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Fluid level checks Honda Civic 1996 - 2006 Petrol 1.8

OnDemand step-by-step maintenance & repair BETA

Honda Civic 1996 - 2006  | 1.8 Fluid level checks

  • time 5 to 30 minutes
  • difficulty 1
Note: Listed here are manufacturer recommendations. Manufacturers occasionally upgrade their fluid and lubricant specifications, so check with your local auto parts store for current recommendations
Recommended lubricants and fluids
Engine oil
  Type API “certified for gasoline engines”
  Viscosity See accompanying chart
Engine coolant 50/50 mixture of non-silicate coolant (compatible with aluminum engines) and demineralized water.
Automatic transaxle fluid type Honda Premium Formula automatic transmission fluid or equivalent (DEXRON III can be used if the recommended fluid is not available)
Continuously Variable Transaxle fluid type Honda CVT fluid
Manual transaxle lubricant type Honda Manual Transmission Fluid (MTF) or equivalent (SAE 10W-30 engine oil can be used if the recommended lubricant isn’t available)
Brake fluid type DOT 3 brake fluid
Power steering system fluid Honda power steering fluid or equivalent
Recommended engine oil viscosity
Fluids are an essential part of the lubrication, cooling, brake, clutch and other systems. Because these fluids gradually become depleted and/or contaminated during normal operation of the vehicle, they must be periodically replenished. See Recommended lubricants, fluids and capacities above before adding fluid to any of the following components. Note: The vehicle must be on level ground before fluid levels can be checked

Engine oil

1 The engine oil level is checked with a dipstick located at the front side of the engine (see below)
2 The oil dipstick (arrow) extends through the exhaust manifold heat shield on DOHC engines
3 On SOHC engines the oil dipstick (arrow) is located at left (driver's) end of the engine
4 The oil level should be checked before the vehicle has been driven, or about 10 minutes after the engine has been shut off. If the oil is checked immediately after driving the vehicle, some of the oil will remain in the upper engine components, producing an inaccurate reading on the dipstick
5 Pull the dipstick from the tube and wipe all the oil from the end with a clean rag or paper towel. Insert the clean dipstick all the way back into its metal tube and pull it out again. Observe the oil at the end of the dipstick. At its highest point, the level should be between the upper and lower holes (see below)
6 The oil level should be between the two holes in the dipstick - if it isn’t, add enough oil to bring the level to or near the upper hole (it takes one quart to raise the level from the lower hole to the upper hole)
7 It takes one quart of oil to raise the level from the lower hole to the upper hole on the dipstick. Do not allow the level to drop below the lower hole or oil starvation may cause engine damage. Conversely, overfilling the engine (adding oil above the upper hole) may cause oil fouled spark plugs, oil leaks or oil seal failures
8 Remove the oil filler cap from the valve cover to add oil (see below)
9 The oil filler cap is located on the valve cover - to prevent dirt from contaminating the engine, always make sure the area around this opening is clean before unscrewing the cap. Use a funnel to prevent spills. After adding the oil, install the filler cap hand tight. Start the engine and look carefully for any small leaks around the oil filter or drain plug. Stop the engine and check the oil level again after it has had sufficient time to drain from the upper block and cylinder head galleys
10 Checking the oil level is an important preventive maintenance step. A continually dropping oil level indicates oil leakage through damaged seals, from loose connections, or past worn rings or valve guides. If the oil looks milky in color or has water droplets in it, a cylinder head gasket may be blown or the oil cooler could be leaking. The engine should be checked immediately. The condition of the oil should also be checked. Each time you check the oil level, slide your gloved thumb and index finger up the dipstick before wiping off the oil. If you see small dirt or metal particles clinging to the dipstick, the oil should be changed

Engine coolant

Warning: Do not allow antifreeze to come in contact with your skin or painted surfaces of the vehicle. Rinse off spills immediately with plenty of water. Antifreeze is highly toxic if ingested. Never leave antifreeze lying around in an open container or in puddles on the floor; children and pets are attracted by it’s sweet smell and may drink it. Check with local authorities about disposing of used antifreeze. Many communities have collection centers which will dispose of antifreeze safely. Note: Non-toxic antifreeze is now manufactured and available at auto parts stores, but even this should be disposed of properly
1 All vehicles covered by this manual are equipped with a pressurized coolant recovery system. A coolant reservoir, located on the right side of the engine compartment, is connected by a hose to the base of the radiator filler neck. If the coolant heats up during engine operation, coolant can escape through the pressurized filler cap, then through the connecting hose into the reservoir. As the engine cools, the coolant is automatically drawn back into the cooling system to maintain the correct level
2 The coolant level in the reservoir should be checked regularly
3 The level will vary with the temperature of the engine. When the engine is cold, the coolant level should be at or slightly above the MIN mark on the tank. Once the engine has warmed up, the level should be at or near the MAX mark. If it isn’t, allow the fluid in the tank to cool, then remove the cap from the reservoir and add coolant to bring the level up to the MAX line. Warning: Do not remove the radiator cap to check the coolant level when the engine is warm! Use only the recommended coolant and water in the mixture ratio listed in the Specifications below. Do not use supplemental inhibitors or additives. If only a small amount of coolant is required to bring the system up to the proper level, water can be used. However, repeated additions of water will dilute the recommended antifreeze and water solution. In order to maintain the proper ratio of antifreeze and water, it is advisable to top up the coolant level with the correct mixture
4 If the coolant level drops within a short time after replenishment, there may be a leak in the system. Inspect the radiator, hoses, engine coolant filler cap, drain plugs, air bleeder bolt and water pump. If no leak is evident, have the radiator cap pressure tested. Warning: Never remove the radiator cap or the coolant reservoir cap when the engine is running or has just been shut down, because the cooling system is hot. Escaping steam and scalding liquid could cause serious injury
5 If it is necessary to open the radiator cap, wait until the system has cooled completely, then wrap a thick cloth around the cap and turn it to the first stop. If any steam escapes, wait until the system has cooled further, then remove the cap
6 When checking the coolant level, always note its condition. It should be relatively clear. If it is brown or rust-colored, the system should be drained, flushed and refilled. Even if the coolant appears to be normal, the corrosion inhibitors wear out with use, so it must be replaced at the specified intervals
7 Do not allow antifreeze to come in contact with your skin or painted surfaces of the vehicle. Flush contacted areas immediately with plenty of water
1 The windshield washer fluid reservoir (arrow) is located at the left front corner of the engine compartment

Brake and clutch fluid

1 The brake master cylinder is mounted on the front of the power booster unit and the clutch master cylinder next to it on the firewall within the engine compartment. 1994 through 1997 Integra models with an Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) also have a reservoir for the ABS modulator located on the right side of the engine compartment. These vehicles should be driven for a few minutes to equalize the fluid in the system before checking the fluid level in the reservoirs. If the level rises significantly above the MAX mark, have the system checked by a dealer because this could indicate a malfunction in the ABS system
2 To check the fluid level of the brake or clutch master cylinder, simply look at the MAX and MIN marks on the reservoir (see below)
3 The brake fluid should be kept between the MIN and MAX marks on the reservoir. If the vehicle is equipped with an Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), the fluid level in the ABS unit reservoir must also be checked. It’s located on the right (passenger) side of the engine compartment
4 Keep the level between the MIN and MAX lines on the clutch fluid reservoir
5 If the level is low, wipe the top of the reservoir cover with a clean rag to prevent contamination of the brake system before lifting the cap
6 Add only the specified brake fluid to the brake, clutch or ABS reservoir (refer to Recommended lubricants and fluids at the top of this chapter or to your owner’s manual). Mixing different types of brake fluid can damage the system. Fill the brake master cylinder reservoir only to about 3/4-inch below the MAX line - this brings the fluid to the correct level when you put the cap back on. Warning: Use caution when filling the reservoir - brake fluid can harm your eyes and damage painted surfaces. Do not use brake fluid that has been opened for more than one year or has been left open. Brake fluid absorbs moisture from the air. Excess moisture can cause a dangerous loss of braking
7 While the reservoir cap is removed, inspect the master cylinder reservoir for contamination. If deposits, dirt particles or water droplets are present, the system should be drained and refilled
8 After filling the reservoir to the proper level, make sure the lid is properly seated to prevent fluid leakage and/or system pressure loss
9 The brake fluid in the master cylinder will drop slightly as the brake pads at each wheel wear down during normal operation. If the master cylinder requires repeated replenishing to keep it at the proper level, this is an indication of leakage in the brake system, which should be corrected immediately. Check all brake lines and connections, along with the wheel cylinders and booster. A drop in the clutch reservoir level indicates a leak in the clutch hydraulic system
10 If, upon checking the brake master cylinder fluid level, you discover an empty or nearly empty reservoir, the brake system should be bled
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