Rod's Automobile Pages...

Rod's Honda Fit page
Maintenance Tips Pg. 1
Maintenance Tips Pg. 2
Maintenance Tips Pg. 3
Maintenance Tips Pg. 4
More Maintenance Tips (rear bushing replacement, the EZcarlift in action, etc.)
Modifications and Resources Pg. 1
Modifications and Resources Pg. 2
Modifications and Resources Pg. 3
Modifications and Resources Pg. 4
Modifications and Resources Pg. 5
Paint Protection
Electrical Problems
Lighting Voltage Drop Tests - Headlight lens polishing
BMW E28 Steering Wheels
Eric's Autos
Shelley's Autos
Other E28 BMW's
Rod's Honda Fit page
About Rod and links to his other web pages.
Information, tips and opinions on maintaining and making selected  
modifications to a 2008 Honda Fit Sport 5-speed, purchased March 2008.
This page last revised Nov. 3, 2012
(click on the above link to go to the latest revision)
First on the list...
If you are going to be doing most of the routine maintenance on your Honda Fit, then you should invest in buying a Honda Fit Maintenance Manual, which is well worth the investment, period.
Next, after the first 2500 miles, it was quite apparent that the "Sport" package Dunlop 195/55-15 SP31 A/S tires on 15-inch alloy wheels were sadily lacking in decent performance. Very unsatisfactory wet traction was my primary concern, as spring brought northern Virginia considerable rain... 5-inches in just one day is an example. Additionally, road noise is considerable and performance on fast twisty roads was poor. Tire Rack, a firm I have done business with for a great many years, classifies this as "Cornering Stability", in their tire performance ratings charts.
After reading Tire Rack product reviews, talking to local tire dealers and reviewing comments on several Honda Fit owner forums, I decided that I'd upgrade to Honda HFP 16-inch alloy wheels and involve one of the top five ultra high performance summer only tires. The decision went to the General Exclaim UHP, ranked No. 1 in this tire catagory, by Tire Rack customers, reporting on their results with the product, at the time I purchased these tires. Of course, these tires will be superceded shortly, as is the case with all tire choices as new tires arrive on the market and are tested. I chose the 205/45-16 size, which has a much bigger footprint over stock size, but does not get into tire/body contact problems with the HFP wheels with their ET 55 offset, identical to the 15-inch alloys being replaced. Wheels and tires arrived and my local Goodyear tire store did the mounting and balancing of the tires and wheel, which I delivered to them, raw.
Bottom line is that this is the wheel/tire combination that Honda should have used for the "Sport" package, but this would, of course, have added cost to the "Sport" package, although Honda parts dealers show the 15-inch alloy wheel as costing more than the HFP wheel. (?) Performance is now as it should be and I am very pleased with this configuration, with its greatly improved dry and wet performance.
Update October 31, 2010
With winter approaching and temperatures dropping, its time to take the summer only UHP tires off the Fit and put some decent winter tires on it, other then the terrible Dunlop SP31 A/S tires on the 15-inch alloy wheels that came on my Fit Sport. A review of what is available from TIRERACK and is currently considered amoung the best, suggested that the Yokohama AVID ENVigor 195/55-15 would be an excellent choice. They arrived promptly and were installed on the 15-inch alloy wheels, discarding the Dunlop tires. We'll know how well they actually perform, as we move into winter and note their performance, which I'll report here. I have a lot of experience with Yoko UHP summer only tires on my BMW, which were excellent, so I am hoping these Yokos will do well in the winter, trusting in Yoko's tire technology applied to winter driving performance.
And yes, the TPMS indicator in the dash continues to be a nuisance, as it won't turn off if you rotate the tires, or involve other wheels with proper sensors, as I have with the HFP wheels. This TPMS can only remember one tire configuration! Unlike other automobile systems that can remember multiple tire configurations, you have to go to a Honda dealer to have this reset, EVERY TIME! Nonsense, I'll defeat it someday, in the meantime a piece of black masking tape keeps it out of site.
Nice wheels - nasty looking brake rotors and hubs
Here's some info on how I prep my cars for new or different wheels and insure that they are not compromised by rusty hardware... all too prevalent on many cars.
Often many dollars are spent on wheel and tire packages and nothing on making sure the vehicle is properly prepared for new wheels, as the rusty hub and rotor on my five month old Honda Fit shows. Awful looking installation, isn't it.
A properly prepared rotor and hub makes a big appearance difference, not to mention ease of maintenance and attention to detail. Pictures of the rotors and calipers on my BMW are shown elsewhere on this website. However, I've never documented the simple process I use, so here it is as done on the Honda.
Getting rid of the rusty appearance
Only five months old and rust moved in somtime ago. The process I use to deal with this hasn't changed since I started doing it in 1973, when my vehicles at that time all had front disc brakes. The only thing I've changed is the paint types, having originally started out with VHT exhaust manifold paint for the rotors and engine paint for the calipers, all of which survived the heat easily.
Using various size wire brushes, along with cheap paint thinner, the rotor is cleaned and made ready for painting. I prefer the toothbrush size stainless steel brushes used by welders, along with .22 caliber bore brushes for cleaning the rotor vents. Use plenty of paint thinner along with brushing, to carry away the particles, disolve the grease and oils and finish up with clean rags and compressed air to dry the surfaces.
When complete, your rotor and hub should look like this, above, with all rust removed as much as possible, ready for painting.
Use Q-Tips that are 6-inches in length, because you have to get to the bottom of each vent. If you don't, the unpainted area will create rusty water which will come up the vent and it will sling all over your painted surfaces creating a mess. You can hose off road dirt and brake dust, but rusty water stains and residue is another story!
Make sure you get all surfaces by looking down into the vents as you work. Also, be carefull to get all of the radiused edge of the rotor on both sides. If you don't, they'll rust and sling rusty water, like the vent will. Just take your time and don't worry about getting the paint on the rotor... it will be wiped away by the brake pads the first time you apply the brakes. Just don't get too sloppy and contaminate the brake pads! This paint is watery, so it's hard to get a smooth streak free coat on the hub (as seen above in the expanded view of the hub, which only has one coat of paint), which may require a second coat after the first coat has cured and has been subjected to heat. Use 1500 grit wet/dry carbide paper to lightly rough up the surface, before applying a second coat of this paint.
I use RUST-OLEUM Specialty HIGH HEAT BAR-B-Q BLACK paint, which easily withstands 1,000°F. For calipers, you can use RUST-OLEUM Oil-Based Protective Enamel, if you can find it! The acrylic stuff won't work and will just burn off in a matter of days, if not the first day you drive the car, after painting.
With the painting done, it needs to sit for a few hours and it's best to let it sit over night, before using the brakes. Don't paint the whole face of the rotor hub, only the outer edge. Apply a very light coating of engine oil to the hub face, which will prevent rusting and sticking of the wheel mounting pads to the hub face. And don't forget to clean the wheel mounting pad surfaces, before you put the wheels back on.
June 2008 Trip Fuel Mileage
A trip from our home in northern Virginia to Alexandria, NH, 650 miles each way plus local travel in NH, resulted in the following fuel consumption numbers. Numbers are miles driven divided by fuel quantity pumped to refill tank.
9.00 gal. 358.0 miles 39.8 mpg
6.81 gal. 314.3 miles 46.2 mpg (strong tail wind)
6.41 gal. 258.0 miles 40.3 mpg (includes local driving)
7.14 gal. 282.0 miles 39.5 mpg (moderate head wind)
8.84 gal. 335.0 miles 37.9 mpg (moderate to strong head winds)
40.74 mpg average for the total trip of 1,547.3 miles. Our Fit started out with 2,700 miles on the clock. Average speed was an indicated 72 mph, which was the average normal traffic flow speed on the Interstate roads traveled, I-81, I-84, I-87 and I-91.
There is a good article about the Fits engine design and efficiency here, if you're interested in some details.
And what about the new tires and wheels?
It's too soon to tell what effect the new 16-inch wheels and tires have on fuel mileage, compared to the original 15-inch configuration discussed above, but now that we're back in town driving our normal routes, I'll soon have some data. What is important, however, is that the new 16-inch wheel/tire configuration performed exceptionally well, while in New Hampshire and during a rainy Saturday. I was able to handle three situations that I know for sure would have been trouble for the Dunlop tires in the rain. The new tires handled them without incident and as well as I would have expected my BMW to handle such situations. Money well spent!
Second on the list...
You can make a simple Fog Light relay wiring modification, as shown here in a Forum, to allow the fog lights to operate with the highbeam headlights. This provides significantly more light immediately in front of the car, since they are normally turned off when the highbeams are operated (stupid), as well as lighting to the sides which will light-up animal eyes that may be standing by the side of the road, on two-lane back roads. These roads in my area are pitch black and you need all the light you can generate to see clearly.
Further lighting changes involve improving the main headlight illumination, by installing a pair of Osram 70/65watt Plus 50 H4 bulbs, recommended by Daniel Stern Lighting , and available here. These bulbs make a big improvement in the amount of illumination placed on the road and do not appear to be drawing an excessive amount of current, such that they might create problems for the stock wiring or lamp components due to high heat, based on my initial testing. These bulbs are bright, so make sure your headlights are properly adjusted! Daniel's web site has good info to assist you with proper aiming, along with other info about automotive lighting, so take some time to look at his whole web site. It's an excellent resource on the subject.
Here are a few tips from me about changing the headlight bulbs, as it isn't very straight forward on the Fit...
The Owners Manual says to remove only one retainer, but this won't give you much room at all to work in. Remove the retainer at the top inside of the fender lip, that is held in place with a No. 1 Phillips head screw. These are plastic parts and they don't actually tighten down. The purpose of the screw is simply spread the retainer tabs, just like the pop-out pin in the other retainer. Use a small bungie cord to hold the panel out of the way. Best to do all this on a warm day, or in a warm garage, to allow the panel to have good flexibility, which it does under warm conditions.
The space is tight and you'll still need a small work light to see what you're doing. Pull the lamp socket off first, then remove the rubber gasket. Note that it goes INSIDE the lip that surrounds it. Many forget this and try to put it outside. Install the new bulb, lock it down with its retainer wire and put the gasket on the bulb base first, then work it around the outer edge, making sure it is seating properly. Put the connector back on and check that the lamp is working properly. Once you've done a replacement, the next one will go much more easily.
Update November 3, 2012
bad water leak problem with the doors
The Fit has developed a serious water leak problem, which surfaced about four weeks ago. After looking for information about the problem and was anyone else having a water leak issue, the issue and a potential fix was found on the Unofficial Honda FIT Forums, with the specifics of a fix posted here.
I have involved the fix, with pictures showing the work involving the drivers side rear door, where 1.5 quarts of rain water was removed with a wet/dry vacuum, from the recessed floor area beneath the rear passangers seat, where their left foot would be. The path of the water was clearly evident, as shown below at the buckled or distorted area of the plastic cover, where it was no longer sealing the plastic to the door panel.
Take great care when removing the door panel, to insure you do not cause the plastic cover to be shifted or damage the plastic cover, creating a false problem area! My door panel was still wet as shown in the picture below, as well as showing a clear path that the entry water had taken.
The following pictures were updated today, to show what I've found and have done, since I first started on this project.

Drivers side rear door panel with plastic cover.

Driver side rear door with tape applied.

Driver side rear door hole leaking water.

Driver side rear door hole taped closed.

Driver side rear door resealed.

Driver side front, very different from rear door.
The front door sealing arrangement is very different from the back doors. The large hole is already sealed with a heavier plastic cover, bonded to the plastic sheet. There are other differences, but the main cause of the leakage is the failure of the bond between the plastic sheet and the door panel, as can be easily confirmed following a period of rain, or following Honda's water leak test proceedure.

Driver side door bottom close-up.

The driver's door was also leaking, but considerably less water, about an 8-inch diameter shallow puddle on the carpet's rubber pad, under the floor mat. However, if I am parked a bit up hill, the water flows back into the carpet at the front of the seat and requires that I wet vacuum that area it to get the water out, as it soaks in quickly. You can push down on the carpet and any water at that location will come to the surface. You may not otherwise see any water or carpet discoloration, due to the carpets black color. You should also have some 3M Strip-Calk on hand, to repair any calk integrity problems on your Fit, such as I have shown in the above pictures, when you reinstall the plastic sheet.
As someone who is well known for documented consistant care and high maintenance levels of my vehicles, to insure their original quality and above average condition, I must state I am very upset about this water leak problem that Honda has not yet addressed and that the Honda dealers I have contacted have no knowledge of, other than to suggest it is 1.) air conditioner drain leakage, or 2.) a door frame perimeter rubber seal issue!
My phone conversation with American Honda resulted in them telling me that they have no system to deal with owner Internet forum discussions pertaining to owner observed problems. They rely on dealer inputs which can be addressed and resloved through technical service bulletins created by Honda. To date, they have no such dealer inputs about any such problem. However, they did offer to keep my report open and circulate it through other organizations in Honda, which I thanked them for doing. Hopefully, something may come of it.
And while you are dealing with "door seals", don't forget to use a good rubber seal protectant, such as Gummi Pflege, which will take excellent care of all your rubber seals.
In the meantime, my water test (per Honda instructions) and a thunderstorm the following early morning delivering 1.2 inches of rain, left no trace of any leaks in my Fit. UPDATE - Hurricane Sandy dropped 8+ inches (203 mm) on us, driven by very high winds and my Honda Fit stayed bone dry! It would have been very wet inside, otherwise, had I not involved the door panel fixes when I did.
Additional Resources -
Here's a link to a bunch of OEM and AFTERMARKET parts and product sources for the Fit.
Update June 12, 2009
If you are doing, or want to do your own oil and filter change on your Fit, it's very easy, as shown here. Of course, be very careful with your jack placement and use good quality welded wide base jack stands, not some cheap things you got at a yard sale, to make sure your Fit stays up in the air. I do a lot of work on vehicles and have purchased a very compact and stable lifting system, for use in my small garage, shown here.
Don't like the very sensitive throttle pedal that your Fit has, with its overly delicate touch? Take a look at this idea and see if you want to try it. I did basically the same thing, but using two shorter length springs attached to the upper part of the throttle pedal lever, by a small hose clamp. You can increase throttle stiffness by putting a different spring in the mix. For a more exact idea as to what amount of spring tension is required, use something like a door pressure gauge like this one. Measure the pressure required to move the throttle pedal on another car that has a good feeling throttle pedal action and replicate the pressure on your Fit throttle. It will vary from when it first starts to move, to the pressure required to reach half throttle and more to reach full throttle. In my case I set it up to replicate my BMW throttle pressure... which starts to move at 5 lbs pressure, half throttle requires 14 pounds pressure and full throttle is 20 pounds pressure. The near identical pressure now required to move the Fit throttle pedal certainly makes it much easier to switch between my BMW and the Fit during the week. In fact, I am going to change the throttle pedal pressure on my '88 Chevy pickup truck, too!
And while I was on my knees under the dash, I installed an after market dead pedal, also.
Current Lifetime Fuel Mileage Average
(includes 1,680 mile trip to central NH June 2-10, 2012)
Sept 21, 2012 at 30,537 miles= 39.4 mpg
               Convert mpg to metric units.
Fuel mileage is calculated by dividing the number of miles driven
by the amount of fuel pumped into the gas tank to top off level.
I have a ScanGaugeII, but it is not always accurate with numbers
sometimes way too generous to be correct, so I no longer use it.
The chart above is from the Honda Fit Freaks Forum on June 12, 2009, for the 5-speed manual transmission model (MT). Check here for the latest chart data.
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