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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Folks, I hit 6K on the odometer this week and wanted a tire rotation. I ended up with lots of opinions among the service / parts department about how often to change oil. The discussion was interesting among their crew because they were somewhat divided. A few said the algorithms of the computer take everything into account and you can trust it. The main philosophy was you need to consider the age of the oil and go by the number of months between oil changes. As far as a calendar goes, the owner's manual says every 24 months, which seems like quite a long time to me. The service department said my oil life is no longer than six months on any car but more so for me based on our weather extremes and mountain driving.

I went ahead and had the oil changed despite only having about 1K of the 6K using the ICE and the computer offering 80% life left in the oil. I did this mostly because I wanted to run with full synthetic . The other thought was if age is a factor then I really can't be too sure about the oil's age from the factory.

Also, I am brainwashed with the old tale of change oil quickly after the "break-in" period. I can't shake the tale, even though it is stated clearly in the owner's manual that "break-in" was done at the factory.

I doubt I will change it as early as this first oil change next time. But would love to know the opinion of our long time Volt owners. Do I trust my Volt's stated oil life? or the Calendar?

Thanks
Jon
 

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I did the same as you mainly wanted tire rotation at about 6250 miles but went ahead with the (free) oil change. I also had only about 500 miles on the ice. You only get two free for first two years so I think at least from a cheapskate perspective it makes sense but I also wonder about metal shavings from the break in period even though they say don't worry with modern engine production.


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Motor oil today, especially synthetics, have a long life. I would wait until its down to about 25% then change it. I plan on using Mobil One Extended Performance 0w20 synthetic oil when I change it in our 2016 Volt along with the AC Delco GM factory professional filter.
 

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I have used Mobil 1 synthetic oil since 1981, and I knew about it years earlier from a Popular Science article (NASA and the Armed Forces use it, too). For my past vehicles (1980 Ford Mustang, 1984 Olsmobile Ciera, 1995 Buick Regal) I change the oil once a year, and all have lasted over fifteen years of ownership with no problems ever or loss of compression. This synthetic oil is vastly superior to the manufacturer's specifications. My present vehicle, a 2009 Chevy Equinox has the "engine oil life" display on the DIC so I follow it, and sometimes change the oil after over a year. Mobil recommends a year or 12,000 miles. I never travel over 10,000 miles a year because I live on a small island and every destination is close to me.

Now I trust GM engine oil life calculations and I continue to use Mobil 1 synthetic oil with the PF-47 AC Delco filter. It may cost more per change but I am a DIYer and it costs me less than a regular oil change for those who have it done by others, and I do it less often, too, so I save even more. The AC Delco filter does its job, and the used oil may be dirty but can still lubricate.

My recommendation is to follow GM's schedule according to the vehicle use. If your Volt gets less than 5,000 miles on the range extender engine, then change it every two years. Changing it sooner is a waste of money and time.
 

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My service department said I can go 2 years easily. However, they said they would give me the freebie at 12 months since it was covered.
 

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My first oil change was at 24k miles at the year and a half mark, but I probably drove more than 50% on ice st that point. I would have held out until the indicator got under 10%

On a side note, I've stopped rotating my tires altogether. Trying to get even wear just hides any alignment issues, and others on this forum pointed out they putting the best tires on the rear wheels actually helps keep you from losing control (tire rack has a really good test video on this) so my plan is to wear out the front tires, move the rears to the front, and buy new rear tires when a tire change is needed. I really dislike the idea of spinning tires ine direction, having the steel belts settle into groove, then upending everything and spinning them another direction. My BMW 535i owner's manual says not to rotate the tires at all for this reason, and even then, the dealership always asked if I wanted my tires rotated.

I do, however worry that not removing the lug nuts once in awhile will cause them to seize, but I also have a set of snow tires, so once or twice per year I do a tire swap so I;m not too worried about the lug nuts sticking.
 

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88,500 on my 2011 Volt. It's had 3 oil changes, about every 2 years. Runs like a top. Probably 58K electric, 30K ICE. The lowest the gage ever got was 24%.
 

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Why do you think the GM engineers would put out "fake information" on recommended oil change intervals?

They are basically saying, 24 months -or- go by the oil life indicator, forget mileage. Seems reasonable to me because it is intended to primarily operate as an EV with limited ICE usage. But you should go by the oil life monitor if you use the ICE more than expected. Pretty simple - don't make it harder that needed.

Keep in mind that dealer service staffs have a different agenda from the vehicle designers.

VIN # B0985
 

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The advice to change the oil after an initial period might have been good at some point but technology moves on. Kinda like having to discharge a battery fully before charging used to be.

Don't all new Volts comes with free oil changes for the warranty period? Not that this would be a big deal.
 

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A few said the algorithms of the computer take everything into account and you can trust it.
Yes it can be trusted. In fact, any Volt 2013 and newer also calculates the age along with usage. So you don't even have to think about it.

Also, I am brainwashed with the old tale of change oil quickly after the "break-in" period. I can't shake the tale, even though it is stated clearly in the owner's manual that "break-in" was done at the factory.
You are brainwashed or a victim of willful ignorance on your part having been provided the information from the manufacturer. And yes the break in is done at the factory.

would love to know the opinion of our long time Volt owners. Do I trust my Volt's stated oil life? or the Calendar?
Those are my opinions. Follow the Volt's oil life monitor. Forget about the calendar as I mentioned before, the monitor factors both usage and the calendar.
 

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On a side note, I've stopped rotating my tires altogether. Trying to get even wear just hides any alignment issues, and others on this forum pointed out they putting the best tires on the rear wheels actually helps keep you from losing control (tire rack has a really good test video on this) so my plan is to wear out the front tires, move the rears to the front, and buy new rear tires when a tire change is needed. I really dislike the idea of spinning tires ine direction, having the steel belts settle into groove, then upending everything and spinning them another direction. My BMW 535i owner's manual says not to rotate the tires at all for this reason, and even then, the dealership always asked if I wanted my tires rotated.
I am with you on this, I may be missing some information, but I never quite bought into the tire rotation thing.
The only thing it does is attempt to make all tires need to replaced at once, which as far as I am concerned is a bad thing, as I would rather spread the cost over time, changing them 2 at a time.

If the tires wear unevenly something is wrong and you want to get that fixed.
In addition, if you have an alignment problem and your tires have worn unevenly, it seems rotating them will decrease grip and wear them down even faster, which is probably why they recommend you do that :)
 

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I'm going to wait. A few weeks ago, when I got my propulsion reduced software update, my service manager said my car was due for an oil change. I said my report from OnStar said I had used the ICE less than 2000 miles and that my oil was about 50% thru its useful life and that I would wait. He wasn't happy. I'm not going to waste oil and incur unnecessary charges, even if it's GM paying.
 

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I have been averaging 18 months between oil changes. Actual mileage between oil changes on ice is only about 1000 miles as I am 92% electric. Last oil change was last week and the oil life monitor was at 20%. The oil was still like new in color and texture. The service tech gave me the same old story. I responded accordingly on my survey.

FYI Dexos oil is classified as a synthetic and is specifically engineered for long life and engine protection.

When I compare my Volt's oil to the oil in my Buick that has been in for a few thousand miles, my Buick oil is already way darker and dirtier looking than my Volt oil has ever been. There is no way the oil has gone bad or broken down in 18 months in my Volt and I suspect it would still be fine at even 3 years with my usage pattern.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks Everyone for such solid advice and experience. I am going to follow the Volt's estimation of oil life and not overthink it. I will stick with full synthetic for the next "free" change. Although I do have to pay an extra $20 to get it. Seems worth it to me.
 

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I'm at almost 13K miles in my 2017, and my oil life meter says 61% life remaining. Have had the car for about 7 or 8 months.

At this rate, I'll be able to hit 24K miles before the oil life meter gets critical. According to the service advisor I get one free oil change and rotation. Will wait till I actually need it.
 

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The 2011 and 2012 Volts do not age the oil life correctly. I drive 100% EV and at the 2 year mark it will only drop to around 90%. It was 91% at 2 years and 90% at 4 years. It has been a little over a year since my last oil change and my oil life is at 95%. This was fixed in the 2013 model year so oil life is aged correctly for time.
 

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FYI, With the 2016, I think you get 2 free services of rotation and oil change.
That is what the service manager told me when I took my '16 in for something else. I've had it for 1 year and the oil life reading was 50%. I told him change it, why not. Chevy really ought to consider changing their freebie to 2 free oil changes in 4 years.
 
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