Oil life sensors...trust them?

Discussion in 'Lounge' started by ajole, Aug 10, 2014.

  1. ajole

    ajole Supporting Member

    34,498
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    NE Utah
    I have a 2013 Impala, and a '99 Grand Am, both have sensors for oil life.

    We just drove the Impala to Oregon, that's 12-14 hours of highway and freeway driving, and a funny thing happened. Our oil life was at 55 %, but after about 6 hours of 70-80 mph in 95-100 degree desert freeway, it showed 92%!

    I'm loving this. I understand the heat and circulation can sort of "burn the gunk out" of the oil, and I do trust the sensor. But how many of you ignore it, and just do 3000 miles regardless?

    The other funny thing was...my wife tried to reset the trip meter after fueling up, and switched to kph....suddenly we were going an indicated 130 as we entered the freeway, and she was worried she was killing the car, but people were still passing us.:D

    Kinda cool, I had never noticed, but there's no dual numbers on the speedo face. You just tell the car which system to use, and the numbers are right.
     
  2. Hermitt

    Hermitt Hey! Get Off My Lawn! Member

    I use Mobile 1 pure synthetic in my '04 SVT Lightning, so I don't worry much about oil changes. I usually try to change it around 5k miles, but I once went 50k before changing it..... :eek:

    I knew a guy once that drove a Chevy dually with a factory 454 as his work truck. Was a foundation contractor and was always hauling a trailer loaded up with forms and whatnot. He put over 100k miles on the original oil that came in it! :eek: :eek:
     

  3. DEDUBE

    DEDUBE Si vis pacem para bellum Member

    I use Mobil ! oil and greases. I was a superintendent at a 7.5 million gallon water plant and we were shelling out $1500 dollar bearings about 10 a year. We had 56 total bearings so something had to be done. Spent a week with the bearing engineers, grease engineers, and general contractor and it turned out to be the crap grease we were using. Switch to Mobil SHC grease and our failure rate dropped to 1 or less a year. All my vehicles, small engines etc run Mobile 1 oil. I change every 10K and have for the last 8 years. Make sure to use a extended oil filter if you go to a extended oil change schedule.
     
  4. cktvt

    cktvt Member

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    I also use Mobile 1. I don't have oil life sensors in my cars but would probably ignore them if I did.
     
  5. SWAGA

    SWAGA No longer broke... Lifetime Supporter

  6. cktvt

    cktvt Member

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    They purportedly work, but I have my doubts. Maybe when the technology is better-established I'll trust these things. One thing I believe they don't do is measure engine load-duration (basically rpm x torque x duration). This is what beats up engines and their lubricants, much more than just engine speed and duration.

    Basically I don't think these systems currently distinguish between an SUV travelling at 65 mph and an SUV travelling at 65 mph while pulling a 20 foot Montauk. Maybe I'm wrong about that but I think it's just safer to put in fresh oil and filter sooner than is necessary (3000-5000 miles).
     
  7. ajole

    ajole Supporting Member

    34,498
    10,713
    NE Utah
    They do that. When they were writing the algorithm, they tested identical vehicles at identical speeds, loaded vs unloaded, and the loaded vehicle sensors showed faster deterioration, and the oil tested after those readings showed the sensors were accurate.

    They've been developed for twenty years now, they are good.
     
  8. cktvt

    cktvt Member

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    OK, all I need now is a new car. :D
     
  9. ajole

    ajole Supporting Member

    34,498
    10,713
    NE Utah
    Nah...an old car will have one. You just need a different car:D
     
  10. planosteve

    planosteve Lifetime Supporter

    The Jet Mech's had one on the carriers to test the lubricants in the turbines. The thing was about the size of a very large gun safe and mainly discrete components. After repairing it several times for them I wondered why they didn't redesign the thing with modern components. You could of shrunk it down to the size of a small PC. This was in the 80's and the thing was at least 10 years old when I worked on it. It was very accurate when it worked and saved the mechanics a bunch of work.
     
  11. ajole

    ajole Supporting Member

    34,498
    10,713
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    In the Army, we'd take oil samples from our vehicles, ship them off to a lab, and they'd tell us if the vehicle needed an oil change, regardless of hours or miles.

    Over 50 vehicles, I think we changed oil a total of 10-12 times in the 4 years I was there.
     
  12. SWAGA

    SWAGA No longer broke... Lifetime Supporter

    In the Airforce we didn't change the oil, we had people to do that......
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2014
  13. ajole

    ajole Supporting Member

    34,498
    10,713
    NE Utah
    Are you claiming the honor sir?
    Is this a stolen valor incident?
    Do we need to whip your butt?

    But it's still funny...;)
     
  14. bscar

    bscar Supporting Member

    Got my CX-7 new in May of 2010, not OLM, but factory manual says every 5k miles or 4 months, whichever comes first. Since I don't drive very much, and most of it is short hop driving, I go by months instead of miles. It's a factory turbo charged engine, so I figure oil is cheap, engines/turbos are expensive. The manual doesn't specify full synthetic, but it's what I use everytime I get it changed
     
  15. panoz77

    panoz77 Member

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    In my HHR I have been going by the sensor as recommended in the owners manual. I literally have 70K and have changed the oil 4 times. I'm getting about 20K, but I drive almost all highway. I literally was a bit worried on this last time and just had it changed last week because it had been so long and I was still at 30%, so I just went ahead and got it changed. I usually wait till about 10%.
     
  16. ArmyScout

    ArmyScout Supporting Member

    3,960
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    IL
    We have a 2000 Buick LeSabre and it has a computer that checks oil life, tire pressure, temp, wiper washer fluid, etc etc. But I use the dipstick and look at the oil for myself. Our Buick recommends oil changes every 5000 miles, so does the Ford F-150. I usually change oil somewhere between 3000 and 5000 miles. Auto makers for years have said 3000 mile oil changes are not necessary. But each to their own, whatever makes one feel comfortable.
     
  17. SWAGA

    SWAGA No longer broke... Lifetime Supporter

    I have a dipstick, when it starts to smell I change it.........