Vehicle requirements - The first step is to consult your owner's manual for the correct type of oil needed for your vehicle. This will include the viscosity - something like 0W20 or 5W30 and whether the oil needs to be a full synthetic like MobilOne or if a synthetic blend is ok. It will also designate the API service designation usually represented by two letters like - SN.
Oil life reminders - Vehicles equipped with oil life monitoring systems use either a icon on the dashboard or a text message displayed on the Driver Information Center. The system may use a percentage of oil life left or just the appearance of the light to alert the driver that it's time for the oil to be changed.
How the systems work - The most sophisticated systems compare your driving style to an algorithm that
in turn estimates the amount of life left on your oil. The indicator then comes on or your oil life percentage decreases accordingly. Other systems are nothing more than flags that come on when you have reached a preset mileage interval. They are a high tech equivalent of the oil change sticker placed on your windshield.
Both types of systems must be reset when the oil is changed to have any meaning. The method for resetting the system is usually in your owner's manual.
Eyes on your vehicle - Nothing is better than a trusted and competent auto service provider taking a look at your car or truck at regular intervals. Traditionally, this has been at the time of the oil change. If your car maker has decided that due to the type of oil you are using (e.g. Full Synthetic) it's OK to go 7,500 miles between changes, we feel that is what you should do but there are two things to remember:
- Don't push the mileage limit
- Make sure your vehicle is looked at periodically by someone you trust