Parks McCants's picture

2016 Honda Civic Owner Drives 10,000 Miles on Factory Break-in Oil

2016 Honda Civic owners ask: “ How many miles should I drive on my initial factory engine oil before changing?"

We’ve been asked by readers in the past as to recommended Civic service cycles. While Honda’s “oil life” dash indicator can be a useful measurement for tracking maintenance cycles, should that be the only indicator s to remaining oil life?

We recently read from a Civic Owner’s Forum member that's driving 10,000 miles before changing his initial factory engine “break in” oil. Presently coming up on 9,000 miles in his Civic EX, his oil change minder tells him that oil life remaining is 15%. Cool enough , but for me, I’m not willing to possibly shorten the service life of the most expensive component in the car by ignoring the other signs of dirty, abrasive engine oil. Learn how to maximize Civic fuel efficiency here.

Changing the oil is the cheapest method of extending engine life

Sure, ecology minded drivers, and those of us watching our dollars would just assume extend the oil change cycle as long as possible -- while Jiffy Lube and other oil change and lube services companies preach the “ change your oil every 3,000 miles” mantra. In the end, the right time for an oil change is dependent on several factors.

Dust, frequency, heat and intensity

While a 3,000 mile oil change cycle may be a thing of the past for today’s low friction engines and reduced carbon, alcohol enriched fuels, living and driving in a hot dusty environment, excessive stop and go traffic, sport-like driving, and heavy loading can all lead to the need for a more frequent oil change cycle.

Don’t read me wrong here, I truly appreciate the convenience of the electronic oil-life minder that comes standard on the 2016 Honda Civic. It’s a useful tool, and by most accounts an accurate measure of remaining oil life. This Civic had 148,000 miles on it before customization.

But for me, spending $40 or $50 every 4,000 to 5,000 miles or so is an affordable safeguard against excessive engine wear. It’s not unusual to encounter a past generation Civic with 200,000 plus miles showing on the odometer. Take care of your Civic, it will go the distance.

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It would be interesting to see what Honda recommends with regards to the timing of the first oil change. I notice a trend in the auto industry to have the dealer perform the first 2 years of oil changes free of charge. My '09 Toyota Corolla came with an insert in the owners manual instructing that oil changes needed to be done every 5,000 miles. The insert went on to say that failure to follow this interval could result in engine damage from oil jelling which is not covered under warranty. At 4,500 miles a maintenance light flashes a few seconds everytime I start the car. At 5,000 miles it stays on constantly. I don't know the current oil change recommendations from Toyota. As a kid who grew up on 3,000 mile oil changes with 10w-40 motor oil, these industry changes take some getting use to.
Honda doesn't use break in oil.
Uh huh. So, you helped engineer the vehicle, right? You have Oil Analysis to back up your data, right? Give me a break. Honda engineers have NO INCENTIVE to extend the maintenance cycle other than to benefit owners - certainly, Honda Corporate would love to help out their dealers and force an every 3k service requirement. Engines outlast the vehicle. Many people have taken their cars well past 350k with delayed maintenance and engine still running smooth. Other costs (transmission, electronics failures, other mechanical components) wind up causing the car to be junked before an engine. Provide evidence before you claim that Honda engineers are idiots.
Welcome Kirk. Please direct your comment to the intended party. Idiot? Where are you catching that implication?
Well, I'm no engineer but if I was a Honda Engineer, I'd be furious at your article. Look at this statement: "do you truly wish to trust an electronic sensor for your engine’s long-term well being?" What an absurd statement! The people that created that "electronic sensor" are the ones that DESIGNED the vehicle as well as did long term testing. By that statement, you are implying that Honda doesn't know what they are talking about. Yes, you are implying that they are IDIOTS. I can guarantee you that these engines will handle 300k+ following the Minder to the letter and if it doesn't, I can assure it its not based on your oil frequency.
Take it easy Kirk. This is simply a conversation based on a Honda owner driving 10,000 miles on his initial delivery factory engine oil.,to each his own. As you know I'm a Honda fan, and own several Honda engine variants. In my case, living in a very road dusty environment, the length of my personal oil change interval varies, as I'm sure does yours. Cheers!
Actually, I can and do have the oil analyzed. It's actually very inexpensive to have done. Your statement is bogus. Your thoughts are childish. How about just leaving The Forum. If you don't have anything good to say, go get a book and educate yourself. Seeing the warranties that car manufacturers put on their vehicles. Yes it's in their best interest to suggest proper oil change intervals.
Spicytuna is absolutely correct. Honda does NOT use a break in oil. The factory fill oil is identical in viscosity and additive package as the Honda Genuine engine oil distributed by American Honda to its dealers, as are all the other lubricants and engine coolant. Parks, surely you know that Honda's Maintenance Minder takes into consideration ambient and engine temperature, engine load, number of engine starts and several other performance criteria. When the vehicle is operated for prolonged periods in extremely dusty or smoke filled locations, only the engine air filter must be changed more often, as noted in the Owners Manual. Changing the oil earlier than recommended by the Minder is, simply put, a complete waste of money and resources. It will NOT prolong the life of the engine, improve engine performance or reduce wear. The one area where I take issue with Honda's Maintenance Minder's recommendations is the oil filter recommendation. The Minder recommends a filter change every other oil change but because an oil filter costs less than one quart of high quality oil and Honda's filtering capacity is quite small, replacing the filter at every oil change could be of benefit in some situations and costs far less in dollars and resources than changing the oil twice as often (or more) than required. Because the transmission and differential operation is not monitored directly (as engine operation is), these fluids do require more frequent changes when towing a trailer or in similar severe duty situations. The engine oil Maintenance Minder will determine if the engine oil requires more frequent changes and will adjust its recommendations accordingly. In fact, it's possible to use the lower engine oil change intervals specified by the Minder as an indication that the transmission and differential fluids may also require more frequent changes.
Thank you Forethought.
Oil Maintance Minder is a EPA thing. Hate to bust your bubble, it’s true. Car manufacturers hands are tied! New cars burning oil because people don’t change their oil & filter soon enough. It’s still a combustion engine folks!
I drove my 2006 Civic Si for 200k+ miles while following the maintenance minder only. Average oil changes were at around every 7000-8000 miles, and sometimes I even went a few hundred past the indicator, when it would start reading "-" miles. I never had a single issue with the engine or transmission; for an L4 engine that revs to 8000 rpm, I'd say Honda did a pretty good job with the maintenance computer.
No question, Honda builds a great engine. Cheers!
A couple of years ago GM voluntarily asked owners of 2010-2012 of the GMC Terrain, Chevrolet Equinox, Buick LaCrosse and Regal with the 2.4 liter four cylinder engine bring their vehicle back to the dealer for the reprogramming of the oil monitoring system. Seems the elevated warranty claims on this engine was diagnosed as oil change intervals that were too long. The reprogramming shortens that interval. Almost 800,000 vehicles were involved. I change my oil and filter every 5,000 miles. I use synthetic oil. On my '09 Corolla I can look through the oil fill hole in the top of my valve cover. After 135,000 miles with 5,000 mile intervals, the valvetrain looks just as clean today as when I bought it. I would not have believed it if I had not seen it with my own eyes!
Welcome Jesse. I believe that 5,000 miles with today's low friction engine technology. micro oil filtration and synthetic oils is a reasonable oil change interval. Thanks for sharing.
This "oil change" conversation would appear to be a very passionate issue for a handful of our readers, many of them Honda employees and engineers. At the end of the day, this is "your Honda forum," and is a place for the author and others to exchange ideas and opinions. Lets keep it kind! Cheers...
I own the 2016 Honda Civic EXT or 1.5 turbo, I live in the Caribbean (Tropical Climate). Initially my oil life indicator started at 10,000 km, it then counted down faster and my maintenance indicator showing "Oil Life" came up at around 6000 km telling me that my oil needed changing and that "service is overdue" 2 1/2 months of owning it. I passed in and the Honda Technician physically checked the condition of the oil using the dip stick and told me that I should change it. It has some sensors that determine when the oil needs changing based on your driving and driving conditions, heat, acceleration, turbo etc. Also being the turbo model I guess I accelerate a lot cause I love it, this also creates increased operating temperatures. So based on my driving and climate etc, my oil needs to change around every 6000 km. I would hope this helps. Forethought, you are absolutely correct!
Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for the great information. I have a 2016 Civic (which I absolutely love) and was concerned about the length of time/mileage the sensor was recommending for an oil change, but after reading this forum, I believe that the car does know what it's talking about! This is my 4th Honda in well over 20 years and my first Civic -- I drove an Accord before this - and I absolutely love these cars!