How does olm work and how accurate

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3,872
Location
southern mo
OK so I'm skeptical of this system. My question is how does it work? It says I can go up to 10,000 miles on my focus before a change. How does it decide that? Does anyone have an olm that they listen to and have clean engine pictures to prove it's accuracy. I am nervous about 10,000 oci with a syn blend and a motor craft filter. ....am I just living in an old way of thought. I plan on keeping this car a very long time.
 
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3,566
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Somewhere
Here's the poop from the horse's mouth: https://owner.ford.com/Storage/CommonImages/images/IOLM%20FAQ.pdf It basically tracks cold running time, hot running time, RPM, temp, etc. Been in use since 2011 according to Ford. We don't see rashes of engine failures so I'd say it's very accurate. I'm at 78k on my SHO and follow the OLM - usually OC's when it tells me or is @ 10%. Peering into the fill hole it still looks nice and shiny in there.
 
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4,929
Location
Lima, Ohio, USA
going through this question right now with my 09 Sable. it has a slightly older version of the Ford OLM software. Right now i'm 5 months, & ~2700mi on this oil & Filter, and the OLM is down into Single Digits. Seems to drop a percentage point each day.
 
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2,408
Location
CA
It is NOT ACCURATE in that they will build in a huge buffer and take the most conservative approach assuming the cheapest oils so people won't sue and the engine won't die. But it is PRECISE in that you should feel confident that if you change it at 0% every time, your engine will not fail, due to oil gelling issues.
 
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1,841
Location
Southwest
Its based on an algorithm as previously stated. I was skeptical enough to test my oil twice, at the 5K mark and then when it went off at 8300 miles. (They actually don't go off at "zero" a "change oil now" signal comes on at about the 5 percent mark). I still had plenty of powder dry so to speak, in the form of TBN but my short haul driving habits were beginning to drive up the acids anyway. I was nowhere close to being at the end of the service life. Everything else was well within specs. During the time the oil was in the car, it would click off a percentage point maybe every 65 miles during the winter, about 75 miles during the summer. 10,000 miles is the absolute max, so it seems to automatically click off a point every 100 miles no matter what. Ford really doesn't like inactivity--if you park your car at the airport for a few days you will see what I mean. So, I second what Raytseng says: Since they somewhat arbitrarily truncate the upper limit of the oil, they inject a lot of conservatism into their formula. I have a harder than average service life, and I still go to 8,300. It would take a lot of trailer hauling to get the service life below 5,000 miles, I think. So, instead of extra-early oil changes, I bought an oil change for the differential instead. I wouldn't hesitate to rely on the Ford IOLM. There's no reason to be a ninny about it though. If a good sale comes down at say, the 20 percent mark, by all means take advantage. Also, don't do like I did, run it to zero and then run around Labor Day weekend trying to get the oil changed.
 
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Messages
418
Location
BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: jimbrewer
Its based on an algorithm as previously stated. I was skeptical enough to test my oil twice, at the 5K mark and then when it went off at 8300 miles. (They actually don't go off at "zero" a "change oil now" signal comes on at about the 5 percent mark). I still had plenty of powder dry so to speak, in the form of TBN but my short haul driving habits were beginning to drive up the acids anyway. I was nowhere close to being at the end of the service life. Everything else was well within specs. During the time the oil was in the car, it would click off a percentage point maybe every 65 miles during the winter, about 75 miles during the summer. 10,000 miles is the absolute max, so it seems to automatically click off a point every 100 miles no matter what. Ford really doesn't like inactivity--if you park your car at the airport for a few days you will see what I mean. So, I second what Raytseng says: Since they somewhat arbitrarily truncate the upper limit of the oil, they inject a lot of conservatism into their formula. I have a harder than average service life, and I still go to 8,300. It would take a lot of trailer hauling to get the service life below 5,000 miles, I think. So, instead of extra-early oil changes, I bought an oil change for the differential instead. I wouldn't hesitate to rely on the Ford IOLM. There's no reason to be a ninny about it though. If a good sale comes down at say, the 20 percent mark, by all means take advantage. Also, don't do like I did, run it to zero and then run around Labor Day weekend trying to get the oil changed.
+1 on everything said here.
 
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693
Location
PA
I would never trust this feature, It seems that every modern vehicle (that I have observed) with sludge issues or timing chain lubrication issues had an owner that relied on an "oil light". Why is it so hard for modern society to pay attention to there oil and change it when needed ??? Next we will have breathing sensors !!
 
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Messages
1,098
Location
TX
Originally Posted By: wsar10
Why is it so hard for modern society to pay attention to there oil and change it when needed ???
"When needed" is the key word here. The OLM is not there simply to remind folks to change their oil -- this has been done for many years with simple mile counting systems. The OLM is there to optimize the "when needed" portion of the equation. It is a good thing. It recognizes that each driver is going to have a unique need based on how they operate their vehicle. robert
 
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1,482
Location
Michigan
Our old Chevy Impala had about 250,000 miles on it when we sold it. We used the OLM only and changed around 5% oil life as a rule. Engine was still tight and clean as a whistle as when it was new. Out Current 2007 Cadillac STS's engine is the same as the Impala with 177,000 miles and running strong. I use them with confidence
 
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Location
.
Originally Posted By: earlyre
going through this question right now with my 09 Sable. it has a slightly older version of the Ford OLM software. Right now i'm 5 months, & ~2700mi on this oil & Filter, and the OLM is down into Single Digits. Seems to drop a percentage point each day.
I think this version is not "intelligent" but simply counts down to a 6 month/5,000 mile (whichever is first) interval. As you aren't anywhere near the 5,000 mark it's using time instead. As 6 months is about 180 days, the OLM should click down a percentage point every day or two.
 
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5,763
Location
Da Swamp
I ran my Buick Park Avenue with the OLM on 4500-mile/6-month oil changes with semi-synth oil from 44K to well over 100K. Car was still running beautifully when I traded it. The OLM is a sophisticated device. Someone here posted the algorithm that GM developed; it takes into account running time, cold starts, engine temp, outside temp, and a lot of other factors, so that someone who drives 90% highway will see a different readout than someone who drives 90% city. GM also realized that with its new direct injection engines, the OLM needed tweaking. Some of the Buick Regals in the 2011-2012 period, like mine, were saying, "Oh, you can do 10,000 miles easy!" But there were timing chain problems and a lot of fuel dilution. So they called their cars back and reprogrammed them. Mine has already had it; it's suggesting a 6000-mile OCI, as opposed to the 10K that the pre-adjustment cars were saying.
 
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6,388
Location
Washington St.
Consider a bell-shaped curve The vertical line is miles you can drive on that oil. The horizontal line is how hard you're working the oil. To the left are short, cold trips. In the middle are long, easy trips. To the right are hard, hot, heavy trips. The algorithms consider all the factors mentioned above, put it all together, and calculate how long the oil is still good with your actual drives.
 
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219
Location
San Diego, CA
In addition to the "mathmatics" (temp, mileage, etc.) programmed into ecu's, there are oil condition sensors that can measure the actual condition or degradation of the oil corresponding to its electrical conductivity. This article describes the principle involved - http://www.machinerylubrication.com/Read/28778/dielectric-instruments-oil-analysis. This article describes some of the sensors currently in use - http://www.machinerylubrication.com/Read/28778/dielectric-instruments-oil-analysis. I know BMW uses the Continental Temic sensor in all their cars. I would imagine that oem's use lab and field testing to correlate dielectric values with various levels of oil degradation.
 

MolaKule

Staff member
Messages
21,908
Location
Iowegia - USA
The OLM calculations for the Ford vehicle are based on the recommended oil (FOMOCO oil) they life tested against the engine's usage conditions from sensor inputs such as acceleration, speed, rpm, various temperature conditions (intake air, coolant temperature), Ox sensor input, knock sensor, etc. The computer algorithms make certain assumptions from those sensor inputs and calculate an end of life for that oil. I would recommend getting a VOA of the oil you use and then sampling via UOA's every 3k miles to see how well the OLM tracks with the UOA's for that oil. If the OLM tracks satifactorily, then you will know for sure.
 
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Messages
1,007
Location
Oklahoma
I have no experience with the Ford OLM, but I have absolutely no faith in the GM "algorithm" I service a 2.4 Ecotec that always sees severe service. Many short trips and long hours of idling per day. It averages 62 miles per percentage point. Last month I changed the oil/filter, reset the computer back to 100%, and took off for a road trip out of state. Upon returning home with all gentle highway miles, it still counts at 62 miles per 1 percent drop.
 
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