Does my Civic need a 20,000 mile check-up?

I bought my 2001 Honda Civic LX in May with 13,100 miles on it. Since then the only maintenance I’ve done has been two oil changes, and I’ve never had any problems with it. Ever since I passed 19,000 miles the “Maintenance Req’d” light has been going off, so do I need to take it in now? Wouldn’t they have done all the normal maintenace stuff at the place where I bought it, 6000 miles ago?


  • tsarina.

If it’s the type of maintenance indicator I believe it is, it’s not a light but rather a little colored “flag” that show in the instrument panel. Near it is a slot you can press your car key into to reset it. It’s designed to reflect the factory oil change recommendation of 7500 miles for “normal” driving (it goes from green to yellow to red, resets to green).

Most people do a fair amount of city driving, which puts their use into the “severe” category. Here oil changes are recommended at half the “normal” interval, or every 3750 miles.

Tire rotation should be done every 6,000-10,000 miles. The easiest approach for most folks is to do it every other oil change.

Most other maintenance procedures are listed at every 30,000 miles. There might be some inspections (check brakes, etc.) listed at 15,000. Engine valve adjustment is listed at 15,000, but my real-world experience is that every 30,000 is adequate. There is no “20,000 mile checkup.”

The above, along with lots of other helpful info, is in the owner’s manual. If you don’t have one, I strongly suggest getting one (from a dealer or a salvage yard). Read it.

Car dealers, especially used, do the minimum they have to do in order to sell their vehicles.
It is an easy assumption to make that dealers will have their used cars tuned up and fresh oil change completed before you buy it, but this is simply not true.

If you bought your car “certified” this does not mean that oil change or tune up is required to pass a safty check.
Remember, the more money they spend on your car, the less profit they make, so take nothing for granted.

Before they sold you the car, they probably gave it a once over, changed anything that was needed to pass a safety check, and then put it on their lot.

I change my oil every 3,000 miles, it’s cheap insurance.


Not to sound rude, but really RTFM. Toyota, and I’m sure Honda too have excellent service manuals that outline all the procedures to be done at EACH service interval (its not “just” oil changes). And yeah, next time a service light goes off, don’t wait a few thousand miles before worring about it :eek: