For all the minor services, you can provide the genuine
Honda parts to a non-dealer shop and expect they'll do as
good a job as the dealer. E.g. for tuneups and oil changes.
This will save a lot of money.
You do want to use high quality oil. State your Honda's
year, model, and mileage and ask for suggestions for oil, if
you need them.
For major services, it depends. The dealer will likely do a
better job with timing belt changes. For example, they'll
most certainly use genuine Honda coolant to top off the car
after replacing the water pump (which is done simultaneous
to a timing belt change). Independent shops may not use
genuine Honda coolant, and that's bad news for the car. Also
on the timing belt job, the Honda dealership won't cave in
the oil pan the way an independent shop did on my 91 Civic's
many years ago. My Civic still runs fine; the pan is just
obviously beat up, indicating it wasn't supported properly
during the timing belt job.
I think the owner's manual maintenance schedule in general
should be followed. For some years and models, people here
have a few extra suggestions for maintenance, based on
specific, often-reported experience.
Your best bet is likely to find an independent shop that
does a lot of Honda work.
If you don't understand something they've done, ask them, as
well as ask here.
Lurk here and you'll see the wealth of experience that is
exchanged and how optimal solutions to car problems and
maintenance tend to come out of this experience.
No, and Yes.
I am in a unique situation. The mechanic at AAMCO was my main mechanic at
Honda for years. I trust him, and I save money!
As for as the 15k, 30k, etc. etc.
You really need to do the maintenance, even if not at your dealer to keep
the warranty ffrom being void. Nothing says a Honda dealer has to do them,
but they do need to be done. I do most of the items myself, document it,
and keep receipts.
I do big ticket items like Timing Belt and Water Pump at AAMCO.
If you have to ask the question you should go to the dealer because you
don't already have a shop or mechanic that you know and trust and
because you don't have the experience, ability, or time to do it
yourself. Around here most Honda dealers advertise oil changes for 20 -
25. How much less could it be? I know many people have told me that
the Jiffy Lube always ends up around $40. for them and who knows what
they put in.
I split the work. I do the easy stuff like oil changes and tire
rotations myself. I let my independent mechanic do some of the work,
especially those items where I want to use aftermarket parts because
OEM parts are so expensive; for example O2 sensor replacement. My
independent mechanic can't compete with the dealer on some items (like
timing belts) because the dealer techs. can do the work so fast and my
dealer will run service specials.
Routine checks: it's probably a good idea to have a pro do at least one
oil change, tire rotation and safety check every year. If you live
where it snows and the roads are salted, you might consider annual
brake caliper service. Lots of the stuff Honda lists for routine
inspection you can do yourself.
Regardless of who does the service work, it's a good idea to open the
hood and verify the work if you can. Routine fluid checks will help you
get maximum value from the car.
I can tell you this I'm getting sick of the "drive through oil change
places" and that fat rip off. Almost everytime I go to one of those I
ask specifically what kind of oil filter they put in (usually the guy
you talk to is not the guy that did the work) and sure enough its not
the same (meaning they did not change it) Also honda recomends changing
the washer on the bolt for the oil pan every oil change, my local
dealer told me that even if I got a bunch from them and gave them to
the guys they would not change it (to much work). Best thing is to find
a shop or a mechanic you can trust and look and ask around you might be
surprized where you will find a great shop for this or for that.
(example: my father in Sacramento goes to a Big O Tires to get his oil
changed. He says they are the only place that "does it right" in town,
and its priced fair. But he will go to the dealer for other things.)
If you just do what Honda actually calls for in the manual then those
intervals are not very expensive. Most dealers have their own
"recommended service" list which adds lots of stuff to the list and
increases the price.
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