Oil Analysis report on a 2018 Clarity

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by Clarity_Newbie, May 1, 2020.

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  1. Clarity_Newbie

    Clarity_Newbie Active Member

    Multiple folks have asked about need/timing for oil changes etc. For those interested in the science...below is a link to a Blackstone Labs report which details a recent oil sample.

    Time between oil change...1 year
    Miles on ICE since last oil change...3432.
    This particular Clarity runs ~75% of the time in EV mode...~25% ICE.

    A commonly found, name brand synthetic 0w-20 which meets or exceeds Honda specs was used.

    The oil filter is a name brand, extended life filter which was originally put on 1 year ago at first OCI was not changed this time around.

    With only 3432 miles on the ICE during the last year...an extended life oil filter can easily go one more round...heck probably a third round as well. Time is not the enemy of a quality oil filter designed and built with full synthetic media.

    Rumor has it Honda dealerships routinely keep OEM filters on for 2 or more oil changes...and may or may not tell the customer. Dunno...just have heard that from multiple Honda owners. Quite possibly the folks here are the sole dealership in the entire country using such deceptive practices. Reckon Honda USA cares?

    Link to report: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1uPwXY_vMPkm94IoYHJhV0qeDZbkVqF2F?usp=sharing

    The report was pretty much as was expected...an engine still in break-in mode given the low ICE miles over the life of the car so far. According to the science...they could have left this oil in for at least 6 more months if not longer...sans...

    ...the curiosity of the 2.5% fuel dilution. Gonna keep an eye on this number but nothing to be overly concerned about at this time. This car is not usually short-tripped in HV mode...thats what EV is for. HV mode is used routinely for longer drives which should get oil temps up. Winter weather is probably a strong contributor. We'll keep an eye on it and time will tell. Would love to see more data points for fuel dilution.

    Understanding the Clarity you drive...(ie) EV vs ICE miles...can go a long way in determining what you feel is sufficient for an oil change interval.

    Use the maintenance minder? Below is a link which displays data collected off one Clarity over a period of time. Its basically points to the MM being a calendar tracking system using "number of days left till due" logic...and its linear. Nothing fancy nor complicated. A couple are time and mileage based which explains the variability of the numbers collected (non-linear)***

    Link to MM data: https://insideevsforum.com/community/index.php?threads/a-day-in-the-life-of-the-clarity-maintenance-minder.8189/#post-96894

    Hope this helps.

    Good luck to all!

    ***MM data has been collected of multiple Clarity's and all of them exhibit the same data trend. The plan is to collect data off the same Clarity used in the example during the month of June to double check the findings of February.
    Texas22Step, DaleL, Miles777 and 3 others like this.
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  3. What was the cost for the oil analysis?
  4. craze1cars

    craze1cars Well-Known Member

    Everyone should stop agonizing over oil. The engine in these cars will outlast the traction battery by a factor of 3 or 4 easily....
  5. Sure, if you change the oil once a year. It isn’t that expensive or difficult.
    Texas22Step likes this.
  6. Mowcowbell

    Mowcowbell Well-Known Member

    Oil change in the Clarity is definitely super easy peasy. Maybe a 20 minute job, using ramps.
    DaleL and Clarity_Newbie like this.
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  8. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    The oil dilution is surprising and disturbing. That's usually a problem with direct injection engines (like the Honda turbos). The Clarity ICE is port injected. On the other hand, most drivers here will put only 30-40K on the engine over its life time so it's probably not a big problem. I haven't smelled any obvious gasoline odors when sniffing the dipstick. Honda owners of recent CR-Vs commonly note strong gasoline odors in the oil.
  9. Atkinson

    Atkinson Active Member

    Might depend out ambient temperatures, but start/stop cycles in HV mode can allow oil temps to drop out of optimal range to evaporate fuel and water.
    Most non-hybrid engines have a 195 degree thermostat (coolant) to keep oil hot.
    I have 2 hybrids (including Clarity) that have 175 degree thermostats.
    I know the Chevy Volt has a 195 degree thermostat, but that may an outlier.
    DaleL likes this.
  10. David Towle

    David Towle Well-Known Member

    I agree I think HV mode at low speed is a likely culprit, especially in winter. I use HV only on the highway (HV Charge if needed), around town either HV Charge or EV.
    DaleL likes this.
  11. Clarity_Newbie

    Clarity_Newbie Active Member


    $40.00 for this particular report.

    Hope this helps.
    DaleL likes this.
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  13. Clarity_Newbie

    Clarity_Newbie Active Member


    Don't really know who has agonized over oil...seems to me its a simple question lots of folks ask when they buy a new car. This owner decided to have a analysis for comparison to their "normal" cars. They "took one" for the team by paying the freight as it were and by allowing me to share the info with everyone on this forum who is interested.

    Many threads/posts on this forum reflect the "How often should I" or "How come I need to change the oil when I drive majority in EV" type questions. Not everyone is as well versed in how a PHEV works as you seem to be.

    The post is data centric...designed to help folks who have questions...especially those who are new to PHEV. For those who want to know...there is science behind the data.

    Additionally, folks may benefit from knowing the maintenance minder is essentially a day count-down calendar skewed to encourage folks to visit the dealership way more than necessary. What it is not is some magical algorithm that breathlessly informs the owner change oil now or else...warning, warning, warning. Of course there is always the implied threat of "warranty denial" car dealerships use so effectively.

    Its not my purview to tell folks to "quit agonizing over whatever". If folks have questions, they have questions. Pretty simple.

    Hope this helps.
    TomL, DaleL, JoeS and 2 others like this.
  14. Clarity_Newbie

    Clarity_Newbie Active Member


    Nope...sure isn't. But the science of today's oil/oil filters combined with the relative easy use of the ICE in these cars suggests otherwise to some folks. That is for each owner to decide.

    But...and its a big but....this is an opinion issue which I stay away from from because every one is always right.

    A safe bet is to say...everyone should understand the car they drive and come up with a maintenance schedule which works for them. Follow the manual word for word...great. Follow the Maintenance Minder...great. Change it once a year...great. Change it at every XXX odo miles...great. Follow the science...great.

    No harm no foul regardless of what method is chosen.
  15. Clarity_Newbie

    Clarity_Newbie Active Member

    PHEV Newbie

    Surprising yes. As stated in the OP...gonna take a wait and see on this one since winter probably played a role. While I don't expect many folks to pay for an analysis it would be nice to have more data points for sure off other Clarity's...but this might be a red herring. lol

    This owner wants to have another done in late summer/early fall to see what comes up. If its winter weather...a summer sample will help define the issue.

    Anywho...I'll post info if/when it becomes available.
  16. Thanks. The information from the report is informative.

    Personally, I wouldn’t spend $40 in hopes of extending an oil change interval by 6 months. Our first oil change alert came up at ~7K miles and 7 months with an estimated ~3K on the ICE, based on fuel consumed times 40mpg. I’ve always consider the first oil change to be an important maintenance procedure on a new vehicle. In the 80’s it was recommended after the first 500 miles on a new motorcycle.

    On our motorhome the interval is 1 year or 18K miles. We rarely travel 18K miles in a year and an oil change can cost $300, so it’s worth $30-40 for fluid analysis to determine if the interval can be extended. Same with transmission fluid which can cost over $500.

    I paid the Honda dealer $64 for an oil change and a tire rotation. I’d like to believe the filter was changed as well but would have to dig up the paperwork. Many DIYers’ spend $20 to do the work.

    The data is appreciated.
  17. JFon101231

    JFon101231 Active Member

    Sorry I guess I missed this somehow! How do you get the car to tell you ICE miles?
    (I assume that it is total regardless if in support of EV or car was running ICE only bc out of juice)
  18. I don’t know how to get the car to tell me the ICE miles. I keep track of my fuel purchases and multiply gallons used by 40mpg.

    75 gallons x 40mpg = 3000 miles.

    It isn’t precise but has to be at least as accurate as the trip computer, which displays fuel consumption calculations that are optimistic by ~10% compared to actual.
    Texas22Step, DaleL and insightman like this.
  19. JFon101231

    JFon101231 Active Member

    OP mentioned a specific count (3,432mi) so I assumed that was actual vs an estimate (which is usually rounded to avoid suggesting a level of precision that didn't exist)
  20. DaleL

    DaleL Active Member

    After comparing the oil in my 2018 Clarity, when the MM indicates the oil should be changed, with my wife's 2017 CR-V, I've decided to change the Clarity's oil every other time. Even then, the Clarity's oil appears far cleaner when changed than the CR-V's oil does when changed. (I do the oil changes and tire rotation myself; it's not that hard.)
  21. Atkinson

    Atkinson Active Member

    In cold climates, a grill block makes sense in the winter on hybrids since they cool down between cycles so much.
    3 pieces of coroplast from one sheet will do the job.
    Temperature monitoring is mandatory.
    Blocking the grill seems to extend the oil change counter a few months extra and helps the cabin stay toasty without drawing electric heat while the engine runs.
  22. Atkinson

    Atkinson Active Member

    I just did a 3000 mile drive over 4 days on fresh oil and the maintenance minder went from 9 months to 6 months to 3 months to 6 weeks during the trip.
    JFon101231 likes this.
  23. That’s because the car is beginning to think that you’re going to drive 250K miles this year. If you put on another 750 miles tomorrow it will probably tell you that service is due in 6 days, or 6 hours. Or if you drive strictly EV for the next 3 months it will stay at 6 weeks.

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