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Discussion Starter #1
I have been visiting the bobtheoilguy.com site and asked this question there. The opinions were somewhat mixed, even some suggesting that gallons consumed was the primary gauge that should be used if you wanted to be exact. I'm wondering what you all think here is best for the Ridgeline? Do you plan on changing oil lets say every six months, regardless of miles driven or do you have a specific mileage in mind (for example, 3,000 or 5,000 miles or some other figure between changes)? Would your opinion change if you went with synthetic oil? Or, perhaps, do you intend to let HAL do the work for you, no matter the mileage driven or the time lapse between changes?

So much of what is talked about at the BTOG site deals with oil types and how they fare on the oil analyis which many members post. There is a general consensus there that syntheitic is better than dino but whether or not synthetic is necessary or will really help depends on your driving habits and conditions. This is exactly what HAL measures. They also mention that if you change oil every 3,000 - 5,000 miles like clock work, you probably don't need synthetic oil under normal conditions (turbos might be different)..

Our manual does not seem to give any real guidelines as to mileage/time factors and tells us to rely on HAL's message of "Service Due Now" at about the 5% oil life analysis. I think it does say, however, that if you do not get such a message to change oil once a year (sorry if this is not correct but I left my manual at a friend's house and do not have it in front of me).

Nicholas' oil analysis report that was shown in another thread here seemed to indicate a rather normal reading and was done around the time when HAL asked for it to be done. This would indicate the Honda engineers knew what they were doing and HAL is a pretty accurate device to guide us. So a follow up question might be are you comfortable with changing oil ONLY when HAL tells you to? If not, then you must have some other guidelines such as mileage or time.

A question I asked in another thread here talked about topping off oil. Let us assume you use a quart of oil every 3,000 miles. Each time you top it off HAL does not know that and continues it's "analysis" as though you never added fresh oil. Also, some people like to top off their oil by adding synthetic to dino, thereby creating their own "blend". Again, HAL does not understand this. So how accurate can HAL be under so many various possible conditions? And if it can not be "that" accurate in each circumstance, would you feel more comfortable going with the old stand-by of mileage and/or time factors? Sorry for the length of my ramble but it seems an interesting question to explore (at least to me).
 

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shortspark said:
I have been visiting the bobtheoilguy.com site and asked this question there. The opinions were somewhat mixed, even some suggesting that gallons consumed was the primary gauge that should be used if you wanted to be exact. I'm wondering what you all think here is best for the Ridgeline? Do you plan on changing oil lets say every six months, regardless of miles driven or do you have a specific mileage in mind (for example, 3,000 or 5,000 miles or some other figure between changes)? Would your opinion change if you went with synthetic oil? Or, perhaps, do you intend to let HAL do the work for you, no matter the mileage driven or the time lapse between changes?

So much of what is talked about at the BTOG site deals with oil types and how they fare on the oil analyis which many members post. There is a general consensus there that syntheitic is better than dino but whether or not synthetic is necessary or will really help depends on your driving habits and conditions. This is exactly what HAL measures. They also mention that if you change oil every 3,000 - 5,000 miles like clock work, you probably don't need synthetic oil under normal conditions (turbos might be different)..

Our manual does not seem to give any real guidelines as to mileage/time factors and tells us to rely on HAL's message of "Service Due Now" at about the 5% oil life analysis. I think it does say, however, that if you do not get such a message to change oil once a year (sorry if this is not correct but I left my manual at a friend's house and do not have it in front of me).

Nicholas' oil analysis report that was shown in another thread here seemed to indicate a rather normal reading and was done around the time when HAL asked for it to be done. This would indicate the Honda engineers knew what they were doing and HAL is a pretty accurate device to guide us. So a follow up question might be are you comfortable with changing oil ONLY when HAL tells you to? If not, then you must have some other guidelines such as mileage or time.

A question I asked in another thread here talked about topping off oil. Let us assume you use a quart of oil every 3,000 miles. Each time you top it off HAL does not know that and continues it's "analysis" as though you never added fresh oil. Also, some people like to top off their oil by adding synthetic to dino, thereby creating their own "blend". Again, HAL does not understand this. So how accurate can HAL be under so many various possible conditions? And if it can not be "that" accurate in each circumstance, would you feel more comfortable going with the old stand-by of mileage and/or time factors? Sorry for the length of my ramble but it seems an interesting question to explore (at least to me).
There's no need to worry about time, mileage, gallons used, etc. You can follow "HAL" as long as you do the following:

#1 Use a good quality API Certified oil of the proper weight and rating.

#2 Use a good quality oil filter.

#3 Make sure your air filter is clean or replaced.

If you do the above and follow HAL you will not suffer an oil related failure or premature wear on the engine.

As for adding oil. It's my experience with Honda engines that it's rather unusual for the engine to need more than 1/2 quart in 5000 miles. You should still check it regularly and top off if needed, but the top off oil should not, and will not be calculated by HAL.

Many people worry a whole lot about what brand oil they use. The more I read of the SAE and other technical papers I'm convinced that the brand of oil has the LEAST to do with engine wear. The difference between a 98% effective oil filter at 10 microns and a 92% effective oil filter resulted in 27% greater engine wear!!

Yes, the oil filter has a greater result on engine wear than the oil itself (assuming you use any quality oil).

HAL assumes you have good clean air going into the engine. Make sure and keep the air filter clean.

So what's reality? The oil filter is the most important choice you can make when changing your oil. The air filter is extremely important. Any quality oil will work equally well. Synthetic will give you an added measure of protection.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Joe, that is a more common sense approach than one could hope for and, as I have posted here before, I too believe in HAL. I am also glad to hear about Honda's engines not using much oil. As you know, I have six of those good Filtech filters (thanks to you) and, in a way, can't wait to get under there and use 'em! But that is because it is new. In a few months or after an oil change or two I might start considering it a chore - then again, I might not!
 

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I looked for the maintenance shceudle but all I could find is it will tell you on the dash when it's due. That's crap. I will keep track and change the oil as I do in all my other cars.
 

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Ridgeline-Fla said:
I looked for the maintenance shceudle but all I could find is it will tell you on the dash when it's due. That's crap. I will keep track and change the oil as I do in all my other cars.
I'd be interested to know whether or not your manual schedule ends up being in sync with HAL... like, right about when you're thinking, you know, it's been [whatever] miles, I think I need to change the oil, and then HAL turns on its indicator, like it's reading your mind or something. Actually, the more I think about it, the more it's spookin' me out... Who's this HAL guy, and why is he in my head??

One of the sales guys at my dealership said that I should change the oil only every 10K miles, even though he knew other dealerships were telling people 3K or 5K (depending on how greedy or uneducated about the car they were). Don't know why I'd believe one sales guy over another, but this guy knew I'd be bringing my car there for service, so if anything, he'd have reason to tell me 3K instead of 10K.

I have less than 400 miles on my truck now, so I guess it'll be a while before I get my first visit from HAL. Sigh.

-flymuck
 

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My dealership recommends first oil change at 4000 and then at 7500 mile intervals. Any thoughts?
 

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Lady Ridge, I hope you didn't take the pictures while driving 60 MPH!
 

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BillB said:
My dealership recommends first oil change at 4000 and then at 7500 mile intervals. Any thoughts?
You asked "any thoughts?" so here goes... stop listening to your dealer. They probably know less about what your car needs than you do. Car dealers don't employ engineers. Mechanics may know how to replace parts but they know nothing about the design of the vehicle and the logic and reasoning behind it.

If you keep the air filter clean, and use a good quality oil and oil filter there's no reason you can't follow the oil life monitor.

If you run a dirty air filter then 3000 miles is too long.

If you use a junk oil filter then 1000 miles is too long.

The oil life monitor takes many factors into consideration that even the driver may not be aware of. How long was the engine at idle in that traffic jam while the engine was breathing 100 degree air? How many times did you start the engine since your last oil change? How cold did it get? etc...

As long as you use good quality oil and filter and keep the air filter clean your engine will last just as long if you follow the oil life monitor instead of changing the oil every 1000 miles.
 

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ladyridge said:
Things that make you go....hmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!
Wow look at that, high speed photography, amazing.. ;)

Probably not the best idea taking pictures while doing 60 and flipping options on your dash, but hey to each their own. At least you are still here to talk about it.
 

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ladyridge said:
No guys...my camera is attached to my head..all I have to do is blink and it snaps the picture. :D :rolleyes: ;)
If this is true, I want one. I have wanted to be able to take pictures of the crazy people driving in the break down lane and send them to the police for ages, they weave in and out of the lane and cause all sorts of trouble.

But my suspicion is that you are pulling a fast one on us, so I will just grin and pretend that the world is all rosy.
 

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Thanks for thoughts CSIMO. I have never had an oil life monitor in any vehicle before so I am skeptical about it knowing what to do. I am a Systems Analyst by trade and am curious as to the technical specifications of this "monitor" and its history of use in Honda vehicles, and even though I do not have an aversion to using technology to accomplish what used to be a human responsability, I would be foolish to not know the reason I preferred the technology.

If anyone has some good input as to where this monitor comes from and its performance history, that would help me to understand my RL better. Thanks.
 

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If you want to do some reading here are two interesting articles on this subject.

The first is the explaination of the GM Oil Life Monitor system by a GM engineer. I suspect the Honda system is VERY similar... the Ridgeline was mostly designed by ex-GM engineers.
http://theoildrop.server101.com/cgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=010523

The next article is about the various oil filters you can use on a Honda. This article would directly apply to the Ridgeline. As many know, it's my opinion that the oil filter you choose is more important than the oil you use.
http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12206&page=1&pp=10
 

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Ridgeline-Fla said:
I looked for the maintenance schedule but all I could find is it will tell you on the dash when it's due. That's crap. I will keep track and change the oil as I do in all my other cars.
What is your basis for this statement? A vehicle which actually looks at driving conditions and understands what you are doing to determine when it needs to have its oil change seems like a good idea, why would this be considered bad? If you want to guess at it, Honda has generally been pushing a 7500 mile oil change interval on their recent vehicles that are not equipped with oil life monitors. This is from the factory not from dealerships. In fact my Civic has a recommended oil change interval of 10k miles, so I change it once a year instead (29 months old - 13k total miles). There is very little improved by frequent oil changes and all you do is pollute the environment for no reason.

I am just puzzled why so many people seem reluctant to follow the recommendation of a car company that has made vehicles that have been so reliable. My aunt still has her original Honda Accord from the late 80s that she drives every day. While it isn't the most comfortable vehicle to ride in now in comparison to a new vehicle it is still running rather well. I don't know the actual mileage on it now but I know it is well beyond the 150k mile mark and I suspect it is well over 200k miles but I don't know for sure.
 

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Thanks for the article CSIMO about ZDP depletion. All very interesting and almost scientifically foolproof. Variable in this is the actual oil being used and the ZDP levels applicable to each brand and quality. I will for the sake of sanity assume that the Honda algorythm is using the actual oil it puts into the car at build as the algorythmic norm and then does the formula mechanics to drive the monitor display. When all is said and done, this pushes (entices) the owner into using this exact oil to maintain the monitor's accuracy and this is a good thing for the warrenty folks as they too want you to use this quality to maintain the integrity of the engine components being lubricated. Thanks again, my curiosity is satisfied for the moment.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I believe the actual oil used as the factory fill is like a Superflo formula made for Honda by ExxonMobil. The guys at BITOG forum believe that the oil is no special formula but rather one enhanced by the factory lubricants that are used in the engine building process.

This theory is somewhat substantiated by the large amount of molly found during a used oil analysis of the factory fill. After around 6700 miles (or thereabouts), one of our members, Nicholas, had a UOA conducted and it showed much more molly additative than nearly any oil has in it originally. Right out of the 5W20 bottle, I believe only Havoline and Redline (a synthetic) have more molly than was found in Nicholas' used factory fill. As we all know, molly is a very useful additive and although some great oil formulas have little molly, I think I heard somewhere that Honda engines have historically favored an oil with a pretty good dose of molly.

So, it would appear that Honda's oil life monitor is geared to a dino oil in 5W20 grade but with no particular formula involved since after the factory fill is drained, so too are the engine lubricants they used. The next fill will be straight oil and it would have to be on that assumption that the monitor is programmed.

It can do many calculations, as the article from the GM engineer explained, but it does not know if you use synthetics for example, which will provide for extended drains. Nor does it know if you changed filter mid-way through the cycle and topped off your depleated oil. This "top off" will enhance the protection of the oil that is already in there but the monitor can't know that.

All in all I believe the monitor will provide a good guide for oil change intervals under most normal driving conditions as long as we use the correct grade and it is a name brand product.
 

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1) What type filter is used at the dealership? is it considered to be of good quality?

2) Does the oil monitoring system react differently to synthetic? Would it therefore show greater times between changes?
 
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