The Honda Odyssey has been a top choice for families needing a reliable, safe, and comfortable minivan for over 20 years. With proper maintenance and care, the Odyssey can easily rack up hundreds of thousands of miles. One of the most critical maintenance items is staying on top of regular oil and filter changes.
Keep reading to learn all about selecting the proper engine oil for your Odyssey, how often you should change the oil, what to look for during oil changes, and tips to make the process easier. Equipped with this knowledge, you can keep your Odyssey’s engine running smoothly for many trouble-free miles.
Table of Contents
- Honda Odyssey Engine Oil Type Recommendations
- Recommended Oil Change Interval for Odyssey Engines
- What Happens During an Oil Change?
- DIY Oil Changes on Honda Odyssey
- Signs Your Odyssey Needs an Oil Change
- Why Oil Changes Are Essential for Odyssey Engines
- Avoiding Common Oil Change Mistakes
- Adding Oil Between Changes
- Oil Leaks – What to Watch Out For
- Oil Selection Tips for High Mileage Odysseys
- When to Consider an Engine Flush
- Dispose of Used Oil Properly
Honda Odyssey Engine Oil Type Recommendations
Not all motor oils are created equal. Honda carefully designs their engines to perform optimally using oil that meets very specific quality and performance specifications. Using the manufacturer’s recommended oil gives you the best engine protection and performance.
According to your Odyssey’s owner’s manual, Honda recommends using:
- 0W-20 viscosity synthetic blend or full synthetic motor oil
- Oil that carries the API certification seal for “Resource Conserving” as well as the SN or newer certification category.
- ILSAC GF-5 certified oil.
These oil properties allow optimal flow at cold startup temperatures while maintaining ideal viscosity across wide temperature ranges for superior wear protection. Always stick with 0W-20 viscosity to avoid potential engine damage.
Reputable brand-name oils like Mobil 1, Castrol, Valvoline, Pennzoil, Shell Rotella, and AMSOIL offer formulations that meet Honda’s prescribed quality levels. Your dealer likely stocks the ideal oil or can recommend quality alternatives.
Recommended Oil Change Interval for Odyssey Engines
Under normal operating conditions with modern quality oil, Honda suggests changing your Odyssey’s engine oil at these intervals:
- For 2008–2010 models, every 7,500 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first.
- For 2011 and newer models, every 10,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first,
Severe conditions like extensive idling, towing, stop-and-go traffic, sustained highway speeds, or very dirty or dusty environments may necessitate more frequent oil changes every 5,000 miles.
Always reset your oil life monitoring system after each oil change. Letting the system go beyond 100% starts to diminish your engine’s protection. Sticking to the prescribed intervals optimizes engine longevity.
What Happens During an Oil Change?
When you take your Odyssey in for an oil change, here are the typical steps your technician follows to keep your engine running great:
1. Oil Drain and Replacement
The old oil is drained completely from the engine, along with the used oil filter, which traps particulates. This removes any accumulated dirt, metal debris, and combustion byproducts.
Fresh new motor oil is added to the proper capacity. Your Odyssey takes about 4-5 quarts of oil with a new filter. Use only approved 0W-20 oil according to manufacturer specifications.
2. Oil Filter Replacement
A vital and often overlooked component, the oil filter removes contaminants and needs to be replaced regularly. Quality filters specifically designed for your Odyssey are imperative to protecting the engine.
3. Chassis Lubrication
Key underbody components like suspension joints and drive shafts will be lubricated to prevent premature wear from friction and corrosion.
4. Fluid Level Checks
All other vital fluid levels like transmission, brake, power steering, and coolant reservoirs will be topped up if they are low to maintain ideal conditions.
5. Visual Inspections
Technicians will check for any leaks, worn components, or other issues to spot potential problems early before they lead to breakdowns.
6. Oil Change Sticker
The windshield gets an updated service sticker, so you know when your Odyssey will be due for its next oil change.
Following this full-service regimen at the factory-specified intervals keeps your Honda’s engine, transmission, brakes, and all other systems protected and running optimally. Don’t cut corners on maintenance.
DIY Oil Changes on Honda Odyssey
Many Odyssey owners opt to save money by performing oil changes themselves at home. This can be a practical option if you take care to do a complete job. Follow these steps for a proper DIY oil change:
1. Gather Supplies
- Oil drain pan to catch used oil. A capacity of at least 6 quarts is ideal.
- Correct amount of new 0W-20 engine oil—around 4-5 quarts.
- A new oil filter specifically designed for your Odyssey’s engine
- Socket wrench, oil filter wrench, ratchet, and funnel.
- Rags, gloves, and eye protection for safety
- Cardboard to lay under the oil drain area.
2. Drain the Old Oil
- Run the engine briefly to warm the oil so it drains smoothly.
- Locate the oil drain plug underneath the engine and position the drain pan.
- Use a wrench to carefully loosen the plug and drain the old oil completely.
3. Remove and Replace Oil Filter
- Use filter wrench to unscrew old filter from engine block.
- Coat new gasket on replacement filter lightly with fresh oil.
- Hand tighten new filter until snug against block.
4. Add New Oil
- With the drain plug replaced, pour in around 4-5 quarts of new 0W-20 oil using a funnel.
- Check the dipstick and top up gradually until it reaches the proper “Full” level.
5. Reset Oil Life Monitoring System
- Turn the ignition fully on, but do not start the engine.
- Press and hold the odometer button to reset the oil monitor to 100%.
6. Safely Dispose of Old Oil
- Never dump down drains or onto the ground.
- Take it to an auto parts store or recycling center for proper disposal.
When performed thoroughly using high quality oil and filters, DIY changes can certainly save money while keeping your Odyssey maintained. But skipping steps or using cheap products compromises the benefits.
Signs Your Odyssey Needs an Oil Change
Don’t rely only on the oil life monitoring system to know when to change your Odyssey’s oil. Watch for these signs that a change is due:
- Check the odometer: have you driven over 5,000–7,500 miles since the last oil change? Stick to the recommended intervals.
- Look at the oil change sticker: Is your Odyssey’s windshield sticker over 12 months old? Annual oil changes are vital.
- Check the oil level: Is the oil looking low on the dipstick? Burning or leaking oil necessitates earlier changes.
- Inspect oil: Does oil appear dark black, smell burned, or feel gritty? It’s time to drain the old oil.
- Listen for noise: Are you hearing any new engine noises like ticking or knocking on startup? Could indicate sludge buildup.
When in doubt, err on the side of caution and get your Odyssey’s oil changed a little early. Fresh oil is cheap engine insurance.
Why Oil Changes Are Essential for Odyssey Engines
It’s tempting to stretch the miles between oil changes to save a little money, but there are excellent reasons to stay diligent:
- Keeps engine sludge free. Detergent additives disperse damaging deposits that choke oil flow.
- Reduces friction and wear. Clean oil allows moving components to operate smoothly.
- Manages operating temperatures: new oil improves cold starts and resists overheating.
- Neutralizes acids. and Halts corrosion from combustion blow-by acids.
- Extends engine life – Dirty oil accelerates ring, bearing, cylinder and valve wear over time.
Think of new oil changes as cheap “insurance” to protect the very heart of your Odyssey – the engine. Don’t cut corners.
Avoiding Common Oil Change Mistakes
With oil changes being such a vital and periodic service, it’s easy to make some common missteps. Be mindful to avoid:
- Using the wrong viscosity oil – Always use 0W-20 designed for your Odyssey’s engine. Other weights can cause damage over time.
- Installing cheap, low-quality filters – Poor filters allow contaminants into your engine. Spend a little more for a quality filter.
- Overfilling oil level – Too much oil can be just as detrimental as too little. Always check dipstick.
- Forgetting to reset oil monitor – Letting the system go over 100% halves your protection. Reset after every oil change.
- Delaying changes – Sticking diligently to mileage or time intervals is imperative, whichever comes first.
Putting in a little extra care goes a long way to extend your Odyssey’s longevity and minimize major engine repairs down the road.
Adding Oil Between Changes
Honda engines are designed to burn a small amount of oil during normal operation. You may need to add some oil between changes to keep your Odyssey’s level optimal.
If you notice oil getting low on the dipstick and you haven’t driven the interval of miles to warrant a full change yet, just top it off to keep it near the “Full” mark. Add oil gradually and recheck the dipstick.
When topping off between changes, be sure to only use the exact 0W-20 viscosity oil specified by Honda. Adding even a little bit of a heavier oil can impact engine performance and protection over time. Keep oil bottles marked clearly to avoid mistakes.
And remember, routinely needing to add over a quart of oil between changes can indicate a leak or oil burning issue that will need diagnosis. But small top-offs are perfectly normal.
Oil Leaks – What to Watch Out For
One downside to the Odyssey’s engine being mounted transversely is that oil leaks can be more prone to develop over time. Keep an eye out for any of these common leak points:
Valve cover gasket – This long rubber gasket sealing the cylinder head cover can warp or crack with age, allowing oil seepage.
Timing chain cover – The front cover’s seal loses elasticity over miles, permitting slow oil leaks.
Oil pressure switch – This sensor threaded into the block can leak from a loose fit or cracked housing.
Rear main seal – Hardened and dried out from heat cycling, this crankshaft seal will let oil escape.
Oil pan gasket – This large gasket loses adhesion and allows oil to drip down around the pan bolts.
Oil pump housing – Gaskets around the pump mounted low on the engine wear and can leak.
Even small leaks should get prompt attention to stop drips onto the pavement and keep your oil level from dropping too low between changes.
Oil Selection Tips for High Mileage Odysseys
As an Odyssey racks up mileage over 100,000+ miles, oil selection gains in importance to manage increased internal engine wear. Consider using:
- Full synthetic oil – Lasts longer between changes and resists viscosity breakdown.
- “High mileage” formula oil – Contains more seal conditioners and anti-wear additives.
- A slightly heavier viscosity – Such as 5W-20 for better film strength and less consumption as seals age. Always stay within 5 viscosity grades of manufacturer specifications.
- Shorter change intervals – Change oil more frequently such as every 5,000 miles. Keeps engine cleaner.
Your technician can help you select the ideal high mileage oil to keep your well-used Odyssey going strong. Don’t scrimp on oil quality for an aging engine.
When to Consider an Engine Flush
Over tens of thousands of miles, even the best maintained Odyssey engine can accumulate sludge, coking deposits, and blow-by contaminants inside the crankcase, bearings, oil passages, etc.
If oil seems to get dirtier faster, an engine flush can dissolve built-up deposits for cleaner operation and improved oil flow. Flushes should only be performed by a professional technician prior to an oil change. Proper flushing can make a high mileage engine run like new again.
Dispose of Used Oil Properly
With the many oil changes your Odyssey will need over its lifetime, make sure you dispose of old oil in an environmentally responsible way:
- Never put down household or street drains. This pollutes waterways.
- Avoid placing in regular trash. Oil soaked items can also leak from landfills.
- Take to auto parts stores or recycling centers that accept used oil. Many take it for free.
- Some charities collect oil as fundraising opportunities.
A little planning ensures your DIY oil changes protect the planet while protecting your Odyssey’s engine.
Changing your Honda Odyssey’s engine oil at the factory prescribed intervals is absolutely vital to achieve a long, problem-free vehicle lifespan. Clean oil minimizes wear, cools critical components, and lubricates better than contaminated oil.
Don’t take oil changes for granted. Use the recommended viscosity oil meeting strict quality standards. Reset the oil life minder with each change. Watch for leaks. Top off when needed between changes. Employ high mileage oils as your Odyssey ages. Take oil selection seriously.
With some due diligence and careful adherence to Honda’s maintenance schedule, your loyal Odyssey can potentially achieve 300,000+ miles of reliable service as it transports your family across countless adventures ahead. Don’t cut corners on something as basic as oil changes. Your ride depends on it.