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As Not Recommended By Honda

Honda recommends their own "Pro Honda HP Coolant" in the owner's manual of my 500. I checked my coolant the and noticed it was on the minimum mark so duly took myself to my Honda dealership to purchase the correct fluid. According to the wisdom of the forum (not always to be trusted) Pro Honda HP Coolant is a type 2 coolant which means it contains no silicates and has OAT, Organic Acid Technology. To backup this information I found this webpage - prohondaoils.com/maintenance/hp-coolant/

The notion behind non silicate based coolants is the silicates can be abrasive. As such the actual coolant can cause wear on seals and the water pump itself. Instead some genius engineering wizards sussed out a bit of acid may slow corrosion down. OAT is most likely sales talk for lemon juice (lemon juice is acidic) squeezed into a mix of distilled water and a glycol of some kind.

Armed with this knowledge from the forums and my internet research imagine my surprise when the Honda dealership parts department plopped a bottle of Castrol coolant on the counter, priced at £5.99.

"Is it type 2?" I asked. 
"....?"
"I mean is it the silicate free stuff?"
"No that's £9.99." pointing to a bottle of Motul silicate free coolant. Looking back at the Castrol I'm told "We've been using this Castrol stuff for 15 years with no problems."

What!? If Honda recommends using rabbit urine collected on a moonlit night by a hobgoblin I expect my Honda dealership to follow this protocol to the letter. I could *almost* accept they might possibly suggest a non Honda silicate free alternative to owners of motorcycles that are out warranty. They may have been using this other product without issue but then most people do 3,000 miles a year on their bike so it's very unlikely they'll ever have an issue within the warranty period. If you turn up with a leaking motorcycle at 45,000 miles then their advice will be "What do you expect at this milage?"

Luckily I notice a bottle of Pro Honda Coolant on the counter. I note this is NOT Pro Honda HP Coolant, the "HP" is missing. However the bottle does state that it is type 2 and it is Honda's own product. This bottle is the same price as the wrong Castrol. The parts person assures me this too will be fine for my Honda. "I'll have that please."

A 1 litre bottle of honda pro coolantIt's NOT HP but at least it is Type 2 and Honda.

Why should I be bothered? Warranty - that's why. Imagine I'm riding through Germany on my 500 when it springs a leak. Being under warranty I take it a Germanic Honda dealership. They decide the leak is due to using the wrong coolant. They demand payment for the work. Marvellous, thanks local Honda for using/supplying the wrong coolant.

Before I sign off let me make something clear. I fully understand that you and I have used tap water and a little additive for years with no ill effects. I know the world has gone CRAZY when coolant (ie distilled water, cheap glycol and a bit of lemon juice) is more expensive than good quality oil. I am sure the whole thing is an unnecessary rip off. I am sure Honda et al are on a money making scam. My point is I expect my Honda dealership to follow Honda's recommendations to the letter, no matter how ridiculous those recommendations may be.

My manual recommends 10W-30 oil. My 8,000 mile service receipt suggests they used 10W-40. I know this isn't a problem but ARGH!!! If Honda says use extra virgin olive oil made in Northern Italy during the autumnal months and pressed by women over the age of 50 wearing green shawls on a Tuesday evening then I know this is beyond stupid. But I'd still expect my Honda dealership to only use extra virgin olive oil made in Northern Italy during the autumnal months and pressed by women over the age of 50 wearing green shawls on a Tuesday evening.

We'd love to hear of your motorcycling experiences. Have you got an interesting story, a point to make or a road to recommend? Drop Ren a line - ren@bikesandtravels.com

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Reader's Comments

Ian Soady said :-
Coolant is weird. Almost all cars made in the last 15 years or so use OAT stuff (usually pink). However, bikes still seem to use the non-OAT "conventional" stuff. I wanted to use OAT in my Super Four as it's what I use in both our cars and would prefer to only have one type. OAT also has a longer installed life (typically 5 years as opposed to 2 for conventional). However, I asked everywhere I could think of and nobody could actually tell me whether it would be OK.

So I went for the conventional stuff as that's what was already in it. There can (allegedly) be a problem if you don't flush VERY thoroughly when changing from one to the other as they can apparently react with one another and form a jelly. But I have no experience of this.

Some internet sources will tell you that OAT was invented by GM or some other US car manufacturer to increase its profits but I have no way of knowing whether (or how) this is true.
16/02/2017 14:06:55 UTC
pocketpete said :-
When I changed my Honda oil due to the lateness of my booked in first service. He have me Castrol (really expensive oil) The running in oil was a dark almost blue colour. The castrol had a distinct red colour to it.

When I had my main first service done where they changed the oil filter the oil had a more normal golden colour. I know they simply put bulk oil in but I have just got some more oil off them to do another change at the half way mark to my 8000mile service. This is shell oil and looks reddy brown. Thye are selling it so I presume it complies with the Honda rule book. The shell stuff seems quite thin compared to the castrol. I have about 1 litre left of the castrol.

Is it possible to mix them together? They are all 10w-30


16/02/2017 18:31:26 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Hi Pocketpete. To the very best of my knowledge it is acceptable to mix oils and I have done so in the past without issue. However I'm not an oil expert! I will be interested to hear if it makes any difference to the clutch issues you have.

Just because they're selling it to you as per the point of this missive doesn't necessarily mean it is correct! If you consult your handbook it does state various specifications it must meet. Again my gut tells me you'll be fine but again I'm not the expert.

Ian - the OAT coolant I purchased for my car is pink. I haven't yet opened the Honda stuff but I hear tales of it being both green and blue. Currently the coolant in the 500 is blue. I would hope there would be nice simple colour protocols but of course Honda's thrown these out of the window.

I too have heard that terrible things may happen if you so much as even allow a single drop of the types to mix. Your engine will disintegrate, the water pump will melt, monsters will attack your firstborn and pestilence will befall you. I'm not convinced but then I have no desire to find out the hard way.

Of course it's a moneymakers scam. Eeeee when I wur a lad wur nay problem wiy a bit o water n some blue stuff wot stopped it freezin. An tha never changed eet. Tha just topped it up wunce in a while.
16/02/2017 19:32:04 UTC
Spacepig said :-
I know when the new Liebherr waste grab got commissioned at work one thing they specifically said to me was only use pink coolant never put anything else in it
20/02/2017 08:44:30 UTC
Phil B said :-
Exact same issue today.
Coolant on low mark, phone dealer as will be passing later. "Got any HP coolant in"?
"No, we don't sell it, we use Motul"
Arrrgggghhhh!!!!!
01/05/2018 19:32:40 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Cheers Phil. It's a fair old thing to note that Honda dealerships DON'T sell genuine Honda products. Then they have the audacity to suggest that warranties could be voided if third party mechanics do not use genuine Honda products.
02/05/2018 10:36:22 UTC
Borsuk said :-
Seeing this thread reminds me to check the coolant in my Suzuki Alto. Its been serviced twice by a dealer and in between by myself in it's 7 year of life and I have no idea if the coolant has ever been changed or not. I know it has never been topped up as the level had never changed in that time. No idea what type it is either, it is a virulent green but colour means nothing as I have seen pink OAT coolant and pink glycol coolant made by the same manufacturer.
Before I ever heard of OAT coolant the different manufacturers made them any colour they could think off or was the cheapest dye colour that month.

Think I will take a couple of samples from the radiator when I get home next month and mix it with both Glycol and Oat coolants and see what happens.
02/05/2018 23:47:58 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
From what I am lead to understand - this is not gospel - it's to do with the aluminium engines and something about the pumps.

Ally engines corrode so there is some sort of anti corrosion additive. This additive turns out can be abrasive and wear out water pumps. So we end up with different coolants for iron and ally engines then different coolant for certain water pumps.

I think somebody somewhere engineered in problems so they could engineer in expensive solutions(sic). I remember when I were a lad we used to put water in. If you were the really careful knowledgeable type you might mix in a bit of cheap anti-freeze too.

Then when the water pump failed you'd replace it.
03/05/2018 15:04:08 UTC
Rod said :-
Thing were much more simple in the good old days. Air cooled engines, or in the case of some thirsty 2 strokes, petrol cooled lol.
03/05/2018 16:06:59 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Yeah Rod, and everything was black and white. Damn those people who invented colour!
03/05/2018 19:58:27 UTC
 

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