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Grettings,
I just bought a new 2012 Volt and love it so far. Haven't used a drop of gas yet. I have always changed the oil in my cars and was wondering if anyone has done it yet. I understand I won't have to do it for a while, but I am goign to be driving the car long distance in a few months and wanted to give it new oil before the trip. I think it is a cartridge filter replacement. Does anyone have any tips on doing it or pictures. Once I do it, I will post any lessons learned. Thanks in advance.
 

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I know I will not be changing my oil until the oil life is at 10% or so, this should be sometime in 2014 or so. If you plan on moving forward with this, you might be the first.
 

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Congratulations on your new Volt. Enjoy!

On the oil change front, I have to agree with black88mx6. I have had my Volt a year and driven it 21K miles, over 18K on electricity. The oil life display currently shows 73% remaining. I think I remember reading that it puts up an oil change prompt after 2 years regardless of mileage or hours. I'm planning on waiting for that. So you very well maybe the first if you go ahead and do it. And we may indeed learn from you.

I have also read that the oil life indicators are actually very reliable. So I would suggest not doing it until the car prompts you to. Might as well save oil along with gas IMHO.
 

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Hi bsterneckert;
Congratulations, we still love ours 8200 miles purchased 10/20 of 11, 2012 model. I changed the oil in December with the indicator showing about 74% remaining but at that time we had just finished two trips and had 4500 miles and less then 300 EV miles. I have always tried to change around 3500 miles and in fact I always changed new engines early due to possible dirt/shavings during assembly. I called the volt adviser and they said don't worry about it, but old habits are hard to break.
Changing oil in the volt is a piece of cake. Purchased Fram filter at Walmart XG3387A Fram's best filter for synthetic oil required in the volt, purchased Mobile 1 also at Walmart. I bought a gallon but if I remember it holds less, book says. Drove Volt up on ramps, the filter is easy to reach from underneath and oil drain plug is handy. The only unusual thing i remember is the camshaft roller tappet is directly under the oil fill cap, but not a problem. Hope this helps, Bill
 

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Congrats on your new car! I'd agree with Noel that you won't need an oil change for at least a year and probably two years. The idea of needing to change the oil every 3000 miles just doesn't hold any more. The last two cars we had only required an oil change every 12,000 miles or so. It will be more extreme with the Volt, since you're not using the engine very much. It's more like a generator where you base the oil changes on hours not miles.

I was reading an article today that said new cars and engines just don't require much service and last twice as long as the old ones. Blame it on the EPA which requires very low pollution levels up to 100,000. I can't remember exactly, but I think the article said that older engines would wear about 40 microns in 40,000 whereas newer engines, in part because of advanced lubrication, only wear 2 microns in 100,000 miles.

My conclusion is that new cars just don't need frequent oil changes, and there is no reason to waste time and money on oil changes that you don't need.
 

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I have had many GM vehicles with the oil life sensor and have never changed the oil in any of them until the sensor said 25% or so just to be on the safe side. I read somewhere that the ICE in the Volt is broken in at the factory where it is produced, So the obligitory first safety oil change is not even neccessary any longer. If you wanted to make sure youself that the oil is in good condition just check it with a clean paper towel and see if there is any dirt or dust giving the oil a darker color or gritty feel.
 

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FYI -There's no "sensor" , just an algorithm that looks at numerous inputs such as temperature, trip distance, RPM, calandar age, etc to determine the proper time to change the engine oil.

As far as DIY oil changes, no problem.
But if you wish to maintain your warranty just make sure that you:

- purchase/install a Dexos rated 5W-30 oil
- keep your dated receipts for the oil and filter purchase (preferably in your glovebox with other owner/maintenance materials)
- make note of the date and who performed the work on your maintenence record (also part of your glovebox owners materials)

HTH
WOT
 

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Grettings,
I just bought a new 2012 Volt and love it so far. Haven't used a drop of gas yet. I have always changed the oil in my cars and was wondering if anyone has done it yet. I understand I won't have to do it for a while, but I am goign to be driving the car long distance in a few months and wanted to give it new oil before the trip. I think it is a cartridge filter replacement. Does anyone have any tips on doing it or pictures. Once I do it, I will post any lessons learned. Thanks in advance.
You will not need an oil change for at least a year from now.
 

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Hold off on that oil change

I agree with some of the replies on this post. Back in the old days when engines and oil were really poor, yes, 3000 miles was a good time to change the oil. But everytging has changed over the years, and our way of thinking has to as well. The choice of oil in the Volt is well suited for a long shelf live when only firing up the ICE now and then, so it is a waste of money that has an environmental impact if you change way too early. I project my ICE miles at only 1000 per year, so I have no problem waiting for the two year mark for the oil change.
For the DIY guys out there, you probably know it's best to do an oil change with a hot engine. Either run with a drained main battery and drive on gas power before the work, use mountain mode if the battery is low, or if all else fails, pop the hood with power on, that forces the engine to start. I guess 10 minutes of idle will be enough to warm the oil to help it drain better and mix up any material that may have settled.
One final point: With a projected oil change of two years it's even more important to check the oil level on a regular basis (you can also keep an eye on the look of the oil over time).
 

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Hopefully a GM guy can answer this one:

Does GM use a different oil initially than what you'd put in on a change?
I know that two recent GM new cars I've had really woke up after that first oil change, which I did when they said about 50% was left - I waited for the oil to go brown first, presumably catching any breakin bits.

It was very noticeable on the Camaro, and just as much so on the Cruze (same engine almost as Volt).

The new oil (I used 5w-30 synthetic) - felt like lower viscosity than what came out. I know that back in the day, when we old racers would build an engine, we'd use assembly lube on the cam and various other places to prevent that dry start, and it was either very thick oil (think STP) or grease. Once you'd run that in some, you'd want to change it to get the viscosity losses back down.

I really really doubt any manufacturer really breaks in any engine before the sale, Time and cost, fuggedaboudit. What's new is that the metallurgy and machining are so much better they just don't need it as much anyway, or so I surmise.
 

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The first oil change for my car happened at around 20,000 miles. I had it for a year, and even though I had 30% left I just wanted to do it. I figured it's so rare it doesn't really matter.

Well, some of my friends have tried a different synthetic oil weight in their Prius, along with some additives and found quite an increase in efficiency. It's very close to the oil already used in the Volt so I am going to change it quite early this time. I'm still a few months off from the 2nd year mark, but have already driven 20k miles (I know that's not the right way to think about it) and might have up to 50% oil life left. I'm about to do a long trip though, and I really wanted to try a few things to update the efficiency and perhaps replace the tires while I have the money to invest in the maintenance.

I will try to see if my CS mileage goes up and report back.
 

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I just checked my engine oil and noticed a think emulsification type substance on the under side of the oil fill cap. The consistency is like mayo and tan in color. The oil (as seen on the dipstick) is black but not gritty. The engine has ~5300 miles on it. Is the "foam" a result of condensation and the flinging of oil from the camshaft? Anybody else seen anything like it?

Thanks,
Mike
 

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That tan substance is an indication of water in the oil (or engine coolant if you have an engine gasket leak).

One of the problems of not running the engine very much is water condensing inside the engine and mixing with the oil. In a standard car, the engine oil heats up daily and boils off the condensed water and also any gas from the fuel injectors which may be contaminating/thinning out the oil.

Emulsified water and or gas in the oil is obviously not good for engine lubrication. In our Volts, the engine oil probably remains more contaminated over time with water than in a regular car engine due to the infrequent engine run cycles. The programmed engine maintenance runs are supposed to take care of this to prevent the amount of water or gas in the oil from becoming detrimental to engine lubrication (corrosive erosion and abnormal wear).

Certain environments will be more prone to engine water condensation. It depends on how often the engine internal surfaces drop below the ambient dew point. I don't believe that the Volt's oil life algorithm can calculate dew point so a conservative estimate of water condensation over time may be assumed by the algorithm.
 

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You only change it every two years or when the oil indicator says to. My suggestion is let the dealer do it as then it's on record that you had proper maintain acne done on it.
 

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That tan substance is an indication of water in the oil (or engine coolant if you have an engine gasket leak).

One of the problems of not running the engine very much is water condensing inside the engine and mixing with the oil. In a standard car, the engine oil heats up daily and boils off the condensed water and also any gas from the fuel injectors which may be contaminating/thinning out the oil.

Emulsified water and or gas in the oil is obviously not good for engine lubrication. In our Volts, the engine oil probably remains more contaminated over time with water than in a regular car engine due to the infrequent engine run cycles. The programmed engine maintenance runs are supposed to take care of this to prevent the amount of water or gas in the oil from becoming detrimental to engine lubrication (corrosive erosion and abnormal wear).

Certain environments will be more prone to engine water condensation. It depends on how often the engine internal surfaces drop below the ambient dew point. I don't believe that the Volt's oil life algorithm can calculate dew point so a conservative estimate of water condensation over time may be assumed by the algorithm.
I took it to Merit Chevrolet right down the road from us and told the service rep what I had discovered. Even before I could finish explaining the substance he said it was normal especially in Minnesota. I went ahead and got a new filter and Dexos 1 fully synthetic oil from dealer and changed the oil and filter myself.

There were 5783 miles on the oil anyway so I figured it was time. The car has 16186 total miles BTW.

Mike
 

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You only change it every two years or when the oil indicator says to. My suggestion is let the dealer do it as then it's on record that you had proper maintain acne done on it.


I asked the service rep if changing the oil and filter myself would have any warranty implications and he said no as long as I keep a record of the service. This differs from VW as they require service by a VW dealer. VW charged between 150 and 400 dollars, so I was happy to hear I could do it myself.
 

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Oil filter location and oil plug

For anyone's information, the filter is located towards the bottom left of the car what seems to be on the oil sump. The plug is close by. Please see the picture.

Does anyone know the torque setting for the plug? For the Chevy Cruze it is 10 ft-lbs. and this is a similar engine.
 

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