- When should I change the oil, as the tech recommends or as my oil change light indicates
- Do newer cars actually monitor the quality of oil?
- How does the change oil light system work and does it matter what type of oil you use for it to work properly?
I'm a new car owner for the first time this year, and with that seems to come some different experiences as compared to having a car with 80,000+ pre-owned miles on it. One of these has been the arrival of my first "Oil Change Needed" alert.
The car is a 2012 Dodge Avenger. The manual suggests an oil change interval of around 8,000 miles. So, it was much to my surprise when the computer indicated an oil change needed after only 3,500 miles. I checked in with the dealership to see if this was a malfunction. They told me some things I've also confirmed in the aforementioned related threads:
- The Oil Change indicator is triggered by things like oil viscosity and other qualities - not just a mileage counter.
- These things can be affected by driving habits - highway miles generally get more life out of the oil than city miles.
Despite this I was still feeling a bit confused as to why, when probably 80% or more of my driving is on the highway, the car was prompting me for an oil change at less than half the normal interval stated in the manual. Then, the dealership mechanic told me something to the effects of this:
It's normal for the first oil change to be sooner, because the engine still has to flush out some metal shavings and other contaminants left behind from the manufacturing process.
To me, it would seem rather ridiculous that a manufacturer would allow such contaminants to exist in what the common consumer is expecting to be a pristine new engine. However, this is also the only explanation that I can think of which seems probable if we want to exclude certain other possibilities like sensor malfunction or bad business practices.
So, am I being properly informed or is the dealership feeding me a bit of a line?