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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-25-2010, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
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Malibu Oil changes

I have been reading the forum since I got my '10 Malibu LT1. I have a question regarding oil changes and general service for the car. I am not one to put my car up on jacks to change my oil or do other maintenace. I leave that to be done by a service tech, either a dealer or third party. I participate in the forum to see what other drivers say about the car to see if there are issues I should be aware of, and try when I can, to provide my own insight to other owners.

My question is this - The Malibu has an indicator that reports the life of the oil in the car. I have had this feature in other cars and have typically always followed the recomended indicators that tell me when to change the oil or have service performed. My experience has been good following this system.

From the forum reading, it appears most people change their oil according to their own schedule, either every 3k or 5k. However after putting almost 3k miles on my Malibu, the oil life reading says there is still 78% remaining. Am I missing somthing here? It appears that the oil should be good thru approximately 8-10k?

Do I have a faulty indicator or is there something everyone else in the forum knows about engine oil life for the Malibu that I need to know? I understand many people may feel changing the oil on more frequent intervals will keep the car in better shape, but if that were true, why does the indicator not show this?

My concern is either I may be enabling problems to occur with the car if I do not perform maintenance more often than suggested by the indicator (or the manual), or I will be spending money potentially needlessly on maintenance the car may not need.

Can everyone give me some suggestions about where to go with this? If the oil needs to be changed more often, are there other areas I need to pay attention to before the recomended service levels indicate? Please help me understand. Thanks.
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-25-2010, 10:28 PM
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Re: Malibu Oil changes

My car just turned 2000 miles and the OLM says 72% oil life remaining. My salesman said when it gets down to 20% to bring it in and the first oil change is free.

So far the oil is as clean as the day I brought it home.
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-26-2010, 05:08 AM
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Re: Malibu Oil changes

I have always changed my oil (non synthetic) between 2000 and 2500 on all of my cars. I track the mileage myself. (this is the curse of a daughter of a mechanic) What people have to remember is computers are not perfect and some old fashioned math and common sense is still tried and true.

The tire sensors don't account for a 90 degree day...

My point is, you are the commander of the ship whether you do the oil changes or not, it is your responsibility to know when to do the maintenance not the car's.

I have a book I track all maintence, parts, receipts, etc in with the dates, mileage, and weather to make sure I know when things are due as well as see if there is are trends I should be concerned with.

BTW I am on the fence on systhetic oil or not? Thoughts? And I did discuss with the 'mechanic' and he thinks since the car is so new, to go synthetic.
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-26-2010, 05:50 AM
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Re: Malibu Oil changes

The OLM is actually pretty accurate. At about 20%-25% change it. I usually do it at about 6000 (synthetic) which is only about 40% on my OLM.

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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-26-2010, 11:00 AM
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Re: Malibu Oil changes

I also go by the OLM. I change between 25 and 33%. I also check the oil a couple of times a month just to see if it is looking excessively dirty or anything... so far no issues.

Speaking of, I'm actually due for a change here in the next week or two... still debating dealer vs quick lube.
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-26-2010, 12:56 PM
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Re: Malibu Oil changes

I get a once-a-month on-star email, and it said it estimates my first service needing to be done at approx. 9,200 miles, according to the OLM. I have about 1400 miles on it now and its like 85% or so.

2010 Malibu LTZ-Black granite, 4cyl A6
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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-26-2010, 03:43 PM
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Re: Malibu Oil changes

Even if the OLM says I have 60% and it's been 5k miles, I want to change my filter. And at that point I feel inclined to change the oil too.
I guess I don't trust the OLM. Running a quality synthetic oil you really should be okay up to 10k miles, but you still need to change the filter more often than that.
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-26-2010, 07:05 PM
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Re: Malibu Oil changes

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdkdomain View Post

From the forum reading, it appears most people change their oil according to their own schedule, either every 3k or 5k. However after putting almost 3k miles on my Malibu, the oil life reading says there is still 78% remaining. Am I missing somthing here? It appears that the oil should be good thru approximately 8-10k?

Do I have a faulty indicator or is there something everyone else in the forum knows about engine oil life for the Malibu that I need to know? I understand many people may feel changing the oil on more frequent intervals will keep the car in better shape, but if that were true, why does the indicator not show this?

My concern is either I may be enabling problems to occur with the car if I do not perform maintenance more often than suggested by the indicator (or the manual), or I will be spending money potentially needlessly on maintenance the car may not need.

Can everyone give me some suggestions about where to go with this? If the oil needs to be changed more often, are there other areas I need to pay attention to before the recomended service levels indicate? Please help me understand. Thanks.
Modern engines run much cleaner than engines from years past, so you don't have to change oil every 3,000 miles anymore. I have about 2,500 miles on my car and the oil life indicator says 62%. I do a lot of stop and go driving, so it's probably advancing more than yours is. I typically follow the oil life monitor except for the first oil change. I do feel that there can be small particles in the oil from the break-in process, so my first oil change will be at 3,000 miles. After that, I do as others have suggested - I rely on the OLM and I change the oil when it gets to about 20%. I believe the manual says to change the oil when you get to 10%.

The only exception to this is if you drive in very dusty, or other very extreme conditions (i.e. desert type heat). Then you would change every 3K miles.
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-27-2010, 03:29 PM
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Re: Malibu Oil changes

I just got the car and I'm still debating what to follow, the computer, or change every 3k or 5k like I usually do. I'm at 2500 (43k miles) now, and I'm not planning on using synthetic. Will probably just use Castrol or Pennzoil dyno oil with AC delco filter. Decisions decisions...

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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-27-2010, 06:41 PM
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Re: Malibu Oil changes

Quote:
Originally Posted by onecrazyfoo4u View Post
I just got the car and I'm still debating what to follow, the computer, or change every 3k or 5k like I usually do. I'm at 2500 (43k miles) now, and I'm not planning on using synthetic. Will probably just use Castrol or Pennzoil dyno oil with AC delco filter. Decisions decisions...
Changing oil at every 3K miles is really overkill in this day and age. Modern engines run very clean and the oil holds up really well. On my previous car, I could go around 6,000 miles when I got to 20%. I checked the oil at that point and it looked clear as a bell. Oil Life Monitors have been around for about 20 years now and they have been tweeked for very good reliability. I would follow the Oil Life Monitor. However, for the first oil change, I would recommend changing at 3K miles, then follow the OLM after that.
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