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Volkswagen service intervals

I own a 2007 VW Jetta. The owner’s manual calls for oil&filter changes every 10,000 miles. However, the dashboard “needs service” indicator goes off at 5,000 miles. So do I get the oil changed at 5,000 miles or 10,000?

I asked the service department at my dealer, but didn’t get a coherent answer.

I drive about 1,000 miles a month, so that’d be getting an oil change every 10 months–a lot more infrequently than I was used to with my previous cars (Hondas, etc.)

First I would check the oil level. Second, as I recall that “needs service” light is not just an oil change indicator. Maybe it is trying to tell you it is time for new plugs or some other service.

As I recall some cars have an advanced system and it may be telling you to replace the cabin air filter, fuel filter etc. or it may be detecting something about your driving style etc. that would suggest oil changes more often. You are using an oil that meets VW’s recommendations?

BTW are you sure it is a “needs service” light or could it be a CEL (Check Engine light)? If it is a CEL it is not telling you to do service, rather it is telling you to have the error code(s) read and addressed.

It’s the type of driving you do, rather than the mileage itself, that’s more important when deciding how often to change oil. I’ll bet the owner’s manual says “10,000 miles or XX months, whichever comes first.” The “whichever comes first” is the important thing.

There’s probably also a “severe service” maintenance schedule. You’d be surprised how many people’s driving environment qualifies as severe service.

If your 1,000 miles a month is all put on in two highway trips, that’s a pretty easy life for the engine. If, however, it’s 100 trips of only ten miles each, that’s another story.

Does the car have an oil life monitor? If you aren’t sure, check the owner’s manual. If it does not, the light can’t tell you to change the oil. If you do, your driving might be severe enough to trip the OLM early.

I don’t think it’s clear to anyone what this “needs service” light is. Please quote the description of it from your owner’s manual here so that we can try to figure this out.

The light that’s coming on is a “service interval display,” a little blinking wrench that appears when you start the car. And it ALWAYS comes on after exactly 5,000 miles – it doesn’t come on earlier or later, depending on how I’m driving my car. The manual says to change the oil after 5,000 miles for the first two oil changes, and after that it recommends every 10,000, at the 20,000, 30,000 and 40,000 mark, etc. My mechanic wants me to do it more often, but he isn’t very clear about why. … Combing again through the owner’s manual, I do see this wording: “Sometimes, engine oil should be changed more often than specified for normal use. Change oil more often if you often drive short distances, in dusty areas or in stop-and-go traffic conditions, or when you use your vehicle where temperatures stay below freezing point for long periods.” I do most of my driving in town, fairly short, stop-and-go conditions, and I live in Nebraska, where winters are cold. So, maybe the oil-change interval should be less than 10,000 miles. But is that 5,000 miles? 6,000? 7,500? There’s no guidance from the book.

My car does not have an Oil Life Monitor.

The driving pattern you describe does not include a lot of sustained highway driving. I’d recommend every 6 month and 5,000 to 6,000 oil change intervals for you.