CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Oil questions with newer cars

Back last February I bought my first car that requires the use of synthetic oil over the old school type of oil. My 2011 Cadillac CTS 4 with 84,500 miles also has a oil gauge that will tell me the oil status. When replaced it is reset to 100% and then begins to decline. I know under the old oils you were always told the 3 month/3,000 mile change plan. But with the newer oils I’ve seen some things that you can now go a full year between changes. Going off my “gauge” I have gone a little over 6000 miles before it go to zero and had it changed out.

So exactly with the newer better oils how do you know when to change out? Also about 75% of my driving is in city mileage over freeway mileage. So should it need changing more often depending on type of driving you do.

The only people who recommended a 3,000 mile oil change in the last two decades is someone who sells oil changes or someone who has OCD. Even in severe conditions, the oil change interval for my ‘98 Civic is 3,750 miles, and the owner’s manual doesn’t require synthetic oil.

Just use the oil recommended in your owner’s manual and change it when the gauge tells you to. If you want to be OCD about it, you could change it sooner, before the gauge bottoms out.

Your owners manual probably indicates a time interval limit too that may or may not be indicated by your oil life monitor.
I guess I fall into the OCD category and get mine changed around 20%.

I read owners manuals on mine and all of my 4 grown kid’s cars. Many times the oil change guidelines will specify driving conditions as a factor in service scheduling. In my daughters Honda it says if you daily drive highway or not much stop and go or short distances, to change oil at 0% which is 10,000 miles. She drives 60 miles one way to work everyday, so I change her oil every 10,000. Next year she will be working closer to home. The manual says to change oil at thirty or 40 percent under those driving conditions. At that time I will change it at 6000. Regardless of your interval method, the manual should be your guideline. Changing more than the manual is not a bad thing, but not necessary unless there’s other variables the manual may not cover.

The oil life monitor (OLM) in your car will tell you when to change it. The algorithm it uses is based on millions of miles of testing at GM and have been in GM cars for about 20 years. It records how you drive, the temperatures, the loads, the speeds and more and sets the change interval based on that.

As long as you use the oil recommended by GM, or better, you are safe in following the OLM. But you must pay attention to time. The limit for this car, I think, is one year. No matter what the OLM says, change it yearly. Note, not all GM cars have calendars built into the car to set the oil service warning at a year.

If you wan’t MORE comfort, change it when it gets to 20%.

That means you have gone 1 year so change it . Both of our vehicles have a mileage number or 1 year . It takes a lot of oil changes to equal the price of a new engine.

Not at all, had new oil put in at purchase, changed it out in August and now again so I have changed out the oil 3 times in a year.

you are doing it at 6 month interval. how many miles? i think timely oil changes on the GM ohc v6 is a good thing

The first oil change was done as the oil gauge was like at 10% and I had a free day to get the car in and it was around 6,000 miles at that time. This one I just did the gauge was at 0% and a tad over 6000 miles. I’m going basically by the car’s oil meter gauge that comes up on my dash.