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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've only driven around 900 miles on my 2022 Insight so far. But I drive around 25k miles/year, and I'd like to try to make my car last 250k+ miles with minimal downtime, so I figure I should start early and seek advice on how to best maintain and drive my car to help it last as long as possible. My 2010 Prius lasted 236k miles before the engine died, and I treated it pretty rough. I plan to treat this way nicer car much better. I already ordered a full size spare tire, some Maxpider Kagu floor mats, and a dash cam.

Maintenance: For oil changes and tire rotations, what's the ideal frequency? Are any brands of oil better for the engine? How often should I check my oil? Is the Oil Health monitor accurate?

What other preventative maintenance should I be doing? For example with the 3rd Gen Prius, the EGR system is known for getting clogged and needs to be cleaned out semi-regularly. But I stupidly never did this, after getting it replaced via TSB a few years ago. My Prius probably would have lasted longer had I done this and other maintenance measures.

I live in Boston, so I should be washing the salt off bottom of my car regularly in the winter. I never did this with my Prius, and that lasted 236k miles, but it was reeeal creaky by the end.

I noticed that the Insight engine vibrates/shakes sometimes on startup or while idling at a light soon after, which seems like a common issue. It scares me because it reminds me of the engine knocking when my old Prius engine died. Experiencing this issue is what gave me the idea for this post. Has the issue been explained or resolved?

Driving practices: Should I warm up my car before driving? I used to hop in and go very quickly with my Prius. Is that bad for the engine? Should I also avoid shutting the car off while the ICE is running? Should I avoid regularly idling for too long? Or is it worse to turn the car off and on too many times?

Does the driving mode affect engine/battery longevity? For the first week or so, I was using mostly ECO mode to try to maximize my fuel efficiency. I noticed that my hybrid battery level stayed mostly in the bottom half/lower third on the gauge, unless I recently went down a long hill. Then I started using normal mode, and the battery tends to stay a bit more full, and I still get good MPG numbers. Is it possible that using ECO mode all the time might wear out the battery faster? I live in a CARB state, so I get the extended 150k mile warranty on the hybrid battery. Maybe it would be better for the battery to die before the warranty expires? I don't want to try to extend the life of the battery if it's going to die right after 150k.

That's all I can think of for now. Are there any other useful maintenance or driving practices that I missed?
 

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You change the 0w-20 oil when the maintenance minder system alerts you with 15% oil life left. Tire rotations are recommended at 5-6,000 miles according to the Michelin tire warranty booklet.

Preventative maintenance would be checking the oil level with the dipstick, tire pressure, cabin air filter, and engine air filter. Oil level and tire pressure I would check at least once a month. For cabin and engine air filter I inspect them every Spring and Fall.

My Insight transitions from EV to Gas smoothly but some Insight owners have reported rough starts.

I start the vehicle and drive off. Just don't drive aggressively until the engine has time to fully warm up. It should be fine shutting the vehicle off while the gas engine is running but I prefer to wait until EV mode comes back on. Idling during warmer temps isn't so bad cause the Insight can stay in EV mode for a long time but during the Winter it will tank your MPG.

Yes, the driving modes does change how the battery level works. Eco mode does not charge the battery as much but this is by design so the battery has more room to store regenerative braking energy.
 

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If you can keep it clean and keep it garaged, you'll avoid weather wear! That, and following the maintenance minder should keep you in a good place. Don't obsess with battery level vs. driving mode. The car will figure things out - it's pretty smart. It took me a few months with my first gen 3 Insight to become familiar with the quirks.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You change the 0w-20 oil when the maintenance minder system alerts you with 15% oil life left. Tire rotations are recommended at 5-6,000 miles according to the Michelin tire warranty booklet.

Preventative maintenance would be checking the oil level with the dipstick, tire pressure, cabin air filter, and engine air filter. Oil level and tire pressure I would check at least once a month. For cabin and engine air filter I inspect them every Spring and Fall.

My Insight transitions from EV to Gas smoothly but some Insight owners have reported rough starts.

I start the vehicle and drive off. Just don't drive aggressively until the engine has time to fully warm up. It should be fine shutting the vehicle off while the gas engine is running but I prefer to wait until EV mode comes back on. Idling during warmer temps isn't so bad cause the Insight can stay in EV mode for a long time but during the Winter it will tank your MPG.

Yes, the driving modes does change how the battery level works. Eco mode does not charge the battery as much but this is by design so the battery has more room to store regenerative braking energy.
Thanks! I had forgotten about the cabin and engine air filters. For oil brand, it seems like Mobil 1 AFE is pretty popular, as is the expensive ZEPRO one. I'll probably go with Mobile 1, unless maybe I should start with the ZEPRO.

In the winter does idling for 10-15 minutes, several times per day, hurt the engine or just waste gas? Or would shutting my car off and on 5-10 times a day be worse for the engine?

So you're saying your Insight never does the engine vibrating/shuddering thing? Maybe you don't notice because you drive off right away? I sometimes think I might feel it while driving at low speeds, but it's hard to tell if it's just bumps in the road. What about when sitting at red lights a couple minutes after a cold start? What percentage of owners do you think have felt this issue? It's definitely concerning to me, but theoretically it could be normal.

I'll probably use normal driving mode to keep the battery levels up a bit higher, unless I'm going down a long hill. Isn't it bad to discharge lithium ion batteries too low? Do you know what the actual HV battery percentages are at 1 bar and full bars?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If you can keep it clean and keep it garaged, you'll avoid weather wear! That, and following the maintenance minder should keep you in a good place. Don't obsess with battery level vs. driving mode. The car will figure things out - it's pretty smart. It took me a few months with my first gen 3 Insight to become familiar with the quirks.
I can't keep it garaged, unfortunately. And I usually have to drive during blizzards (for work but I also really love driving in the snow, more than most things in life, lol). I tend to get caught behind plows freshly salting, too. I should probably rinse my car off every couple days during salt season. Maybe I should get an unlimited car wash membership...
 

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I'll probably use normal driving mode to keep the battery levels up a bit higher, unless I'm going down a long hill. Isn't it bad to discharge lithium ion batteries too low? Do you know what the actual HV battery percentages are at 1 bar and full bars?
Each battery bar is 10%. The car won't let it drop below 20% unless you really push it for an extended period by burying the throttle in the floor. Each drive mode has different preferred battery ranges. ECO favors more battery usage (3-5 bars). Sport favors keeping more battery in reserve (will hang around 8 bars). Normal is a blend (4-8 bars). EV mode will keep using battery until it drops to 2 bars provided you remain in the blue area of the power gauge.
 
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You change the 0w-20 oil when the maintenance minder system alerts you with 15% oil life left. Tire rotations are recommended at 5-6,000 miles according to the Michelin tire warranty booklet.

Preventative maintenance would be checking the oil level with the dipstick, tire pressure, cabin air filter, and engine air filter. Oil level and tire pressure I would check at least once a month. For cabin and engine air filter I inspect them every Spring and Fall.
I think most of these things are reinforced by the Maintenance Minder...so you're not left to guess. I leave the oil choice to my mechanic but I don't bother going synthetic.

What I do that isn't on the Minder are polish/wax the car twice a year fall/spring after having it cleaned exterior/interior at my local handwash shop. I spray rodent repellent in the wheel wells and the engine area during that time (they liked the soy electrical tape - given that's mostly gone and replaced with my own regular tape, it might be less of an issue). I have also taken to using Shin-Etsu (Honda 08798-9013) silicone grease on the door/window gaskets to keep them supple and sound damping. I hadn't done this on my previous Civics, but it's been mentioned in forums and what Honda techs do.

Been washing the car in between hand washes at a $4 drive thru now whenever the car looks dirty or salty, where I've assumed the underside gets sprayed. (i'll have to double check that next time).
 

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I can't keep it garaged, unfortunately. And I usually have to drive during blizzards (for work but I also really love driving in the snow, more than most things in life, lol). I tend to get caught behind plows freshly salting, too. I should probably rinse my car off every couple days during salt season. Maybe I should get an unlimited car wash membership...
I shut off whenever I'm parked and waiting and I don't want to risk ICE kicking on. If you need high current accessories like the rear window defroster/seat warmers, turn on the ICE so that your 12V battery doesn't get drained too low. I think with hybrids, given that stop/start is its way of life, there shouldn't be anymore wear than usual.

Any engine vibration I get I've been attributing to cold start. Really don't notice it enough then or later to have put it on the list to look into.

We have an uncovered parking spot at our condo. During the spring/summer/fall, it stays covered with an XtremeCoverPro I've purchased from eBay. When winter comes, there's less sun exposure anyways and you don't want that car cover frozen to the car.
 
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Just wanted to say I know what you mean by the rough idle on startup, it's only within the first min or two of the car running, and you have to be stopped to notice it, at least in my 2019 insight, but it's a tiny inconsistent shake when the car is stopped, the engine is cold, and it's running to charge the battery. I only notice it because there's a stop light maybe 500 ft from where I park and I stop at it a lot when I head out for the day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I think most of these things are reinforced by the Maintenance Minder...so you're not left to guess. I leave the oil choice to my mechanic but I don't bother going synthetic.

What I do that isn't on the Minder are polish/wax the car twice a year fall/spring after having it cleaned exterior/interior at my local handwash shop. I spray rodent repellent in the wheel wells and the engine area during that time (they liked the soy electrical tape - given that's mostly gone and replaced with my own regular tape, it might be less of an issue). I have also taken to using Shin-Etsu (Honda 08798-9013) silicone grease on the door/window gaskets to keep them supple and sound damping. I hadn't done this on my previous Civics, but it's been mentioned in forums and what Honda techs do.

Been washing the car in between hand washes at a $4 drive thru now whenever the car looks dirty or salty, where I've assumed the underside gets sprayed. (i'll have to double check that next time).
What do you mean you "don't bother going synthetic"? Isn't full synthetic 0w-20 the only kind of oil that's used in these hybrids?

Why would Honda use soy electrical tape if it attracts rodents?! That seems completely insane. I guess I better get some of the anti-rodent spray ASAP. Unless it would be easier to just replace all the tape?

Good idea with the Shin-Etsu. I wonder if I should start using that right away, or if I can wait a few months. I assume the factory applied some already.

Waxing sounds like a good idea. I've never had a car I actually cared about the paint job on before. Yesterday a stupid cyclist swerved toward me and made me hit my passenger mirror into parked car's mirror, and I spent the next 15 minutes trying to buff the marks off. I kind of miss driving a beater.

Speaking of which, I had my windshield replaced on my old 2010 236k Prius today, because it's still covered under insurance, and I wanted to maximize how much money I could get for junking it. But the engine didn't even start knocking while I was turning the car around before and after the service. Maybe I can sell it to CarMax instead of junking it...
 

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Hmm. I'll have to check with my mechanic. This is my first hybrid and I didn't ask what he's putting in.

The soy tape I think was probably an environmental/sustainability measure. It's possible due to the problems that it was remedied by 2020+ models.

What do you mean you "don't bother going synthetic"? Isn't full synthetic 0w-20 the only kind of oil that's used in these hybrids?

Why would Honda use soy electrical tape if it attracts rodents?! That seems completely insane. I guess I better get some of the anti-rodent spray ASAP. Unless it would be easier to just replace all the tape?
 
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My plan is to keep the car till 2025 possibly 2026...will probably have a child by then..who knows. Maybe by then Honda will have a halfway decent EV or Tesla it is...
 

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Service reminder says it'll be coming up soon. Owners manual says you can go between Honda Genuine or conventional as long as it is 0W-20 detergent oil with API cert. It does give the Honda Genuine an asterisk noting it is formulated to improve fuel economy. Additional note says synthetic oil can be used if matching grade with API cert.

It'll be interesting to hear from my mechanic what he's seeing in hybrids between oils and what they recommend. Just didn't want to hassle with purchasing my own oil, getting it to them, and keeping around any half consumed 5 qt. jugs of Mobil 1.

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Hmm. I'll have to check with my mechanic. This is my first hybrid and I didn't ask what he's putting in.
 

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My plan is to keep the car till 2025 possibly 2026...will probably have a child by then..who knows. Maybe by then Honda will have a halfway decent EV or Tesla it is...
By 2026, Tesla will have some serious competition from folks who have been designing and building cars for more than a century. I think you'll have lots of options besides Honda.
 

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You change the 0w-20 oil when the maintenance minder system alerts you with 15% oil life left. Tire rotations are recommended at 5-6,000 miles according to the Michelin tire warranty booklet.

Preventative maintenance would be checking the oil level with the dipstick, tire pressure, cabin air filter, and engine air filter. Oil level and tire pressure I would check at least once a month. For cabin and engine air filter I inspect them every Spring and Fall.

My Insight transitions from EV to Gas smoothly but some Insight owners have reported rough starts.

I start the vehicle and drive off. Just don't drive aggressively until the engine has time to fully warm up. It should be fine shutting the vehicle off while the gas engine is running but I prefer to wait until EV mode comes back on. Idling during warmer temps isn't so bad cause the Insight can stay in EV mode for a long time but during the Winter it will tank your MPG.

Yes, the driving modes does change how the battery level works. Eco mode does not charge the battery as much but this is by design so the battery has more room to store regenerative braking energy.
One thing I would like to note (hoping others have noticed as well), when the car is cold and you have at least a medium charge, while the engine is warming up - the car WILL use the battery a LOT more without making the engine rev very much.. I was very much impressed with this because it shows Honda making sure the engine is not over exerted when it is cold. This only happens during the first 3-5 minutes and will continue even when the battery is below 5 bars..
 

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people will fret about oil intervals, types, etc. but generally i don't see enough focus on electrical maintenance. especially in the salt belt where people should be more familiar with the green death and ways to prevent it than they typically demonstrate.

 

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Thanks! I had forgotten about the cabin and engine air filters. For oil brand, it seems like Mobil 1 AFE is pretty popular, as is the expensive ZEPRO one. I'll probably go with Mobile 1, unless maybe I should start with the ZEPRO.

In the winter does idling for 10-15 minutes, several times per day, hurt the engine or just waste gas? Or would shutting my car off and on 5-10 times a day be worse for the engine?

So you're saying your Insight never does the engine vibrating/shuddering thing? Maybe you don't notice because you drive off right away? I sometimes think I might feel it while driving at low speeds, but it's hard to tell if it's just bumps in the road. What about when sitting at red lights a couple minutes after a cold start? What percentage of owners do you think have felt this issue? It's definitely concerning to me, but theoretically it could be normal.

I'll probably use normal driving mode to keep the battery levels up a bit higher, unless I'm going down a long hill. Isn't it bad to discharge lithium ion batteries too low? Do you know what the actual HV battery percentages are at 1 bar and full bars?
@hasarad uses Mobil 1 AFE and his fuel economy speaks for itself. ;) You should be fine with any oil rated at 0w-20. I wouldn't idle that long several times a day in the Winter. Shutting the car off would be better for the engine and fuel savings. You can find articles via Google explaining why excessive idling is bad for your car. In a hybrid, the engine is designed to start up and shut off so I would say that is less detrimental.

Yeah, I don't notice any weird engine vibrations with mine at low speeds or sitting at traffic lights after cold starts. If it wasn't for the engine noise I honestly would've a harder time telling when the transition from EV to gas engine happens. I wouldn't worry much about it if you feel some vibrations since this has been reported since the 2019 model year. If you're still feeling it on a 2022 model year I assume this could just be a quality control thing where some engines will have this quirk but still within the tolerance Honda is willing to accept for it to be in a vehicle.

Honda and Toyota are really conservative when it comes to designing powertrains. Even at 1 bar I doubt the actual battery is really that low with no reserves. The car also starts charging the battery at 2 bars. Just like how at 0 miles the gas tank still has about 2 gallons of gas left. My best advice is to not worry too much about the charge level or trying to micromanage it for battery health reasons.

I can't keep it garaged, unfortunately. And I usually have to drive during blizzards (for work but I also really love driving in the snow, more than most things in life, lol). I tend to get caught behind plows freshly salting, too. I should probably rinse my car off every couple days during salt season. Maybe I should get an unlimited car wash membership...
Keep your distance from plow trucks salting. You really don't want salt on your car or even going inside thru the front grille vents. During the Winter, I use the self serve car washes with the spray wand underneath the vehicle.

I have also taken to using Shin-Etsu (Honda 08798-9013) silicone grease on the door/window gaskets to keep them supple and sound damping. I hadn't done this on my previous Civics, but it's been mentioned in forums and what Honda techs do.
I detail my car and do this every fall right before Winter hits. :)
 

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During the Winter, I use the self serve car washes with the spray wand underneath the vehicle.
Are you able to find a car wash site that doesn't recycle water? I haven't looked at this since returning to Michigan with my 8 yo car (which I never washed because 8 years old and counting; died before it turned 20). But with a new car, I suppose I'll have to do that.
 

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Are you able to find a car wash site that doesn't recycle water? I haven't looked at this since returning to Michigan with my 8 yo car (which I never washed because 8 years old and counting; died before it turned 20). But with a new car, I suppose I'll have to do that.
I think all car washes recycle water except when you use the final spot free rinse option. It took me a couple of tries before I found a good self serve car wash. I've been to one where the water wasn't filter/treated properly and it just smells as the water came out of the spray wand.
 
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