At Tune Tech Downtown, we’ve been providing Honda auto repair services since 1981. As one of the valley’s premier foreign car service and repair shops, a large percentage of the Asian make vehicles we service are Honda.
The commitment Honda owners have to maintaining their vehicles makes them some of the most satisfied customers we have. Though they are one of the most reliable and low maintenance vehicles on the road, they still do break. When they do, we are here to fix them.
In order to help the new or less experienced owner have the most satisfying Honda auto repair and ownership experience, here are some helpful suggestions and informative tips that explain the best way to keep various vehicle systems properly maintained. While import auto repair service can be more expensive than service for domestic vehicles, the quality of the parts we install and the experience of our ASE certified technicians will help keep you and your Honda on the road for years to come.
Honda Brake System Repair and Maintenance
Every time you apply the brake pedal, the brakes wear. Having inspections during routine oil change services will provide important information about the condition of various brake system components. Your Honda auto repair professional should share the information after each inspection. This can help you anticipate when your brakes may need service and allow you to budget your vehicle maintenance dollars so you will be ready when the time arrives.
Brakes normally operate under conditions where there is almost constant exposure to dirt and heat. Brake hoses get brittle and crack over time requiring replacement. Heat also can lead to warping of brake rotors, signaled by pulsation or vibration whenever the brakes are applied. While pads are designed to withstand the high temperatures associated with normal use, excessive heat can damage pads and cause them to squeal or squeak when the brake pedal is pushed. Overheating usually happens during extended or hard braking conditions, such as on long downhill grades and when pulling heavier than normal loads like towing a trailer. The best way to avoid this overheating is to use the transmission’s lower gears to slow the vehicle rather than relying only on your brakes.
When the time for brake repair arrives, be sure to talk with your shop about the quality of brake parts being installed on your Honda. In an attempt to save you money, some shops may offer to install a less expensive brake pad and rotor. Though no one wants to pay more than is necessary for brake repair, spending less on parts may mean you suffer with listening to brake squeal or a shorter life span of pads. At Tune Tech Boise, we install parts that meet or exceed Honda’s standards so you will get the maximum life from your brakes.
When it comes to brake rotor service, there have been changes over the years that you may not be aware of. It used to be that almost every repair shop that did brake work owned a lathe for turning rotors. When pads were replaced, rotors would be “trued” on the lathe to eliminate the possibility of pulsation. This process shaved a thin layer of metal off the rotor surface, making the rotor thinner each time they were turned. Since thinner metal does not handle heat as well, the turned rotors end up warping sooner than a new rotor would.
Today, most rotors come from China. While the Chinese made rotors may not be quite as good as those made in American, they are definitely less expensive. Many repair shops are no longer turning rotors choosing instead to replace them with these less expensive rotors, which end up warping less than a rotor that is thinner from being turned. You can be sure that all Honda auto repair brake work performed at Tune Tech follows the maintenance and repair specifications laid out by Honda.
The anti-lock brake systems present on most Honda vehicles are very reliable and seldom need work. The only maintenance service for these systems is having brake fluid replaced according to the manufacturer recommendations. Though Honda doesn’t recommend brake fluid replacement as a maintenance service, our experience leads us to encourage inspecting every couple of years to evaluate the fluid’s condition.
If the anti-lock brake system has a problem it will turn on the amber anti-lock warning light and/or the red brake warning light on the dash. Different combinations of one or more lights have different meanings. Always check with us before driving your Honda with one of these lights on.
Timing Belt and Water Pump Replacement
Honda has equipped their vehicles with an indicator system. Called “Maintenance Minder” this system turns on an indicator light with a designated alphabetic or numeric message when maintenance service is due. The message for timing belt replacement is “service 04”. This service includes:
- Adjusting valve clearance
- Inspect the water pump
- Replace the timing belt
The mileage interval for timing belt replacement is 60k miles under extreme, dusty, or mountainous driving. This describes the conditions under which many Treasure Valley Honda owners operate their vehicles.
Since the labor expense involved in timing belt replacement is so high, many Honda auto repair shops recommend replacing the water pump at this time rather than merely inspecting it. To inspect the pump means to feel the bearing and check for looseness or leakage at the seal. Both components are in close proximity to each other and are accessed for replacement by the same method.
At Tune Tech Downtown, we feel the best option for the customer is to replace the water pump during timing belt replacement. At that time, we also replace all seals and belt pulleys or tensioners. If the pump, seals, and pulleys all pass inspection but then fail in another 30k miles, the customer must now pay another expensive labor charge to replace them. And not only that but a major failure could cause the belt to slip, which will destroy the valves in the engine.
Shock and Strut Service
Suspension components like shocks and struts don’t usually break, they just wear out over time. When this happens it can cause extra wear to tires, steering and suspension components, causing them to need replacement sooner than they otherwise would.
There are two common ways a Honda auto repair shop will check the condition of your struts. The first is a method called the bounce test. In this test, a technician will push down forcefully on the fender, release, and then count the number of times the vehicle moves up and down (bounces) before coming to rest.
A second, and more reliable way is inspection. In this method, a technician will look for visible signs of external leakage from the shock or strut.
Replacement shocks and struts frequently come with a lifetime warranty. It is common for a Honda to need shock or strut replacement once in its lifetime. If, shocks or struts require replacement a wheel alignment may be needed to insure the suspension remains within manufacturer specifications.
Engine Repair Service
With attention to detail and superior quality control standards, the engine in your Honda is made to require little repair work if maintained properly. “Maintenance Minder” light displays remind you when its time for scheduled service that will preserve the life of the engine. These include valve clearance checks (if recommended for your vehicle), air filter, oil, and oil filter changes.
While timing belt maintenance has been addressed previously, it’s worth emphasizing that delay of this maintenance service can cause a belt to slip or break and result in major engine damage.
One more maintenance item that could affect the engine is cooling system integrity. Inspection of cooling system belts and hoses as well as fluid levels can prevent an overheating event that will damage an engine in very short amount of time. Prevent an expensive Honda auto repair bill for engine damage that can drain your wallet by staying current with all maintenance recommendations.
Transmission Repair and Service
Like their engines, Honda transmissions are engineered and built to last. If the “Maintenance Minder” light comes on to display “service 03”, the computer has determined the automatic transmission fluid needs to be replaced. Remember, even though you can detect no unusual behavior during operation of your vehicle, having the recommended Honda auto repair and maintenance service completed when indicated is the best way to enjoy a satisfying driving experience and ensure your Honda has a long life.
Two additional notes about transmission service should be mentioned. First, the type of fluid Honda recommends should be followed exactly. Failure to install the correct fluid will likely cause abnormal symptoms while driving and may result in the need for expensive repair.
Second, Honda specifically states that an automatic transmission flush machine should NOT be used to replace transmission fluid. Their procedure is a “drain and fill” process only. At Tune Tech Downtown this is the only way we service Honda automatic transmissions. Don’t compromise your vehicle’s life by using a foreign car service shop that doesn’t follow, or is not familiar with Honda’s recommended transmission service procedures.
Honda Maintenance Minder Services
Many manufacturers have worked to minimize the number of specifically recommended maintenance items. With more precise machining methods used to make components and superior fluid qualities, competitors can be vague about maintenance service recommendations in order to present their vehicles as less expensive to maintain.
To help owners know when their vehicle is due for maintenance service, Honda uses an indicator system cleverly called “Maintenance Minder”. There are five base services designated as “services 01 through 05”. Each indicator identifies a specific service is due to be completed. There are also “A and B” services that may overlap with the numbered service recommendations, but “B” designates inspection of many components or fluids not mentioned with other services.
Like the “B” designation for miscellaneous other fluids, Tune Tech Downtown will normally inspect these fluids during oil change services. Sometimes, a visual inspection may indicate a service is due even though the schedule found in an owner’s manual does not. As always, our goal is to save you money on auto repair by doing maintenance work that will extend the life of components and systems on your car.
Our Honda auto repair customers have been bringing their vehicles to us since 1981. As some of our customers most committed to vehicle maintenance, we love the chance to help you get the best foreign car service for your maintenance dollar.