Ecotec 1.4 - which engine oil?

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Feb 23, 2009
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Hi Guys,

Just looking for some thoughts on this. I am purchasing my 2020 Trax out of it’s lease (hard to beat the price). The Trax has seen nothing since synthetic since new, and I am pretty gentle of the turbo. It is currently sitting at around 20k right now. For the most part it has had a diet of Quaker State Syn in the 5w30 flavor. And no issues to report from it either.

Thanks to a nice handful of YouTube channels (Car Wizard, etc) has me thinking of a possible change of oil to the Trax. I’ve heard claims to the 1.4 being junk, but I also realize you have to give turbos a bit more love as an engine for keep them happy. (Since most folks fail to care for them) This also has be wondering if I should offer more protection (Thicker oil for example) to keep this little Trax on the road as long as possible- and prepare ir for my son to learn to drive on.

SoI am looking for suggestions and ideas for oil (or stick with the plan) for the little Trax. Thanks!
 
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Dec 19, 2006
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I've done maintenance on a 2013 Buick Encore with the LUJ 1.4L since it was new.

120,000 miles and it's been remarkably reliable given the engines reputation. Mobil 1 EP 5W30 when the change oil message pops up and that's about it.

Replaced the water pump at around 100,000 miles (leak) and alternator at 115,000. IIRC, the throttle body was replaced very early when it was under warranty, less than 10,000 miles.

Other than that, just battery, brakes, filters, and tires.

Maybe this is a good one or maybe so many are in cars that are used as throwaway transportation and lack any type of diligent maintenance.
 
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Sep 30, 2020
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Canada, eh?
5K OCI's with your current grade of 5w30 should be fine to get it well past 200k miles.

If you aren't already, you might want to consider running premium....at least that's what I'd do if I were in your shoes.
 
Last edited:

daves87rs

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Feb 23, 2009
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I've done maintenance on a 2013 Buick Encore with the LUJ 1.4L since it was new.

120,000 miles and it's been remarkably reliable given the engines reputation. Mobil 1 EP 5W30 when the change oil message pops up and that's about it.

Replaced the water pump at around 100,000 miles (leak) and alternator at 115,000. IIRC, the throttle body was replaced very early when it was under warranty, less than 10,000 miles.

Other than that, just battery, brakes, filters, and tires.

Maybe this is a good one or maybe so many are in cars that are used as throwaway transportation and lack any type of diligent maintenance.

This is why I am glad I posted this. I know a few folks who have Encores,Trax- and they take good care of them. And for the most part, seem to be trouble free with care. Seem to be the popular opinion that they are trash cars though….
 

daves87rs

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5K OCI's with your current grade of 5w30 should be fine to get it well past 200k miles.

If you aren't already, you might want to consider running premium....at least that's what I'd do if I were in your shoes.

I’ve thought about that- for the turbo, I assume?
 
Joined
Nov 8, 2022
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i too have a trax 2020 awd,,been useing havoline pro-ds,5w-30 with fram ultra filter,been a good vehicle so far ,will be trying royal purple high performance in early spring,i change about every 6-8 months,5-7k,,good luck
 
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Have just a shade under 100,000 miles on my 2015. Started running premium around 70,000. Has had a steady diet of whatever 5w-30 dexos was on sale, originally ran 6500 miles oci, now doing 5000. My wife loves it, it's great in the snow.
 
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Canada, eh?
I’ve thought about that- for the turbo, I assume?
The turbo, but mostly for the engine.

Those little engines are under extreme stress whenever the turbo spools up.
Running prem fuel (what the engine was tested and developed on) will keep the engine performing as intended by the manfacturer.
When you run regular, regularly, the engine has to pull timing constantly to prevent running issues. This affects the engine and the turbo (less performance) as well as reduced long term reliability.
 
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I’ve been running Valvoline 5-30 in my wife’s 18’ Encore. I run 5k OCIs. No problems yet at 40,000 miles. I have a UOA on this vehicle in my post history.

Make sure you run the correct oil filter (Hengst vs UFI) depending on your oil filter housing…
 

daves87rs

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The turbo, but mostly for the engine.

Those little engines are under extreme stress whenever the turbo spools up.
Running prem fuel (what the engine was tested and developed on) will keep the engine performing as intended by the manfacturer.
When you run regular, regularly, the engine has to pull timing constantly to prevent running issues. This affects the engine and the turbo (less performance) as well as reduced long term reliability.

Interesting, as I have been feeding premium on and off too. Thinking my Equinox might love a bit more premium too....
 
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Austin, TX MSA
If you want a premium oil that's not boutique expensive, run something Porsche A40 rated that's available at your local WM like M1 0w40 or Pennzoil Euro L 5w30.

I see you have 20K miles, I would run D1g3 until you're out of warranty though.
 
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Keep on using a D1G2/3 oil in that. Change it at a reasonable interval - LSPI is real on those. There’s a few issues with those Chevy 1.4Ts involving turbos and PCV.

I drove an Cruze and Equinox with this engine - it’s fine in the former but struggles a bit in the latter.
 
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We have a 2016 Buick Encore that was purchased new for my MIL. It has had Pennzoil Platinum, QSUD, Valvoline EP (current fill), and whatever the dealer put in for the first few oil changes that were free, all in 5w30 D1G2/3 oils. OCI is 5,000 miles or 6 months, whichever comes first because these things are not easy on oil.
It sits at just a hair over 92,000 miles and I have made sure that all maintenance is up to date and done correctly. I stretched the transmission service from 45,000 to 50,000 Mile intervals because it’s just a nice even number to remember.
With all of that said, I have had to replace the intake manifold, cam/valve cover, turbo intake tube, and the A/C compressor.
The car rides and drives great for a small CUV, but I’m a bit disappointed with everything that’s had to be done to it with the stellar maintenance record that it has. The 1.4l pcv setup is absolutely garbage.
 
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