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I have an automatic 2016 Honda CRV.

I brought my car into the dealership to be serviced (30k). The new Hondas now just show a code (A1, B1, etc.) to tell me what to service/fix. The advisor just told me to change my brake fluid and transmission fluid.

I just randomly checked what the 2005 Accord manual says (my friend has one so it was easy to get a hold of this manual). The Accord back then didn't use these codes so I just checked her manual. The manual for the Accord said to change the brake fluid every 3 yrs and to change the automatic transmission fluid at 120k.

My CRV hit neither milestone and the code didn't tell me to change the fluids either, yet the advisor is telling me to change this.

I refused the service because I wanted to research what he said and see what the community has to say. Is he correct because the CRV and Accords are that different or is he just trying to take my money? Just looking at the old Accord manual, it looks like he's trying to take my money.

Thanks.

  • Nothing to add to my previuos comment – Solar Mike Feb 24 '18 at 22:42
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Most cars have brake fluid changes every 2 years. It may be occasionally the case that car manufacturers experiment with longer intervals, finding them to be unsuitable and reverting back to the regular interval. I assume this is what has happened here: Honda tried a 3-year interval, and had some reason to revert back to the 2-year interval.

Sometimes, the longer interval is found to be so unsuitable that the service intervals are changed not only for new cars but also retroactively for existing already sold cars.

You cannot use the service intervals of a 2005 Honda Accord on your 2016 Honda CRV. Also, the 2016 Honda CRV is so recent that it is heavily advisable to follow all required service intervals. Otherwise you will lose the warranty. In my country, the warranty for new Hondas is 3 years long.

Chances are you could extend the service interval from the recommended 2 years to 3 years. It is not likely that the Accord and CRV are that different. However, you are taking a slight risk when doing this, and in my opinion, for a new vehicle that is under the warranty, the risk is not worth it. Also, brakes are a safety critical system, so that also heavily suggests you to follow the required intervals.

Just pay for the required brake fluid service!

As for the transmission fluid, that's entirely another question and the policy here is one question per post.

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Specifically (meaning as applies to Honda vehicles):

  • Your engine oil needs to be in spec which is defined by Honda, you can deviate at your own risk. Oils may be incompatible with gaskets, etc. Most of the Honda spec is pretty generic so most synthetic-blend and up oils qualify. My recommendation is use full synthetic and get a better value. You are looking at 15,000 miles or a year on these oils. IF you want to look into it, you will see the oils tend to last longer than that. If you are using a non-honda filter, replace it based on the mileage recommended by the filter manufacturer. Honda oem filters are intended to be 10,000 mile filters. They used to do oil changes every 5k and change the filter every other change. (lol)
  • Your transmission oil needs to be changed before it breaks down, this highly depends on the quality of the oil and the transmission's contribution to degradation. Generally transmission fluid intervals of the past were much too long and lead to long term damage. The generally accepted criteria across the industry is 3 years or 36000 miles. I would recommend you do a drain and fill every other oil change. Honda has advised that due to the design of their transmissions, flushes may cause damage. Most Honda dealers local to me no longer offer flushes.
  • Your brake fluid should be changed the second copper content or moisture levels get too high. You can either get testing strips or just change it periodically. I usually just check the fluid when doing an oil change (or a shop should have these available but beware shady establishments can just fake test strips so I would still advise just learning how the test strips work and doing it yourself). Otherwise you can blindly do a brake "flush" every recommended interval by the manufacturer which will be sufficient as you will run through atleast two sets of pads before the fluid is considered to be damaging the system.
  • Your power steering fluid should be changed when it degrades (it will start to smell like burnt popcorn and get very dark). Or again you can blindly do a power steering "flush" every recommended interval by the manufacturer which will be sufficient. This is the least crucial fluid as stretching the replacement really only tends to lead to leaks on Hondas which is just inconvenient but debatable as a safety item.

Generally:

  • More likely than not, if the advisor cannot explain to you a reason why a fluid needs to be changed, they are citing it based on mileage or time which is a garbage recommendation.

  • Below are what those codes you referenced mean, pulled from Honda's service site. Those have been pretty consistent since atleast 2008.

When the Oil life of your Honda reached 15%, a wrench image will display on your dash, along with the Maintenance "Codes". When you are arriving at a Honda Service department it is very important that you tell the service advisor what Maintenance codes your vehicle is displaying.

The Maintenance Minder is an important feature of the information display. Based on engine and transmission operating conditions, and accumulated engine revolutions, your Honda's onboard computer (ECM/PCM) calculates the remaining engine oil and the transmission fluid life. The system also displays the remaining engine oil life along with the code(s) for other scheduled maintenance items needing service.

Here is a description of what each individual Maintenance code means for your vehicle. (Please remember that more than one code may be displayed at a time)

A - Replace just engine oil and Filter

B - Replace engine oil and oil filter. Also inspect Brake system and components and perform a tire rotation.

1 - Rotate tires, and check tire pressure and condition

2 - Replace air cleaner element, check drive belt, and replace dust and pollen filter.

3 - Replace transmission fluid and transfer fluid (if equipped).

4 - Replace spark plugs, replace timing belt (if equipped), inspect water pump, and inspect/ adjust valve clearance.

5 - Replace engine coolant

6 - Replace rear differential fluid (if equipped).

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