Just a couple weeks ago, I took my 2012 Dodge Avenger to the shop for (among other things) an oil change. However, the car is already alerting me that it needs an oil change barely 1,000 miles later. Normally the car can go for over 5,000 miles before the oil change alert comes up. So, I'm pretty confused as to what exactly is happening here.
From different sources, I've heard conflicting information about how modern vehicles generally judge when it's time for an oil change. Some have said it's a simple mileage calculation, which can be reset by certain procedures after the maintenance has been done. Others have claimed there are sensors which actually measure the quality of the oil to more appropriately determine when a change is really needed.
Depending on how the alert is being generated, I'm figuring one of a few things is happening:
The computer alerts to needing an oil change based on a certain elapsed time, mileage, or other constant metric. This should simply mean that the mechanic at the shop forgot to reset the counter. I'm really hoping this is all it is, as the alternatives aren't all that great.
The car has sensors which measure physical properties of the oil and alerts to needing an oil change when the oil quality falls below a certain threshold. I figure this branches off into one of two possibilities - both of which I'd file under Bad Things.
The mechanic put bad or contaminated oil into the car. Either the wrong grade of oil was used, some old oil was reused, or whatever oil was used had serious quality issues to begin with.
The engine is having serious problems which is causing the oil to prematurely degrade. I'm really hoping this is not the case.
So, which method is the Avenger using to determine when an oil change is needed?
Year/Make/Model/Trim: 2012 Dodge Avenger SXT
Engine: 2.4L I4
Transmission: 6 speed automatic