear [red flag], overdue [red flag], end of life, BER/consumable)
Scheduled ( months, miles/Kms, running hours, annual, bi-annual, seasonal...)
RxR ( Repair by Replacement)
Diagnostic( often requires some kind of tool/reader like OBD II or ScanGauge, oil analysis)
Recalls TSBs and that whole murky swamp. Dealer/vendor consideration, I can't go there.

There are others, but that is overkill.

Any fluid, it boils down to this. If you do not know what scheduled has been done and can not do any meaningful condition based (as you can with antifreeze strength, tire pressure and tread depth, air filter inspection, service limits on brake parts and arguably a few others, depending on knowledge an experience) then your cost is most likely labour costs, not material costs.

Oh, try to get whoever does the tire checks to empty the tires and refill with dry air. Air tools in some shops have an air dryer circuit, but it might not include the air supply for tires. Just a little tip. Alloys have different corrosion than steel.

I don't wish to advise to throw money at a maintenance issue. There are ways to reduce the overall life cycle cost of your vehicle ownership, and perhaps get a better trade or used price to recover the costs of that approach.

Just my opinion on these issues.

And I do as much of my own maintenance as tools and knowledge allows.

I still get my actual genuine mechanic to do the annual ( $135.00 CDN) 'check the car and report anything I need to be aware of' inspection. One tow is about $70-80 bucks here. I can live with the small incremental to avoid the hassle of a breakdown as a result of my not being a professional mechanic, trained and being paid to really look out for what I missed and what I myself have not done on time.

Enough
 

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Techs at Express Service Can't Add

Rather than start a new thread, I thought I would tack on my oil change experience at the local stealership.

I usually get my oil changed at the local Honda stealership. I took it in for an oil change at 78K. When I picked up my E I noticed that the next service mileage was listed at 81K. 81000-78000 = 3000. I know that the recommended oil change interval is 5000 miles, so I chalked it up to a simple error on the tech's part and made a mental note that the real oil change would be needed at 83k. Fast forward to today. I took my E in at 82k because I wanted to get the oil change out of the way. I pick it up and the next service mileage on the windshield sticker says 86,000. Hmmm... 86000-82000 = 4000. Now I am peeved.

I go back into the service department with the sticker and the paperwork from the oil change. I ask to see the service manager, but he is not available. Instead I talk to the service advisor who wrote my work order and he is all apologetic and says he is embarassed. He went back to the service express dept. and came back with a new sticker with the correct next oil change mileage.

I can chalk up the first error as a mistake, but the second time really has me reconsidering whether to bring my car back to the Honda stealership. Either someone in the oil change dept. can't do simple addition or they are trying to pull a fast one by fudging the numbers so customers return earlier than needed for oil changes.
 

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My maintenance minder says change it at 7500 miles, but I like to change the oil in Hondas at 5000 miles. My older truck every 3000 miles. Of course, I like to keep my vehicles for 20 years or 300,000 miles, whichever comes first.
 

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I like to change my own fluids. Then I know they are done. I can check things under the vehicle to make sure everything is tight, lubed, not leaking....etc. I use synthetic oil on all my vehicles. Motorhome, truck, CRV & Honda motorcycle. If is has zerk fittings I lube them. My truck has over 240,000 miles, not about to die. With synthetic oil I change it at 5,000 miles with a good oil filter. If I was using the old standard oil from the ground ,like the old days, I changed the [email protected] 3,000. Driving habits, dusty environment will make changes more frequent. I may be changing the oil sooner than necessary. It is my wallet and the trips to the recycle tank.
 
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