CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

How accurate is the engine oil life system on my 2012 chevrolet malibu?

It says that it is based upon engine revolutions, engine temperature, and miles driven. I also know that time is critical, owners’ manual says a maximum of one year.

What would be the longest oil change interval for a car being driven less than 1,000 miles per month? Would the season matter like changing more often in Summer than Winter?

In the past I have been driving more miles and generally change the oil and filter every 6,000 miles based upon the New York taxi cab study presented in Consumer Reports several years ago. But alas, I do not have any experience with dexos oil, which if I understand correctly is synthetic.

There is no critical moment when engine oil switches from good to bad. The oil minder light serves mainly as a reminder for owners who tend to be be neglectful about such matters. More prudent owners keep records and use them as guides.

Your current habit of an oil change every 6000 miles will do you just fine. If the oil minder light turns on a bit earlier, take its advice but there is no urgency.

There is no real difference between summer and winter mileage unless you make frequent short trips in cold weather. Then consider changing oil at shorter intervals.

This advice applies equally to synthetic and crude engine oils.

This has been discussed many many times and you can use the search function (right of the screen) to find find past threads and quite a bit of variation in what people think of these things.

The only thing I will to what SteveF and Cigroller said is make sure you check the oil level to make sure its full. I would say every 2 times you put gas in it should work for you.

The oil life moniter knows winter vs summer. How? The time it takes your motor to warm up its own coolant which is another variable taken into account.

The oil life monitor is better indicator of the old way which was every 3000 miles severe or something 7000 miles easy. It takes the factors into account and goes from there. GM has been doing this since sometime in the 1980’s with a few models. Now its across nearly all.