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Old 12-07-2009, 05:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default manual transmission oil change?

My wife has a 2005 with now 47k miles on it. The manual's severe schedule says the oil should be changed every 60k/3 years for the severe schedule. It's not driven severely by any means, but for my 1990 Civic I tended to follow the severe schedule.

My question:
- is it really ever necessary to change the manual transmission oil? I don't think I've ever had a car or heard of anyone with a manual that had it changed. The dealership doesn't even suggest it.

Thanks in advance,
Derek
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Old 12-07-2009, 06:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Genuine Honda MTF is a synthetic blend able to reach 90K+ intervals and still be on the safe side. Such was factory filled on your Insight and should be the #1 choice when doing a change.

HTH!
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Old 12-07-2009, 07:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I bought a non-Insight car with 139,699 miles on it where the previous owner said he didn't touch the manual transmission oil, I checked the fluid level through the fill bolt by sticking my finger in there as far down as I could reach, came out dry. Before draining, I figured it wouldn't be too bad, but when I did, it looked very gray with metallic glitter. I was freaked out by this so I filled it back up with the manufacturer-specced 75w90 gear oil and figured I might need to swap the transmission in the near future. The next time I changed the oil I went to drain it again in order to see if there was leftover grit or metal from last time, or see if the transmission was tanking even more. To my suprise it looked as good coming out this time as it did going in. The next year before winter I changed it again and it was still looking good, same with the year after, came out clear. I'm not sure if it was due to a bad driver wearing out the synchros or what, it wasn't metal shavings or grinds but a very fine material. Either way I imagine that the stuff could possibly be abrasive so I'm glad I got it out. 74,000 miles later and that car hasn't had any issues, clean fluid, shifts great, no noises, but if I didn't get that crud out, I figure the transmission wouldn't be in the same condition.

Your mileage may vary, especially with a different car, the car that I'm talking about specs no change interval if I remember correctly if it fits very specific highway driving criteria, but after seeing what I saw this car it has been getting the severe service 30k changes so I hopefully never see that again, but with a different car I'd probably go with the standard interval if things checked out after the first severe interval check, but I like to spot things before I notice a problem, at least a finger dip in the fill plug to check the level and see if my finger has anyting gray on it.

Personally I'd go with the 60k schedule if your driving involved city use(lots of shifting and more input shaft rotation versus output shaft rotation) or isn't largely highway miles(lots of miles with minimal shifting). I drive to work and back 30 miles total and I shift only 25 times if I get one red light, which is usually the case. I'd shift 40 times if I got all red lights, even more if I run into traffic, which I never do. So my transmission oil and synchros are not very stressed IMO, far less than someone driving in stop and go traffic, possibly shifting hundreds of times in an hour.

--On a side note, there are a few people here that have mentioned synchros wearing out leading to grinding shifts, another reason to keep tabs on the oil, especially if downshifting often or have a habit of forcing shifts instead of using moderate pressure and letting it slide in. Fluids often don't determine synchro life, but rather their treatment, yet I still think that signs can be found in the oil of a MT that can let you know something is up. Again, Your Mileage May Vary.

Last edited by MN Driver; 12-07-2009 at 07:57 PM. Reason: Added side note
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Old 12-07-2009, 08:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Why take the chance. It's cheap and is pretty quick to do yourself. I just changed mine a couple weeks ago. I would also recommend the Honda fluid, and I installed new crush washers on the drain/fill plugs but that isn't even really a must.

Cheap insurance and then you don't have to worry about it.

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Old 12-08-2009, 09:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Yes. At 1.5-1.7 quarts for a manual trans oil change, cost is under $10 for the do-it-yourselfer. It's just a drain and refill. Easier than an engine oil change
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Old 12-21-2009, 07:50 AM   #6 (permalink)
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A couple of observations re: changing the MT oil.

First a general comment: always start by removing the check/fill bolt. You don't want to learn that the upper bolt is seized *after* you have drained the oil.

Second, the drain bolt has been described in other threads as an allen bolt. It isn't. The opening is square as opposed to hex. Fortunately, a 3/8 socket drive will fit right in. If, like me, you have a 1/2 inch drive, then a 3/8 adapter works fine.

HTH

As an aside, I noticed that by removing the driver's side belly pan it is much easier to access the oil filter. The next time I change the oil, I'm going that route.
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Last edited by bciesq; 12-21-2009 at 07:52 AM. Reason: Added the comment about changing the oil filter.
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Old 10-09-2010, 02:45 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Good advice about checking the fill bolt...thanks
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Old 03-08-2015, 09:02 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Just as an FYI, I changed my MT fluid yesterday as the shifter was getting a little notchy and I wasn't sure when it was done last.

2 Qts of Honda MTF cost me $14 at the dealer, and it was about a 25 minute job. Most of which was spent sipping a beer while waiting for the last drops of the old MTF to drip out. The photo below shows everything that is needed (and torque specs match the service manual).

I did drop the car off the jack stands when draining and re-filling to make sure all fluid was removed and I filled to capacity.


HONDA INSIGHT 2000 - Manual Transmission Fluid Change Photo by AbCaRed00 | Photobucket
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Old 03-08-2015, 03:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Smile Changing oil pays in the long run

My Insight with 256,000 (I've owned it since 120K) has had the trans fluid changed mostly by me every 20 to 25 K and it shifts silky smooth. No grinding whatsoever...I also followed the advice I've read on this forum about NOT using the shift lever as an armrest or a better way to explain is if I'm not shifting my hand isn't applying any pressure. The fluid is cheap and the process is quick and easy. I've got a hand pump and that helps also. I've tried Amsoil pure synthetic and within a few hundred miles drained it out. The Honda oil is the best as far as I'm concerned. I think (Just guessing) that the Honda fluid has many additives that their transmissions need that others don't add to their fluid.

Just my three cents....
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Old 06-10-2015, 10:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armadaman View Post
... I've tried Amsoil pure synthetic and within a few hundred miles drained it out. The Honda oil is the best as far as I'm concerned. I think (Just guessing) that the Honda fluid has many additives that their transmissions need that others don't add to their fluid.
....
Out of curiosity, what made you switch out the Amsoil fluid so soon after putting it in? Can you share specific explanation? Was shifting not as smooth, did you hear more gear noise, selecting gears was harder?

I am considering Amsoil as the next fluid I would like to run in the 5 speed Insight gearbox as I have no proof that Honda fluid has been used in my newly acquired Insight.

The Honda fluid seems to be used across the line and is not really specific to the Insight manual gearbox.

Thanks in advance!
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