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Hi everyone, I bought this 2004 Honda Pilot back in 2016 with 125k miles from the original owner. It's been great and very low maintenance, but with 170k miles in the rear view mirror and no sign of leaving our family, I need to take my maintenance up a notch. Quick side note, I'm up to date on recalls and this doesn't do any heavy lifting, just ferries people/dogs about and home depot runs.

Here's what I've done on my own in the past few years:
  • Oil changes every 4-6k
  • engine/cabin air filters as needed
  • battery is newish
  • brake pads/rotors quite new
  • power steering fluid needed topping up, likely a small leak on the rack
  • Spark plugs are new, coil packs looked fine
  • I just did shocks all around and stabilizer links on the front last month
  • My first ever transmission fluid drain-n-fill yesterday as I'd been feeling low-rpm shudders.
My questions:
  1. When should I do the timing belt? I'm probably 90% sure the previous owner had it done at the schedule time.
  2. What should I do about brake fluid? I've never bled brakes, and (likely) wouldn't have another person helping. My mechanic said that every 2 years I should just pull however much fluid from the reservoir I can with a turkey baster and refill with new. Does that idea make enough improvement? Which brake fluid do y'all use?
  3. What other fluids?
 

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2008 Honda Pilot EX-L 2013 Honda Pilot EX-L
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Hi everyone, I bought this 2004 Honda Pilot back in 2016 with 125k miles from the original owner. It's been great and very low maintenance, but with 170k miles in the rear view mirror and no sign of leaving our family, I need to take my maintenance up a notch. Quick side note, I'm up to date on recalls and this doesn't do any heavy lifting, just ferries people/dogs about and home depot runs.

Here's what I've done on my own in the past few years:
  • Oil changes every 4-6k
  • engine/cabin air filters as needed
  • battery is newish
  • brake pads/rotors quite new
  • power steering fluid needed topping up, likely a small leak on the rack
  • Spark plugs are new, coil packs looked fine
  • I just did shocks all around and stabilizer links on the front last month
  • My first ever transmission fluid drain-n-fill yesterday as I'd been feeling low-rpm shudders.
My questions:
  1. When should I do the timing belt? I'm probably 90% sure the previous owner had it done at the schedule time.
  2. What should I do about brake fluid? I've never bled brakes, and (likely) wouldn't have another person helping. My mechanic said that every 2 years I should just pull however much fluid from the reservoir I can with a turkey baster and refill with new. Does that idea make enough improvement? Which brake fluid do y'all use?
  3. What other fluids?
1. Timing belt is every 100,000 miles (or 7 years). If you aren't sure when it was done by the previous owner I'd go ahead and do it. Make sure to replace the water pump, coolant and tensioner as part of that service. People will probably recommend replacing the spark plugs and possible a valve adjustment as well.

2. I think every 2 years is standard for brake fluid. I've never done it so I'm not sure the best method, but I'd stick with Honda brake fluid.

3. As far as fluids go, I'd do another 2 drain and fills on the transmission since this is the first time it's been serviced since you own it.
If you do the timing belt be sure and use new coolant.
You should probably change the rear differential fluid too since I believe your Pilot has 4WD. Only use VTM-4 fluid. There are lots of guides on here for how to do that.
 

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Nobili spiritus embiggens pequeño sparus tyre.
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Note the brake bleeding sequence from the Service Manual.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
1. Timing belt is every 100,000 miles (or 7 years). If you aren't sure when it was done by the previous owner I'd go ahead and do it. Make sure to replace the water pump, coolant and tensioner as part of that service. People will probably recommend replacing the spark plugs and possible a valve adjustment as well.

2. I think every 2 years is standard for brake fluid. I've never done it so I'm not sure the best method, but I'd stick with Honda brake fluid.

3. As far as fluids go, I'd do another 2 drain and fills on the transmission since this is the first time it's been serviced since you own it.
If you do the timing belt be sure and use new coolant.
You should probably change the rear differential fluid too since I believe your Pilot has 4WD. Only use VTM-4 fluid. There are lots of guides on here for how to do that.
Thanks, I'll tackle the timing belt after I watch some videos and gather parts. Never done one but excited to change that fact. Shouldn't be beyond what I can do in my driveway.

I do plan on doing more fluid changes on the trans, but maybe a few weeks apart as I want to feel the changes gradually.

Note the brake bleeding sequence from the Service Manual.
Thanks for sharing, I hadn't found that.
 

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2008 Piot SE FWD, 2015 Pilot LX 4WD. 2005 GSX-R1000
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You came to the right place seeking this knowledge Grasshopper.
Welcome
 

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PCV Valve, clean EGR passages, valve-adjustment, maybe throw a new thermostat in while doing the timing belt, and replace every seal you encounter along the way.
 

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  • power steering fluid needed topping up, likely a small leak on the rack
My questions:
  1. When should I do the timing belt? I'm probably 90% sure the previous owner had it done at the schedule time.
  2. What should I do about brake fluid? I've never bled brakes, and (likely) wouldn't have another person helping. My mechanic said that every 2 years I should just pull however much fluid from the reservoir I can with a turkey baster and refill with new. Does that idea make enough improvement? Which brake fluid do y'all use?
  3. What other fluids?
Do everything that's already been suggested.

Power steering: there's an o-ring on the intake side of the pump that can be replaced. Replace the intake hose at the same time. That's not usually associated with leaking, but it's easy and worth doing to eliminate the cheap options.

Brake fluid bleed: easy one-person job if you have a decent floor jack. If you're going to do it, do it all. Any DOT-3 or -4 fluid will work fine. DOT-5 will not work.

Timing belt is a realistic driveway job. It seems to take more than a day for most people to do their first one. The Aisin kit is what most forum participants have had good luck with. It includes everything, including a water pump.

If you're only 90% sure on the timing belt, I agree with the suggestion to do it soon. Here's my logic, your mileage may vary:
  1. If it wasn't done, it's time.
    1. There should be a sticker on the firewall indicating replacement date and mileage. No sticker says more like 10% to me.
  2. If it was done on time, you're 40k away from another new one. You're doing about 8k annually, so at best, 5 more years before replacement.
    1. Replacement now gives you 12 years (probably more than you need).
    2. If you think you might want to keep it rolling for longer than 5 years, you might as well do it now and eliminate the uncertainty.
    3. The odds of an original water pump holding up for another 5 years are not great. When it dies, you get a new timing belt anyway. You might as well do both now, on your schedule.
 

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Nobili spiritus embiggens pequeño sparus tyre.
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Nice, and those clear headlight housings really improve the look. (y)
 
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