2006 Accord: maintenance schedule a secret

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Sep 16, 2003
Long Beach, CA
We just bought a 2006 Honda Accord. Nice car, overall I'm very impressed. My one beef is with Honda's recommended maintenance schedule (or lack thereof, really). The car has a "Maintenance Minder" on board, and it tells you when to do everything. The factory maintenance schedule appears to be, "Do what the Maintenance Minder tells you to do." That's it. None of the documentation that came with the car (Owner's Manual and various other booklets) contain anything beyond that. Honda's Ownerlink gives exactly the same thing. Here's the basic breakdown:
Maintenance Minder A: engine oil Maintenance Minder B: engine oil & filter; a bunch of inspections Maintenance Minder 1: rotate tires Maintenance Minder 2: replace air filter & cabin air filter; inspect drive belt Maintenance Minder 3: replace transmission fluid Maintenance Minder 4: replace spark plugs; inspect valve clearance; replace timing belt (V6 only) Maintenance Minder 5: replace coolant
And there you go. (There are a few caveats for time or dusty conditions, which I have not bothered to show here.) When the car decides that any of these seven lists are due, it will indicate such on the dashboard. How often will I be prompted to, say, change the ATF? I have no idea. I can't really complain about the intervals, can I? There aren't any. Is anybody aware of a more explicit definition of the maintenance schedule for these beasts? Factory Service Manual, perhaps?
I'd recommend adding a 2005 to your profile in the "Owner Link" and pimp that maintenance schedule. Should give you some insight.
I did the same thing for my Civic LOL. Good luck...that's a very nice car. Would have bought an Accord except that my midlife crisis seems to have been scheduled a little early. Couldn't resist the small sporty sedan!
Brad, Most of the owners on AcuraZine have been averaging about 5500-7000 miles in between either a service “A1” or service “B.” The sub-service “2,” asking for a cabin air and engine air filter change, usually comes on between 24,000-30,000 miles, depending on when the previous services were performed. Most of these owners commute on the highway and average 10,000-15,000 miles a year, so this should give you a rough idea of their driving schedule. The ones who have been doing extensive city driving consisting of very short trips have had the Maintenance Minder system ask for a Service “A” as soon as 4000 miles. No one has reached the mileage to have the need for a transmission fluid change yet. I still personally change out > 75% of the transmission fluid every 30,000-50,000 miles when running the mineral OEM fluids. When running Amsoil Universal ATF, I would change out > 75% of the fluid every 50,000-75,000 miles. Draining and refilling the transmission three times, driving several hundred miles in between each drain/fill, will remove around 80% of the fluid with this transmission. There is no serviceable pan or filter in this transmission, so draining and refilling the fluid through the drain bolt is the only means of servicing. FYI: I pay about $5.75/qt with tax for Genuine Honda ATF-Z1 at the Honda dealership; I can get Amsoil Universal ATF for about $2.00/qt more, including shipping. Remember that Genuine Honda ATF-Z1 is the only approved fluid for this transmission; all other fluids are aftermarket products that have not been tested by Honda. Also, I recently posted a thread in the transmission fluid section regarding the color of Honda ATF-Z1. It is completely normal for this fluid to turn dark brown and produce a sometimes “burnt” odor. The color of the fluid and its odor, does not constitute a fluid change when running Honda ATF-Z1. I posted a document from Honda describing this. Mopar ATF+4 for Chrysler automatic transmissions have this same behavior. I have seen Honda ATF-Z1 turn dark brown in as little as 20,000 miles in the higher horsepower TLs. “Jay” on this forum ran the factory fill automatic transmission fluid in his RSX for 70,000 miles before he did a single drain/fill, and at 60,000 miles, per lab analysis, is fluid was still suitable for continued use. With that said, if you change out > 75% of the fluid every 30,000-50,000 miles, I would not be concerned about the color. As for the coolant, Honda’s recommendation used to be 10-yrs/120,000 miles for the initial change, then 5-yrs/60,000 miles thereafter. Do not know why they recommend a shorter interval thereafter, as their coolant comes premixed, so they are in complete control of the water quality. And spark plugs are usually changed at 105,000 miles along with the timing belt, if you have a V6. Otherwise, you just change them at 105,000 miles. Hope this helps.
Critic; I think the reason that Honda recommends 120K/10yr followed by 60K/5yr for the coolant is because they are only expecting you to do a drain/fill, replacing a little over half the coolant in the process. So cutting subsequent intervals in half keeps you ahead of the curve so to speak. If you were to do a complete 'flush' or several drain/fills with the coolant you could probably go another 120K/10yr but I don't see the economics of that. For my part, I plan to just drain/fill every 60K/5yr since it's not a heavy lift. Will change the radiator cap at the same time, and change the hoses every other. The same logic applies to the transmission in my CRV...60K/3yr followed by 30K/2yr (severe), because they just expect you to do a drain/fill that replaces a third of the fluid.
I tell you, I have been in a habit of dropping the ATF on my wifes 02 Accord V6 every time I change out the oil around 6 to 7K with M1, and it looks burnt, smells burnt, looks no where near what the new stuff is. Scares the bejesus out of me especially since the 6th gen. has had so many AT woes. I haven't dropped the fluid on my 06 Accord V6 but they too are not squeaky clean. The 7th gens have had some AT failures as well, but from a different problem. I just did a belt replacement on the wifes Accord and went ahead and changed the antifreeze/water pump at the dealership at the same time but kept the water pump. That pump looked absolutely brand new for 108K miles that it had on it. I can't see any reason why Honda coolant couldn't go past the 120K former plan. There was no piting, no crud, no freeplay in the bearings, nothing. First time I've had any vehicle look that good coolant wise with that many miles on it. For those "other" maintenance items that your asking about, I'd stick with the rule of thumb on our 6th gen, as I will carry it out on our 7th gen. Change out belt, water pump, antifreeze, accessory belts, tensioners (if needed, ours didn't) and sparkplugs all at the same time. Some will complain dearly about those prices, but to me, if it gets you over 100K absolutely trouble free miles, it is worth it. Start saving now, as this won't be cheap, probably around 6 to 8 hundred from what I've been reading on other Honda forums. I payed about 550 for all that on the 02 Accord. As far as the ATF goes, I don't know yet. I was thinking about dumping it out on the 06 one around 30 to 40K, but after reading Critics response, I'm still debating it within myself. REALLY surprised to hear the ATF was still good after all those miles, 60K on original fluid....yikes...I couldn't sleep at night knowing that. But that comes from hearing about all the AT failures and me thinking that cleaner fluid will help. I've heard that the next gen. Honda V6's will have timing chains.
Fortunately both of my Hondas (4cyl) have chains! FWIW I've already done a dump of the ATF on my basically new cars and there was already plenty of crud in the ATF and it didn't look so hot. I think it goes with the territory, not that we have to like it [Smile]
I have a Honda Ridgeline V6-VTEC and the service schedule (based on the maintenance minder) is similar to yours except I have to drain and fill the differential fluid on my next service (which should be at the 12000 mile level). My OLM showed 15% oil life expectancy at around 6000 miles, which is about average for folks at the Ridgeline Owner's forum. Since I plan on trading vehicles every five years (I only put nine or ten thousand miles a year on my trucks) I will just go by the maintenance minder and not worry about anything else. It will only have 50,000 miles when I trade but if you keep yours for the long haul you might want to up the maintenance schedules a bit.
Honda is only doing what BMW has been doing for over 15 years. Based on the service indicator in the spedometer, Oil Service Inspection I Inspection II No mileage listed in the owners manual for each service or inspection.
Thanks very much for the replies, everybody. Useful stuff. Our previous car was a 2000 Civic, which we had no intention of getting rid of any time soon. However, the guy who ran the red light about a month ago took that decision out of our hands. [Frown] The good experience we had with that car, including relative ease of doing my own maintenance work, pushed us towards the Accord over the Camry - which would surely have been a fine choice, as well. I understand what Honda is trying to do, and it makes sense. Mileage and/or time is a fairly crude metric for deciding when to do preventive maintenance, and using the data available to the car's computer to follow a more sophisticated algorithm is a laudable thing. However. I wonder how this kind of "the user needn't know the details" approach will wind up working several years down the line once the ideal schedule has been deviated from. In 2010 there will surely be '06 Accords with unknown (or even just "off-schedule") maintenance histories floating around on the market - people who did what they felt like, or what the dealers suggested (the dealer we picked the car up at recommends 5,000-mile OCI's regardless of what the Maintenance Minder says, for example). The would be relatively easy to recover from, except that there's no information in the manuals about what - roughly - the various service intervals ought to be. If things get completely out of synch with the Maintenance Minder, there doesn't seem to be an easy way to get things back on track - which leaves everybody in the dark and guessing when it comes to maintenance. It's also tough to "play it safe" on intervals. I can't reduce an interval by 25%, for example, if I have no idea what it is until I've driven that far. My understanding right now is that oil change intervals can be deduced from the information the computer deigns to give the driver, but stuff like air filter and ATF changes are not - you'll know where Honda's recommendation is only when you get there, and not before. As I had been planning to do from the start, I have ordered a Factory Service Manual. It should be here in a week or so; I'm very interested to see what information it may have about maintenance schedules that's not in the Owner's Manual.
Brad, you are right on the money. For the short term, we have 'legacy' maintenance schedules to refer back to...but eventually we'll lose the ability to predict when something should have been done etc. when getting a used car. All the more reason to do a complete shakedown when you get a used car. Basically we'd just have to assume that anything without a record didn't get done. Would be interesting to know if the Dealer could download a list of when the MM light had gone off, and which maint codes were displayed...at least give you an idea of how far behind you might be. FWIW, when I traded in my van recently I left a note saying that the 30K services had been done (by myself of course [Smile]
martyi; Concur completely with your line of reasoning. Supposedly (per wife) these are the cars I have to keep forever so I'm going to be a bit more 'agressive'...but if I knew it was a 5year plan I'd just follow the schedule to the letter. And truth be told, you're still doing better than most people for sure. Whoever buys that truck next will be getting a well-maintained used vehicle.
Matt, I'm glad I'm not the only one scratching my head over just what Honda was thinking. I'm spending this evening going over the 2005 Accord's service schedule from Ownerlink, and I think I'm going to just use that unless Maintenance Minder tells me to do something sooner. (If the FSM gives any additional insight, I'll of course take that into account.) You're quite right, though, that this will be harder to do in the future.
Originally posted by Matt89: FWIW, when I traded in my van recently I left a note saying that the 30K services had been done (by myself of course [Smile]
You, sir, are a good man. [Wink]
I've got a service manual enroute for my new Civic. My guess is that it won't say any more than the owners' manual regarding the maintenance schedule, unfortunately. As for the 30K service, that was pretty fun. To get to the cabin air filter on the Odyssey, you have to take off the glove box and take a Mk1Mod0 hacksaw blade to a plastic assembly brace! I had to do it on the sly...had my wife seen me doing it I'm sure she would have halted the evolution!
Why is maintenance so difficult? Change the oil at 5-7,000 miles. Rotate the tires with every oil change, not to exceed 10k miles. Dump the ATF at 10k miles, then go to 50K. Then every 40k after that. Refill with Honda ATF. Change the coolant every 50k. Refill with Honda Coolant. Change the air and cabin filter every 20k. Suck out as much PS fluid as possible every 10k miles. Refill with Honda PS fluid. Suck out as much brake fluid every 30k miles and refill with DOT3. Change the air in your tires every 3k miles or 3 months, whichever comes first. As far as buying a used car, I would ALWAYS assume that it needs brakes, tires, ATF changed, coolant changed, lower rad hose changed, PS fluid changed, brake fluid flushed, air filter, oil changed, and probably 5 tanks worth of FI cleaner put through it. I haven't seen many used cars that don't need that.
I think that Honda is trying, in their infinite wisdom, to make the maintenance scheduling easier than consulting the owners manual everytime someone would start to wonder when to change things. This way, it's on the dash and there's no guessing. As with all cars, they want you to take these issues to the dealer, to help them out and keep money pouring into Honda for the parts and services. Plus, a lot of Accord and above owners, are mainly older folks, plus 40 or so, and we are more likely to do that in fact, take it to the dealer as we make more money and we just don't have the time to spend our weekends under the hood. Now, that last statement doesn't apply to us BITOG brethren, but there are literally thousands of Accords out there. But Brad, I wouldn't put too much into this. You know what needs to be done and do it with an OCI regimen that has worked well for you given the type of car. At least you can always re-set those reminders if they come on and you feel it's not warranted. I did that on my 06 Accord when I changed out the factory fill, OLM said 40% remainding, odometer showed 5K, and that was the max of my comfort zone.
thooks, What sort of air do you use when you change the air in your tires? Can I buy it at AutoZone or do I have to go to a dealer?
Originally posted by Vilan: I only use synthetic air in my tires. Not Mobil 1 air though, it makes my tires louder.
[LOL!] [LOL!] [LOL!]
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