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Change The Oil More Frequently Than Recommended?

This is a very positive review of Motor Trend's long-term test of the Volt. One very interesting finding involves the frequency with which the oil should be changed (i.e. more often than recommended by GM).

The only thing in the review that I disagreed with was the listing of the Kia Optima Hybrid Base Sedan and the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Base Sedan (both of which cost $26,500-ish) as competitors. IMHO, the Volt should only be compared to similarly priced vehicles, such as the Audi A6.

http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/oneyear/alternative/1208_2011_chevrolet_volt_verdict/

From the August, 2012 issue of Motor Trend
By Kim Reynolds

GM made big claims for the Volt, and our example lived up to every one of them.
I had an oil sample taken and sent it to Blackstone Laboratories for analysis.

Result? Traces of aluminum, copper, and particularly iron, were high. I sent the report on to GM for comment, and they replied that this was "within normal range." Blackstone's Andy Martin retorted, "Well, you can't go wrong following what's recommended, but..." Yes, if I had known this, I'd have changed it earlier, too.
 

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A pretty good review. They misunderstood the impact of the TMS on charge time/efficiency, and therefore made a bad guess about why level 1 takes more power, but other than that I don't have a problem with anything they said.
 

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The only thing in the review that I disagreed with was the listing of the Kia Optima Hybrid Base Sedan and the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Base Sedan (both of which cost $26,500-ish) as competitors. IMHO, the Volt should only be compared to similarly priced vehicles, such as the Audi A6.
I'm sorry, but no. I think comparing the Volt to a mid to upper 20's car is correct and appropriate. The top 4 cars traded for the Volt are Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, and Toyota Camry with BMW 3 series trailing at the end. The Volt is NOT an A6. Its just as much of a stretch, in my opinion, as comparing it to a Cruze. Not even in the same ballpark for fit and finish and room. Same is really true of 3 series. But it is comparable, and better than most of the top 3.
 

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Good review. He got the big picture right, that's for sure.

Like his Volt, mine has been completely bulletproof and trouble-free. But my primary take-away wouldn't be this fact, but how much I enjoy driving the car. On that score we can agree that driving enjoyment is highly subjective. Then again maybe after a couple of weeks in his next ICE test car he may have a different reaction! LOL
 

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The top 4 cars traded for the Volt are Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, and Toyota Camry with BMW 3 series trailing at the end. The Volt is NOT an A6.
OK. But if you have say a BMW 535xi or an Acura RL, and you prefer to drive the Volt in 98% of the situations (the 2% being you have four passengers), why can't you say the Volt is comparable? Ultimately isn't this what comparisons are all about?
 

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What I'd do is probably change initially at 5000 miles with RedLine synthetic and then go to the end of the computed oil life. That early first oil change is essential to getting the most out of an engine.

article:
>> $126.36 (tire rotation, oil change)
Really? Kind of pricey there in So. Cal.

>> $16,797 (3 yr residual value)
A bit lower than you'd think but I presume that is due to the 20K+ miles per year they put on it first-year.

>> comparing to the Kia Optima hybrid.
The deal I'm trying to work out next week at a dealer for a Volt is about the same price as the Kia Optima, or 26K after all the tax credits and rebates (including GM card bonus earnings). I don't expect to be out of pocket more than $25-26K for a 2012 Volt.
 

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1) Fit and Finish. You cannot say with a straight face that the Volt has an interior worthy of an Audi or BMW. In fact, my wife's new top of the line CRV has a better overall interior than the Volt.
2) Performance. The Volt doesnt even come close to the performance of most european luxury sports sedans.

Would I trade my Volt for an Audi A6? No. But I sure as heck would love the interior, performance factors, and roominess.
 

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I'm sorry, but no. I think comparing the Volt to a mid to upper 20's car is correct and appropriate. The top 4 cars traded for the Volt are Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, and Toyota Camry with BMW 3 series trailing at the end. The Volt is NOT an A6. Its just as much of a stretch, in my opinion, as comparing it to a Cruze. Not even in the same ballpark for fit and finish and room. Same is really true of 3 series. But it is comparable, and better than most of the top 3.
1) Fit and Finish. You cannot say with a straight face that the Volt has an interior worthy of an Audi or BMW. In fact, my wife's new top of the line CRV has a better overall interior than the Volt.
2) Performance. The Volt doesnt even come close to the performance of most european luxury sports sedans.

Would I trade my Volt for an Audi A6? No. But I sure as heck would love the interior, performance factors, and roominess.
Agree with that. The problem is there isn't a good comparison to be made. Makes me think they should market i) the cutting edge technology and impact on your wallet re: gas cost and 2) reliability, and forget the rest.
 

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My oil life just dropped to 97% after 6.5 months. This after my latest EMM from yesterday. If I continue at this pace, not sure how it would recommend I change the oil in 2 years. I have 10,700 total miles with 139 by ICE.
 

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Agree with that. The problem is there isn't a good comparison to be made. Makes me think they should market i) the cutting edge technology and impact on your wallet re: gas cost and 2) reliability, and forget the rest.
I agree the Volt is really not like any other vehicle. That fact has made it very difficult for GM's marketing to find an understandable message. Sort of one of those "too good to be true" situations. How do you market that?

As far oil changes go, follow the recommended protocol and you will have no problems with possible warranty claims, do something different and you are on your own.

VIN # B0985
 

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I checked my Voltstats data and it drops about ever month by 0.39%. At this rate it would take 20+ years to count down to 0%. At what percentage does the Volt warn that the oil needs to be changed?
 

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A pretty good article and it supports what we are all saying here, that the car delivers! And no problems, like the vast majority of the owners here. One thing did I notice that was not correct was their description of the trans - "Cont variable auto".

Now as for the comparisons of cars mentioned on the thread and compared in the article. If you use the Edmunds - True Cost To Own calculator - http://www.edmunds.com/tco.html

Here is how the cars stack up (5 years of ownership) -

VOLT $40,456
Kia Optima Hybrid Sedan $45,122
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Sedan $41,476
Audi A6 $64,458
Audi A4 54,740
Audi A3 $51,475

So the VOLT ownership cost is cheaper than most of the cars out there. I used the Edmunds site since it was fairly objective as to making common assumptions and using data. So many people get caught up looking at only one facet at a time to prove whatever point they are trying to make or justify in their mind.


I did happen to change my oil after a year of ownership and with about 65% oil life remaining. Primarily because I had a coupon for an oil change and tire rotation that was almost as much as a tire rotation. So I went with it as I am still getting used to the idea of changing my oil only every 2 years.
 

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What I'd do is probably change initially at 5000 miles with RedLine synthetic and then go to the end of the computed oil life. That early first oil change is essential to getting the most out of an engine.
Do you mean 5000 total miles or 5000 ICE miles. I'll hit the two year recommended oil change long before I reach 5000 ICE miles.
 

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While I learned to follow the Oil Change messages my Corvette's Oil Life Monitor would generate, I still think I'll play it safe and have my dealer change the Volt's oil after 12 months of ownership. And considering my 2012 was built in Aug 2011 and placed into service on 3/31/12 the oil in my car after a year of ownership will be 18 months old.

And I wish the Volt a separate odometer to track the ICE and or an hour meter.

I'll happily spend the $$ for that peace of mind.
 

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My dealer changed the oil when the battery enhancements and related stuff were done. At first I was annoyed since the Volt said that it had 99% oil life left, even though there was no charge for the change. But upon reflection I decided that the first miles of ICE use (in my case, probably no more than about 30 when the battery work was done) undoubtedly are the ones that shed the most stuff into the oil. After this, however, I'll defer to the car. IIRC, the manual says to change the oil every couple of years no matter what the % oil life remaining is.

Dan
 

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And I wish the Volt a separate odometer to track the ICE and or an hour meter.

I'll happily spend the $$ for that peace of mind.
It does. It just isn't accessible from the instrument cluster (that I know of.) Both the iPhone app and MyVolt.com show electric and total miles - the difference is gas miles. Voltstats always has this available, too.
 

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My oil life just dropped to 97% after 6.5 months. This after my latest EMM from yesterday. If I continue at this pace, not sure how it would recommend I change the oil in 2 years. I have 10,700 total miles with 139 by ICE.
Well as long as you are doing the prescribed every 15,000 miles "Check the engine oil filter for corrosion, if the filter shows signs of corrosion have engine oil and filter changed" - maintenance, then you can last until the "Every 24 months, change the engine oil and filter" maintenance comes up.

Scott
2011 Volt #645 with 14,465 total miles (12,810 EV) and 67% Oil Life Remaining
 

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1) Fit and Finish. You cannot say with a straight face that the Volt has an interior worthy of an Audi or BMW. In fact, my wife's new top of the line CRV has a better overall interior than the Volt.
2) Performance. The Volt doesnt even come close to the performance of most european luxury sports sedans.
From experience I can tell you that (1) the interior of a BMW is nothing to write home about and (2) I've had plenty of ultimate driving machines disappear as small objects in my rear view mirror. I'm not saying the Volt is a fast sports car, but in daily driving about its only peer is the Nissan Leaf. And it's not just me. In fact a couple of weeks ago I was sitting at a light going South. At the light going West there were three cars abreast. Two BMWs and a Nissan Leaf. When their light turned green the Leaf left both the BMWs behind. It's just the way it works as a practical matter. Yeah if you went to a track you'd get a different result but people don't drive at the track. They drive on public roads with traffic lights.

As for the interior, the Volt's interior may not use expensive materials but it works. I had a artist friend who drives an MB want to check out the Volt. She got in, just sat there, and then she said "this interior makes my Mercedes seem old and tired." Some of that may have been she was expecting a Cimarron, and yes the Volt interior has some nasty plastic edges, but for a car with cutting edge technology the interior does a good job of projecting what the Volt should be. I've also never seen the cloth interior so maybe that's a different story.

As for the BMW interior, that's kinda a joke. It was just basic and the controls were goofy. I hated the fact that you not only had to have the fob, but you had to put the fob into the steering wheel. Are you kidding? I'm also not a fan of all the buttons on in the Volt but i-drive takes bad interface design to new heights (or depths). If you check out the BMW 5 series over at TrueDelta what you'll find is that those who bought a BMW 5 series did so because of it's "smooth acceleration" and "great 22 MPG gas mileage" and "massive torque". http://www.truedelta.com/BMW-5-Series/owner-reviews-20 The interior is never mentioned (for that you have to go to "Why Not the BMW 5 Series" where you'll find people derisively and unfavorably comparing the BMW 3 interior with a Honda Pilot's). But all of these advantages are exactly the advantages the Volt offers. In fact the only area where I think the BMW has the advantage is in the suspension, which is way better than the Volt's. But if you're looking at "smooth acceleration" or "great MPG" or "massive torque" the Volt has the BMW beat. (FYI we got the leatherette not the leather seats on the BMW, mostly because they breather better, require less maintenance, and wear better, so you can factor that into what I'm saying.)

As for what cars are being turned in for a Volt, there are probably 50% more Priuses on the road than there are BMW 3 series, and certainly a lot more than there are BMW 5 series, which is to me the more natural comparison because of the mass and the way they handle. If the rate of adoption is the same then you'll naturally end up with more of the more common car. It's just the numbers.
 

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And I wish the Volt a separate odometer to track the ICE and or an hour meter.
Just go to myvolt.com. Sign up if necessary and log on.

On the main screen, click the Efficiency button. Gas miles is displayed directly on the top right of the screen.
 

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I'm sorry, but no. I think comparing the Volt to a mid to upper 20's car is correct and appropriate.
When I went shopping, I had a price range in mind and it wasn't for a car in the upper 20's. I don't think many buyers shop for a car in the upper 20's and then buy a car in the upper 30's. Nor the reverse. I think many already have a price range in mind and shop in that range as I did.

So comparing the Volt to cars outside it's effective price range is not realistic in my view. I was looking for a mid-30's car, I bought a mid-30's car (Volt).
 
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