I have a new Honda Pilot and have put 4,000 miles on it. The oil change light went on and says 30%. Is this normal? Also the oil seems dark.

3 Answers 3


According to this 2016 Honda Pilot Manual (pages 28, & 146-148), the information display is informing you that your oil has 30% of its life left. After the oil change has been completed, the oil life monitor is reset.

In other words, it is letting you know you will have to change the oil soon. This is a common feature on a lot of new cars. It is unfortunate the dealer did not explain this to you.

With the advancement of oils and sensor technology, the auto manufacturers have started monitoring driving conditions to determine when to change the oil, rather than xxxx miles or given elapsed time. Best practice is to follow the instructions in your owner's manual.

Oil Life Monitoring Systems


Off hand, that seems about right for a new car.

Is the oil dark like maple syrup? Maybe even molasses? Oil gets dark as it picks up "junk" form the engine and carbon particles from burning fuel. In a gasoline engine it will gradually, and noticeably, darken over the service interval, in a diesel engine it will turn black almost as soon as you start the engine.

In a new car there will be a lot of wear as the parts of the engine get "settled in" and that will result in little bits of metal that is carried in the oil (and strained out by the oil filter).

According to the Honda Maintenance Minder FAQ from Curry Honda, the light is triggered by the engine control unit (ECU) in response to the actual driving conditions that your car experiences. The percentage tells you how long you have before the oil is "worn out" – in your case about 1,200 miles.


You are getting close to needing an oil change. Different engines, different driving styles and different driving environments will dictate if oil needs to get changed sooner or later. The light is telling you that "now" will be "soon".

This is just a maintenance reminder and nothing to worry about, just start thinking about dealing with it. There is another oil light, the evil red one. If that one comes on, you have an oil pressure problem or an oil level problem that requires immediate attention.

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