Honda is to fit oil level warning lights to all future models after facing criticism that its failure to do so in the past has led to costly engine damage.
Although the current generation Honda Civic and C-RV are fitted with oil level warning lights, and all future models will be, many previous-generation models were not.
Honda has insisted this decision to follow the vast majority of other manufacturers' and fit an oil level warning light is not an admission of a mistake.
'The advice to check oil levels regularly was there in the handbook,' said a Honda spokesman. 'Every day we're encouraging customers to look after their cars – and fitting the oil level warning light is another step in this.'
Previously, instead of fitting an oil level warning light, Honda put advice in each car's handbook saying that the owner should check the oil level every time they filled their car with fuel, and top up oil levels every one to two weeks.
It also fitted windscreen stickers reminding owners to check their oil levels regularly.
However, it will now fit a warning light to indicate low oil levels after starvation problems resulted in costly engine failures.
What Car? case study
Adam Twiner, for instance, contacted What Car? after he was faced with a £7265 repair bill for his failed engine despite checking its oil level a month beforehand.
Honda had turned down his warranty claim because, it said, he should have checked the oil levels as per the advice in his owner's handbook. Eventually it agreed to reduce the repair bill by more than £3100.
'Our cars do not use more oil than anyone else's, but we encourage particularly regular checking of oil levels on our cars because we know it is not a job people always do,' said a Honda spokesman.
We question Honda
When What Car? suggested that checking the oil level every one to two weeks or at every fuel stop was an absurd expectation of its customers, the spokesman said: 'It's not absurd at all. Our advice is over-compensating because we know people don't usually check their oil that regularly.
'But we are just trying to encourage people to do a good thing, be responsible car owners and keep an eye on their oil level. We are trying to avoid the worst-case scenario of a car running out of oil.'
He also denied that the decision to fit oil-level warning lights in future was an admission that its previous advice via the owners' handbook and windscreen warning stickers was insufficient.
'No, not at all,' he said. 'It is something we think will help Honda owners.'