It is an outdated idea that it’s safe to assume a vehicle is running well as long as it’s running. With that mindset, one may think there is no reason to worry about driveability, let alone safety, on the road. This assumption (like most!) couldn’t be more wrong. If a vehicle seems to be running properly, then sure -- most of the parts should be in fine working order. But what about deterioration and decay? Certain parts may need maintenance or replacement, and servicing those parts sooner rather than later can prevent other more costly repairs (as a result from more damage to the engine) in the future.

The worst case scenario is that your vehicle is totaled, or heavily damaged, and the repairs are so costly that it’s in the insurance company’s best interest to pay you what the vehicle is worth so you can get a different vehicle - rather than pay for the repairs on the damaged vehicle only to risk it breaking down again, resulting in even more investment. You can imagine that a damaged vehicle beyond repair isn’t worth that much; you might lose out on the value significantly!

For these reasons, performing all scheduled and recommended maintenance on your vehicle is imperative to keep it running well, so you can avoid the many untimely, inconvenient, and possibly expensive repairs that come from neglect. Luckily, the days of scratching your head and performing diagnostics to find the service light’s trigger are gone. Honda’s Maintenance Minder system is an algorithm driven, on-board computer that alerts owners about specific maintenance needs so they can address an issue promptly and without hassle. At the most basic level, it keeps track of engine oil life, and drivers can assess oil quality at the touch of a button.

As well as monitoring the life of the oil, the Honda Maintenance Minder system monitors engine operating conditions such as:

  • Ambient temperature
  • Engine temperature
  • Speed
  • Time
  • Vehicle use

How the Honda Maintenance Minder system works

Once the information display number reduces from 100% (fresh oil) to 15% (dirty oil), a wrench-shaped light will appear on your dashboard, along with maintenance codes that indicate that your vehicle is due for servicing, giving you ample time to plan ahead to have your vehicle serviced. When the information display number reaches 0%, the oil life is over and you begin accumulating negative miles that tell you your vehicle is past due for servicing. Remember: if the vehicle racks up significant negative mileage, the engine is increasingly at risk of damage.

  • Tip: To check to see the engine oil progress as it deteriorates over time, simply press the “Select/Reset” knob on the information display. To turn off the engine oil display and return to the odometer, press the “Select/Reset” knob again. Every time you start the engine, a default engine oil percentage will be displayed.

The following will automatically display on your dashboard once your engine oil reaches a certain level of usage:

When the service light appears on your dashboard, it will appear with service codes and sub-codes that indicate certain recommended maintenance that can affect the performance of your vehicle, as well as preventative steps necessary to check certain parts to determine their quality during the inspection. When you see the codes displayed on your dash, you will see one code and possibly one or any combination of sub-codes (i.e. A1, or B1235). A list of the codes, sub-codes, and their meaning is below:

While the engine oil percentages are calculated according to an algorithm that takes into account driving styles and other specific conditions, other maintenance minders are based on standard timetables, such as in old-school maintenance schedules, located in the owner’s manual. This does not mean Honda drivers should ignore such alerts. Proper maintenance service will greatly extend the life of a vehicle, ensuring it is reliable, safe to drive, covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. It also helps to provide a greater resale value. Such maintenance tasks should always be performed by a qualified technician. Once the indicated issues have been addressed, the Honda Maintenance Minder must be reset to continue functioning correctly. If you have any doubts as to what Maintenance Minder codes mean or what services your vehicle may need, do not hesitate to contact our experienced professionals for advice.

If your Honda Maintenance Minder system is indicating that your vehicle is ready for servicing, have it checked out by a certified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic. Click here, choose your vehicle and service or service package, and book an appointment with us today. One of our certified mechanics will come to your home or office to service your vehicle.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Understanding the Honda Maintenance Minder System and Lights and was authored by Brent Minderler.


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