2007 Honda Civic GX: Long Time Between Oil Changes
April 02, 2008
When I bought the 2007 Honda Civic GX for the long term fleet last year I remembered hearing that one of the advantages of this car, besides low pollution and low fuel costs, was that you could go a long time between oil changes. The Honda brochure said that the natural gas it runs on is less corrosive than gasoline so the oil remains uncontaminated longer. And, since it has a maintenance minder, it just tells you when you need service.
When I got into the car I noticed the little wrench light icon and a "B1" in the odometer window. Looking in the manual, I saw that this called for an oil and filter change, a tire rotation, check fluids and various inspections. I emailed my local Honda service department to ask if they could work on the GX and what this would cost. They replied that the B1 service was $104 but that they also recommended two other filter changes that would run $165 so the total would be $269.95. There was nothing in the manual about these other filter changes so I decided to skip it for now.
As consumer advice editor, I'm going to be beefing up our "how to" section, so I decided to tackle this modest mechanical task myself and call it research. I was also inspired by reading Dan Edmunds' excellent post about performing a similar service on the 2008 Scion xB. I used to really enjoy working on cars so I cheerfully headed to the dealership for supplies. I purchased a Honda oil filter, four quarts of 5W-20 oil and a special wrench for removing the filter. Total after tax was $31.89 (oil from an auto parts store would have been much cheaper but I didn't want to make two stops).
The only tricky part was getting access to the filter and oil pan drain plug. The clearance is low and there wasn't room to simply silde under there. I had to jack up the car, put it on a jack stand and remove the filter and drain plug, then lower the car to make sure it drained properly. That was a hassle, but I had to rotate the tires too, so it wasn't wasted motion. I also did the inspections and checked all the fluids. The old oil I put into containers provided by the City of Long Beach to be picked up along with my recycling stuff.
I'm puzzled about whether this is the first or the second oil change. At 14,411 miles, that would be an awfully long time. But there were no records in the maintenance book or posts about an earlier oil change. I'll check further and report any findings.
It took an hour and a half to do all the work which doesn't break any records. And with the expensive dealership oil and the special wrench I didn't save a lot of money -- this time. Next time around it will be faster and I'll trim the costs down even further. Still, the best part of it was actually working my own work on a car. There's precious little chance to do that these days.
Philip Reed, Edmunds.com senior consumer advice editor @14,411 miles