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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Saw some very old discussion on this but nothing recent so I figured I'd ask you fine folks.

My 2019 Ridge is up for B16 service. So, oil change, tire rotation, and the surprise for many of us - rear differential fluid change.

When I called the dealer and they mentioned this I told them to hold off on the fluid. Oil change is of course right on the money (I'm at 15,000 miles at 1.5 years of driving so pretty standard owner, no towing yet). Tire rotation I figure it's time for that after 15k. But the rear differential? What's everyone been thinking on this controversial one lately?

Also, I intend to call the dealer today to price this out, anyone had any luck negotiating this or is it really just up to the local dealer to decide what they want to charge for this combo?

Much appreciated all.
 

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Well I can't speak for other Ridgeline owners but I would absolutely change out the rear diff fluid at 15,000 if prompted by the maintenance minder. I did a quick google and it looks very similar to the procedure for my 2016 CR-V which also called for a rear diff change right around 15,000 miles (my records indicate I changed the fluid at 19,416). I think I remember reading somewhere on the CR-V forum that Honda recommends an early diff fluid change to be sure that you get the initial wear-in metal shavings out of the system. For the CR-V it was claimed that after the initial ~15k service it should be changed about every 60k (or whatever the all knowing Maintenance Minder tells you).

I do almost all of my own maintenance so I am a little biased, but if you are looking to save a few bucks this is a pretty simple procedure to do. 2 quarts of DPF II runs me a hair under $20 at my local dealer, you'll need a fluid pump (something like this) and new crush washers should you choose to change them out. Assuming you need to buy everything for the job ($20 for the fluids, $10 for the pump, toss on ~$2-3 for new washers from the dealer) you're looking at about $35 to DIY in parts, plus whatever you value your time at. The procedure to drain and fill the rear diff is simple, but pumping 2 quarts out of a bottle with a hand pump always takes longer than I think. You don't have to jack up the vehicle to get at the diff, but you might find it easier to access. If you do jack it up, be sure to jack up both ends as the diff must be filled while the vehicle is level!

Personally, with how annoying those fluid pumps can be at times and how much work I have done on my vehicles lately, I'd say if your dealer charges you ~$50 for the diff service you're getting a very fair price and I would probably take them up on the offer. If they're charging in the neighborhood of $100 or up then just do it yourself, it's really not too difficult to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Right on thank you for the detail. This is great advice. I always like learning new things about my vehicles so this may be something I try on my own if the dealer quotes me too high. I assume I am still covered under my warranty regardless of who does the service and the maintenance mind or will reset if I change it myself. Still going to have the dealer do the oil change and tire rotation I believe. I’ll call and ask them how much extra is for the differential change.

EDIT - Just called them - $100 for the differential change.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok good call. I was going to just order the fluid and rings on Amazon per a YouTube post I found, but if the stealership can do decent on the parts price that’s a good way to annotate. If they’re charging 2x Amazon prices it doesn’t make sense to do it myself unless I just want to. Looks like I’ll need to buy a torque wrench as well as a fluid pump to do it right but everyone should own a good torque I guess. Figures, I have a million ratchets but no torque.
 

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Do it yourself. Satisfaction knowing it was done right the first time and you won't need to waste your time at the stealership.

They will have a oil change tech do the work presumably. I for one don't trust that it will be done correctly....

Document the service done in a notebook (with attached receipts for parts) you keep with the truck and warranty issues should not occur.
 

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Right on thank you for the detail. This is great advice. I always like learning new things about my vehicles so this may be something I try on my own if the dealer quotes me too high. I assume I am still covered under my warranty regardless of who does the service and the maintenance mind or will reset if I change it myself. Still going to have the dealer do the oil change and tire rotation I believe. I’ll call and ask them how much extra is for the differential change.

EDIT - Just called them - $100 for the differential change.
I can't speak to the warranty angle of things, but I would think that this falls in the same vein as engine oil changes. Would Honda deny a warranty claim because you did your own oil changes? I certainly hope not, but maybe someone here knows the answer.

At any rate, $100 is enough for me to say that I would go the DIY angle. It's really all about how much your time is worth and how annoying you find it crawling under your vehicle. There are a handful of videos on youtube that you should watch to get an idea of what this all entails, and I believe the manual can tell you how to reset the Maintenance Minder when you are all done.

Torque wrenches are great (Harbor Freight sells them for very reasonable prices) but for things like the rear diff and engine oil drain bolt I often find myself using the ole Gutentight spec. You don't want it to come loose by itself, but you'll have to get back in there eventually so no need to snap the threads off tightening it down as hard as you can. Plus, swinging a torque wrench around under the vehicle while not jacked up can get a little tricky. Not to tell you that you shouldn't buy a torque wrench! Just trying to say that you don't absolutely need one if you find the idea of buying more tools abhorrent. I own a torque wrench in each size (1/4", 3/8", and 1/2") all purchased from Harbor Freight and nothing that I have torqued down with them has fallen off... yet
 

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I can't speak to the warranty angle of things, but I would think that this falls in the same vein as engine oil changes. Would Honda deny a warranty claim because you did your own oil changes? I certainly hope not, but maybe someone here knows the answer.

At any rate, $100 is enough for me to say that I would go the DIY angle. It's really all about how much your time is worth and how annoying you find it crawling under your vehicle. There are a handful of videos on youtube that you should watch to get an idea of what this all entails, and I believe the manual can tell you how to reset the Maintenance Minder when you are all done.

Torque wrenches are great (Harbor Freight sells them for very reasonable prices) but for things like the rear diff and engine oil drain bolt I often find myself using the ole Gutentight spec. You don't want it to come loose by itself, but you'll have to get back in there eventually so no need to snap the threads off tightening it down as hard as you can. Plus, swinging a torque wrench around under the vehicle while not jacked up can get a little tricky. Not to tell you that you shouldn't buy a torque wrench! Just trying to say that you don't absolutely need one if you find the idea of buying more tools abhorrent. I own a torque wrench in each size (1/4", 3/8", and 1/2") all purchased from Harbor Freight and nothing that I have torqued down with them has fallen off... yet
Wow, my Honda Service Center only charges $56.00 for an oil change and that is synthetic oil.
 

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Nothing wrong with Harbor Freight tools for the homeowner/DIY guy. I have their ICON torque wrench and it's fantastic.
You won't hear too many bad things about Harbor Freight tools out of my mouth! That said, I have had one or two people suggest that maybe their $20 torque wrench isn't the most well calibrated torque wrench on the market. I can agree with that, but I'm not working on any sort of expensive Italian/German luxury vehicles that require extreme precision. If the cheap wrenches are within 10% of the torque setting then it's fine by me!

I'm glad to hear the ICON brand is holding up. I have my eye on a few of their offerings (including that torque wrench) that I hope to own one day when I have a bit more space in the garage for tool storage. I did manage to squeeze a new Daytona 3 ton jack in the garage a few weekends ago. Talk about an upgrade from the cheap bottle jack I had been using!
 

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My Kennedy machinist box was destroyed at work, they bought me a Cobalt tool box, the one with the stereo and refrigerator built in. It lasted about 6 years then fell apart-literally. SO, I went to Harbor Freight and bought the 55" tool chest, top and bottom, and have been quite surprised on the quality of it. I wanted a ICON box, but I only have a few years till I retire anyways, and they are expensive, but look worth it to me. The Icon torque wrench is pretty much spot on, we have calibration gauges to check them at work. They key to any torque wrench, when you are done, back it all the way off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Wow, my Honda Service Center only charges $56.00 for an oil change and that is synthetic oil.
The $100 is for the differential fluid change, not oil change. I'll let them do the oil and tire rotation. I'll do the differential and learn something and save the $100 plus whatever extra costs they'd surprise me with. Thanks guys. Will at least buy the pump, will try and just ratchet tight the 2 nuts. May as well check with the dealer on the rings and fluid, if the price is too high I'll buy online.
 

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I can't speak to the warranty angle of things, but I would think that this falls in the same vein as engine oil changes. Would Honda deny a warranty claim because you did your own oil changes? I certainly hope not, but maybe someone here knows the answer.

No "I certainly hope not" to it - in the U.S. per the Magnuson Ferguson Act they cannot deny a warranty claim for you changing your own oil unless they can prove you did it improperly or that you used the wrong oil.
 

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The $100 is for the differential fluid change, not oil change. I'll let them do the oil and tire rotation. I'll do the differential and learn something and save the $100 plus whatever extra costs they'd surprise me with. Thanks guys. Will at least buy the pump, will try and just ratchet tight the 2 nuts. May as well check with the dealer on the rings and fluid, if the price is too high I'll buy online.
Sorry, I obviously misread it. :confused:
 

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My service advisor gave me the same spiel about not needing to the rear diff until 30k when I took my wife's 2020 CR-V in for its B16 service at around 16k. They are stuck on the old schedule and don't understand the MM at all. I just politely explained that I prefer to maintain according the MM and this the Honda factory schedule. My local dealer charged about $50-60 for the rear diff service on the CR-V which is definitely worth it in my book. I guess there are worse things than service advisors trying to sell you less services.
 

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When in doubt, whip it out - the owners manual that is. Read the maintenance minder table - this trumps any and all service advisor "advice" whatever that's worth. This is Honda's advice straight from the horse's mouth. Pay attention to the footnotes, e.g. for rear diff fluid service:
Driving in mountainous areas at very low vehicle speeds or trailer towing results in higher level of mechanical (Shear) stress to fluid. This requires differential fluid changes more frequently than recommended by the Maintenance MinderTM. If you regularly drive your vehicle under these conditions, have the differential fluid changed at 7,500 miles (12,000 km), then every 15,000 miles (24,000 km).
My 2020 RL is popping up w/ 6 (Rear Diff service) at 15k.
Just called my dealer and they want to charge $128 !!! for this, which is robbery. It's literally $20 worth of fluid & washers (retail parts counter pricing), and max 30 minutes of tech time. Should not be more than $80 at dealership :(
Going to DIY this one.

Procedure is simple:
415803

(that's 35 ft-lb torque spec on the plugs - definitely use a torque wrench on these plugs being soft metal alloys)
There are several decent YT videos on this one.
 

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You can document your own maintenance for your Honda(s) at the owner.honda.com website. Register your vehicle(s), search for maintenance done by the dealer, and scroll to the bottom to find the entry sections for your own maintenance performed.
 

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When I had a 2007 RTS, I always had the dealer do the diif oil change when the MM popped up. I had read several posts about how often the plug gets stripped and didn't want to take a chance doing it myself. I also felt and still do that the dfif oil change is a very important maintenance issue. (After never doing one on a Subaru and ending up with a locked up diff..ouch)
I expect to take the same path on my current 2020 Ridge.
If I remember correctly, the diff oil change with a new crush washer ran about $125.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Took it in today. I had enough after paying $95 for an oil change and tire rotation. Got three bottles of fluid and 2 crush washers at the parts counter and I’ll borrow a torque and do this myself.
 
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