Redline 10w40 in new 2003 Civic

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Jun 20, 2002
My wife's new Civic is going to get Redline 10w40 for it's first oil change at 1500 miles.

I've decided that the first oil change recommendation at 5k to 10k miles is BS. The engine should be broken-in in less than 600 miles. A fresh oil filter and oil will make me feel better.

I'm going to use a Honda motorcycle filter (Toyo Roki) as a substitute for the Fram made OEM. I've cut open enough after market filters that fit this application to be comfortable with that.

Redline SI-1 fuel cleaner has and will be used since day 2.

I'll remove 1 quart of transmission oil per month and replace it with Redline D4. If shift quality changes, I'll use the Honda stuff on the same schedule.

Power steering fluid will be removed at a rate of 1 quart every 3 months and replaced with Redline PS fluid.

Raditor fluid and brake fluid with get complete changes every 2 years.

Comments and suggestions welcome.
You might kiss your warranty goodby if you do this.

I'm a Redline fan but I'd run this puppy on whatever oil it takes to keep warranty coverage.

Once the warranty is up I'd use Redline 5w-30 instead. It will flow better at start up and provides a thick film at temp. According to RL it is thicker than a conventional 10w-40.

It sounds better suited to the Honda engine.

good luck!

The steel sleeves in that engine take a long time to break in. My K20A3 engine was still breaking in well past the 5,000 miles that I kept the break-in oil. I think you're crazy to use 10w-40 oil in the engine--especially Redline. The HTHS of Redline 5w-20 is higher than most 30-weights.
Don't know about your 2003 civic, but honda is known for using a truly proprietary ATF in their vehicles. If that is the case with your civic (per owners manual), I would not use any other type of ATF other than Honda ATF.

Same for power steering fluid, ie, if they specify Honda ATF, only use Honda ATF.

How many quarts are in your steering system? I've thought, but do not know, that 2 quarts is average. If so, your change a quart very 3 months would be excessive. Though draining the reservoir (doesn't contain that much fluid) with every oil change would be a good idea.

I don't know of anyone who makes a Honda ATF compatible fluid "off-the-shelf". Lubegard sells an additive that might make an ATF "Honda like", but I'm not sure if I'd trust that.

The problem with "if shift quality changes" approach is that you could be damaging your transmission and not "feel" any difference for a very, very long time, until its basically too late. Drivetrain warrantys are pretty long, i wouldn't do anything to void it.

Radiator I would consider doing once a year. Every 2 years for brake fluid is good.

Certainly heat destroys, and having a great synthetic like redline will help. But if you really want your vehicle to last, and this could certainly be considered overkill, add an atf air cooler and a power steering fluid air cooler. For a civic, the absolute smallest available coolers should be more than enough, again though, this could be overkill.

[ June 19, 2003, 01:28 AM: Message edited by: mikeinaustin ]
Please do a UOA on it! I'd be willing to bet you'd see better wear numbers with 5w30 over 10w40 though.
IMO the schedule you have for the transmission and PS are overkill (not to mention the hassle of either pulling a plug or going down the filler tube for the tranny fluid. Even a moderate 15,000 mile drain and fill may be overkill.
I gotta agree with all the above posters. As much as using 5W-20 in the 2003 Honda may sound like too thin, 10W-40 is gotta be too heavy. And as Patman said it will most likely cause more wear than 5W-30. And most likely will void your engine warranty if you have problems. Why not for the first change at 1500 mi use a 5W-20 to keep your warranty in effect at least until you get a few more miles on the car to see whether there are any "bugs" that pop up. Or check with your Honda dealer and see whether 5W-30 is allowed for the warranty. Definitely use only Honda ATF for the tranny and whatever Honda's PS fluid is. With it being a new car you can easily go to 15,000 mi for the tanny and then do a pan dain every year after that. The PS can be done every couple of years. Changing the radiator fluid every year, again with a Honda approved coolant is fine and the same with the brakes. In fact the every year change of brake fluid will help save your ABS system from corroding and save you big bucks!

I think you may be wasting money. Your choice if Redline says the PS and ATF fluids are great for new Hondas.

To stay optimistic (and again you are free to do as you wish with your car) it's an interesting experiment. Too bad you can't buy 60 of the exact model, treat 30 your method, 30 factory method
Get some REAL data!

The most interesting thing is the Fuel treatment -I wonder how much difference it will make???

Originally posted by tenderloin:
Stick with the 0W-20. If you don't trust H onda, why did you buy their car?

I could turn that around on you though. If you trust your car manufacturer to know about oils, why are you on this site?

People that visit this site love to try different things out, that is definitely beneficial to our never ending quest for knowledge.

I still think he'd be better off using Redline 5w30 over their 10w40, but it would also be nice to see a UOA on their new 5w20 too!

If this were my car I'd start out with the 5w20 for a few intervals, then 5w30 and if I still wasn't happy, only then would I try something thicker (although I'd use their 5w40 over their 10w40, especially in an OHC engine)
If you bought your car instead of leasing it, and plan to keep it forever do whatever you think that will keep it in tiptop shape. I have a Camaro and started to mod it right after I drove it off the dealer's lot. So do what you feel happy with to enhance your motoring spirit.

I do admit that the though of Xw20 oil sets of the 'too thin' alarm bells in my head. Then again Honda seem pretty adamant about it. On the new V6s, the 5w20 lable is embossed right on the filler cap. This is pretty unequivical. Going to 0w20 still keeps the viscosity with range (not going to a higher number for the cold viscosity). So it should be okay, and the low number only really counts at startup.

But it seems that Honda REALLY wants a 20 weight oil at operating temperature. If this were a Ford, I'd be more skeptical. But Honda has built it's reputation on long term reliability. I doubt they'd risk trashing it for a few fractions of a mile or gallon, or a couple fraction of a % of emissions gases reduction. I'd trust they they made sure the engine works with 20 weight. These are new engines, and have probably been designed to use that weight oil, and using something heavier may cause problems (oil not reaching the extreme ends of the oiling system?).
Unless she plans to spend her weekends at Laguna Seca, I think 10w40 Red Line is unecessarily thick for a brand new Honda. Personally I'd use thier 5w30. But I'm not so sure it will cause any harm like some think, other than lost hp and mpg.

Good call on the rest of the plan though. Except if RL says the D4 ATF is good for Honda... I would just wait until a couple thousand miles and then do a complete drain-refill.
Thanks for the input everyone.

I debated the use of Xw20,Xw30 and Xw40. I think each would give adequate protection out past 200k miles. I don't think 10w40 is too thick. Honda specifies 10w40 in VTEC motorcycle engines that aren't much different than their car engines.

The viscosity of any oil changes by orders of magnitude from a cold start to hot steady state conditions. The 5 cSt difference at 100C is pretty small by comparison.

I don't mind stepping up to the plate and trying it. You'll see UOA as I get them.

I have a little more uncertainty with the tranny and PS fluid. My guess is Honda specifies their fluid to keep people from using cheap/inferior products. If I have a problem I'll post it.

I'm surprised no one commented on the M/C filter. I'm also surprised Honda put a dinky little filter on the car in the first place.

The filter I'll be using goes on Honda M/C's ranging from the 1800cc Goldwing down to the 400cc CBR400. The Goldwing is a six cylinder which also has a wet clutch and a shared transmission. If the filter can handle that duty then it should be fine on an engine only car oiling system.
PatMan, if a guy wants to follow the manufacturer...why jump on him? You change oil brands like the wind.

Originally posted by slickracer:
PatMan, if a guy wants to follow the manufacturer...why jump on him? You change oil brands like the wind.

No I don't. I've been using Schaeffer Oil in my Firebird for the last four intervals, and I used nothing but Mobil 1 in my wife's car for the first 40k, then switched to Royal Purple when I got a free case sent to me.
I think its important to keep the Honda break-in oil in there for the first 5K. After that I would use the 5W-30 till at least 10-15K miles. For some reason Honda's requirements are different in breakin. Thee may be somthing to it and then again there might not be.

I would err on the side of caution.
Satterfi, I see no problem with your propsal so long as D4 meets the requirments. I was thinking that Dex III was the prefered(alternative) fluid and redline has that spec. as well. I thought that D4 was for raceing/high heat but I could be wrong. As far as oil weigts go if your climate is warm most of the year and for the next 6 months I see no problem. I am woundering though why you are changeing such small quanitys of fluid so frequently.
I know my Mothers Tundra does not have a servicable transmission filter. It has a steel screen that back flush's into a type of trap and it requires a drain and refill every 18,000 miles. You simply pull the plug 5 quarts of fluid drains out 5 go back in.
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