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JackWalker
Aug 25th, 2006, 06:57 AM
I have a 1995 Honda Civic. Today I took it for a routine oil change and the men there told me that it had to have a ton of other things done to it. Before I purchase anything, I wanted to ask someone who new about cars what I should do. I want to know if my car needs the things the mechanics recommended and whether or not it is dangerous to not buy the things the mechanics recommended. They told me to have this done:

1. Fuel Injection Service
2. Fuel Filter
3. Transmission Service
4. Drive Belt (S) $100-I think I might have to get this because my car just today began making a screcchy noise. it sounds like metal being scratched against concrete.
5. Break Fluid

Any help or advise would be highly appreciated. Thank You.

Mother_Marjorie
Aug 25th, 2006, 07:49 AM
I have a 1995 Honda Civic. Today I took it for a routine oil change and the men there told me that it had to have a ton of other things done to it. Before I purchase anything, I wanted to ask someone who new about cars what I should do. I want to know if my car needs the things the mechanics recommended and whether or not it is dangerous to not buy the things the mechanics recommended. They told me to have this done:

1. Fuel Injection Service
2. Fuel Filter
3. Transmission Service
4. Drive Belt (S) $100-I think I might have to get this because my car just today began making a screcchy noise. it sounds like metal being scratched against concrete.
5. Break Fluid

Any help or advise would be highly appreciated. Thank You.

First of all, my experience with mechanics over the years as a woman uniquely qualifies me to give you a little advise because I've researched different things that they've tried screwing me over.

1. Drive Belt: Would definitely make that investment.

2. Fuel Filter: When is the last time you had it changed? A lot of times, they will automatically recommend it based upon the mileage of your car. If the fuel filter is in the gas tank, I wouldn't change it until it fails because of the cost involved (recommeded by a Service Manager at a car dealership). If not, and its been over 30,000 miles since the last change, I would do it.

3. Transmission Service: Again, its something they always recommend based upon your cars mileage. When was the last time you had it done? Are you having difficulties with your transmission? Most car manufacturers recommend servicing every 30,000 miles.

4. Fuel Injection Service: Unless your car is sputtering or hesitating on acceleration, I wouldn't do. I say this based upon personal experience I had with a '98 Mazda I once owned. I did based upon a mechanics recommendation and it ruined my catalytic converter. I knew this because my engine light came on directly after and I had the dealer check it. The previous mechanic attempted to tell me "the engine light coming on is normal, and will eventually go away." It didn't. Catalytic converters are covered under federal warranty up until 80,000 miles. After that, you are on your own. Most catalytic converters replaced at a dealership can run you anywhere between $700-$900. Proceed with caution.

5. Break Fluid. Oh, please allow me to quash a little myth perpetrated by some mechanics. Break Fluid has a very high boiling point, meaning, its almost impossible to degrade break fluid with normal driving conditions. I have a three year old Avalon and I asked the Service Manager at Toyota about break fluid and he told it is never changed as part of their regular maintenance because of what I just described.

Allowing a mechanic to change your break fluid is inviting said mechanic to find other things wrong with your break system opportunistically. If your break pads are okay, and you are not having any other problems with your breaking system (rotors, pulling to one side when breaking or master cylinder problems) skip the break fluid change.

Good luck! Your mileage may vary!

slk45
Aug 25th, 2006, 08:35 AM
First question is how much mileage is on your vehicle, and how many miles since the last service. If you are not 100% confident in your mechanic's integrity, if he is not with a dealership, I would take it to a Honda dealer for service, or a different dealer if you have questions about the present one. It will cost more (per hour) probably than an independent mechanic, but I think you're less likely to be given bogus recommendations. In any event, you should check for recommendations from friends or fellow owners for a reliable place to have your car serviced, if you don't have first-hand knowledge.

Generally speaking, I think a Midas Muffler or CaRx shop is fairly reliable. A lot depends on where you are.

1. Drive Belt: Would definitely make that investment.

2. Fuel Filter: When is the last time you had it changed? A lot of times, they will automatically recommend it based upon the mileage of your car. If the fuel filter is in the gas tank, I wouldn't change it until it fails because of the cost involved (recommeded by a Service Manager at a car dealership). If not, and its been over 30,000 miles since the last change, I would do it.You will want to change any belts that are worn or have cracks. And while they're checking those, also check radiator hoses for weakness or deterioration.

I would change the fuel filter based on mileage recommendations because if you wait until it fails, it will most likely fail when you are traveling; the car will come sputtering to a halt, and you will need to have it towed to a service station to have it replaced. You will then have the charge for the tow, the charge for diagnosing the problem, and a charge for the replacement.

3. Transmission Service: Again, its something they always recommend based upon your cars mileage. When was the last time you had it done? Are you having difficulties with your transmission? Most car manufacturers recommend servicing every 30,000 miles.4. Fuel Injection Service: Unless your car is sputtering or hesitating on acceleration, I wouldn't do. I say this based upon personal experience I had with a '98 Mazda I once owned. I did based upon a mechanics recommendation and it ruined my catalytic converter. I knew this because my engine light came on directly after and I had the dealer check it. The previous mechanic attempted to tell me "the engine light coming on is normal, and will eventually go away." It didn't. Catalytic converters are covered under federal warranty up until 80,000 miles. After that, you are on your own. Most catalytic converters replaced at a dealership can run you anywhere between $700-$900. Proceed with caution.I don't see the relationship between cleaning fuel injectors and the failure of your catalytic converter. In any event, unless the mileage is very high since last service, I wouldn't bother unless there were acceleration problems.

5. Break Fluid. Oh, please allow me to quash a little myth perpetrated by some mechanics. Break Fluid has a very high boiling point, meaning, its almost impossible to degrade break fluid with normal driving conditions. I have a three year old Avalon and I asked the Service Manager at Toyota about break fluid and he told it is never changed as part of their regular maintenance because of what I just described.

Allowing a mechanic to change your break fluid is inviting said mechanic to find other things wrong with your break system opportunistically. If your break pads are okay, and you are not having any other problems with your breaking system (rotors, pulling to one side when breaking or master cylinder problems) skip the break fluid change.Be sure the brake fluid is maintained at the proper level. If the brake pedal is not "spongy" feeling when you step on it, you're probably ok.
Good luck! Your mileage may vary! :lol:

cheesestix
Aug 25th, 2006, 12:01 PM
You could always look into getting a Chilton or Haynes manual for the car. They have info on doing repairs, etc. Might be a good source of info.

JackWalker
Aug 25th, 2006, 03:32 PM
it has 115,000 miles

JackWalker
Aug 26th, 2006, 09:46 AM
thanks so much everyone with the advise. my dada gave me the car a couple years ago and last year we had a falling out, so i really dont know the status of what he did to the car before he gave it to me. the only problem i feel my car has is that itr began making a hissing sound a couple days ago, but the mechanic said it was the drive belt, which i will defenitely have to get. my biggest concern is that im in college and i dont have enough money to spend on fixing my car. i only want to buy the things that are absolutely necessary to be able to drive around safely and yet i dont want to put something off now that is not expensive only to have to pay much more for it once it eventually breaks down.

-fuel filter-i had the oil changed six months ago and two days ago. however, i do not know when i last changed the fuel filter and i dont know where it is located in my engine. will it break down tommorow, two years from now, or five years from now? what should i do?

-transmission-i also do not know when the last time the transmission was done. i dont think im having difficulty with my transmission.

-break fluid- the mechanic just said that the break fluid was visibly low. when i put my foot on the break it does not hit the floor, does that mean i should change it once it does?

JackWalker
Aug 27th, 2006, 09:35 PM
someone please read my previous post and advise me

slk45
Aug 27th, 2006, 10:28 PM
You should have a record of your mileage from when your oil was last changed. That will let you know how many miles you've put on in that time.

thanks so much everyone with the advise. my dada gave me the car a couple years ago and last year we had a falling out, so i really dont know the status of what he did to the car before he gave it to me. the only problem i feel my car has is that itr began making a hissing sound a couple days ago, but the mechanic said it was the drive belt, which i will defenitely have to get. my biggest concern is that im in college and i dont have enough money to spend on fixing my car. i only want to buy the things that are absolutely necessary to be able to drive around safely and yet i dont want to put something off now that is not expensive only to have to pay much more for it once it eventually breaks down.Definitely take care of any belt problems. If one of them breaks, you won't be driving.
-fuel filter-i had the oil changed six months ago and two days ago. however, i do not know when i last changed the fuel filter and i dont know where it is located in my engine. will it break down tommorow, two years from now, or five years from now? what should i do?The easiest thing to do, if you're in the US (if so, what state?), is go to an auto parts place like Autozone (see your yellow pages), and ask them where the fuel filter is. There are a number of different models of Civics, and I'm not really familiar with them. However, check this link:
http://autozone.com/servlet/UiBroker?ForwardPage=/az/cds/en_us/0900823d/80/14/0a/1f/0900823d80140a1f.jsp

According to Autozone's site, your filter is most likely on the passenger side of the engine compartment. If so, it is easy to replace. It says that Honda recommends replacing the filter every 4 years or every 60000 miles. You said you have 115,000 mi., so you're about due. Fuel filters are cheap ($9-$17). Breaking down isn't. It will fail when it gets clogged, which depends on where you drive, the kind of driving, etc. If it's simple enough to get to, they just might change it for you. Apparently you have fuel injection, so there should only be one filter. Don't wait for the next 5000 miles. Do it now, so you know it's ok, and keep a record of the mileage and when it was done.

-transmission-i also do not know when the last time the transmission was done. i dont think im having difficulty with my transmission.Honda's recommendation is 30,000 mi. to drain and refill transmission fluid. Labor is probably more than the cost of the fluid. Ask a reliable dealer or auto service store how much to change the transmission fluid. Some places might have a "transmission service" deal, which involves replacing some filter screens, etc., in addition to the fluid. I don't know if your car has that; ask a Honda dealer, or autoparts store. I'm assuming your car is an automatic, not a manual shift.

-break fluid- the mechanic just said that the break fluid was visibly low. when i put my foot on the break it does not hit the floor, does that mean i should change it once it does?If you wait till the pedal hits the floor, you won't have any brakes. If it is low, just top it up by adding brake fluid to the reservoir on top of the master cylinder. Brake fluid is cheap. Again, ask the auto parts store where the place is you add brake fluid. Or look here:
http://autozone.com/servlet/UiBroker?ForwardPage=/az/cds/en_us/0900823d/80/14/29/3d/0900823d8014293d.jsp

For general reference, bookmark this site:
http://autozone.com/servlet/UiBroker?ForwardPage=/az/cds/en_us/0900823d/80/14/0a/84/0900823d80140a84.jsp

JackWalker
Aug 28th, 2006, 05:37 AM
i bought the three drive belts at auto zone for 30$ and i found a mechanic who would install it for 55$. when i went to have them installed the mechanic told me that the whining noise my car was making was the breaks and not the drive belts. he said that i needed to have news breaks installed and that the drive belt was also bad. we agreed that he would install great quality breaks and install the drive belt for 195$. so that is all i have done until now. did i do good?

slk45
Aug 28th, 2006, 06:00 AM
i bought the three drive belts at auto zone for 30$ and i found a mechanic who would install it for 55$. when i went to have them installed the mechanic told me that the whining noise my car was making was the breaks and not the drive belts. he said that i needed to have news breaks installed and that the drive belt was also bad. we agreed that he would install great quality breaks and install the drive belt for 195$. so that is all i have done until now. did i do good?Was that brakes on all 4 wheels? Are they brake pads on all 4 or rotors on front? I don't know what your Civic has for brakes. Is there warranty on the parts and service?

Hard to tell on the price, depends how much was done and what city you're in. I'm in Iowa so I'm sure it's less here, except maybe for Des Moines. Also, was it a dealer (Honda) mechanic, or an auto service chain, or independent mechanic -- his own shop?

He should have topped off the brake fluid, I would think, while doing all that. Was there a charge for brake fluid on your bill? Main question is, now that you've replaced the brakes, did the noise stop?

drake3781
Aug 28th, 2006, 06:05 AM
The things that stop your car are brakes.

JustineTime
Aug 28th, 2006, 01:45 PM
OK, it's a Civic. Pads in front, drums in rear. Based on the noise you MAY need your rotors turned or replaced(although the noise you describe COULD be the wear indicator).

At 115,000 miles, if you do not know when or if it was ever done I would HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend you have the timing belt and water pump replaced(water pump only because it's in the same place as the timing belt and having them do it costs you only the part and will kill two birds with one stone). I cannot recommend this strongly enough, it could save you major engine damage down the road.

If the brake fluid's just low, you can refill it yourself. The brake master is up against the firwall on the driver's side, probably right at the top. You can't miss it. There's a screw off cap on top about 3 or 4 inches in diameter. However, if it's low, I have to wonder where the fluid went. You could have a leaky line, wheel cylinder, caliper, or your master could be going bad.

I gotta go but that's for starters.

HINT: Have the timing belt done. ;)

slk45
Aug 29th, 2006, 03:11 AM
At 115,000 miles, if you do not know when or if it was ever done I would HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend you have the timing belt and water pump replaced(water pump only because it's in the same place as the timing belt and having them do it costs you only the part and will kill two birds with one stone). I cannot recommend this strongly enough, it could save you major engine damage down the road.

This is true. I forgot to mention this one. You should make every possible effort to find out when the timing belt was last changed. If you know where the car used to be serviced, call them and ask if you can't ask your dad.

Most recommendations seem to be every 60,000 miles. This is an expensive maintenance ($600-700 on a Nissan 300ZX), mostly labor, and as JT says, the water pump should be replaced at the same time (about $30-40) because it's basically the same labor charge. Manufacturers now hide these things inside the front of the engine housing, for no good reason that I know of. If the timing belt breaks, it could cost you well over $1000.

Pheobo
Aug 29th, 2006, 03:14 AM
Is there also a little leprachaun living in your engine?

Bacardi
Aug 29th, 2006, 06:39 AM
Let me tell you this, I just paid $630+ dollars to get my car fixed, something I would have done myself, but my family said I should take it in. Because I already knew it was the "ignition module" a part that costs roughly around $239. I had even taken the old one off, but they insisted I take it and let the place fix it. Well they jipped me, sayin I needed a whole new exhaust system ($200), and 4 spark plugs. Then tried to tell me I needed a new gas gauge system... I said shit on that, I'll just keep my car on full and forget about payin another $300 to get that fixed. This is an older car 96 cavalier, with like 127,000. But it's cheaper on gas that what I'm driving around and I want to use it as a work car.

I would say, honestly what you really need to worry about getting done on your car is the following:
Drive Belt

The rest of the stuff they just suggest to you based on the milage. They wanted me to get my entire transmission fluid flushed out of my LIKE NEW CAR, just because it got to 30k miles. In all my other cars, and my father he's a mechanic himself, got his license by the US Army, he'll tell you the rest of the stuff is just to make the garage some money. Might I reccomend buying a Hayes book from a local auto parts store, they are like $15. It tells you everything that might and could go wrong with your car and how to fix it yourself. Just keep a check on the following levels in your car, check your brake fluid to make sure it's not low, keep your oil checked and changed every 3000 to 5000 miles, unless you go with Mobil 1 Synethetic 15000 mile oil (costs $27 for a huge jug but saves you in time and oil changes). Also if your car is making a knocking noise, check your coolant level, and just buy some fuel injector carb cleaner, and I suggest getting the Lucas brand, it's only like $4 if you buy it at an Advance Auto. Just don't get stuck into thinking that you need all that done, it's mostly them tryin to make money. Just like they say change your air filter everytime you get an oil change, well unless your driving around a lot of dust, you can take it out yourself fairly easy and look to see if you really think it's dirty enough to change. Just be careful on a side note to everyone that gets their oils changed at a garage and don't do it themselves (I made my dad teach me how to change mine), be sure to look at your oil once you leave to see if it's actually clean oil, sometimes they lie and won't change it. Or worse they do you like they done my girlfriend, leave the oil filter not tightened up, meaning she lost all her oil, and completely locked up her engine, now she's gotta get a new one and it's gonna cost $1100.00! Be careful who you get to do your repairs out there, there's so many crooks in the world today. :sad:

Good luck with your car thou, try to get some lucas fuel treatment to stick in there thou, see if that helps with the knocking noise. Also check to see if the filter is screwed on tightly. Cuz my gf's car started a knocking noise before it locked up thanks to the assholes that changed her oil. If we'd not been arguing at that time I woulda done it for her, now it's just holding us back as she's only half way saved up to getting her car fixed, and she's gotta do that before we move. :sad:

G'luck thou :wavey:

Bacardi
Aug 29th, 2006, 06:44 AM
I don't see the relationship between cleaning fuel injectors and the failure of your catalytic converter. In any event, unless the mileage is very high since last service, I wouldn't bother unless there were acceleration problems.



Let me let you in on a secret. IF you know someone willing to do it. Catalytic converters honestly just hold back emissions that are let out of your car, and honestly cut back on your fuel milage. If you can handle your car sounding only a slightly big louder, you could find a mechanic somewhere, probably not at a dealer, that will gladly knock the pins outta the converter and problem solved no more shit about the converter. I had to do that on a few older cars I've owned.
But they are covered up to 80k warranty. Because like 2 years ago, I had to call GM and raise all of hell with them over getting my girlfriends fixed. Yes after reading my last post, her car a 2002 Olds Alero, is a PIECE OF SHIT LEMON. Stay away from those!

Bacardi
Aug 29th, 2006, 06:48 AM
thanks so much everyone with the advise. my dada gave me the car a couple years ago and last year we had a falling out, so i really dont know the status of what he did to the car before he gave it to me. the only problem i feel my car has is that itr began making a hissing sound a couple days ago, but the mechanic said it was the drive belt, which i will defenitely have to get. my biggest concern is that im in college and i dont have enough money to spend on fixing my car. i only want to buy the things that are absolutely necessary to be able to drive around safely and yet i dont want to put something off now that is not expensive only to have to pay much more for it once it eventually breaks down.

-fuel filter-i had the oil changed six months ago and two days ago. however, i do not know when i last changed the fuel filter and i dont know where it is located in my engine. will it break down tommorow, two years from now, or five years from now? what should i do?

-transmission-i also do not know when the last time the transmission was done. i dont think im having difficulty with my transmission.

-break fluid- the mechanic just said that the break fluid was visibly low. when i put my foot on the break it does not hit the floor, does that mean i should change it once it does?

Your fuel filter should be located somewhere towards the rear of your car. Close to where the fuel pump is on the car. Trust me, I hope that never goes outta your car, fuel pumps are EXPENSIVE. Fuel filters are easy to change yourself, and they cost like $9 for the top of the line one from NAPA. I say get a Haynes book for $15 or so, and read up. A lot of these things I think you're more than able to do yourself.
As for the break fluid, it should be labeled on your car as to where it is to check and refil. Also check your power steering fluid. These things are cheap to buy and fill up. Just get yourself a book and you can save yourself at least $20 instead of payin someone else to do it.

Bacardi
Aug 29th, 2006, 06:51 AM
They say have your transmission fluid changed on your car every 30,000 miles, but I have owned that old 1996 Chevy cavalier since day 1 and I have never ever changed the fluid in it. I just always check it to make sure it's not low. Never have had any problems outta it. An ex bf of mine has a Civic and he's got like 300,000 miles on it, and he's never changed his and it doesn't give him any problems. A lot of what they tell you to do, is to just get $$$. Get a Haynes book, read up, and spend a weekend lookin at your car. I'm a chick, and believe me, I've basically taken my cavalier apart before and put it back together. I've had the dash off inside the car, disabled the airbags and installed a new stereo system. And that was when I was 17, I'm 26 now. So I'm tellin ya. Spend a nice cool weekend learnin your car, it's stuff that will save you so much money in the future and make it so you can help people. My gf idolizes the fact I know so much about cars from learning most of it on my own. :)