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Oil Changes on a 2009 Chevy Malibu



  • edited July 2010
    Oldschool, I Read The Comment You Refer To A Little Differently Than You.

    "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."

    I took it to mean that driving in dusty conditions is about the only thing that isn't accounted for in the author's opinion. I am inclined to believe that towing, short trips, and WOT for long distances are factored in by the device in his opinion.

    Since I'm a 5,000 mile interval guy (normal conditions) I am listening and learning. My next car will very probably have one of these monitors. I am a little set in my ways and have to digest all this stuff long before I can change.

    I value the opinions of OK4450, Gary (geeaea), Wha Who, and you Oldschool.

    I agree with Wha Who also and believe that these systems must have some merit. I think Gary's comment about "contouring" the change interval to whatever you feel comfortable with could be a decent compromise for some consumers.

  • edited July 2010
    We own a 2008 Dodge Caravan that tells you when to change the oil. The change oil did not come on until Feb. of 2010 at 2700 +/-, that's all my dad actually drove it. I changed the oil every 6 months anyway,(because of the high humidity in the Wash DC area)so it was actually the 4th change since new. I don't think 2 oil changes a year are that much either for the wallet or the environment. And as long as he drives so little I will change the oil every 6 months just to avoid any degradation issues. I would rather change the oil too much than too little.
  • edited July 2010
    I have a GM OLM and I don't like it, never liked the idea, and I ignore mine (except for the annoying light that I need to turn off once in a while). I still just do the 3-5K thing.

    GM has one interest and that is selling cars that will reasonably last through a warranty period. OLMs are selling points. Warranty periods are not very long and even very poor maintenance will get many cars through it. I keep cars for a long time - well past warranty periods are up so I tend to follow maintenance schedules that will maximize longevity. GM and their engineers really don't have my goals or interests in mind.

    I can't say for sure that my engines will do better with more frequent oil changes, but it is really cheap and easy insurance. It is also the case that no one can tell me that my engine will do just as well following the OLM.

    Here's an extra issue that applies in my case and I'm sure in the case of many other drivers. For many people the oil change is the time that other things get checked out (other fluids, tire & suspension checks, leaks, hoses, belts, etc.) This is not necessary & its not the only way things can be checked out but it is a norm. By extending the time & mileage between changes I sometimes wonder how many people end up spending a lot more over time by not finding problems as early as they would otherwise.

    To the OP: my advice to anyone who has ever asked is exactly what Goldwing said in the first reply.
  • edited July 2010
    I can tell you that I've seen a number of vehicles come in on the hook with engine problems due to extended oil changes. Some were moderate in nature and others were severe enough that the engine was total scrap metal. A number of these engines did not even have 30k miles on them.
    One VW had a sludged engine at 10k miles although at this point it was not as bad as some. The cam lobes were galded so it was still a pricy fix.

    A dealer I worked for bought a number (approx. 30-40) Chevrolet fleet cars and every car had approx. 35k miles on them. Every single one of them was sludged up and slightly smoking.
    What was the common denominator on all of them? Extended oil change periods.

    On a brighter note, things like this lead to more work for the shops and as the old Fram TV commercial used to state, you can pay me now or pay me later.
  • edited July 2010
    OK we will work this a different way. My main message is that for these type of devices to become more accepted than Dad,or Grandad, Or Uncle or previous media advertisment the manufacture needs to create a major PR campaign,

    We know there is a group of car owners that would gladly increase their service intervals based upon the slimmest amount of technical justification.

    We also know there is a group that will not change from what Dad taught them for almost any reason, (and Dad taught then 3 mths or 3000 miles).

    But their is a main group that can be persuaded to ignore what they have been taught and go with what the computer says. I believe the effort to grab this group will include a major media campaign on why they should trust the data displayed by these devices.

    As it is know the only way the word is getting out is via salesman and service advisor, not a place I would want to be.
  • edited July 2010
    I will add an element of doubt. The oil monitor reset does not require a password. Anyone can reset the oil change monitor at any time without changing the oil.

    This may be a shortcoming of the oil change monitoring system and deserves attention if that is the reason for engine damage incurred with the oil life monitor.
  • edited July 2010
    I'm not one of those who say that oil should be changed every 3k miles or 3 months. Going 5k miles is fine with me if the majority of the driving is highway use.

    The oil life monitor in my Lincoln usually starts its irritating beeping about every 3500 miles which just so happens to be the rough change interval that I use. That car also gets about an 80/20 split of highway/city driving.

    There is one other huge thing that dashboard widget doesn't ever state; "open the dxxxxx hood and check the oil level".
    How many posts in just the last few months has there been from people with trashed engines who went 4,5, or 10k miles without ever checking the oil level at all and now they're on the net frantically looking for a easy way out or a justification to point their finger at someone else.
    The Honda lady with the trashed camshaft/engine and her apparent obliviouness to a growing oil spot on the garage floor is a prime example.
  • edited July 2010
    GM's oil life monitor is supposed to be the best around. If you want to do some research on how well it does the trick, poke around at
    Many people have this system and have sent in oil samples for analysis.

    Myself, I work in a high-tech field and drive a 17 year-old car without an oil life monitor. But if I had one, I don't know how much I'd trust it. If the monitor says I have 20% life remaining on the oil, what does that mean? Does it mean the oil is protecting a lot less than when new, but is still acceptable for most driving conditions? Does it take into account the quality and grade of the oil you put in the thing to start with---No. Does it account for any make-up oil added? I'm not sure, but adding a quart of make-up oil in between changes when needed significantly increases the life of the oil. Would I want to drive 90 MPH on a hot summer day with oil that had 20% life left? Probably not. If I had 20% of my fuel left, I'd be looking for a gas station right away. If I knew I had 20% of my life left, would I be taking it easy in the hope that I'd last longer? Deep questions...

    I think I'd stick to 3,000-4,000 mile intervals with a good dino oil or if you want to push your luck, use a good synthetic and go 5,000 or further. Send in a sample for analysis if you're curious--it's under $25 to do so.
  • edited July 2010
    I'll stick with every 5,000 miles, thank you.
    My goal is to ensure that the engine lasts as long as possible, NOT to ensure that the oil lasts as long as possible.

    I hate machines that think for me. I'm still wrestling with the fact that my car won't let me use the defrost vents without it taking the liberty of turning the AC on. I used to push hot air onto the windshiend to help remove ice. Now it's more diffiicult to do that.

    Re: "VW/AUDI had issues around 2000-2002 when they over sold their cars and had too few service centers with approved oil." I think I found the nitwits. They're working at VW/Audi!

    By the way, I've been banging around this site long enough to be able to (with the utmost confidence) testify to OK4450's knowledge of all things engine. He's massaged more cylinders than most of us have ever seen.
  • edited July 2010
    I take your opinions seriously. You offer words of caution built on years of experience. My own limited experience shows that the GM OLM works. Our 2005 Silhouette has over 100,000 miles on it and doesn't use oil. I have changed the oil when the OLM shows less than 20% life remaining. It typically goes 7500 miles despite being used for many short runs. California tested the GM OLM in their motor pool and found that it worked so well that they use it to determine oil change interval for all their fleet. They also recommend it to everyone; I read about it on a California State web page. This was a detailed study where the state motor pool evaluated engines with and without oil changes using the OLM. Third party professionals studied it, and they found it works.

    I would not categorize your skepticism as wrong, just cautious.
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