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Oil Changes on a 2009 Chevy Malibu

Recall Click and Clack several years ago revising the oil change schedule from 3K to 5K. On my Malibu, I got nervous when at 8530 miles it told me I had 20% remaining on the oil gauge and changed the oil. Ditto at 15,612. Now it says 60% remaining and the odometer is at 20,425. At this rate, I'll have 25,000 plus when I get to 20%. When should I really change the !@#$% oil?


  • edited June 2010
    How long do you plan to keep driving the car? If the answer is 25 years, then I'd change it more often than your computer tells you. If you don't plan to keep it longer than 100,000 miles go ahead and follow the computer.

    For sure you want to change it often enough that you don't invalidate your car warranty.

  • edited June 2010
    Modern cars and oils have longer life than they did years ago. If you feel better changing it more often, go ahead, it is not going to cost that much and it is not going to damage your car.
  • edited June 2010
    GM's oil change monitor system has been around for more than 10 years. Imagine a committee of engine designers, marketing people, lubrication experts, test technicians and managers discussing their findings regarding their oil change monitor system with results indicating that it works well in the lab and in the field. You can be sure that, by now, there is enough experience with this system to indicate that it is safe for your engine. If it ever came back that GM's oil change monitor system was faulty, the competition would have an edge.

    You can thank GM for pioneering this system while the competition sat on their hands.
  • edited June 2010
    The oil change reminders are for the most part, bunk. If you're going near 10k miles without changing the oil you have shortened the life of the engine.
    Ever heard of engine sludge? Well, oil change intervals like this are the reason for that.

    You can go 5k miles between oil changes if most of your driving is on the open road. If you do a lot of short hop, stop and go stuff then stick to the 3000-3500/3-4 months interval.
    If your driving is REALLY extreme and the enviro conditions are applicable then even 2500 miles/3 months might be called for.

    I recently saw some pics of an '09 Cadillac engine that seldom saw an oil change and you should have seen that poor engine inside. Nothing but swamp muck and one couldn't even make heads or tails out of the timing chains or valve train.
  • edited July 2010
    According to the OLM on my 2010 Cobalt, it should go to 9k before an oil change is required. I'm not comfortable with that interval. I normally go 4k between changes, but I'm going to go to a 5k interval for this car with about 45% oil life remaining.

    I have to wonder about the contribution of GM marketing department to the development of the OLM algorithm, i.e. to lengthen the interval for marketing purposes. Probably the same people who gave us Dexcool with it's 5yr/150k interval. The Cobalt doesn't have a change interval for the auto trans fluid for Normal Service (50k for Severe service). I have a higher regard for OK4550's opinion over GM or any other auto manufacturer.

    Do whatever oil change interval you're comfortable with, but remember to check the oil level on a weekly basis.

    Ed B.
  • edited June 2010
    Oil changes are cheap. 3,000 - 5,000 isn't a bad idea.
  • edited June 2010
    The oil change reminders are for the most part, bunk. If you're going near 10k miles without changing the oil you have shortened the life of the engine.
    Ever heard of engine sludge? Well, oil change intervals like this are the reason for that.

    Nonsense. You obviously know nothing about the GM OLM. You obviously also no nothing about the various maintenance monitors at all. All the sludge stories can be mostly attributed to negligent common American consumers that treat an automobile like a cheap appliance. VW/AUDI had issues around 2000-2002 when they over sold their cars and had too few service centers with approved oil. They charged a fortune and your average nitwit went to Iffylube and had common conventional oil put in it.

    Now the Toyota sludge stories are a little more valid. They had to cut back the numbers, but still "Toyota's are built to last", right.

    None of this had to do with any oil monitor. It had to do with engineering, marketing, and immature Americans buying Euro-Alloy since it was so chic to be continental when you're a busy achiever.

    The GM OLM is a masterpiece of design. It's all software. Nothing to wear out. About the only thing it cannot account for is driving in dusty conditions. Idling, towing, short trips, highway, WOT for long distances sees it all and factors it accordingly.

    Do you think taxi service is "severe"? Not at all. It's quite easy on an engine. One cold start a day, etc..etc. What makes it fall under the severe schedule is that an odometer is a lousy way to measure usage and so far we don't have an accurate accumulative fuel usage gauge.

    The OLM takes all that into account. Load, speed, time in warm up, trip duration, ambient air temp, total revolutions.

    It's the greatest advancement in car maintenance since the creation of synthetic fluids.

    Now, if you happen to be one of the numb nitwit immature American consumers who can't manage to check their oil, then you're doomed in any car. Don't blame the car if the driver doesn't deserve to have a license.

    To the OP: "Contour" your oil changes to the OLM. That is, if you're nervous, draw your line at 10%, 15%, 20% ..whatever. That should still give you the advantage of the system. It's far superior to static mile/time schedules. Even at your reduced rate, you're saving a ton of time and money compared to your former 3-5k prison that you were trapped in.
  • edited July 2010
    I agree.

    The car (or the software) monitors all available parameters of driving and determines how much life the oil has left. Only question is how conservative the manufacturer has been in setting the limit. Like geeaea says, if you are not comfortable with the monitor, change the oil when you have 10, 15, or 20% of life left. But don't change the oil prematurely according to odometer reading. It may only cost 20-30 dollars, but the impact to the environment is not cheap.
  • edited July 2010
    Badmouth me and consider me a numb nitwit immature American consumer who can't check their oil if you want and you also left something out that the OLM does not factor in; humidity, engine maintenance and performance (or lack thereof), etc.

    I've been a mechanic for nearly 40 years with a crate full of certifications (not that those mean a lot to me) and even hold an FAA Powerplant license for aircraft. I don't mean this as arrogant at all but I feel 100% comfortable with my opinion and answer.

    So as a followup I ask:
    How much time do you have in as a mechanic?
    How many engines have you torn apart and repaired or rebuilt?
    How many customers have you dealt with regarding premature engine problems?
  • edited July 2010
    Do you work at that place that make those "Terminator" things? I hear they are controlled by a masterpiece of software. "masterpiece and software, there are two words that should not be in the same sentence. "they take it all into account except idiling, dusty conditions,towing,short trips, WOT for long distances, I was waiting for the punch line and found it to be "masterpiece of software".
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