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

Oil changes

Is the computerized oil change indicator accurate?

Basically the normal and severe intervals are an average of typical conditions encountered by most drivers. Some too soon others too late others just right.

The computerized version knows who long your engine operates(short trip vs long trip), temperature(length of warm up), type of driving and other variables that gives a signifcantly more accurate picture of change interval. The only place computerized falls down is in time if you don’t drive many miles(typically the max is 6 months or 1 year) and they do not track that.

Both types are accurate unless they aren’t. The mileage indicator one will light up after so many miles if it is reset after an oil change. If it isn’t reset, it will come on right after you do the oil change if you have done it early. My truck lights up the oil change due light after 3,000 miles. The one that analyses everything does it with no way to verify its accuracy.

depends on the car, and the algorithyms and sensors it has…BMW is pretty good, but remember that condensation can occur if the car isn’t used much.

Yes. The computer records LOTS of data about how the engine is running and the conditions under which it operates. It’s safe to go by the computer.