GM Calls 3000-Mile Oil Change a "Myth"

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TC

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But how will poor, poor Jiffy Lube survive if people don't change their oil more often than their underwear? The horror!!! Here's a link to a vintage ad for the 1966 Chrysler Imperial -- it mentions the warranty-required 3 month or 4,000 mile oil changes. And to think that API oil quality classifications and oil performance have somehow REGRESSED since then?!!! GM's comment is welcome, even if it simply acknowledges the obvious. http://www.geocities.com/genaris.geo/Imprealm/imperiads/66warran.htm
 
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There was a article in this months Lubes-n-Greases magazine about the domestic vehicle manufacturers and their take on oil change intervals. The question was posed as to why they haven't recommended longer intervals since oil quality has greatly improved in the past 10 years. It all came down to the lowest common denominator. As long as people have access to cheap and low quality oils the vehicle manufacturers are recommending drain intervals based on the public using this cheap stuff. General Motors did say that they no longer use mileage for drain intervals and rely greatly on their oil change monitor system.
 
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GM's oil life monitoring system makes so much more sense than does a fixed months/miles rules that I wonder why more people here on BITOG don't praise GM for it ????? John
 
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Well, I can tell you why I do not praise it. It does not monitor the oil it uses preset algorythms(sp) to try to predict the oils conditions based on ambient temp, rpms, coolant temp, idle time total time and number of starts etc... It does not actualy monitor the oil at all. It can not tell you if you wear metal are insanely high. It can not tell you your insolubles or if their is glyvcol etc... Can you imagine what a coolant leak would do if it was allowed to continue unchecked for 15,000 miles? The new oil life moitor system being phased in right now has a not so subtle marketing push tied into it. All of the maintence items that were previously done at varying milage intervals are now tied to two oil changes. At the first oil change a fixed laundry list of items are to be serviced and at the next oil change all of the other items are to be serviced. This two part maintence schedules makes it easier for service writers to stack up maintence checks and repairs at each scheduled oil change. You wait and see we are going to see laudry list like service recomended at each of the extende3d oil changes! While I am all for people being able to extended their OCI if they want to it only makes sense if current durability can be maintained. I also think that the quality of the oil has as much to do with it's ability to hold up to extended drains as any of the parameters that are currently tracked! GM has no way to know what the quality of the oil is that is in your sump.
 
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John Browning, as far as I'm concerned, you hit the nail right on the head. Has anyone with one of these GM vehicles with the "oil life monitor" in it done any analysis to see how the two compare? A few years ago, my mother in law had a new "Trail Blazer" with the system in it. When I changed her oil for her, I had to look in the manual to find out how to reset the monitor, so I looked to see if I could find the information telling me how this system worked. When I read what the manual said (John has it almost word for word) I thought, what a joke, - When the monitor actually tells you to change the oil, it is not based on anything to do with the oil AT ALL! I'll tell you what this system is. A MARKETING GIMMICK! and nothing more. That's my 2 cents.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by JohnBrowning: Well, I can tell you why I do not praise it. It does not monitor the oil it uses preset algorythms(sp) to try to predict the oils conditions based on ambient temp, rpms, coolant temp, idle time total time and number of starts etc... It does not actualy monitor the oil at all.
True but the conditions it monitors are a good indicator for basing an estimate of oil life off of... certainly much less arbitrary than simply saying well I'm at 3K,4K,5K... miles. Time to change the oil.
quote:
It can not tell you if you wear metal are insanely high. It can not tell you your insolubles or if their is glyvcol etc...
Nor can the "traditional" 3K change without an analysis. The coolant leak problem is easy to monitor. Simply check to see if the level remains the same in the tank once a week or so. Whenever you check your oil level.
quote:
The new oil life moitor system being phased in right now has a not so subtle marketing push tied into it.
True, but it doesn't mean that the OLM system itself isn't a valuable tool in helping to extend OCIs... not to mention a good "fail safe" for the boneheads that forget to change their oil.
quote:
You wait and see we are going to see laudry list like service recomended at each of the extende3d oil changes!
Possible, but they already recommend a laundry list of these services already when people bring their cars to the dealer for oil changes... so what's the difference. "Uh, no thanks Mr. GM tech. I'll do the chasis lube myself." and walk away.
quote:
I also think that the quality of the oil has as much to do with it's ability to hold up to extended drains as any of the parameters that are currently tracked! GM has no way to know what the quality of the oil is that is in your sump.
Sure they do. If you are following the owners manual its an SL rate oil in the recommended grade and has the API starburst on the front. That's the minimum standards for the oil against which the OLM parameters are set. http://www.practicingoilanalysis.com/article_detail.asp?articleid=77&relatedbookgroup=Lubrication That link addresses some development history of the OLM system... based upon actual laboratory analysis. Here's a link about actual "on-board analysis" systems that use both algorithms and an oil condition sensor. Scroll to bottom for current and future systems. http://www.practicingoilanalysis.com/article_detail.asp?articleid=562&relatedbookgroup=OilAnalysis [ April 01, 2004, 11:54 PM: Message edited by: Forkman ]
 
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I was like jthorner before , let say before this week. Now I'm all the way with JohnBrowning. I've posted 2 UOA. One for a Century 2002 and one for a Montana 2002. Take a minute to look at them and you will see why I don't think that you can fully trust that. BTW now I have 700 miles over what is posted on the Century and I am still waiting for the system to goes off.
 
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My oil monitor once came on after only 1,900 miles. There was no way that I was going to dump the oil at that point just because some idiot light came on. The subsequent UOA that I did verified my decision to ignore the light.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by SSDude: My oil monitor once came on after only 1,900 miles. There was no way that I was going to dump the oil at that point just because some idiot light came on. The subsequent UOA that I did verified my decision to ignore the light.
Was your oil dino or synthetic, obviously the monitor does not know, it assumes you put in what they spec in manual.
 
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I have one in my 2000 Buick. It has never come on but in the past I have reset it around 6000 miles for my 12,000 mile OCI with synthetic. It is currently down to about 20% so I will let it ride and see when it comes on. In my case though it does some to be a good indicator.
 
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I would have to agree that the new "Oil Monitors" are more of a gimmick than a real tool. I would have to consisder that an old fashion "hour meter," showing run time is much simplier and, in the long run, more applicable. Run-hour meters are on almost all industrial engines and even standard equiptment on my new John Deere Lawn Tractor.
 
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quote:
This article appeared in National Oil & Lube News, March 1999 Experts perform a valuable function in our modern world. Whenever we get into an argument, whether heated or as a diversion, it isn't long before we reach for a forceful quote or two from an expert. Experts strengthen our confidence in views we've chosen to defend. Experts supposedly know what they're talking about because they've got the inside track on specialized knowledge. Experts are called upon to give us the final word in matters both obscure and self-evident. And sometimes experts are wrong. Minnesota's recent governor's race is a prime example of the experts being wrong. Polls consistently showed Jesse Ventura to be running third and the pundits gave him no chance of winning. Jesse was almost always discussed in terms of whether his candidacy would hurt Coleman more than Humphrey. History shows us that misguided predictions are nothing new. In 1876 an internal memo at Western Union declared, "This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." According to Dr. Lee De Forest, inventor of the vacuum tube and father of television, man would never reach the moon regardless of all future scientific advances. In 1949, Popular Mechanics boldly asserted that "computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons." Actually, there have been a lot of embarrassed experts when it comes to assertions about computers. The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall in 1957 said, "I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year." Commenting on the microchip, an engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM said, "But what . . . is it good for?" This was in 1968. By 1977, the chairman and founder of Ken Olson expertly demonstrated his prescience by exclaiming, "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." I still remember hearing opinions of people who shared this sentiment. The entertainment industry has produced a few guffaws as well. "Who wants to hear actors talk?" said H.M. Warner of Warner Brothers in 1927. Gary Cooper, in turning down the leading role in "Gone With the Wind" said, "I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling on his face and not Gary Cooper." And when the Decca Recording Company rejected the Beatles in 1962, their in-house experts assured management that, "guitar music is on the way out." Yeah, right. Yeah, yeah, yeah. In fact, misguided experts embarrass themselves in nearly every field of endeavor. "Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value," said Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy of the Ecole Superieure de Guerre. In 1899 Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of the U.S. Office of Patents, declared "Everything that can be invented has been invented." I suppose the inventiveness of 19th century inventors left him pretty much blown away and incapable of conceiving anything new. Hmmm. If you listen around, you'll hear experts cited in our industry, too. Have you never heard any of these? "Synthetics are too expensive. They'll never sell." "Synthetics are a fad." "Oil should be changed every three thousand miles, even if it's synthetic." I suppose it does me little good to quote experts who think otherwise. Recent tests at Mobil have demonstrated synthetic motor oils with a three year, 25,000 mile life span. AMSOIL has had 25,000 mile drain intervals for 25 years, only recently introducing a motor oil inside a somewhat "normal" range, that is, 7500 miles.... which some insist is still too long. Some "experts" are saying, for example, that quick lubes will lose money if drain intervals are extended. I beg to differ. Extending drain intervals may provide an opportunity to make more money. Quick lube operators can begin to charge a premium for a high end synthetic motor oil and a lower price for conventional petroleum products. I am well aware of the fact that you can easily use this argument to discredit my views as a so-called "expert." In point of fact, I am not asking anyone to take my word on anything. What I would really like is for the industry, and you as individuals, to take an open mind approach to all these things. Listen to everything. Question everything. Get informed. Find out for yourself. I like what Joe Haggard said in his October "As I See It" column when he said that we "need to filter all the data that comes through our senses. There are a lot of gems in the flow, but a lot of garbage, too." He went on to spell out some of the criteria he uses to filter information. "Make a vow to bypass all those inputs based on greed, lust or self-enhancement at the expense of others. In short, have a strong conscience. Don't lie, cheat or steal if ever influenced to do so by others." We live in a very complicated age. You, as quick lube owners and operators, are perceived as experts by those who entrust their vehicles to you. You have a responsibility to your customers to become truly informed so that your advice is reliable and trustworthy. You certainly don't want to be numbered with those who must later eat their own words. Consider the words of those drillers whom Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist in his project to drill for oil in 1859: "Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy."
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Stooge: I would have to agree that the new "Oil Monitors" are more of a gimmick than a real tool. I would have to consisder that an old fashion "hour meter," showing run time is much simplier and, in the long run, more applicable. Run-hour meters are on almost all industrial engines and even standard equiptment on my new John Deere Lawn Tractor.
An hour meter means very little to the average car owner. I have no idea after how many hours to change my oil. The monitor is an excellent tool for the average consumer and a nice reminder for them as it interpolates the mileage, run time, average speed, average trip etc, and potentially other factors in hopefully a sound algorithim.
 
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One of the reasons the 3 month / 3K mile OCI sounds like a myth to me is that, outside of those that have a direct financial stake in keeping it alive NO ONE authoritiative seems to support it. It's gotten drilled into the heads of drivers over the years, so it stays alive. There have been too may authoritative sources that say its stupid. Whenever someone does any kind of real test on the subject, it shows that oil, even basic dino, can go much longer than 3K. The one that comes immediately to mind is the Consumer Reports NYC taxi test. The cars showed no increased wear on dino out to 6000 mile OCIs vs 3000. And that was just one consumer oriented test. Does anyone have anything from source that is in a position to REALLY know, that does not have a direct financial stake, that supports blanket 3K oil changes. I haven't seen it. There isn't even an argument here. It's long dead.
 
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quote:
Stooge said: I would have to agree that the new "Oil Monitors" are more of a gimmick than a real tool. I would have to consisder that an old fashion "hour meter," showing run time is much simplier and, in the long run, more applicable.
This makes no sense to me at all. The OLM tracks engine on time, rpms, start stop cycles and engine temperature to arrive at an estimate of oil life use. Why on earth would you consider engine on time by itself to be a better indicator? 100 hours of on time accumulated 15 minutes at a time in sub-zero temperatures is not anything like 100 hours of on time accumulated four hours at a time in mild weather as far as oil is concerned. It just baffles me that people consider their life long held prejudices about OCIs to be ipso facto superior to an algoritmic predictor method. Now if someone wants to post data and arguments about GM's system being either too optimistic or too pessimistic when used with SL starburst dino oil that would be another matter all together. However, saying that in theory the system is absurd as compared to a straight months/miles methodology makes no sense at all. The world of OCI, oil brand, oil filter brand, oil grade, etc. discussions seems to be 95% "grandpappy told me ..." based and _maybe_ 5% evidence/fact based. John [ April 02, 2004, 11:59 AM: Message edited by: jthorner ]
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Stooge: I would have to agree that the new "Oil Monitors" are more of a gimmick than a real tool. I would have to consisder that an old fashion "hour meter," showing run time is much simplier and, in the long run, more applicable. Run-hour meters are on almost all industrial engines and even standard equiptment on my new John Deere Lawn Tractor.
No good if its not used for servicing. I had a 2001 Suburban K2500 for work (GPS Survey Team). It was a leased unit and came with all maintenance provided. I was do nothing without approval of the lesser, policy was; change oil. lube and filter every 5,000 miles, never change ATF or any other fluids, everything needed approval prior to work starting. On numerous occasions the oil change light would come on but the oil would not be changed till it logged 5,000 miles which could take 6 months with some trucks with as much as 1000 hrs on them. If I were to bring truck in before, when the dealer called for work authorization, they would have told him to not change the oil. btw-Our total fleet costs were over 50 million $ per year. One thing about our trucks (the survey section)was that they often had to run all day long. We worked in and near busy roadways that required strobe lights to be on all the time, and we needed to be in radio communication at all times with the other team members. I sometimes drove 100 miles in a day but it idled for 8 hrs or more. So changing oil every 5,000 miles was not cutting it with this truck nor did the light mean anything. The truck has already gone to auction with 125,000 miles, it was one of the best trucks I ever had in 30 yrs. When I turned in the truck, it still was in good condition and no one would believe the hours that truck had on it. I never bothered to even look.
 
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Well, if GM is now saying that the 3000 mile oil change is a myth, when are the GM dealerships going to stop recommending 3000 mile/three month oil changes? Seems to me that if a person is using a good quality motor oil in a car or truck, and not operating that vehicle under incredibly bad conditions, then 6000 mile/six month oil changes should now be acceptable. If somebody is using one of the top dino oils, like Chevron, Castrol or Pennzoil, or using a good synthetic like Mobil 1, then there should be no problem doing this and no warranty questions.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Mystic: Well, if GM is now saying that the 3000 mile oil change is a myth, when are the GM dealerships going to stop recommending 3000 mile/three month oil changes?
Dealerships/garages won't change the recommendation. It drums up business and gets the client in the door and potential repairs or maintenance. Lastly, these monitors are perfect for fleet vehicles, our company cars never got very regular changes except the BMW (oil life monitor) and a Sprinter Van with one (every 10k) [ April 02, 2004, 01:53 PM: Message edited by: rjundi ]
 
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