Service FAQs

Common Questions You Might Ask Your Mechanic: Answered by the Pros at Gwinnett Place Honda

Are there questions that you've always wanted to ask your auto mechanic--but either didn't have the time to, or felt awkward asking questions at the service center when you're in a hurry to get back to work?

The team at Gwinnett Place Honda wants to provide some simple answers to your common car questions, free and available 24/7 online. This page will cover most of the questions that we get from local drivers, but if you're left scratching your head about any maintenance issues or car questions, we encourage you to contact us so we can answer you directly.

Car Maintenance & Service Menus

How long do I have to "break in" my new car?

The first 200-600 miles of driving are some of the most important for your new car, to "break in" not just your seat comfort, but also your brakes and the overall powertrain. If possible, avoid hard starts, rapid acceleration, and rough braking, to give everything a chance to break in.

How often do I need to schedule maintenance?

This will depend on a wide variety of factors, but the general recommendation for maintenance visits is every 12 months or every 7,500 miles. In your Honda, the "Maintenance Minder" tool found in the information display will help keep you on track. The Maintenance Minder system will tell you the life of your oil, and remind you when it's time to go in for service.

Do I have to follow the recommendations on my Honda service menu?

Since you own the vehicle, you don't have to follow along with the recommendations. However, if you want to extend the life of your vehicle, boost performance to its highest potential, and save a lot of money in the long run, it's a smart idea to follow those guidelines and Maintenance Minder system recommendations.

Engine & Oil Fluids

How often do I need to change my oil?

If you drive a recent-model-year Honda, your Maintenance Minder System will be able to tell you when to change your oil by tracking the "life" of the engine oil that's currently running through your system.

Do I need to use genuine Honda parts for oil changes?

It would be best to. While you could probably get away with generic brand oil, filters, and washers, you won't be guaranteed the same kind of custom fit and performance that you'd get from Honda Genuine Oil and other OEM parts, like the disposable crush washer.

How often do I need to change other fluids? (Brake fluid, engine coolant, washer fluid, etc)

All other engine fluids have varying recommendations for when to change/refill/flush the system. Washer fluid should likely run out long before you need to worry about "changing" it. Engine coolant change intervals range from every 30,000 miles to every 120,000 miles in some cases, and brake fluid recommendations can go by mileage or by year. It's best to contact your mechanic directly about changing other fluids.

Tires & Wheels

How often should my tires be rotated?

This will depend on when, where, and how you drive--but the general recommendation for tire rotations is whenever you go in for an oil change. Your vehicle will already be up on a lift, and rotating your tires once or twice a year will extend their life span by ensuring even wear on all four tires. TIP: if your tires aren't wearing evenly even with routine rotations, you may be experiencing an alignment issue. We can help with that, too.

What is an appropriate amount of tire wear?

Tires are meant to be worn down--they won't have that new-tire tread forever. The tread depth of a brand-new summer/all-season tire is usually about 10/32"-11/32", and winter or truck tires are a little bit deeper. A tire is considered "worn out" when its tread depth reaches 2/32" because there is very little channel depth left to shed water while driving, and you are more prone to hydroplaning and sliding.

Do I need winter tires in GA?

This does come down to a bit of personal preference--winter tires are always suggested for vehicles that will be traveling on ice and snow in the winter, in temperatures below 40 degrees. Georgia winters do dip below 40 degrees during December, January, and February, but we don't see snow or very much ice. However, if you travel often in the winter months, it might be a smart choice to have some winters, or at least all-seasons.

Car Batteries

What does BATT LOW mean in my Honda?

If your Honda is equipped with the Battery Management System, your car will alert you that the charge has dropped below a certain recommended level. While your battery may still be able to perform in basic daily tasks, this low charge means that it's not set up for optimal performance in extreme conditions, like very cold temperatures or very high demands on the electrical system. If you see BATT LOW or BATTERY CHARGE LOW, you can just plan a long drive to help recharge the battery, or visit Gwinnett Place Honda to get your battery checked.

I had to jump my battery--does it need to be replaced now?

Not always. If you just left some lights on for too long one time and drained your battery, one good long drive should be enough to recharge it. But if you're needing to jumpstart your car frequently, it's likely too old or was drained too many times and does need to be replaced. It might also be an issue with your alternator--we can help you figure out which it is.

Brakes & Brake Repair

Why do my brakes squeal and screech?

Brake squealing can happen because of wetness in or around the tires, because of excessive humidity, or for a variety of other reasons. If there are no other concerning sounds or feelings when braking, light squealing isn't a big deal. Brake screech, though, is important--it's your brakes letting you know that the brake pads are reaching the ends of their lives. All brake sets on your Honda have a special indicator that starts making a racket before your pads have worn down completely.

Why do my brakes feel spongy when I push on the pedal?

If you're finding that you have to push down harder, farther, or longer on your brake pedal to bring your vehicle fully to a stop, it means that it's time to come in for an inspection. It may be a problem with the brake pads or rotors, or it may be an issue with the mechanics or hydraulics in your vehicle. Either way, difficulty braking to a stop is a big red flag.

When do I need to replace my brakes?

Unlike some other services, there is no set schedule for getting brakes repaired or replaced, though it is recommended that you get your brakes visually inspected whenever you come in for a service. Brake repair intervals depend largely on your driving style, your vehicle's weight, and where you typically drive. Do you drive a heavy truck in an area with lots of steep hills, you tend to brake hard? You'll need your pads and rotors replaced more frequently. Or, do you live in a pretty flat area, drive a light sedan, and prefer to take it slower when stopping? You'll be able to go longer in-between brake repair visits. Looking (and listening) for the red flags listed above can help you know when it's time to get them changed.

Heating & A/C

Why won't my A/C blow cold air anymore?

This is a common problem in older cars, but it can happen to any vehicle. You turn on the knob for your air conditioner and get--lukewarm air. Your refrigerant might be low, which would prevent the car's system from actually being able to cool the air before it delivers it into the cabin. There could also be a blockage or a break somewhere in the system that's making it impossible for the cold air to make it all the way through.

The air coming out of my vents makes my car smell terrible! Why?

A buildup of bacteria--as well as other impurities--inside of the system can cause the air, hot or cold, to have an awful smell. It’s an inconvenient problem, but it has an easy solution. Your mechanic can clean the system out for you pretty quickly, and you'll be getting fresher air again in no time.

Are you burning up with questions about the Honda brand, your car, and general auto service? Then you should come to our next New Owner Workshop, where members of our Honda team can help you learn more about maintenance reminders, cabin tech, service needs, and more.