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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This FAQ is not intended to be—nor should it be used as—a replacement for reading the owner's manual and GM service manual and following their directions, warnings and precautions. It is instead a compilation and summary of other GM-Volt posts. No fitness of purpose is given, and all information should be independently verified by you before acting on it. I am not a certified Volt technician or mechanic. I'm not an auto-mechanic at all. So don't rely on anything I post below. :) If you see a mistake or notice something missing, post it.

Topics Covered:

  1. When should the oil be changed?
  2. Can the oil really last up to 2 years without changing?
  3. How does the Volt know when the oil needs changing?
  4. What's the break-in period for the Volt's engine?
  5. How often should I check the oil level?
  6. Where is the dipstick located?
  7. How do I check the oil level?
  8. What marks indicates "low" or "full" on the oil dipstick?
  9. My oil level is above the top cross-hatched area, is that OK?
  10. My oil level is below the bottom cross-hatched area, is that OK?
  11. My engine oil level is in the "add oil" cross-hatch area, should I be concerned?
  12. Is tan-colored "mayonnaise" on the dipstick normal?
  13. What kind of oil does the Volt use?
  14. Can I use oil that is not dexos1 approved?
  15. Can I change the oil myself?
  16. How do I change the oil and filter?
  17. What oil filter should I use?
  18. Can I use engine oil additives or engine oil flushes?
  19. What makes the Volt oil pump special?
  20. Other engine oil info

1. When should the oil be changed?
The Volt has an oil life monitor (OLM) display. Let it be your friend. It will tell you how much oil life is remaining as a percent. OnStar/MyVolt.com will also email you a monthly status report which includes the oil life remaining. You can also monitor your oil life on the "MyVolt" web site or the iPhone app.

The oil should be changed when the Volt's oil life indicator displays "Change Engine Oil Soon" (10% remaining life)—or 2 years—whichever comes first. When either occurs, change the oil as soon as possible within the next 1 000 km (600 mi). Note: notwithstanding the OLM, you may want more frequent changes when the vehicle is exposed to a corrosive environment, such as areas of high humidity, along an ocean coast, and/or areas that apply road salt during winter.

The choice of oil in the Volt is well suited for a long shelf live, so some say doing an oil change sooner or more frequently is a false economy and you are throwing your money down the drain. However, some like the idea of the first oil change being sooner than recommended. If you want to change it sooner go ahead, but GM recommends using the oil life monitor as your guide.

2. Can the oil really last up to 2 years without changing?

You betcha!—depending on how much you use the ICE (internal combustion engine). Many people go for months without ever using the engine, that's less wear and tear on gas engine. If you run your engine every day it may need changing more frequently. So a driver who runs in EV mode 70% of the time can probably go a year or two between oil changes.

3. How does the Volt know when the oil needs changing?
It uses an algorithm (math and stuff) that looks at numerous inputs to determine the proper time to change the engine oil:

  • Time since last reset
  • Number of Engine Revolutions since last reset
  • Engine Temperature
  • Average Engine RPM
  • Engine RPM fluctuations
These factors are used to calculate the effect of heavy vs. light engine loads and constant engine speed vs. stop-and-go speeds. On GM's non-electric vehicles the OLM tracks well with average speed. High average speed=lots of highway miles=10K change interval. Low average speed=lots of local miles and cold starts=lower change interval.

4. What's the break-in period for the Volt's engine?
This topic probably generates the most oil change debate. The manual says the Volt engine break-in was done at the factory as part of the manufacturing process, so no early break-in oil change is necessary. So many say a "first safety oil change" to remove shavings, metal particles, etc. is not needed. However, just as many like the idea of the first oil change being sooner than recommended. If you want to make sure the oil is in good condition just check the dipstick with a clean paper towel. If the oil has a dark black color or gritty feel, my opinion is change it regardless of what the OLM indicates.

5. How often should I check the oil level?
Probably more than you do. With a projected oil change of up to two years, it's important to check the oil level on a regular basis, say once every few months, or every 1000 gas miles whichever comes first. This way you can also keep an eye on the look of the oil over time. Maybe even keep a dated collection of oil stained paper to see the color change over time. Think how impressed your friends will be, haha.

6. Where is the dipstick located?
Notice, I said dip stick rather than the euphemism you call an idiot like Neil Cavuto. Refer to your owner's manual. There is an illustration in the Vehicle Care section under Vehicle Checks > Engine Compartment Overview that shows the dipstick and engine oil fill cap. The end of the dipstick looks like a yellow plastic ring.

7. How do I check the oil level?
Here's where we start divulging our secret methods. If the engine has been running recently, turn off the engine and allow several minutes for the oil to drain back into the oil pan. Warning: The engine oil dipstick handle may be hot; it could burn you. Use a towel or glove to touch the dipstick handle. Pull out the dipstick and clean it with a paper towel or cloth, then push it back in all the way. Remove it again, keeping the tip down, and check the level.

8. What marks indicates "low" or "full" on the oil dipstick?
Many people look at the GM dipstick and ask that question, and the manual is not as clear as it could be. So here's the key to breaking the secret GM code: The top cross-hatched area (toward the handle end) is the maximum (full) oil level, the bottom cross-hatched area (near the tip) indicates minimum oil level. Note the words Min and Max faintly embossed into dipstick handle below:

Dipstick-handle-markings.jpg

Like the Da Vinci Code, we can apply this knowledge to decipher the Volt's oil dipstick hidden meanings:

Volt-Dipstick.jpg

Oil levels above or below the acceptable operating range shown on the dipstick are harmful to the engine.

9. My oil level is above the top (MAX) cross-hatched area, is that OK?

No. If the engine has been running recently, turn off the engine and allow several minutes for the oil to drain back into the oil pan before checking the oil level. If you find that you have an oil level above the top cross-hatched area, the engine could be damaged. You should drain out the excess oil or limit driving of the vehicle and seek a service professional to remove the excess amount of oil.

10. My oil level is below the bottom (MIN) cross-hatched area, is that OK?
No, but you already knew that, right? If the oil is below the cross-hatched area at the tip of the dipstick, add 1 L (1 qt) of the recommended oil and then recheck the level. Obviously a low level can cause the oil pump to stop picking up oil, especially in a tight turn, and run the engine dry of oil causing excessive engine wear or worse, a seized engine. Never add more than the top level, because the rotating crankshaft can splash and churn up the oil, causing engine drag and (even worse) foam the oil (mix it with air) which reduces its film formation between engine parts and cause damage to metal surfaces.

11. My engine oil level is in the "add oil" cross-hatch area, should I be concerned?
Perhaps. Every gas engine will consume the oil slowly, and the Volt engine will do so even slower. An engine in good condition should not reach the low oil level before the next programmed oil change. If the oil level drops sooner, there may be a worn part or loose gasket causing leaks, or worn rings allowing more oil to be consumed in the cylinder. Or, look for family members with an oil ring on their lips. That oil is going somewhere. The causes of excessive oil consumption may include the following conditions:

  • External oil leaks.
  • Incorrect oil level or improper reading of the oil level indicator. With the vehicle on a level surface, run the engine for a few minutes, allow adequate drain down time (2-3 minutes) and check for the correct engine oil level.
  • Improper oil viscosity. Refer to the vehicle owners manual and use the recommended SAE grade and viscosity for the prevailing temperatures.
  • Continuous high speed driving and/or severe usage.
  • Crankcase ventilation system restrictions or malfunctioning components.
  • Worn valve guides and/or valve stems.
  • Worn, missing or improperly installed valve stem oil seals.
  • Piston rings broken, worn, not seated properly. Allow adequate time for the rings to seat. Replace worn piston rings as necessary.
  • Piston and rings improperly installed or miss-fitted to the cylinder bore.

12. Is tan-colored "mayonnaise" on the diptick normal?
Despite that old saying about oil and water don't mix, that tan substance is typically an indication of water in the oil. Alternatively (and less likely) it could be engine coolant if you have an engine gasket leak.

One of the problems of not running the Volt engine very much is water condensing inside the engine and mixing with the oil. Certain colder environments (like Minnesota for example) will be more prone to engine water condensation, so this may be normal or it may mean you should change the oil. It depends on how often the engine internal surfaces drop below the ambient dew point and how often your gas engine runs.

Emulsified water, coolant or gas in the oil is not good for engine lubrication (corrosive erosion and abnormal wear can result). In a standard vroom-vroom 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. In the same way, Volts that use some gas daily are likely to boil off any engine water condensation.

However, in Volts that rarely use the gas engine, the oil probably remains more water contaminated over time than in a regular car engine due to the infrequent engine run cycles. For Volts that rarely or never see the gas engine used, 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. So the oft-dreaded FMM (Fuel Maintenance Mode) is not only preventing stale fuel, it's also boiling water out of the oil.

13. What kind of oil does the Volt use?
The Volt's oil is a long-life synthetic, dexos1® approved 5W-30 oil. The oil will display a dexos1® approved certification mark. Mobile 1, 5w-30 is dexos1 certified. EXCEPTION: The Ampera MY12 Manual Page 178 specifies dexos 2 for most of Europe.

14. Can I use oil that is not dexos1 approved?

This may be the next most debated oil change topic. Some say dexos1 approval is a scam. For me, the safe course is to stick with the dexos1 requirement specified in the Volt owner's manual. After the warranty period is over, you can do whatever you like.

Some oils that are not dexos1 approved may claim their oil is "suitable" nonetheless. But ask yourself, "Are you feeling lucky, punk? Well, are you!?" If you use a "suitable" but not dexos1 approved oil and there is engine damage, will the oil company accept responsibility for the engine warranty if GM refuses your engine damage claim? Do you want to be in the middle of the finger pointing and paperwork? Not me.

According to the Amsoil site: http://www.amsoil.com/storefront/azo.aspx their oil is "suitable as a replacement for GM Dexos 1" and supercedes all of the relevant specs. Apparently Castrol makes a similar statement.

15. Can I change the oil myself?
Sure. If the dealer does it then it's on record that you had the proper maintenance done, but you can certainly change your own oil and filter if you want. To maintain your warranty just make sure that you:

  1. Purchase/install a dexos1 approved 5W-30 synthetic blend oil (the Volt's oil is a long-life synthetic). In an area of extreme cold, where the temperature falls below −29°C (−20°F), a dexos1 approved SAE 0W-30 oil may be used. Mobile one 5w-30 is dexos1 approved. Also see "Can I use oil that is not dexos1 approved?"
  2. Keep your dated receipts for the oil and filter purchase (preferably in your glove-box with other owner/maintenance materials).
  3. Make note of the date and who performed the work on your maintenance record (also part of your glove-box owners materials).
  4. Reset the oil life monitor. Refer to your owner's manual in the Vehicle Care section under Engine Oil Life System > How to Reset the Engine Oil Life System.

16. How do I change the oil and filter?
If you are asking, perhaps you should not be doing it, haha. That aside, doing an oil change on the Volt is pretty simple. It can be done by anyone who knows how to change the oil in a regular car. The filter and drain plug are out in the open and easy to reach. The official procedure can be seen here: http://www.autocats.net/manual/chevrolet/tis0911/en/documents_2012/Volt/start_Volt.html

Skin Protection: Before starting, get rubber or disposable gloves (non-latex) to protect your hands. Used engine oil contains certain elements that can be unhealthy for your skin and could even cause cancer. Do not let used oil stay on your skin for very long. Clean your skin and nails with soap and water, or a good hand cleaner. Wash or properly dispose of clothing or rags containing used engine oil. See the manufacturer's warnings about the use and disposal of oil products.

Spill Preparation: Have paper towels or shop towels (blue or red) ready to wipe away oil spills on the engine area, and have a pail of clean sand or clay cat litter available in case of a major spill to absorb the oil and facilitate an easier cleanup.

  1. 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, or use mountain mode if the battery is low, or simply pop the hood with power on, which forces the engine to start. 10 minutes of idle should be enough to warm the oil to help it drain better and mix up any material that may have settled.
  2. Raise and support the vehicle. Some like to drive the Volt up on ramps, others prefer lifting the vehicle with a jack. Refer to your owner's manual in the Vehicle Care section under Lifting the Vehicle. Danger: Do not use a service jack in locations other than those specified to lift this vehicle. Lifting the vehicle with a jack in those other locations could cause the vehicle to slip off the jack and roll; this could cause injury or death. I think it may be a good idea to set the parking brake and chock the rear wheels. You don't want the car rolling backwards off the stands or jacks.
  3. The filter is located towards the bottom left of the car on the side of what seems to be the oil sump. The plug is close by on the bottom. Warning: While engine is operating, the exhaust system will become extremely hot. To prevent burns avoid contacting a hot exhaust system.
    Volt-Oil-Filter-and-drain.jpg
  4. Place a drain pan under the sump drain plug.
  5. The drain plug needs a 10mm wrench. Remove the sump drain plug, and allow the oil to drain completely. Caution: Use the correct fastener in the correct location. Replacement fasteners must be the correct part number for that application. Do not use paints, lubricants, or corrosion inhibitors on fasteners, or fastener joint surfaces, unless specified. These coatings affect fastener torque and joint clamping force and may damage the fastener. Use the correct tightening sequence and specifications when installing fasteners in order to avoid damage to parts and systems. When using fasteners that are threaded directly into plastic, use extreme care not to strip the mating plastic part(s). Use hand tools only, and do not use any kind of impact or power tools. Fastener should be hand tightened, fully seated, and not stripped.

  6. After the oil is drained replace the drain plug (a new seal is recommended). The GM published torque for the drain plug is 14Nm /124 lb in (about 10 lb-ft). Install the oil sump drain plug and tighten to 14 N·m (124 lb in).
  7. Place the drain pan under the oil filter.
  8. Remove the oil filter. Allow the oil to drain completely.
  9. Be sure to drain all the oil from the filter before disposal. Using a plastic funnel, pour the used oil into the same containers that held the new oil. Used oil can be a threat to the environment. Never dispose of oil by putting it in the trash or pouring it on the ground, into sewers, or into streams or bodies of water. Recycle it by taking it to a place that collects used oil such as an auto repair shop, auto dealer or recycling center. Some states apply a tax per quart to guarantee the oil return, and the tax is refunded after the return.

Installation Procedure

  1. Lubricate the NEW oil filter gasket with clean engine oil.
  2. Tighten the oil filter to 25 N·m (18 lb-ft).
  3. Lower the vehicle onto level ground.
  4. Refill the engine with 3.7 qt (3.5 l) of new oil. The camshaft roller tappet is directly under the oil fill cap, but it's not a problem. Allow several minutes for the oil to drain into the oil pan before checking the oil level. Check the dipstick by pulling it out, wiping the end with a clean towel, reinserting all the way, and removing it again keeping the end pointed down. Check to make sure the oil is at the proper level. Fully insert the dipstick.
  5. Turn the car on with the hood open. This will cause the engine to start and you can check for leaks of the filter or drain plug. Turn off the car. If you'd like or are simply a little on this side of obsessive-compulsive, wait a few minutes and verify the oil level again as above.
  6. Lastly, reset the oil life monitor. Refer to your owner's manual in the Vehicle Care section under Engine Oil Life System > How to Reset the Engine Oil Life System.

17. What oil filter should I use?


18. Can I use engine oil additives or engine oil flushes?
No and no. Do not add anything to the oil. The recommended oils with the dexos specification and displaying the dexos certification mark are all that is needed for good performance and engine protection. Engine oil system flushes are not recommended and could cause engine damage not covered by the vehicle warranty.

19. What makes the Volt oil pump special?
Well, WOT is glad you asked. The Chevrolet Volt has a special variable displacement oil pump that helps conserve fuel by delivering the precise amount of oil in all driving conditions. The volume of oil from the pump varies with rpm which reduces the amount of energy, or torque, required to pump the oil, without taking necessary lubrication away from the engine.
2011-I4-LUJ-C-Variable-Oil-Pump_SM.jpg
There's a video showing this pump on this GMCL web page:
http://media.gm.com/content/product/public/us/en/FuelEfficiency/tech.html

Or use this: [video]http://bcove.me/txstgwv8[/video]

While the article below is specifically referencing the Cruze, the Volt's LUU range extender ICE benefits from the very same oil pump configuration. A lot of people are under the assumption that the Family 0 Ecotec engine used in the Volt has very little newer technology in its design, but that's just not true. With other fuel efficient and emissions friendly technologies such as low friction piston rings, low mass valvetrain, electrically managed thermostat, dual-mode (intake AND exhaust thus atkinson capable) VVT, close-coupled catalytic converter with fast "light-off" heated oxygen sensors, its as good as it gets in a modern 4-cyl.

http://media.gm.com/content/media/c.../content/Pages/news/ca/en/2010/Aug/0825_cruze

Originally Posted by General Motors of Canada on Aug 25 2010
Special Oil Pump Helps Chevrolet Cruze Conserve Fuel
Variable Displacement Pump Delivers Precise Amount of Oil in all Driving Conditions

The oil pump in the engine of the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze takes a laid-back approach to its work, delivering the precise amount of oil needed during all driving conditions. That requires the engine to work less versus a conventional pump and ultimately saves fuel.

A standard feature in the Cruze’s Ecotec 1.4L turbocharged engine, the variable displacement oil pump reduces the displacement during engine warm up and high speed conditions. The volume of oil from the pump varies with rpm by changing the pump’s displacement through a pivoting control chamber mechanism and sliding vanes. A fixed displacement pump would typically bypass the extra oil internally.

“By lowering the volume of oil we reduce the amount of energy, or torque, required to pump the oil, without taking necessary lubrication away from the engine,” said Mike Katerberg, assistant chief engineer for the 1.4L. “Reducing the torque demand reduces fuel consumption. It’s a simple, durable, maintenance-free design that we have used in our transmissions for years and more recently in our hybrid vehicles.”

The Ecotec 1.4L turbo is standard on Eco, LT Turbo and LTZ Turbo models and helps the Cruze Eco, with a standard six-speed manual transmission, achieve segment best highway fuel consumption - as low as 5.0 L/100km.*

The benefits of the variable displacement oil pump increase when used with other technologies such as variable valve timing which operate using oil pressure. Variable valve timing adjusts the engine valves' opening and closing timing for optimal performance, fuel efficiency and emissions across the rpm band – including greater low-rpm torque.

* Based on GMCL preliminary testing in accordance with approved Transport Canada test methods.

20. Other engine oil info:


Some posts used as reference for this FAQ:
http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?12412-DIY-Oil-Change
http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?50009-Checking-Oil
http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?16449-Oil-Change
http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?6998-Remaining-Oil-Life
http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?18544-Oil-change
http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?19289-Change-Oil
http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?17948-Oil-Change-Make-Sure-Dealer-Has-Oil
http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?17817-Oil-life-to-98-after-only-.5-GA-of-gas-use
http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread.php?11453-Oil-Service
http://gm-volt.com/forum/showthread...lps-Chevrolet-Cruze-(-amp-Volt)-Conserve-Fuel
 
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Wow! Very comprehensive post.

I'll probably need an oil/filter change twice during my lease, so off to the dealer. I can check out the 2014 and 2015 Volts while I'm there. :)
 

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+10 for Steverino! Bravo!
 

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9. My oil level is above the top cross-hatched area, is that OK?[/B]
No. If the engine has been running recently, turn off the engine and allow several minutes for the oil to drain back into the oil pan before checking the oil level. If you find that you have an oil level above the top cross-hatched area, the engine could be damaged. You should drain out the excess oil or limit driving of the vehicle and seek a service professional to remove the excess amount of oil.
Modern engines all have vented oil fill caps. If it happens to be over filled, the oil will start to spray out of the fill cap.
My brother's fiance was a little panicked when she noticed oil all over her engine. fortunately her brother just added an extra half quart, and the engine sorted itself out.
 

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Thanks for this comprehensive post Steverino. I would do my own oil change if it weren't for the hassle or jacking the car up to get under it. I've got the same issue with my 2001 Miata. These cars are so low to the ground!
 

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That is not true. Iif oil is leaking out from the oil cap, the oil cap is not installed correctly or it has a malfunction. The oil or fumes from the engine should never be vented to the atmosphere, at least in a vehicle made 1975 or newer. Older vehicles with no emission controls may vent combustion fumes to the atmosphere.



Modern engines all have vented oil fill caps. If it happens to be over filled, the oil will start to spray out of the fill cap.
My brother's fiance was a little panicked when she noticed oil all over her engine. fortunately her brother just added an extra half quart, and the engine sorted itself out.
 

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Excellent consolidation of all the related posts, including my own. I have been changing engine oil for fifty years (my Dad's 1963 Rambler American wagon was the first), and since 1980 I use Mobil 1 synthetic oil in all my cars after the factory warranty expires, so they last a long time (up to 26 years). Now the Volt's range extender will last even more (probably over thirty years) since the main propulsion is electric. I long to own my first electric car so I will classify oil changes as a part of ancient history (like the hand crank).

I wish to add to items 15 and/or 16 to use rubber or disposable gloves (non-latex) to protect your hands, paper towels or shop towels (blue or red) to wipe away oil spills on the engine area, and have a pail of clean sand available in case of a major spill to absorb the oil and facilitate an easier cleanup. Oil is slightly toxic to the skin, and both hands and arms must be washed with a degreasing detergent after the oil change and the gloves removal.

The oil must be returned for disposal. I recommend using a plastic funnel and pour the used oil into the same containers that held the new oil. Some states apply a tax per quart to guarantee the oil return, and the tax is refunded after the return.
 

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Excellent post!

Question: What is the ICE break-in period for many Volt owners?

Answer: As long as they own their Volt!

:)
 

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Thanks for the excellent post. I've performed two oil changes on my 2011 Volt and I've been setting the oil level wrong both times. I didn't know until today from reading your post that there was the marking on the plastic handle of the dip stick to decipher the cryptic markings on the dip stick itself. I've read and re-read the page on the owners manual concerning the oil level, and each time I came to the conclusion that the full mark on the dip stick was the top of the lower cross hash area, and to ignore the upper cross hash area. Now after reading your message, and looking at the yellow dip stick handle, I finally understand where the full mark really is. I will need to add a little oil to set the level correctly.

-Eric
 

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Good info Steverino! I also did not understand that the upper cross-hatched area on the dipstick is where the oil level needs to be for full.
 

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Well I'll be! I checked my Volt and there is a diagram on the dip stick handle! Thanks Steverino for pointing this out. And to GM, please note that many of your Volt owners are old (and near-old) codgers who don't have 20-20 vision anymore. The diagram is next to invisible to an old f*rt like me. Especially when I'm holding the dipstick by its handle. And also thanks to Eric99 and mike01 who (in another thread) raised awareness that many of us were misinterpreting the manual. Or worse, that the manual was flat out wrong.
 

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I just read the FAQ at the start of this thread and question the info in #10. It says to add a quart of oil if the level is to the bottom of the cross-hatched area. I haven't changed the oil in the Volt yet, but on the Prius and Honda hybrids that have a similar oil capacity, 1 quart would raise the level well over the top of the hatches.
 

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Our 2010 Prius required oil is 0W20 Full Synthetic oil, such as Mobil One or Toyota Branded Full Synthetic motor oil. If the
Prius can run on this oil in all temps. hot and cold, why can't the Volt's engine run on the same type and weight of oil. This would
also perhaps give an increase in MPG when the Volt is in engine mode, which is always a plus no matter what vehicle you may drive.

I have nearly 100,000 miles on the Prius and change oil every 10,000 miles with no noticeable oil usage during that period. So I am
sure 0w20 Full Synthetic Motor oil, like Mobil One, would be OK.
 

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Our 2010 Prius required oil is 0W20 Full Synthetic oil, such as Mobil One or Toyota Branded Full Synthetic motor oil. If the
Prius can run on this oil in all temps. hot and cold, why can't the Volt's engine run on the same type and weight of oil. This would
also perhaps give an increase in MPG when the Volt is in engine mode, which is always a plus no matter what vehicle you may drive.

I have nearly 100,000 miles on the Prius and change oil every 10,000 miles with no noticeable oil usage during that period. So I am
sure 0w20 Full Synthetic Motor oil, like Mobil One, would be OK.
I'm sure you're right, but as mentioned, it is easier for warranty purposes to use the OEM. The engine has a turbo on it that spins at a very high rpm which the Prius doesn't have. Our 2010 has 94k on it and I changed it for the 7th time last week with 0-20w Amsoil.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I wish to add to items 15 and/or 16 to use rubber or disposable gloves (non-latex) to protect your hands, paper towels or shop towels (blue or red) to wipe away oil spills on the engine area, and have a pail of clean sand available in case of a major spill to absorb the oil and facilitate an easier cleanup. Oil is slightly toxic to the skin, and both hands and arms must be washed with a degreasing detergent after the oil change and the gloves removal.

The oil must be returned for disposal. I recommend using a plastic funnel and pour the used oil into the same containers that held the new oil. Some states apply a tax per quart to guarantee the oil return, and the tax is refunded after the return.
Thanks, Raymondjram! I have updated #16 based on your suggestion (and the owners manual).
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I just read the FAQ at the start of this thread and question the info in #10. It says to add a quart of oil if the level is to the bottom of the cross-hatched area. I haven't changed the oil in the Volt yet, but on the Prius and Honda hybrids that have a similar oil capacity, 1 quart would raise the level well over the top of the hatches.
There are two cross-hatched areas. If the oil level is below the bottom cross-hatched are (marked "Min"), then add a quart/liter.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
So I am
sure 0w20 Full Synthetic Motor oil, like Mobil One, would be OK.
As indicated, Mobile 1, 5w-30 is dexos1 certified. Outside of that, you and your lawyers can hash it out with GM, haha. Like I said in the FAQ, this certified oil topic engenders much debate.
 

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Thanks for taking the time to write this up. I started the thread about the confusion reading the dipstick. This should clear things up for Volt owners on this forum going forward.
 

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I took my Volt into the dealership last week for a tire rotation and the defective key fob. My oil was showing 97 percent left (one year, 15,000 miles) and they changed the oil. I wonder why the service department didn't know this?
 

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I just had my oil & filter changed because the remaining oil life was at 12%, which covered me for 47,000 miles! I did ask "How will I know when to change the oil?", when I bought my 2011 Volt. They told me "the care will tell you when you get to a low oil life message". It just occurred to me that I have save a lot of money on oil/filter changes with the Volt, as I used to change my oil/filter every 5,000 miles. I am still loving my Volt!
 
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