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Discussion Starter #1
Here's the deal: I got my first service today with 11k on the odo. 55% oil life left.. but I've had it almost a year, so "why not?"

The receipt shows 5w-30 was used. However, this car calls for 5w-20 or 0w-20.

I just got off the phone, and they said there is only one billing line for oil (which I guess shows up as 5w-30?) and that the tech "does plenty of these and would put in the correct oil".

I asked for a call back from the volt tech for confirmation.

Is there any way to confirm it was, indeed, 5w-20? Too bad the oils aren't color-coded...

I really don't want to be using 5w-30! (I doubt it would kill the engine, but maybe be less efficient..?)
 

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This, and you are silly, but you could buy an oil analysis kit from a local CAT dealer. About $20. It comes with a small tube for sucking out a sample but this won't fit down the dip stick tube so,, you'll have to take the drain plug out and catch a small sample in the small bottle that comes with the kit and quickly reinstall the drain plug.
Then send if off in the paid envelope and wait about a week to get the report through email.

That is the scientific method of knowing most of what you need to know about the condition and viscosity of your brand new oil.

Or go back to the dealership with a few dozen donuts (bc ur a pita) for the guys and ask to have the tech that worked on your car to show you the oil he put in your car.

Hope this helps !
 

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How do they keep their inventory correct when they hand out the correct oil, but charge out the wrong oil? The dealer I go to charges out the correct oil and filter for whatever vehicle they're servicing. If you want to be sure, buy the correct oil and filter and do it yourself.
 

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5-30 is better than 5-20. It has a wider performance envelope. You have nothing to worry about. Your engine would be better protected from high temperatures with that oil.
 

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I worked at a GM dealership and we also had the single billing line. Ours read 10W-30, the norm when our computer system was installed. I had a combative female customer whose Malibu required 5W-30 oil and of course she caught the discrepancy. I explained that the computer system was old and we had no known way to change the program. She wasn't satisfied with that so I checked with our parts department and they confirmed that our bulk oil tank had 5W-30 in it, regardless of what the computer printed. She wasn't satisfied with that either, so I went into the office and got an invoice from our oil supplier that showed we purchased 5W-30 in bulk. After seeing the invoice she was satisfied and after that her whole demeanor changed. She was very pleasant to deal with on subsequent visits, I guess because we won her trust.

I suggest to the OP that he or she accepts what the dealership said. Their technicians indeed do plenty of these and know which viscosity to use. Further pursuit of this complaint is folly and a complete waste of time for all parties involved.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I'm pretty sure the engine will be fine, but this is just incompetence. I am a scientist and engineer and cannot stand hand-waiving.

1) Is it really too much to ask for the DEALER to put in the exact oil recommended?
2) Newer engines are engineered differently. A 5w-20 oil has less viscosity at operating temperature. There's a reason this was listed as the specified viscosity -- the engine was designed with that in mind (for efficiency reasons). -30 is not "better", it's just different. There's some Valvoline articles about it (can't find the links now).
3) Good for the customer who checked the dealer! My last experience at another GM dealer was that they ordered and installed the *wrong tire* for my car. I replaced one tire due to a flat at only a few K miles after purchase.. and the thing pulled hard under braking.
4) Trust.. but verify.

To the guy who suggested doing it myself -- I'd love to! maybe next time. (I used to do it...).

EDIT: not a while article, but from Valvoline:
"Is it ok to use 5W-30 in a car if the owner's manual calls for 5W-20?
Valvoline does not recommend doing this. Using a heavier grade than recommended may cause decrease in fuel economy, higher engine loads and eventually shortened engine life. Using a lighter grade than recommended may result in excessive mechanical wear and reduced engine life. For maximum engine performance, follow the recommended motor oil viscosity and maintenance schedule provided in your vehicle's owner's manual."
 

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There may be a difference on a theoretical level, but on a practical level, I doubt it would be meaningful. Engine damage? That seems far fetched. More likely the difference would be on the order of consuming one extra gallon of gas during the entire oil change interval. I personally would forget about it and move on. 5W-30, if that is even what they used, should be perfectly fine in any normal car engine. The 5W-20 specification was probably not based on safety, but on trying to squeeze every last molecule of efficiency for the EPA MPG test.
 

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Do we know if the oil used is synthetic oil? When I have to change the oil in our 2016 Volt I will use Mobil One Extended Performance 0w20 synthetic
oil. Who knows might get a little more mpg's on the gas engine as well.
 

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Do we know if the oil used is synthetic oil? When I have to change the oil in our 2016 Volt I will use Mobil One Extended Performance 0w20 synthetic
oil. Who knows might get a little more mpg's on the gas engine as well.
If GM oil is used, it's a synthetic blend Dexos 1.
 

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My local dealer put in 5w-30 because they buy drums of it. I ended up changing it myself. I suppose it could have been a line item computer issue, but the advisor did not offer an explanation. I didn't use the ICE anyhow- just drove home on battery and changed it later.
 

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Accept what the dealership said? Never.

I worked at a GM dealership and we also had the single billing line. Ours read 10W-30, the norm when our computer system was installed. I had a combative female customer whose Malibu required 5W-30 oil and of course she caught the discrepancy. I explained that the computer system was old and we had no known way to change the program. She wasn't satisfied with that so I checked with our parts department and they confirmed that our bulk oil tank had 5W-30 in it, regardless of what the computer printed. She wasn't satisfied with that either, so I went into the office and got an invoice from our oil supplier that showed we purchased 5W-30 in bulk. After seeing the invoice she was satisfied and after that her whole demeanor changed. She was very pleasant to deal with on subsequent visits, I guess because we won her trust.

I suggest to the OP that he or she accepts what the dealership said. Their technicians indeed do plenty of these and know which viscosity to use. Further pursuit of this complaint is folly and a complete waste of time for all parties involved.
First of all, how can any parts department keep anything stocked properly if they just use 1 Standard item instead of the actual product used? So, they just put 5w-30 in every car? Not really an honest way to do business nor a wise business decision. Also not very consumer friendly and that's supposed to be the bottom line, isn't it--to service the customer?
As for the bit about being an old computer system, way back before Windows 3.1 there was a way to program a computer to do what you wanted as far as inventory was concerned. It's called a simple database program. Heck, we even had 1 in the USAF in the late 1970's to keep track of our plane parts & fluids in inventory.
If my car was supposed to use 0-20 & the dealer put ANYTHING else in against the recommendation, I wouldn't be very happy & I bet GM wouldn't either. This has to be the oddest explanation I've ever heard. Every car I've owned, going back to my 1987 Lincoln Continental, various 1990's to 2000's Infinitis and my previous 2013 Ford C-Max, what the car required was what was put on the invoice (whether that was put in the engine I can't say, not having worked there. I'd also be willing to bet some state attorneys general wouldn't be too happy to see people required to get 1 thing but have a dealer put in something else because 'that's all they get'. Usually they get several different types of oils & fluids. Heck, my brother was a manager of a service station back in the 1970's for crying out loud & I worked there during high school & they had whatever viscosity the customer wanted or the vehicle required.
 

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If an engine required something other than standard, such as synthetic oil or diesel engine oil, it would be charged out as such by GM part number on the invoice. Such oils were stocked in quart plastic containers on the shelves and were not in the bulk oil tank. Nice to know the USAF had an adaptable system in the '70's that we didn't have in the '90's or oughts'. Perhaps you could take that up with Reynolds and Reynolds who provided our system. To imply poor customer service and even dishonesty due to a computer-generated obsolete description is a leap to a most illogical conclusion. None of this would occur in the'70's before computers when repair tickets and invoices were handwritten.
 

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Most new cars are using 0w20 synthetic motor oil. This oil has a full temperature range for operation and an added bonus of possible increase in mpg. Toyota Prius has been using 0w20 oil since the 2010 model. On our 2010 Prius we have been using 0w20 Mobil One synthetic oil since new, nearing 152,000 miles now. Never had to add oil and I change my own oil and filter every 10,000 miles. I put in 4 quarts and nearly 4 quarts comes out 10,000 miles later, hard to believe. Will use the same oil in our 2016 Volt when the times comes and I will do it myself like I have been doing since I was 16 back in the 1960's....
 
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