Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)? - Honda Civic Forum



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Old 08-18-2015   #1
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Question Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

Hi Civic Friends!

I have a 2015 Honda Civic LX Sedan CVT Automatic 1.8 Liter 4 cyclinder, live in sunny San Diego, California, and drive 80% highway miles. I know the owner's manual lists recommended fluids. I also know that sometimes other brands are better than the OEM recommendations, like with motor oil for example. I was thinking of Amsoil for these fluids, but wanted some feedback first.

What type/brand do you recommend for the following:

1. Brake/Clutch Fluid? *OEM Honda Heavy Duty Brake Fluid DOT 3
2. Auto Transmission Fluid for CVT engine? *OEM HCF-2
3. Engine Coolant? *OEM Honda Long-Life Antifreeze/Coolant Type 2 50/50 Mix
4. Windshield Washer Fluid? *No OEM recommendation

Sorry for any silly questions. First new Honda and trying to treat it right. Thanks for your help!
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Old 08-18-2015   #2
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

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Originally Posted by SidCivic View Post
I also know that sometimes other brands are better than the OEM recommendations
That's debatable. OEM fluids have the additives that Honda believes to be the best for the engine. Antifreeze is best OEM along with ATF.

Any high quality oil is going to be good. OEM oil is actual not to expensive so I plan on using that. Brake fluid I have used just standard DOt approved fluid.
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Old 08-18-2015   #3
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

Honda and toyota both had recalls on master cylinders to replace seals due to incorrect brake fluid causes the MC seals to break down and leak. Since it needs changed so rarely I would say to only use the proper honda brake fluid.
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

Thank you GolNat & McNoople for the specific advice! Looks like I'll be going OEM
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Old 08-18-2015   #5
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

I suppose I have been lucky with my brake fluid, or not owned the vehicle long enough.

Besides oil, fluids are not changed to often so paying the extra for OEM is worth it.

Last edited by GolNat; 08-18-2015 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 08-18-2015   #6
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

Quote:
1. Brake/Clutch Fluid? *OEM Honda Heavy Duty Brake Fluid DOT 3
Cheap enough to use Hondas fluid.
Quote:
3. Engine Coolant? *OEM Honda Long-Life Antifreeze/Coolant Type 2 50/50 Mix
Honda coolant is silicate free and borate free formula, with deionized water mix.

Original fill is good for 10 years/100,000 miles, then every 5 years/50k thereafter. (Read the hood sticker on your car)

Quote:
2. Auto Transmission Fluid for CVT engine? *OEM HCF-2
This is an absolute MUST USE HONDA FLUID.
Also, if you are gonna DIY the CVT fluid you better get a copy of the instructions.

I don't think the aftermarket has anything on the market for the new design CVT anyway. At least I haven't seen any yet.




It's super easy to get the right fluids for just about everything on your car if you shop at the right place.

It's super easy to get wrong fluids too, just shop the parts stores that are open on Sunday. LOL




Quote:
4. Windshield Washer Fluid? *No OEM recommendation
Your choice, and the parts store fluid is great here.
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Old 08-19-2015   #7
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

If you use a fluid that does not meet the Honda specs it can void your warranty.

It does not Have to be Honda brand but it must meet the Specifications from Honda.

There are aftermarket power steering fluids for example which are warranty approved for Honda/Acura.



If you are doing the service yourself use OEM only. If you go to a Lube shop make sure they are warranty approved like Mobil 1 or Mr. Lube, because even if they mess up and use the wrong fluid you can pin it on them because they stamped your warranty book and should have researched to specs.



Engine oil is in a completely different world because some oils have different compositions and different additive packages.

Junk oils load up on fillers like paraffin wax.

As well there are differing amounts of anti oxidizing agents, anti corrosion, mineral oils which all go into an additive package in an oil.

There are also legal warranty specs. which have nothing to do with if the engine oil or other fluid can physically function within the vehicle. They are just legal trade BS to make money, but that legal trade bs can cost you your warranty if not fallowed.

For example some of the new Fords require a 5w20 non synthetic oil which must meet a factory ford "wss-mc2-930a" spec. Many top grade oils in 5w20 could physically function, but the warrenty is void if users do not use an approved wss-mc2-930a spec oil.


Stick with the racing companies, they make all of the factory spec oils which are industry standard for warranties.

Mobil, Penz, Total, Castrol
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Old 08-19-2015   #8
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

most of it has been covered already its a must to use.

1-Honda trans fluid is a must to use.
2-Honda power steering fluid is a must to use.
3-Honda coolant is a must to use.

as far engine oil is concerned.? and best brand to use.? You don't need
Honda oil, any good synthetic name brand is good I use 5w20 Pennzoil Pure plus synthetic in my 8th gen.
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Old 08-19-2015   #9
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Question Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mac25 View Post
If you use a fluid that does not meet the Honda specs it can void your warranty.

It does not Have to be Honda brand but it must meet the Specifications from Honda.

There are aftermarket power steering fluids for example which are warranty approved for Honda/Acura.

If you are doing the service yourself use OEM only. If you go to a Lube shop make sure they are warranty approved like Mobil 1 or Mr. Lube, because even if they mess up and use the wrong fluid you can pin it on them because they stamped your warranty book and should have researched to specs.

Engine oil is in a completely different world because some oils have different compositions and different additive packages.

Junk oils load up on fillers like paraffin wax.

As well there are differing amounts of anti oxidizing agents, anti corrosion, mineral oils which all go into an additive package in an oil.

There are also legal warranty specs. which have nothing to do with if the engine oil or other fluid can physically function within the vehicle. They are just legal trade BS to make money, but that legal trade bs can cost you your warranty if not fallowed.

For example some of the new Fords require a 5w20 non synthetic oil which must meet a factory ford "wss-mc2-930a" spec. Many top grade oils in 5w20 could physically function, but the warrenty is void if users do not use an approved wss-mc2-930a spec oil.

Stick with the racing companies, they make all of the factory spec oils which are industry standard for warranties.

Mobil, Penz, Total, Castrol
Hi Mac,

Thanks for the super detailed reply! I want to use Amsoil Signature Series OW-20 for my first oil change @ 5k miles. I bought the oil on my own, and will have the dealer do the oil change using the OEM oil filter, OEM crush washer, and my Amsoil oil.

1) Is that considered a "racing" company, and does this oil meet my Honda specs? I looked in the owner's manual, and it does not list a specific "spec" like the one for Ford - "Wss-mc2-930a."

2) Is it okay that it does not have the API certification seal on the bottle? It does say API SN (Reserouce Conserving) on the back of the bottle, but I don't think that's the same as having the API Certification Seal. I believe I read that Amsoil does not API certify their oils for various reasons, but is this enough of a concern to void my warranty?

3) The Amsoil bottle has "SAE" in front of the OW-20. What does that SAE mean, and is it ok since it's still OW-20?

Pics of the Amsoil Sig Series OW-20 Attached. Thanks for all your advice!
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Old 08-19-2015   #10
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

Gee. At lunch today I had a reply all typed out but didn't hit the finish button.

Part of the reply said if you are going to source your own oil, you need to read the fine print on the bottles.

SOME oil manufacturers intentionally write the label in a misleading way to make the buyer believe something that isn't true.

"Recommended" is NOT the same as "Approved"


Hint, hint.


I would not put that in my car.



If an engine has internal problems and the warranty department demands an oil sample analysis, guess what could happen....



Getting correct fluid is almost as easy as getting the wrong fluid.







And your 15 has EPS, Electric Power Steering. No power steering fluid.
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Old 08-19-2015   #11
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

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Gee. At lunch today I had a reply all typed out
I found where that post went, your other thread LOL
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Old 08-20-2015   #12
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

Ezone,

Thanks for the thoughtful answer! I returned the Amsoil, and was wondering about the power steering fluid which you answered as well haha!
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Old 08-21-2015   #13
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

If the dealer is doing your change, then you should be fine for your warranty... unless on the invoice they write something like "customer requested non-oem oil."

If they do not document then they can not prove you were using amsoil or olive oil, lol.


For warranty data our shop uses the same spec. website that the automotive industry does (or at least one of them) All Data Pro.

All Data lists word for word in the specs.
"Genuine Honda Motor Oil 0W-20, API Premium-grade 0W-20 detergent oil"

...However we use Mobil 1 branded oil instead of "genuine honda."

I would at the very least use API approved 0w20 of some sort.




...may I ask why you are using aftermarket oils if you are changing the oil at the dealership, Honda 0w20 is what the engines were built and tested on, so why not use it if you are at the dealership?
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Old 08-21-2015   #14
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

here I'll just post all you fluid specs. from All Data.

2015 Honda Civic Sedan L4-1.8L (R18Z1)

Brake Fluid

Type Honda Heavy Duty Brake Fluid DOT 3

Always use Honda Heavy Duty Brake Fluid DOT 3. If it is not available, you should use only DOT 3 or DOT 4 fluid, from a sealed container, as a temporary replacement.

Using any Non-Honda brake fluid can cause corrosion and decrease the life of the system. Have the brake system flushed and refilled with Honda Heavy Duty Brake Fluid DOT 3 as soon as possible.

Clutch Fluid

Honda Heavy Duty Brake Fluid DOT 3

Always use Honda Heavy Duty Brake Fluid DOT 3. If it is not available, you should use only DOT 3 or DOT 4 fluid, from a sealed container, as a temporary replacement.

Using any Non-Honda brake fluid can cause corrosion and decrease the life of the system. Have the brake system flushed and refilled with Honda Heavy Duty Brake Fluid DOT 3 as soon as possible.

Engine Coolant


Type Honda Long-Life Antifreeze/Coolant Type 2.

This coolant is pre-mixed with 50% antifreeze and 50% distilled water. Never add straight antifreeze or plain water.
If Honda antifreeze/coolant is not available, you may use another major-brand non-silicate coolant as a temporary replacement. Make sure it is a high-quality coolant recommended for aluminum engines. Continued use of any non-Honda coolant can result in corrosion, causing the cooling system to malfunction or fail. Have the cooling system flushed and refilled with Honda antifreeze/coolant as soon as possible.

Engine Oil


Type Genuine Honda Motor Oil 0W-20, API Premium-grade 0W-20 detergent oil

ATF Fluid
Honda DW-1

CVT Fluid

Type HCF-2

Manual Transmission Fluid

Type Honda Manual Transmission Fluid (MTF)
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Old 08-21-2015   #15
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mac25 View Post
...However we use Mobil 1 branded oil instead of "genuine honda."
Your Mobil1 bottles say right on the label about being ok for warranty and Honda? How is that worded?


Quote:
I would at the very least use API approved 0w20 of some sort.
API type SN 0w20.
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Old 08-21-2015   #16
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

...I don't think they do say they are for Honda. Maybe I should tell my boss, lol.
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Old 08-21-2015   #17
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

Honda stuff is very reasonable compared to Toyotas prices.... and well worth the peace of mind to do it right.
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Old 08-21-2015   #18
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

Quote:
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Your Mobil1 bottles say right on the label about being ok for warranty and Honda? How is that worded?


API type SN 0w20.
I just grabbed 3 bottles of mobil 1 (not high mileage). Mobil 1 0w20 and 5w20 don't say anything on the bottle about honda specifically. However, the 5w30 does state right on the bottle that it meets honda hto-06 specs. I don't think honda has used 5w30 in anything normal honda badged (acura does) since around 2001.

I run mobil 1 5w20 and change it every once in awhile. I only do about 4-5K per year and it isn't stop and go, and in the winter I use a block heater which does help oil life and engine wear. The best source for mobil 1 is NOT the parts store, it is walmart. You can usually get the 5 quart jug for $23 instead of the parts store cost of $8 per quart.
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Old 08-21-2015   #19
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

Quote:
Mobil 1 0w20 and 5w20 don't say anything on the bottle about honda specifically.
I'd swear they used to state right on the front label. What changed?


Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnoople View Post
However, the 5w30 does state right on the bottle that it meets honda hto-06 specs. I don't think honda has used 5w30 in anything normal honda badged (acura does) since around 2001.

8th gen Si does.
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Old 09-02-2015   #20
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mac25 View Post
...I don't think they do say they are for Honda. Maybe I should tell my boss, lol.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnoople View Post
I just grabbed 3 bottles of mobil 1 (not high mileage). Mobil 1 0w20 and 5w20 don't say anything on the bottle about honda specifically.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ezone View Post
I'd swear they used to state right on the front label. What changed?
OK kids, I found the Mobil 1 bottle that says it's for Honda and Toyota.... but the pic of the front labels apparently got lost in the camera. I got a shot of the back of the bottles, and the pic should be big enough to read both.

EDIT: Direct link to picture if you want it huge: http://i.imgur.com/i6DuhFo.jpg

The bottle on the left says Dexos on the front, the bottle on the right says for Honda and Toyota on the front.
What's different here?

ACEA rating for one
One bottle is a bit older than the other too.

Wording like "suitable for use in" and "recommended by Exxon Mobil for use in" may not mean the same things....

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Old 09-08-2015   #21
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

Amsoil is some of the best oil but its over kill in a honda and completely unnecessary especially from a cost perspective.
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Old 10-23-2015   #22
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

Sorry for the late replies everyone - in the middle of moving! Based on everyone's responses - I got the oil change done at the Honda dealership and used genuine OW-20 honda full synthetic oil (which I bought separately from another Honda dealer b/c they were cheaper than the Honda dealer I did the oil change with).

Question
1. The mechanic needed 4.5 quarts of oil to do the change. The manual states it should only require 3.9 quarts if changing oil + filter. Should I be concerned that the mechanic needed another 1/2 quart to do the oil change? Did the mechanic make a mistake, leak too much oil when doing the change, or is something else going on? I asked them about and they said that most oil changes require 4.5 quarts even though the manual says 3.9.

Thanks!
Mac - Thanks for all the detailed postings on the data sheets, specs, and aftermarket vs. genuine honda oil!

Ezone - Thanks for the detailed info on wording specifics and the pics of the oil!

Lowlife - Thanks for the heads up on Amsoil being overkill
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Old 10-23-2015   #23
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

Recently NAPA had Castrol GTX on sale so I grabbed enough to do 4 changes, and then remembered the mechanic had mentioned that sometimes just 4 will not bring it up to the full mark. I had to take a extra quart to make sure I had enough. (he always puts it right on the full line)

Likely to go back to the 5 qt jug again but now have to use 0-20 on my 2013. (not full synthetic)
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Old 10-23-2015   #24
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SidCivic View Post
Question
1. The mechanic needed 4.5 quarts of oil to do the change. The manual states it should only require 3.9 quarts if changing oil + filter. Should I be concerned that the mechanic needed another 1/2 quart to do the oil change?
I suggest you open the hood and check your oil level.
Is it overfilled?


Quote:
Did the mechanic make a mistake, leak too much oil when doing the change, or is something else going on?
Assuming the car is level when the oil is drained, the engine takes a hair under 4q if you change the oil filter using a genuine Honda branded filter.
(If only the nose is raised, it may allow more oil to drain out than if it is kept level.)

Did you supply an endless amount of oil for your oil change? Did they bill you for an extra quart?


IMO you should have given them only the 4 quarts you already knew it required to complete the oil change.

The tech should have used the 4 quarts you supplied to get the oil level to the full mark on the dipstick, and then closed the hood.

Then you, the customer, can recheck the level and top off as you deem necessary.

Quote:
I asked them about and they said that most oil changes require 4.5 quarts even though the manual says 3.9.
MOST....
Much of the time, the person at a dealership service counter (or phone) you get to speak to knows very little about what really goes on it the shop.


There are many Hondas that hold less than 4.5 quarts.
4.5 might be a fixed quantity they bill to every basic oil change on a work order, as very few Hondas need more than that amount.

The oil change wording on our work orders (at my dealership) says something along the lines of "includes up to 5 quarts of.....".
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Old 10-24-2015   #25
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

i wonder if mobile 1 quick change place would let you fill up 4-5 quarts in a empty container and a filter for 20 bucks instead of letting them do the work.
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Old 11-01-2015   #26
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

CraigW / Lowlife 9 - Thanks for the info!

Ezone - Thanks a lot for the detailed reply! The car was raised level (not nose up) on an automatic lift. I only provided them 4 quarts of my own full synthetic Honda oil, and they only billed me for labor - not oil. During the job, they called me out, re-dipped the dipstick in front of me and it showed 70% full, and said they needed another 1/2 quart to top it off. I gave them another quart bottle, they poured it in while I watched, and handed me back my 1/2 used quart (4.5 total quarts now). I then re-checked the dipstick after the job, and it was full, but not over-filled. So based on what you said and what happened - I still don't know why it took 4.5 quarts unless more drained than normal for whatever reason. Thanks again for explaining everything!
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Old 11-01-2015   #27
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

Maybe I'm used to using an old fashioned steel bucket with lines stamped in the side of it to measure our oil (I work for some cheap SOBs, I tell ya!)......I'm used to pouring those 4quarts in the engine and being pretty close most of the time.....
SOMETIMES it takes a little more to get one to the full mark though.

Maybe yours is one of those.
See how much oil future services take and mentally note it.





I know from doing the engine block jobs on 8th gen Civics that their 1.8L "R" engine, completely empty and dry can hold as much as 5 quart bottles (the printed service info says 4.8 quarts), so maybe if one lets it drain an extra long time more can empty out.
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

Ezone - Thanks as always for the thoughtful detailed replies. I definitely think something a little off happened b/c the guy definitely did not take more than 15-30 mins doing the job, and I doubt that qualifies as letting it empty for an "extra long time."

I will take mental note of future repairs.
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

What? Like they started pouring oil in and realized they forgot to put the drain plug back in?
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Re: Best brand for fluids (brake/transmission/coolant/washer)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stock 99 View Post
What? Like they started pouring oil in and realized they forgot to put the drain plug back in?
None of us have EVER done that!
*kicks shop towels on the growing oil puddle under the car*

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I forgot to put an oil filter on a fresh Civic block replacement once. Cranking to build oil pressure, idiot light never went out.
I hear this dribbling noise and it makes me think I need to pee.
A gallon of oil makes a helluva big puddle on the floor.
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