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I just came back from the dealership where they performed scheduled maintenance after I had the message "B 1 6" appear on my display. This set me back ~$180. They also recommended the 15K mile maintenance package, which included a whole laundry list of maintenance and checks that they would perform, which I declined for the time being. The service advisor calls me before I pick up my truck and gives me a status update and what other tune ups they recommend. You may have discerned by now that I know nothing of how vehicles work... but I can't help but feel as if they always try to up-sell me when I take my vehicle in for service. This isn't specific to Honda as I have experienced this with every vehicle I've ever owned.

Like I said, I know nothing of cars, but I do feel like I am a pretty handy person and I am willing to take the time to learn new things. I am looking for advice as to where I can get the most bang for my buck. For example, changing an air cabin filter doesn't seem like something extraordinarily difficult thing to do, so perhaps I can save a few bucks there. I imagine that anything having to do with changing fluids may not be worth it after taking into account time, difficulty, cleanup, disposal, etc. But what do I know? Any advice is welcome. Bear in mind that some of these maintenance packages include things such as changing the air filter, so it wouldn't make sense to do it myself if I am already paying them for some other service that I cannot do myself.
 

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That's a tough one. You say your handy but know nothing about how vehicles work. Well...it's never to late to learn. I would suggest starting with getting familiar with the vehicle, changing fluids and filters, then branch out from there. Keep you goals practical. For instance, don't expect to tackle the timing belt soon. I would recommend YouTube and/or a shop manual to start. You can find a lot of "how-to's" on-line. Whether you decide to do the work or not, knowledge is key to avoiding up-sales.

You'll also find that when things go wonkers (yes, that's a technical term), this forum will help to either solve your issues or at least point you in the right direction.
 
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Bear in mind that some of these maintenance packages include things such as changing the air filter, so it wouldn't make sense to do it myself if I am already paying them for some other service that I cannot do myself.
A 'maintenance package' as they call it, just means the stealer is adding a bunch of things together usually to take advantage of unsuspecting customers. If they offer a package that includes the cabin filter and you can do it yourself, do it. Just decline that part of the service if having other work done. Use the search feature on this site or you-tube for any items you may plan on tackling, Almost everything has been documented before. Replacement parts can be purchased online cheaper that at the dealer too.
Good Luck.
 
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Cabin and engine air filter are easy to do yourself. I do my own oil and have done the rear differential. I can do the transmission drain and refill, and do the transfer and front diff too in the future. Things like that are a matter of getting the correct fluid, the right washer, getting up underneath, fluid pump in some cases, disposal.
With the oil, in some cases it might be better to have the dealer do it if the price is right...the filter can be a little messy, but i use a bag over it while unscrewing.
I do these things not only to hopefully save money, but i know that i did a good job doing it versus whoever at the dealer and they charge for it.
 

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Doing it yourself is always a good excuse to buy tools, and at the prices dealerships charge, you will save bucks after just a couple of service intervals.

Some items you should invest in: torque wrench, set of metric sockets, breaker bar/extension, a safe method of elevating the vehicle whether it be a simple set of ramps or a hydraulic pump lift, a tub-type container to catch spent fluids and a set of funnels. Once you have these things, you are set to save some dough, and will enjoy bonding with your ride.

As an example, with a Gen 1 (and I suppose a Gen 2), it is actually easier to change the transmission fluid (as scary as that sounds to someone who hasn't worked on a car before) than it is to change the oil. It is a simple drain and refill process.

An important point to remember is to open the fill plugs before opening the drain plugs to make sure you can refill. And some plugs are really tight (especially the first opening), so you may feel some apprehension when breaking loose some of the plugs, But when the job is done and you don't have to reach into your back pocket, it is a great feeling.

Good luck. There's tons of information here on the site, and lots of helpful members ready to respond to questions. Jump in!
 

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2006 Ridgeline RTS in Steel Blue
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You can do it! @UAMike

All excellent answers above! Listen to those members!
If you are willing to learn, able to research and have a location with which you can do the work, anything is possible. I can expand on my thoughts more later, but more than anything I wanted to reply so I can find this thread again when I am available to provide a further answer.
 

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I have owned my old 07 RTL for nearly 9 years now. As a complete guess, I would estimate I've likely saved $3k-4k on maintenance work alone by doing things myself. They suck you in at a dealership or other shop with a "cheap" oil change service, but suggest other services at that time that can really add to the bill. For instance, I just did rear rotors and pads along with bleeding the brake lines and cleaning/lubing the calipers. Total parts bill was $92. Took me about 4 hours on a weekend taking my sweet old time. That same job, which wouldn't have been done as thoroughly at a shop, would have been nearly $500. If you learn to do brakes, you can save a boat load.

Similarly, synthetic oil changes are usually $70-80. Fluid and filter costs $30. Rear diff fluid and tranny fluid drains and fills, which are even easier than an oil change, usually run $80-100 each. Fluids usually run about $20-30 per change for each. Some dealerships charge $90 for a cabin air filter change (ludicrous). I can buy a filter online for $10 and swap it in under 90 seconds. Same thing goes for engine air filters. A really good quality OEM style paper filter will run you $15-20, but dealerships will charge $80-100. It may not seem like much, but, $30, $60, $100 saved here and there REALLY adds up over the course of truck ownership.

Sure, you do have to buy some tools if you don't already have them to do these jobs correctly, but it's a one-time cost. ALL of these jobs can be done with very simple and basic hand tools and materials. Only thing extra that is a cost to you is your time. Don't buy cheapo tools from Harbor Freight. Get a good socket wrench set, torque wrench, screwdrivers, etc. You'll thank yourself in the long run when you don't obliterate a cheap socket wrench in the middle of a job.

My biggest advice is that Youtube is your friend. EVERYTHING you'd ever want to know about how to do maintenance on your truck has already been captured and posted by someone somewhere. All you have to do is follow along and do the same things. Before you know it, you'll be swapping brake pads, torquing spark plugs, changing all your fluids and troubleshooting issues on your own with full confidence! My DIY journey started many moons ago when I was in college and literally had no money for car repairs/maintenance. If I didn't do it myself, my car would have been dead in the water and I would have been SOL.
 
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