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Should I trust my oil life monitor?

Can I trust the oil life monitor on my 2017 Lincoln MKZ (which seems to say “change every 10K”), or should I change more frequently, like 5K like I’ve done on my other recent cars? Thanks.

You can sort of trust it. The dealer wants me to change synthetic at 5,000, regular at 3,000 on a Caravan. Yours is 10,000. You now need a 3-sided coin to make car decisions. I might read my owner’s manual some day but I’m far beyond caring about that stuff these days.

I have only seen my change oil soon once, as I think they forgot to reset it. I usually do around 5000 miles. since about 170k miles I seem to use a quart every 3000 miles. Would it be more If I had waited till the car told me it is time for oil change, I am not sure, and I am really not sure if it is a leak or engine usage. The shop says there is a sign of an oil leak, they think it is the pinion seal, but I am not too worried at this point.

There are millions of car owners who have followed their vehicle OLMs for years. Due to environment regulations, extended oil changes like this started in Europe 10-15 years before we saw it in vehicles in the USA. Engines are not falling apart.

Today’s oils are much better, engines are running cleaner, engines have larger oil sumps.

You will get a variety of answers. I’m in the camp who believes you can trust your OLM.


You can trust it. But if you don’t, what’s the harm in changing it every 5,000 miles or when the oil life monitor is at 30% or 50%?

My vehicle…my rules is the way I drive. 10k is just too long of an interval for me.

I had my first and last Volvo. The dealer said change every 3500 miles. The “new” model came out; exactly the same car. Oil changes were now covered by Volvo. The offical interval was now 7500 miles.

What does that have to do with the OP’s Lincoln MKZ ?

I’m a professional mechanic, and I trust the oil life monitor on my cars. Why wouldn’t you trust yours?


I read here that many people don’t trust the carmakers’ recommended intervals for changing fluids, especially transmission fluids and coolant. Some believe the makers specify very long intervals, or no changes, in an effort to make their cars seem to be inexpensive to maintain - but that the cost is eventually borne by some owners, in repair and replacement costs.

That same skepticism may be at play in mistrust of oil life monitors.

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Remember that the oil life monitor reads various parameters like engine temp, starts/stops, etc. to determine the life of the oil. It knows the difference between highway miles and short trips as well as if the engine was run long enough at operating temp to vaporize contaminants and blow the out the PCV system.

One thing it CANNOT due is a chemical analysis of the oil so its rating is based on your using the CORRECT oil. So if this car calls for conventional, you can trust it with that. Many newer cars call for synthetic so if this one calls for synthetic and you use conventional, the oil life might not be accurate.

GM has a Dexos spec they require for all of their new cars. I believe Ford has some type of specification as well which your Lincoln will have to meet. Most GM Dexos oils are synthetic but a few conventionals did meet it the last time I looked. I think some were blends as well. Read your manual and only use oils meeting or exceeding the Ford spec that this engine requires. You will be fine.

I feel that the 3000 mile change is a waste unless you have an old carbureated car or you race. I personally have gone to 5000 miles and really think this may be a little too conservative. I have been tempted to send off for an oil analysis and see what it says.

My manual calls for 7500 mile changes on light service duty and 3000 mile changes on severe duty driving. Most of my trips are over 10 miles and the engine is always warm so that is a good thing. I do lots of gravel road driving though so that is a bad thing. I have been doing 5000 mile changes and feel that the oil doesn’t even look that dirty. Of course the human eye vs a scientific chemical analysis may indicate differently.


Yes, I’ve read many of those interval posts as well. I still haven’t figured out why manufacturers would specify much longer intervals, so I’ve never really got the reasoning of the posters. Outside of some regulation similar to the US’s gas mileage requirements, I would think that specifying shorter intervals would be favored by manufacturers.

I don’t know how sophisticated the oil life monitors are, but at least they have the appearance of basing the change interval on how the vehicle is driven.

Good point. If I ever have a car with an OLM, I will use the correct oil, and will probably trust the OLM.

We had a 2006 Chevrolet Uplander with the OLM. The amount of oil life remaining varied by the season of the year and the type of driving we did. It would indicate a shorter oil life in the winter when I did a lot of short hops than in the summer when we did long open road trips. My son now has the Uplander and it has traveled over 200,000 miles with no major work.
On the 2011 Toyota Sienna we owned, and our present 2017 Sienna, the maintenance message comes on at 5000 miles for a tire rotation and 10,000 miles for a rotation and oil change. I preferred the OLM on the Uplander.

I have 5/20 Havoline dino oil and filter changed at my trusted dealer every 6 months/5,000 miles. I haven’t reached 5,000 miles for quite a few years. At $30 twice per year with a hand car wash and vacuum there is no way I am going to do it myself.


That’s what I do with my 1999 Civic and 2007 Town and Country, but still DIY. I rarely exceed 5,000 miles in 6 months.

They are both IC vehicles?

Changing the engine oil & filter more frequently never hurts (other than your pocketbook), and can only help. I’d suggest a more frequent change out than 10K if your objective is to keep your vehicle for a long time. If you plan to sell in 3-6 years, stick with the 10K.

I understand that there may be some concern about extended oil change intervals, but most manufacturers, especially GM, have a lot of time and research invested in their oil life monitor system. There have been a few isolated cases where premature engine wear was found, but those have been corrected.

Most importantly, keep the oil at the proper level (which means checking and adding as needed) and use the proper oil!!! Somehow the motoring public has the idea that engines don’t use some oil and that you don’t need to check or add until the warning light comes on.


Agreed on checking the oil. Popping open the hood seems to have fallen out of favor. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen someone else with their hood open. That’s a shame cause it’s so easy to do and can make such a big difference in the life of your car.