After waiting since last April, it looks like I’ll be getting my new smart fortwo in about March. I’ve only had a couple of new cars, and hadn’t heard about an early oil change until recently. When should I plan to change the oil in this new little car? I think it comes with synthetic oil. Also, anyone else out there with a smart yet?
Early oil changes are essentially a thing of the past since most manufacturers now use a special “break-in” oil in the crankcase and since the machining techniques used during manufacture are now so precise that very little metal debris is likely to land in the motor oil during break-in.
But, why take my word or the word of anyone else posting here? As soon as you get the car, open the glove compartment, take out the Owner’s Manual (and possibly a separate booklet regarding maintenance) and thoroughly read the materials. Everything that you need to know about the car will be contained in the literature sitting in the glove compartment and failure to read these materials inevitably leads to problems that affect the safe operation of the vehicle or its longevity.
Read, and be informed!
If the manual has two maintenance schedules, one for “normal service” and one for “severe service”, follow the one for “severe service”. Most people’s driving corresponds to “severe service”. “Normal” should really be called “light service”; it means mostly highway driving with little urban stop and go.
Read the manual and follow that. Modern oil and engine design have changed some of the old rules. As Kendahl noted check the severe service schedule. If you fall into that type of driving, many do, then follow that.
Changing too early can actually be bad under some conditions.
Some new cars use the computer to analyze your driving habits and tell you when to change the oil. On my Fit the gauge read about 90% when I had the oil changed at 5000 miles. If you have this I would go with a mileage or 100%, whichever comes first.
I put in my Reservation in September and have not got a call. However I had a long talk with the sales person in Lynnfield, MA, 200 miles from me. She said the first oil change is at 10,000 miles and uses a special all-synthetic oil that Mercedes uses. She said any Mercedes dealer can do the oil changes, but the nearest dealer (35 miles away) told me they had no plans to service Smarts. Hmmm, I think I’ll change the oil myself, even if I have to spend $5/quart. Eric Metzler, hoping for a Cabrio.
You might consider 5k or 7.5k instead of 10k intervals. There has been a disturbing trend of manufacturers increasing service intervals to increase consumer appeal! Eg, VW says the tranny oil and the antifreeze last forever! I think they are setting the intervals so that it barely keeps the engine running for the length of the warrantee, and after that it could all fall apart, they don’t care.
Read the owner’s manual. It will tell you want maintenance, including oil changes, are needed and when they are needed. Don’t forget to read the part that talks about severe driving conditions.
Read the whole manual, when you get it, there is a lot of good information in there.