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Old 01-22-2017   #1
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Synthetic oil & my civic

Two 98 Civic oil questions

I just saw on this chart (http://www.wildehonda.com/engine-oil...vs-regular.htm) that the Civic has been transitioned to 0w20, away from the 5w30 that my 98 was specced for.

The manual, as well as a Honda ownerís site (http://m.owners.honda.com/faqs/motor-oil; in the section talking about synthetic oil), says that I still have to follow the maintenance schedule (7500 miles or 12 months, for normal service, which I qualify for) given in the manualóthat I canít extend the oil change interval, just because Iím using synthetic. I suppose my question would be, if synthetics have advanced since 1998, to make that recommendation obsolete.

OK, I have two questions:

(1) Is the 7500/12, still a limit that I should observe, if I choose to use synthetic? FWIW, I am only driving about 400 miles a month. It would take me over a year and a half to get to 8000 miles. Even with synthetic, should I limit my oil change interval to 12 months (at which point, I will have driven 4800 miles)? If thatís the case, then I probably would not choose to go with synthetic, given that my car should be just fine on 4800 miles on conventional.

(2) Does the fact that later Civics are running 0w20, mean that I can run that in my 98 Civic without any increased wear? Or should I stick with a 5w30 synthetic? FWIW, Mobil1 offers a 5w30, as well as an 0w20 that they say is marketed for most Hondas.

Iíd rather not run a thinner oil, just to get an extra 2% MPG, if it will result in increased wear.
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Old 01-22-2017   #2
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Re: Synthetic oil & my civic

the way I read that chart it starts at 1999 Civic and 5w20 being 'acceptable'. Granted 96 - 98 used the same y7 y8 engines so why wouldn't they be included in the chart?
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Old 01-22-2017   #3
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Re: Synthetic oil & my civic

prr... stick with what Your oil cap says on it...

1998 Civic i think calls for 5w30 grade oil as far 0w20 synthetic goes.. don't

use it..! on Your 98 Honda. "Honda recommends it for my 8th gen Civic"

Only because they had to meet strict Cafe emission standards back then.

i.e. thinner oil will let off less emissions, and give slightly better fuel economy.

i.e. 2 miles per galon less than vs 2 miles per gallon more on 5w30 and

X amount less of carbon emissions on the Window sticker at the Honda dealer

looks more attractive for a buyer. getting back to your Question as far as

running synthetic oil goes absolutly a good name brand 5w30 oil would be fine

to run. I'm assuming you do short trips stop & go ..? which is hard on the oil

and overall engine. i still would change out the oil twice a year. especially if You Live

in hot & cold season based Climate. moisture will get in the oil and depending on your

driving distances . probably won't see any real hot temperatures to burn off

any moisture in the oil.

Last edited by brags; 01-22-2017 at 06:57 PM.
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Old 01-22-2017   #4
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Re: Synthetic oil & my civic

0w20 is now used for fuel efficiency.

The protection actually goes down slightly between 5w30 synthetic and 0w20 synthetic because the oil film strength is less with 0w20.

Use 5w30.
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Old 01-23-2017   #5
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Re: Synthetic oil & my civic

5th and 6th gens tended to have main bearing rattle at high mileage.....if it wasn't for that, I wouldn't be scurred to run 0w20.
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Old 01-23-2017   #6
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Re: Synthetic oil & my civic

The consensus here is for the thicker 5w30, no problem there. Personally I'd rather give up 2 MPG and not have engine problems.

I think now my only question is, how long the oil change interval can get. I'd rather not use the more expensive synthetic, if I am going to change it out every 5000 miles. My Civic has gone to almost 190K on conventional oil (for the most part)---and the only things I've had done to this 1998 in the last 2 years have been maintenance items (coolant drain, oil, tires, brakes).

So would a shorter 5K drain interval on conventional be better for my Civic, than an 18 month long 8K interval with synthetic?
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Old 01-23-2017   #7
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Re: Synthetic oil & my civic

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The consensus here is for the thicker 5w30, no problem there. Personally I'd rather give up 2 MPG and not have engine problems.

I think now my only question is, how long the oil change interval can get. I'd rather not use the more expensive synthetic, if I am going to change it out every 5000 miles. My Civic has gone to almost 190K on conventional oil (for the most part)---and the only things I've had done to this 1998 in the last 2 years have been maintenance items (coolant drain, oil, tires, brakes).

So would a shorter 5K drain interval on conventional be better for my Civic, than an 18 month long 8K interval with synthetic?

Does the car use oil?
How quick does it use oil?
(sometimes switching to lower viscosity oil can reduce the consumption rate--- especially when ultra low tension rings are involved, AND higher quality oil can slowly scrub the carbon deposits that cause stuck oil rings)

How long (miles) does it take for the oil to turn dark? Very dark? Black?
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Old 01-23-2017   #8
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Re: Synthetic oil & my civic

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Does the car use oil?
Nope. I've been checking for the last few years, halfway through my OCIs, and when I've checked it immediately before an oil change, it's always been full.

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Originally Posted by ezone View Post
How long (miles) does it take for the oil to turn dark? Very dark? Black?
Honestly I have no idea. It has been about 1000 miles since its last oil change. I could check it tomorrow, if need be.

I can say, however, that after 2000 miles, when I have checked it in the past year or so, it has been fairly dark. With just a few drops on the dipstick, it's hard to say if it was black or just dark, but it sure wasn't the original gold.

Just so I can learn, what is the issue about how long it takes to turn dark?
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Old 01-23-2017   #9
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Re: Synthetic oil & my civic

I was just curious. If you check oil level frequently I figured you would have an idea.

Turning dark isn't necessarily good, bad, or an indicator of much other than a color change (unless it's been in so long it's turned to tar).
Color alone isn't a good way to judge oil condition (unless it's been in so long it's turned to tar).
Much of the change is normal and expected. ...unless it's turned to tar.




Turning dark DOES indicate the oil is doing one of its jobs, holding contaminants in suspension. Which is good.


It CAN indicate other things as well, as many factors contribute to the color change, but eyeballing it can't discern what those are (unless it's been in so long it's turned to tar).
Oil analysis by a lab is best if you really want to know how your oil is doing, but for the price of a lab test you could probably just do another oil change and forget about it.


If you open the oil fill cap and look inside and see golden valvetrain parts, that's good.
OTOH if you open the oil cap and look inside and see all those valvetrain parts covered in sludge, that's bad.....maybe the oil that's been used either wasn't good enough or you went too long between changes, or maybe it's been running too hot, or maybe some other factor was involved.


IMO if you are trying to figure price/miles etc. into your calculation.....consider the TIME it takes to change oil. Is that a worthwhile consideration? Price of the oil change goes up a few dollars but the time/convenience factor saved by going an extra 6 months might make it equal out?
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Old 01-23-2017   #10
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Re: Synthetic oil & my civic

As far as my conventional 5000 miles vs. synthetic for 8-10,000 miles, I would actually prefer to go the synthetic route (btw--under the oil cap it is a sparkly silver--I was stunned when I looked the first time, for a car with 180K miles to look like that). Its just that if I HAVE to change it every 12 months, that would essentially just be a 4800 mile oil drain interval, so I think I might want to go conventional. If I can go 18-20 months in between oil changes with synthetic, on the other hand, I think I'd prefer that. Its just that I'm not sure about the time factor here, because the manual said 12 months or 7500 miles. And the manual also said that using synthetic wouldn't change those parameters.

My question is if the manual's recomendations are still valid.
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Old 01-23-2017   #11
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Re: Synthetic oil & my civic

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As far as my conventional 5000 miles vs. synthetic for 8-10,000 miles, I would actually prefer to go the synthetic route (btw--under the oil cap it is a sparkly silver--I was stunned when I looked the first time, for a car with 180K miles to look like that). Its just that if I HAVE to change it every 12 months, that would essentially just be a 4800 mile oil drain interval, so I think I might want to go conventional. If I can go 18-20 months in between oil changes with synthetic, on the other hand, I think I'd prefer that. Its just that I'm not sure about the time factor here, because the manual said 12 months or 7500 miles. And the manual also said that using synthetic wouldn't change those parameters.

My question is if the manual's recomendations are still valid.
Oh hell, you're in the land of sun and nice temperatures where it never rains and hot chicks wear bikinis year round. You don't have to worry about sub-zero and snow and all that.....?

Mfr's one year is a blanket statement that's going to cover everything from best to worst case scenarios.

Let's adjust for a second, see.....
What are your driving habits like???

The oil isn't going to curdle like spoiled milk in the fridge 3 days after the expiration date. I think you could be fine, as long as your trips aren't all real short. If you go several miles on every run (or even a few times per month), long enough to get the engine to full operating temperature and keep it there for a while then your plan is probably ok.

OTOH if you only go 2 miles every time the engine runs, that's hard on it because it never really gets to full temp and stays hot long enough to boil out condensation.




I worry about mine because my daily commute is only 5.6 miles each way. In the winter my engine doesn't even get fully warmed up, and that's not an easy life for oil..
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Old 01-23-2017   #12
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Re: Synthetic oil & my civic

My daily commute is 7.5 miles one way, and I do it 2, 3, or 4 days a week, varying from month to month. I also run errands around town that can be longer than that, before I turn off the engine. I certainly qualify for my manual's normal service schedule, which asks for trips of at least 5 miles. And there is an occasional 1-2 hour trip out of town as well.

I surely won't go to 10K with synthetic (which would be just over 2 full years). If I don't have to treat the 12 month timeline as a hard ceiling, then I can go 15-18 months and I might just use some synthetic blend if not a full synthetic.
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Old 01-23-2017   #13
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Re: Synthetic oil & my civic

Syn/syn blend wasn't ever a consideration when the owners manual was written, and 7500 was ok then.....
Oil doesn't have an internal calendar.....

I think you'll be fine.

Check levels regularly, as mileage is getting up there... (I like to note the color whenever I do check my oil.)


I've been changing oil in my Civic every 5k. Sometimes that's 10 months, sometimes it's 15 months. It's kinda black by that mileage.
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Old 05-18-2017   #14
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Re: Synthetic oil & my civic

On a related note, I did email a guy from Honda I saw on YouTube, talking about Honda's move to thinner 5w20 and 0w20 oil as not involving any sacrifice in engine wear. The video identified him as their chief chemist. Anyways, he was in no hurry to move my 98 Civic onto thinner oil. He said with 190K on it, if I hadn't had any problems with 5w30 oil, to stay on it. He specifically said not to run 0w20 in that car. I asked him why, and his explanation was increased clearances between the moving parts (from the time the engine was first made) made a thicker oil better. I was surprised that he didn't urge me to use thinner oil. At any rate, I'm sticking with the good ol' 5w30.
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Old 08-27-2017   #15
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Re: Synthetic oil & my civic

Please teach and advice which oil to use:
2017 Civic LX Hatchback.
Current mileage 600

What oil viscosity to use on first and subsequent oil changes? Example 0W 20; 5W 30; 10W 30; and so on.

My confusion is that I live in warm/hot Southern California and I thought oil viscosity is based on outside temperature. The weather never gets below 60 degrees and frequently gets to 95 degrees.

I typically use Mobile 1 only because I've been using it for years in my '03 Honda Element and haven't had any problems, and I simply trust the Mobile 1 brand.

Driving Style: 8 miles each way to work side-street stop and go; Monday - Friday. Weekends are day trips usually 30 miles round trip (mostly highway).

My priority is engine life (car has to last me many years). I'm OK if I lose a few MPG in favor of engine protection.

Given that the engine is turbo, does that make a difference?
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Old 08-27-2017   #16
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Re: Synthetic oil & my civic

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Originally Posted by SteveInCalif View Post
Please teach and advice which oil to use:
2017 Civic LX Hatchback.
Current mileage 600
You're nowhere close to needing anything done yet.
Quote:
What oil viscosity to use on first and subsequent oil changes? Example 0W 20; 5W 30; 10W 30; and so on.
Your owners manual and the oil cap on the engine all say 0w20.
Quote:
My confusion is that I live in warm/hot Southern California and I thought oil viscosity is based on outside temperature. The weather never gets below 60 degrees and frequently gets to 95 degrees.
The engine runs a lot hotter than that any ambient temperature you'll ever see.

0w20.

Quote:
I typically use Mobile 1 only because I've been using it for years in my '03 Honda Element and haven't had any problems, and I simply trust the Mobile 1 brand.
ALL 0w20 is semi-synthetic or better.
All 0w20 at the Honda dealer is full synthetic, if they are using the correct oil.

Quote:
Driving Style: 8 miles each way to work side-street stop and go; Monday - Friday.
That's harsh. Still 0w20.
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Old 08-27-2017   #17
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Re: Synthetic oil & my civic

Thank you Mr. Ezone: 0W 20 it is!

Do to break-in, I was thinking to change oil at 1,500 miles, and then go with Honda recommended intervals. Probably wasting my money, but the peace of mind that I cleaned-out break-in stuff is invaluable to me. Or, am I crazy and that's not needed?

Side-note: I'm a budget planner, thus thinking of oil change already. I paid cash for the car and plan to do again in 10 years. I already started monthly saving to cover oil changes, brakes, tires, super-expensive Calif annual registration (huge increase for 2017/18 coming - something like $400+), and other standard maint. Feels good to just pay for it when the time comes instead of credit card or car loan (I'm not rich, so I have to think of such things). That's how I roll debt-free and no worry :-)
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Old 08-27-2017   #18
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Re: Synthetic oil & my civic

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Thank you Mr. Ezone: 0W 20 it is!

Do to break-in, I was thinking to change oil at 1,500 miles, and then go with Honda recommended intervals. Probably wasting my money, but the peace of mind that I cleaned-out break-in stuff is invaluable to me. Or, am I crazy and that's not needed?
Not needed. If there's sand, gravel and metal chips left in a new engine, then Honda would have a huge problem at the engine plant.

They WANT the original oil left in the engine until the Maintenance Minder says 15% or at least 5000 miles (or one year from date of purchase if you don't drive that much).

Rear your owners manual, read all about the Maintenance Minder system.

The oil change interval is a huge variable based on your driving conditions. Some people might only go 4000, others might be allowed to go well beyond 10k on an oil change before the Maintenance Minder turns on the wrench symbol.

The Maintenance Minder system has NO WAY of directly monitoring anything, it's based on a model, and it assumes use of specified correct products.
That means you have to check fluid levels once in a while, it cannot monitor level nor condition.
If Walmart dumps in the cheapest 1986 spec 10w30 they can find, the minder system cannot compensate.

Likewise, if you drive on all dirt roads lined with forest fires, your air filters will need to be replaced long before the maintenance minder system will ask for them.

I think your owners manual may say something about extra trans services if you do a certain kind of driving (like mountains?), check that out.


Something else about the oil we use these days (it's actually been spec in some Hondas for more than 15 years) The oil system does more than just lubricate bearings. It also has to be able to flow to components that are hydraulically actuated using oil pressure, and timing can be critical.
Quote:
Side-note: I'm a budget planner, thus thinking of oil change already. I paid cash for the car and plan to do again in 10 years.
Oil should be the least of your worries if you just follow the owners manual.

10 years isn't long there, especially with low daily miles.
I'm in the rust belt, 10 years can be an eternity here. I'll never be able to 'mile my car out' before it rots away, if I keep it that long.

Quote:
That's how I roll debt-free and no worry :-)
Right on. I've been able to make most major purchases with cash for the last 15 years or so. I'll be completely debt free in about a year (house).
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