New Honda First Service Visit – Maintenance Minder Lights In Your Dash

Great, you have a brand new Honda car, truck, crossover/SUV or minivan!  Now, stay on top of your vehicle’s service needs.

Don’t worry, it’s super-easy.  But it’s essential for a bunch of reasons.  It keeps your car running smooth. Plus, it keeps you safe on the road. It saves you on gas and avoids costly repair bills down the road!

Now, if you’ve ever wondered what happens to your new Honda during its first service then you’re not alone.

So my friend Ruben Serna, the head of Rock Honda’s parts and service department invited me over for a step-by-step rundown of the process.

Ruben walked me through a Honda Civic Type R’s first service.  (That’s Honda’s street-legal race car.) Continue reading or click play below for all the details.

New Honda first Service podcast banner

***Transcription***

Recorded @ Rock Honda in Fontana, CA

New Honda First Service

Ruben: Usually Maintenance Minder is going to come on between four and seven thousand miles. The light will come on and it’s actually going to have an oil life, so when you get down about 15%.

We perform a multi-point inspection with a two-man team, they will inspect everything from top to bottom.

It’s kind of a parallel process to save time. We know our guests here want to get their car in and out.

“Maintenance Minder is going to come on between four and seven thousand miles.”

Tom: Welcome to iDriveSoCal, the podcast all about mobility from the automotive capital of the United States, Southern California. Tom Smith here and I am joined by my good buddy Ruben Serna out at Rock Honda in the Los Angeles suburb of Fontana, California. And we’re at Rock Honda right now.

Ruben: Yes, we are. Thank you for having me.

Tom: Thank you.

Ruben: Excited to be here.

Ruben Serna directing Service - New Honda First Service

Ruben Serna directing ServiceTom: Thank you as always for joining the podcast. Love you guys out here at Rock, your fantastic partners of the show.

We love working with you. I love the name that you gave today’s podcast, Behind the Wrench.

Ruben: Behind the Wrench, yeah.

Tom: Behind the Wrench. That was Ruben’s brainchild.

The premise of this podcast is that, you know hey our cars are really smart these days and we’ve done a couple of podcasts already as far as winterizing your car and summer-izing your car-

Ruben: Sure.

Tom: And while there are certain things that you can do to winterize or summer-ize your car.

The cars are so smart these days if you point it out numerous times, they’re going to tell you what they need and when they need it.

Ruben: Correct.

Tom: And those are called Maintenance Minders.

Get To Know Your Honda Maintenance Minders

Ruben: Yes, the Maintenance Minder.

Tom: So, you know, the Maintenance Minder comes on.

My car is new, I bought my Rock Honda and we’ve already gone through this process with taking some pictures.

Type R Enters Service Bay

Type R Enters Service Bay

And for those of you that are automotive enthusiasts, you’re going to want to check out these pictures because we did the pictures with a, it was either 2018 or 2019 Honda Type R.

Ruben: Yes.

Tom: The Civic Type R which is a little Honda race car that’s in such hot demand.

But, so we want to go through the steps of what happens to the car when you bring it in for that first service. Right?

I bought my Rock Honda, in this case it was a Civic Type R and you know hey that’s a high-performance vehicle.

Ruben: Sure is.

Tom: Is that… is the maintenance of my first maintenance. This Behind the Wrench is going to be our first maintenance.

Ruben: Sure.

Tom: Is my Civic Type R going to be different from the Honda Odyssey?

Ruben: No.

Tom: For a first maintenance?

“Maintenance Minder will come on and it’ll have a letter or a number. Typically your first service is going to be in the A1’s service.”

Ruben: No, not at all. The Maintenance Minder will come on and it’ll have a letter or a number. Typically your first service is going to be in the A1’s service.

Tom: A1.

Ruben: Which we call a minor service, so, the A stands for the oil change and the 1 is tire rotation.

Tom: Okay.

Ruben: And that’s all it is.

Typically will come on, depending on the driving if you drive through the city, stop and go traffic, usually Maintenance Minder is going to come on between four and seven thousand miles.

Keep Your New Honda’s Service Visits Regular

If you’re doing a lot of freeway driving, it’s probably going to last between five and ten thousand miles. The light will come on and it’s actually going to have an oil life, so when you get down about 15% that’s when the lights will come back on.

Tom: 15% of-

Ruben: Oil life remaining.

Ruben's ever-present watchful eye - New Honda First Service

Ruben’s ever-present watchful eye

Tom: Okay.

Ruben: So, basically 85% of the oils been consumed or at least used, not completely but yeah.

Tom: And that percentage refers to the viscosity, right?

Ruben: Correct, yeah.

Tom: Which is basically to dumb it way down is the thickness of the oil.

Ruben: Yes. Yeah and basically saying that 15% of your oil is still good.

Tom: Right but it’s time because you don’t want to be hovering around 15%.

Ruben: Correct.

“It’s a fine-tuned machine. We run a tight ship.”

Tom: It’s not going back up until you get it into the-

Ruben: Yeah and some cars it’ll come on at 30%, so just kind of give you forewarning, “Hey look you got to… lights are one, your car needs service.”

Cause we have busy lives, right?  Especially right now during the holiday season-

Tom: Sure.

Ruben: You know we’ve got better things to do than bring our car in for service but luckily here at Rock Honda we have one of the best express departments in the world, I like to say.

Tom: I got to tell you, again, for this behind the scenes, A.K.A.

Behind the Wrench, I went back there and it is… I mean it’s a very neat, tidy, industrial workspace that reminded me of a very clean factory. Like an assembly line.

Ruben: It’s a fine-tuned machine. We run a tight ship.

New Honda First Service – A1 Maintenance Minder

So we like to think of it as the process that we put in place or also our tidiness. We got to make sure that the area’s clean. We work in a great environment, both emotionally and culturally.

Tom: Personally, I need a tidy desk. So I get it.

I get it. But no and me as a consumer too, I pull up and I see I can’t go back there as a consumer, as a general consumer, but I can see through the windows and if it looks like a wreck back there, well I’m going to think twice.

Rock Honda's Two-Man Express Team

Rock Honda’s Two-Man Express TeamRuben: Yeah, if we’re going to treat our own home badly, imagine what we’re going to do with our guests.

Tom: Right. So, Ruben runs a tight ship here at Rock Honda and definitely want to bring your Honda here for service.

So that first Maintenance Minder that comes up is more than likely 99% chance going to be an A1.

Ruben: Correct.

Tom: And that means oil change and tire rotation.

Ruben: And that’s all it means because the two is a cabin filter and air filter. That usually comes on about 15,000.

Tom: Okay. The interesting thing though is that the cars, it used to be okay at 3,000 miles is when I change my oil or maybe a certain number of months.

“…basically saying that 15% of your oil is still good.”

And then I had somebody that would do it at like 1,500 miles because they were just like ridiculously overcompensating for their car taking the best care of it. Which is fine.

But now, the cars are so smart it’s not even a standard 5,000 or 10,000. It’s hey it’s going to come on between this and this based on your driving.

Ruben: Correct.

Maintaining Your Computer On Wheels

Tom: And that’s a really cool thing not only because it represents the technology that we’re driving around in which are really the cars are really computers these days.

But also, the cost savings and efficiency of maintaining your vehicle. So we went back there and we did it.

Working so fast they blurred this pic! New Honda First Service

Working so fast they blurred this pic!

We already staged this with pictures and the pictures are going to be on iDriveSoCal.com on this post page. But we get the car back, the hood comes up.

Does anything happen before the car gets lifted in the air?

Ruben: Well we perform a multi-point inspection and we do, we have a two-man team in the express department and they will inspect everything from top to bottom.

From the belts, the battery, the air filter, everything on top of the engine.

Of course the engine oil level. Hoses and belts. So the tires. That all happens. And cabin filter which is inside the car.

“…come experience the Rock Honda difference.”

Tom: Although the cabin filter you said it’s not.

Ruben: No.

Tom: But you’re just checking it.

Ruben: We check it because sometimes some people live in the mountains. The light might not come on, but if we inspect it and say hey look this is pretty dirty.

“…We know our guests here want to get their car in and out.”

And we’ll give our guest the choice. This is what a new one looks like. This is what yours looks like. And let them obviously let them make the decision whether or not they want to do the repair.

Then that gets done before the car gets lifted. So, part of the multi-point inspection, it’s about 27-point-inspection that we do, we’ll get everything on the exterior we’ll get done.

And then it goes up in the air.

Tom: Okay. And when it goes up in the air what happens?

Multi-point Inspection During Your New Honda’s First Service

Ruben: So then basically our team moves down into the engine compartment underneath the vehicle, the brakes, the tires, we’re going to rotate them.

Tom: Continue the inspection and then rotate the tires.

Ruben: And that’s where we’re checking for leaks, any nails in the tires.

Prepping for lift

Honda Type R prepping for lift

We also, one of the things that’s really common is a lot of times when you take your car into a dealership some of our cars if not most of our cars that we sell come with wheel locks.

So, it’s a factory Honda wheel lock, we have our own master set. We never go in to take our guests’ wheel lock key to take the key to rotate the tires.

We have our own master set that we use. So that way we don’t get blamed for.

Tom: Right, when I’m on the side of the road and I need to change a tire and my wheel locks MIA.

Ruben: Chances are somebody else got your key and it wasn’t us. But regardless of the fact that we definitely have our own master set.

Tom: Got it. So, one of the interesting things as I was back there observing the process and again we were using a Civic Type R which is basically a race car.

Type R goes airborne - new Honda first service

[Rock] Honda Type R goes airborne

I don’t know if you were aware of this, but motor trend actually named the Civic Type R as one of its finalists for ‘Driver of the Year.’

Ruben: No, I didn’t know that.

Tom: So, the driver of the year is like no category, just any car that their highly qualified guys say hey this is a car that I want to just drive.

Honda’s Performance DNA

And I mean some of the other finalists were like Lambos and stuff like that. So I mean it was in some rarefied air. And the Civic Type R was up there.

Ruben: Wow. So when you say Drivers of the Year I’m thinking my wife. She’s the driver. Hope she doesn’t hear this.

Honda Type R under-carriage shield

Undercarriage and shield

Tom: Right. You’re going to play this for her.

Ruben: Yeah exactly.

Tom: See baby.

Ruben: Put you in there.

Tom: No same thing for my wife too.

Under-carriage shield removed - New Honda First Service

Undercarriage shield removed

But yeah, so what was interesting is that when the Civic Type R got up in the air I’m looking underneath and again, that’s a high-performance vehicle and underneath of the Civic Type R is very enclosed.

It’s very aerodynamic looking. And I questioned if that was the case because it was a Civic Type R or if that’s really how cars are these days.

Ruben: It’s kind of a rule of thumb. You’ve got undercarriage. You’ve got… underneath that make it aerodynamic.

Tom: And that’s what surprised me because your service technician that was showing me around pointed to the Honda Accord that was up in the air right next to it and it looked very similar.

Ruben: Sure.

Multi-point Inspection

Multi-point Inspection

Tom: I was like wow.

Ruben: And a lot of that stuff underneath is also there for a reason.

It’s got bits of function. And so some of that undercarriage, the splash shields and under trays will also protect the bottom part of the radiator, the hoses, radiator hoses, so I keep seeing stuff coming up inside there.

Undercarriage shield re-installed - New Honda First Service

Undercarriage shield re-installed

So, they’re not all exposed like they used to be. That’s a little difficult sometimes because you’ve got to take all that stuff off just to do an oil change.

Regular Maintenance Is Key To Avoiding Costly Repairs

But we’re still pretty good at it.

Tom: Which is why it can be a pricey proposition to have your car worked on especially if it’s a big job. Okay, so then when the car’s up in the air I believe we… I didn’t do anything.

Type R coming down to earth

Type R coming down to earth

Ruben: Sounds good though.

Tom: Yeah. A shield of some sort was removed in order to get to the oil.

Ruben: It’s the splash shield.

Tom: The splash shield okay. So that was removed. The changing of the oil then and then the splash shield was replaced and what’s next. Are we pretty much done at that point?

Ruben: So, we’re also simultaneously rotating the tires.

Ruben: To make sure that we got a guy draining the oil. Got someone else rotating the tires. It’s kind of a parallel process to save time. We know our guests here want to get their car in and out.

Tom: Sure.

Ruben: Because like I said before we’ve got busy lives so want to make sure the process is very efficient.

Happy [Rock] Honda road ready again

Happy [Rock] Honda road-ready again

We don’t waste not only our technicians’ time but especially the most important for our guests’ time.

Yeah, I mean the multi-point inspection is at that point completely filled out in which we will print it out and share with the guest at the time or share with the advisor and they can share with the guest.

And we make it part of our process so that way they understand that hey not only am I getting an oil change. I’m going to get a free multi-point inspection.

Focus on Safety

Our job is to make sure your car is put back safely on the road. So and that’s our main focus. Safety. I mean people want to make sure that… I get it their cars are new but these roads out there today, they don’t care how new your car is.

Tom: No.

Ruben: They don’t discriminate.

New Honda First Service - blue Civic Type R

Now that is one sweet ride!

Tom: And the other drivers that see me they don’t… a lot of other drivers out there that I experience it seems like they missed some school somewhere along the way.

Ruben: Missing classes. Driver’s ed class.

“Our job is to make sure your car is put back safely on the road.”

Tom: All right. Well, fantastic. Ruben, thank you as always. Is there anything before we wrap this one up?

Is there anything else that you want to point out about that first maintenance after your car is new after you buy a new Rock Honda from Rock Honda in Fontana?

Quick And Painless – Your New Honda’s First Service Visit

Ruben: Pretty simple process.

Tom: And you come back and you get that first service and that’s it. It’s just that simple.

Ruben: That’s it. The only thing I say is come experience the Rock Honda difference.

Tom: Come experience it.

Ruben: Yeah.

New Honda First Service - Ruben helps customer.

Ruben helps his next guest – notice the Service award banner!Tom: Ruben, I’ve seen him in work. I’ve seen him at work with customers and you do a great job, man.

Ruben: Thanks.

Tom: You guys have a huge operation here.

Ruben: We have a great culture here.

Tom: As well. For sure. For sure.

“If you’re not tap dancing out of bed to get to work, then go do something else. I love what I do.”

Ruben: If you’re not tap dancing out of bed to get to work, then go do something else. I love what I do.

Tom: And it shows. And it shows. All right. Ruben Serna. Service director. Parts and service director for Rock Honda.

Ruben: Thank you.

Tom: The giant Rock Honda out in the Los Angeles suburb of Fontana, California. Thank you guys as always.

New Honda First Service Ruben Serna at Rock Honda

Ruben waves goodbye – until next time.

Thank you for joining me for the podcast yet again. Thank you guys for being fantastic partners. We absolutely love you.

Ruben: Feelings are mutual. Thank you, Tom.

Tom: Thank you. All right. For iDriveSoCal, I am Tom Smith. Thank you as always for tuning in.