The GM Oil Life Monitor System - - 5th Generation Camaro Enthusiasts
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post #1 of 25 Old 06-13-2008, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
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The GM Oil Life Monitor System

Those of you who have a GM vehicle with this system, do you follow it?

Those of you with the even newer vehicles that have Maintenance I and II... do you follow the schedules?

GM went through the time to design and implement this technology and scheduling to save the consumer time and money. Do you take advantage of it?

- - - - - - - -

Myself, I'm well past the stoneage of "every 3000 miles". My gf's G6 follows the OLMS and maintenance schedules.

OTOH, my GTO gets driven hard. I don't mean getting on it to 80mph at the on-ramp. Nope. It gets shifted high in the rpms, 140mph blasts, hard launches, etc. Due to this, I would classify my driving as "severe duty". I change the oil every 5000 miles with Mobil 1 5w30. It also gets a tire rotation at that point as well.
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post #2 of 25 Old 06-13-2008, 09:03 PM
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3k miles on everything except the Formula. I usually only let that one go so many passes before I change it.

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post #3 of 25 Old 06-13-2008, 10:51 PM
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I have an '05 trailblazer...onstar keeps track on my oil life and emails a report every month. I've heard of people going as long as 12k (on regular dino oil), having the oil tested and it was still good. Honestly, I don't think I'd go that long...but I certainly don't go for the 3,000 mile oil change any more. I usually go 6,000 or so. It's still warrantied and I'll probably trade it in when the warranty is up anyway.

My new Camaro will be a weekend car, so I can't see putting that many miles on I'll probably stick with synthetic and just change it every spring.

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post #4 of 25 Old 06-14-2008, 06:21 AM
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I work at a gm dealer and you can definitely tell the difference between the oil thats been in the car 3k miles and the the oil thats been in there long enough for the oil life monitor to tell you to change it. Most of our customers bring their car in when oil life is around 40-50% to get changed. I use only synthetic and change it when monitor gets to 30%. This is 7-8k miles depending on how I drove it. Better safe than sorry, some of these engines consume oil.
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post #5 of 25 Old 06-14-2008, 08:16 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ucantctchme View Post
Better safe than sorry, some of these engines consume oil.
That's what a dipstick is for. You don't need an oil change if the car is consuming oil. You need an extra quart.

Oil is going to get dirty. Synthetic is going to turn black. I dunno, maybe I put too much faith in the GM engineers
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post #6 of 25 Old 06-14-2008, 02:29 PM Founder / Former Camaro Disciple
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I haven't had a car with the Oil Life Monitoring System until I got my 2001 GTP in October.

I don't put that many miles on my cars, so they usually get oil changes every 4 months whether they need it or not.

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post #7 of 25 Old 06-14-2008, 04:49 PM
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my 02 venture is the first vehicle i have ever had with it. i have always had very good luck with castrol GTX so i trusted the meter and took it 11,000 on that oil, when it said to change it, i changed it. now it has GTX/Syntec blend in it, im assuming this synthetic blend is better then conventional, even though its a mix. so im going to go with the meter. i still check it pretty regularly, if it gets looking bad then ill change it regardless of what it says.

i know it bases that meter on factors such as average temperature/ mileage/ and how you drive, starts and stops and all... but does it have a way to compensate for the difference between crappy generic 1.00/qt oil and expensive full synthetic, and perhaps a heavier wt. oil? i imagine it has a way to measure oil pressure also, so maybe when there is sludge buildup that is slowing the flow for an extended time, it would effect the meters progress??

all i can say is that meter is there for a reason and i pay attention to it, but i do not just neglect popping the hood and checking a dipstic just because the guage hasnt told me to anyway. i kind of look at is as the "modern day idiot light" lol

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post #8 of 25 Old 06-14-2008, 06:24 PM Thread Starter
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There is a low oil indicator as well. I, too, would like to know if it takes into consideration oil pressure (I would assume it does).

Honestly, I don't think it's the life of the oil that anyone should be concerned with. The filter is the peice that can be screwy.
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post #9 of 25 Old 06-15-2008, 12:12 PM
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In the days of leaded gas I changed oil every 3K miles.

Unleaded burns a lot cleaner, so 5K was my interval with conventional oil.

Now that synthetic oil is available, I could go 10K between changes, but I still change at 5K, or when the oil change light comes on. Turns out, that's just about 5K miles. It's calibrated for conventioal oil, BTW.

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post #10 of 25 Old 06-17-2008, 09:35 AM
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Per an article posted today (

According to a recent study by the California Integrated Waste Management Board, 73 percent of California drivers change their oil more frequently than required. This same scenario no doubt repeats itself across the country. Besides wasting money, this translates into unnecessary consumption of $100-a-barrel oil, much of it imported.

Using 2005 data, the Board estimates that Californians alone generate about 153.5 million gallons of waste oil annually, of which only about 60 percent is recycled. Used motor oil poses the greatest environmental risk of all automotive fluids because it is insoluble, persistent, and contains heavy metal and toxic chemicals. One gallon of used oil can foul the taste of one million gallons of water.

It’s been a misconception for years that engine oil should be changed every 3000 miles, even though most auto manufacturers now recommend oil changes at 5,000, 7,000, or even 10,000 mile intervals under normal driving conditions.

Greatly improved oils, including synthetic oils, coupled with better engines mean longer spans between oil changes without harming an engine. The 3000 mile interval is a carryover from days when engines used single-grade, non-detergent oils.

For several years, automakers like General Motors, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz have installed computerized systems that alert drivers via an instrument panel light when it’s time to change oil. As an example, the General Motor Oil Life System (GMOLS) analyzes the engine temperature, rpms, vehicle speeds, and other driving conditions to calculate the rate of engine oil degradation. Then, software calculates when the oil needs to be changed. Other systems work similarly.

Because of the many external conditions and parameters that have to be taken into account, calculating the precise maximum service interval using mathematical models alone is difficult. Now, Daimler AG has developed a more direct and precise way to monitor oil quality directly on board a vehicle.

Daimler uses a special sensor integrated into the oil circuit to monitor engine oil directly. Oil doesn’t wear out, but rather dirt and impurities cause oil to lose its ability to lubricate properly, dictating the need for a change. Daimler uses the oil’s “permittivity,” that is, the ability to polarize in response to the electric field. If the engine oil is contaminated by water or soot particles, it polarizes to a greater extent and its permittivity increases.

To evaluate the quality of the oil, permittivity is measured by applying an AC potential between the interior and exterior pipes of an oil-filled sensor to determine how well the oil transmits the applied electric field.

Because not all impurities can be measured with sufficient precision via the electric field method, Daimler also measures the oil’s viscosity to detect any fuel that may have seeped into the oil. Daimler researchers measure viscosity while the vehicle is in motion by observing the oil's side-to-side motion in the oil sump. The slower the oil moves, the higher its viscosity. This movement is registered by a sensor and the viscosity is calculated on this basis.

A single sensor, along with the information already monitored by on-board computers, is sufficient to determine the various parameters of the engine oil. Daimler will likely use the technology first on its commercial vehicles. Here, large oil reservoirs mean larger quantities of oil can be saved. Plus, a predicted 25 percent increase between service intervals and reduced downtime will be of interest to fleets, and thus justify the added cost of installation.
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