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  1. #1

    Optimum oil level?

    I recently brought our '06 Civic Hybrid into our Honda dealership for a "B1" service, which amounts to oil and filter change, brake inspection and tire rotation. As is my habit, I checked things over after. I guess I'm slow to wake up to things, but finally took notice after this service: our engine oil level seems way too high.

    An email to the service manager elicited a reponse that they *would* make it right, but I declined, saying I wanted to check it out myself. Long story short, after sorting out a way to get the car up high enough, safely, in order to swing the underbody plastic panel out of the way, I discovered they had put 4 liters (for which I was charged), in a car with a spec'd oil capacity (at change, with new filter) of 3.2 liters. Without filter change, the spec'd capacity is 3.0 liters. I managed to back out the drain plug and carefully bleed off 0.8 liters, and lo and behold: with the car back down on level ground, the oil is right on the full mark.

    Now that I've sorted out *how* to get the car raised enough to deal with that plastic underbody panel, I'm likely going to get back to doing my own oil changes, using the correct quantities, changing the oil filter at B service only (not at A), and doing mundane brake inspection and tire rotate, which I have done in past. I have the Honda Shop Manual, a torque wrench, the oil filter socket, tool collection, etc.

    Just to throw out a question, what would be the *optimum* oil level? Maybe mid-way between low and high marks, not at the high extreme? At least if you're not burning/losing any. And what impact on fuel economy would having the crankshaft dipping into excessive oil have? Any other issues with high oil levels?

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  3. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Hi Mendel; Having the oil

    Hi Mendel;

    Having the oil level anywhere above the full line is an absolute NO NO.

    Also having it below the minimum is neither wise nor beneficial. The happy medium is definitely halfway between the two markings as it has been confirmed many times.



  4. #3

    Thanks MSantos. That NO NO

    Thanks MSantos.

    That NO NO was the *norm* at my dealership.

    Anyway, starting with a regular floor jack, four jackstands, a cradle I'd made up a few years back consisting of on-edge 2x4's held together with threaded rods, 2 sheets of 3/4" particle board with the same footprint as the cradle, I finally worked out a strategy to get the entire car up high enough, and safe and solid, to be able to swing the front hinged portion of the aero shield out of the way for an oil change.

    Basically, I jacked up the front as high as I could, put in safety stands at the 2 front rocker panel locations, went round to the back and repeated the exercise, then back to the front for a final lift. This got the whole car up on jackstands, with the front jackstands full extended.

    In light of this, and my waking up about the dealership's overfilling practice, I've decided to do my own oil changes with this car from here on: for the convenience (not having the car tied up for a business day at the dealership), for the assurance of doing it right, to stop the unnecessary part purchases, and to dispense with labour and "shop supply" charges, taxes, environmental charges, etc.

    In a typical year we have one each A and B services. If I just go to the dealership and asking them to do these, nothing more, they do oil filter change at both (A *should* be oil change only, per Honda), and charge me for a full 4 litres OW20 for both changes.

    OTOH, if I do it myself, I would go with Honda parts (good for paper trail, the genuine thing, and not unreasonably priced), but for *each* oil change I would purchase only 3 litres, and an oil filter with every *other* change.

    When doing the A service, I would hold back 100cc from the 3rd litre. When doing B service (with oil filter change), I would put in the full 3 litres, and throw in the retained 100cc.

    Considering the Honda spec. 3.0/3.2 litres without/with filter change, this will give me just shy of the full mark, for both cases. Nirvana!

    I'll likely take over the brake inspections and tire rotations as well. The front brake service in particular is pretty straight forward, I've done this with past cars, and with the longevity of the Civic Hybrid pads, the cost saving is 100% (almost pure labour).

    Now, that valve clearance check I keep threatening to do...

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