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Oil change light

This is a discussion on Oil change light within the Firebird / WS6 forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; My oil change light turns on and off sometimes while I am driving. Anyone else have this problem. I believe ...

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    Oil change light

    My oil change light turns on and off sometimes while I am driving. Anyone else have this problem. I believe it should stay on at the appropriate interval.

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    Moderator 98TransAmWs-6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnfin View Post
    My oil change light turns on and off sometimes while I am driving. Anyone else have this problem. I believe it should stay on at the appropriate interval.
    Did you reset it after your last oil change?
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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    It will keep doing that until you reset it. They run off of some timed interval, probably has to do with a mixture of key cycles, mileage, and time. So they really aren't that relevant to follow or pay attention to because they have no way of sensing how dirty your oil and filter really are. I've went through as many as 3 oil change cycles myself before I see those things come on

    Turn your ignition key to the "on" position, hold the trip odometer button for about 15 seconds. You'll see the "oil change" light flash on and off. It is now reset.
    Last edited by Firebirdjones; 12-13-2012 at 02:26 PM.

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    Senior Member Too Fast's Avatar
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    ^^^an easier way to reset it is turn on the key, engine off, and fully depress/release the gas pedal 3x within 5 seconds. You won't reset your trip meter this way, and it works for most GMs and some Chrysler mini vans.

    I disagree with you FBJ about the monitor not being relevant. It works by engine operating temp, cold starts, engine operating conditions like how long it has been at operating temp, RPM level and how long it's operated at whatever RPM level, and probably more. I've had my Oil Life Monitor go off in as little as 2500 miles (5.5 mile one way commute in the winter, the very definition of severe driving cycle) and as long as 6,000 (had long highway trips). All depends on how it's operated. And there is about a 600 mile window to get the change done after the light comes on. IMO with these (stock) engines, one is wasting money if the oil change is done every 3k, just like a fuel filter change every 10k would be.

    Some BMWs have an actual analyzer in the oil pan to detect the oil's degradation, it works by measuring the conductivity of the oil, along with the algorhythms other manufacturers use.

    I personally do change it at 5k if the light hasn't told me to yet, and everybody agrees it should be done once a year even if driven only 1000 miles.

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Too Fast View Post
    ^^^an easier way to reset it is turn on the key, engine off, and fully depress/release the gas pedal 3x within 5 seconds. You won't reset your trip meter this way, and it works for most GMs and some Chrysler mini vans.

    I disagree with you FBJ about the monitor not being relevant. It works by engine operating temp, cold starts, engine operating conditions like how long it has been at operating temp, RPM level and how long it's operated at whatever RPM level, and probably more. I've had my Oil Life Monitor go off in as little as 2500 miles (5.5 mile one way commute in the winter, the very definition of severe driving cycle) and as long as 6,000 (had long highway trips). All depends on how it's operated. And there is about a 600 mile window to get the change done after the light comes on. IMO with these (stock) engines, one is wasting money if the oil change is done every 3k, just like a fuel filter change every 10k would be.

    Some BMWs have an actual analyzer in the oil pan to detect the oil's degradation, it works by measuring the conductivity of the oil, along with the algorhythms other manufacturers use.

    I personally do change it at 5k if the light hasn't told me to yet, and everybody agrees it should be done once a year even if driven only 1000 miles.
    Not talking about BMW's here.

    Light is useless on the 4th gens. Nothing there to monitor degredation of oil on these cars, it does just as I mentioned and you elaborated on, key cycles, engine temps, mileage etc....

    So unless you are actually sending in your oil samples for evaluation, that computer is just guessing for you.

    For what it's worth, your's comes on much more frequently than I've ever seen any of our 4th gens. Mine will go for months and as much as 8-9000 miles before it makes itself known. Don't know about you but I'm not running mine that long on an oil change.

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    I agree. The oil change light is a useless feature in our cars.

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    Senior Member Too Fast's Avatar
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    I still disagree. Computer is just guessing for people, yes, but still errs on the safe side. You really think they want warranty claims? Or to have a reputation for high oil consumption/blue smoke after 50k miles? You must really baby your cars, lots of highway miles and no high RPM to only have your OLM come on every 8-9k. I have get on it to the rev limiter at least once per drive cycle, wakes up the passengers.

    The light is not useless, on 4th gens or other GM/manufacturers. Why don't we compare a typical GM 350 from 1980-1995 with an LS1, as far as oil comsumption or UOA? Let's not even talk about Pontiac engines from 1979 or prior, I have 2 400s in my garage and wouldn't think about going over 3k miles between oil changes. Modern designs like an LS1? Hell no, they don't need to change the oil nearly as often. Engines run so much cleaner then they ever did even 10 years ago, not to mention 30 years ago or longer like I think you remember. We can all thank the government for that (sarcasm). Vehicles have gotten way way better since 1975, when the recommended oil change interval was every 2500-3000 miles. Go ahead and change your oil every 3k, you are only helping the oil industry and the economy. I do have some stock in oil companies!

    I did say I change mine at most every 5k, synthetic, which for me is about 2x a year.

    For those who don't know, the oil itself does not wear out, but the additives/detergents do.
    Last edited by Too Fast; 12-13-2012 at 07:19 PM.

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    Senior Member Too Fast's Avatar
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    Y'all need to quit ganging up on me. Please elaborate with some facts/opinions upon which you base your ''useless'' designation.


    Engine RPM, temperature, (especially oil temp!) miles driven under what condtions are all very good computations to base an oil change interval on.

    So you two are saying it makes no difference if someone accumulates 3,000 miles on an oil change and drives 3 miles one way to work, lets the vehicle sit all day, then drives 3 miles home, stop and go, and the engine never exceeds 2500 RPM.

    In your opinions, this is the same abuse as driving 30 miles to work, the car sits all day, then drives 30 miles back home, mostly highway again, still never exceeding 2500 RPM. Gotta change the oil every 3,000 miles no matter what, eh?

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    It's not the vehicles that have increased the oil change intervals, it's the oils that have gotten better that allow your longer intervals.

    For the record, I get nearly identical UOA's in my classic engines that I've gotten in my LS engines. If it's tuned right, built right, and maintained properly, any engine can deliver good UOA's and extended oil change intervals.

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    Moderator 35th-ANV-SS's Avatar
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    Steve has been adamant about this for a long time. You other guys need to be more conclusive.

    Change oil light?

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    Senior Member Too Fast's Avatar
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    Ahh, the vehicles/engines in today's car have not gotten any better. Makes sense, eh? Tighter emissions don't have anything to do with better oil control/usage/longevity/degradation? I'm not advocating more government control over our daily lives, but some regulations the guvmint puts out help things. Your classic engines (and mine, which I still won't go over ~3k for an oil change) are re-engineered to better specs than was thought possible back in the day.

    Yes oil has made massive improvements the last 20 years also, ask any flat tappet engine that needs zinc.
    Last edited by Too Fast; 12-13-2012 at 08:11 PM.

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    Moderator 35th-ANV-SS's Avatar
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    GM states:

    "The Oil Life System is programmed with a certain number of engine revolutions. As an engine runs, this number is reduced until it reaches zero and the Oil Life light or message comes on. But there's more. Operating an engine under high or low temperatures and under high load conditions subtracts (penalizes) extra revolutions so the light comes on sooner."

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 35th-ANV-SS View Post
    Steve has been adamant about this for a long time. You other guys need to be more conclusive.

    Change oil light?
    I guess you can't help everyone

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    Senior Member Too Fast's Avatar
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    ^^^but you did help the OP with how to reset his light, I just took exception to the opinion expressed with no supporting points.


    I do enjoy discussions with opposing viewpoints, it's what makes life fun. Also, I am easily swayed when someone makes a convincing argument.

    And we must realize that Jon is now an LS1.com entity, he seems to be everywhere and on all threads the past few months!

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    Moderator 35th-ANV-SS's Avatar
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    On the road a lot so I'm on here a little more often now.
    It's on jackstands.

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    Facts: How does the oil life monitor know if the engine is filled with conventional, synthetic blend, or full synthetic oil? It doesn't. How does the oil life monitor know if I dumped moose piss in the engine or a premium oil? It doesn't. How does the oil life monitor know what filter I installed on the engine? It doesn't. At best, the oil ife monitor is an estimator that is probably designed to err on the side of caution. It's secondary function is probably marketing based -- to get people back to the dealership for an oil change when the little light goes on.

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    Moderator 35th-ANV-SS's Avatar
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    I would agree with all of that 100%

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Right on the money Jeff.


    And I guess my supporting point was missed Steve when I mentioned the only true way to tell when you need an oil change is to send off for an oil annalys, otherwise you are just shooting in the dark. 4th gens don't take samples on their own with that little light.

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    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Here ya go....

    Quote Originally Posted by Firebirdjones View Post
    :So unless you are actually sending in your oil samples for evaluation, that computer is just guessing for you.

    .

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    Senior Member Too Fast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pajeff02 View Post
    Facts: How does the oil life monitor know if the engine is filled with conventional, synthetic blend, or full synthetic oil? It doesn't. How does the oil life monitor know if I dumped moose piss in the engine or a premium oil? It doesn't. How does the oil life monitor know what filter I installed on the engine? It doesn't. At best, the oil ife monitor is an estimator that is probably designed to err on the side of caution. It's secondary function is probably marketing based -- to get people back to the dealership for an oil change when the little light goes on.
    wow this is helpful. Yeah, people really do an oil change with moose piss lol. A little uptight are we?

    The engineers are basing the OLM on OE recommendations for oil/filter changes.

    Now the second part of your retort is helpful, and really what the ''little'' light is intended for, to get people to service their car, either at the stealership or somewhere else. If it were only to get people back to the dealership, it would be a simple line to program into it, to have the light never come on after the warranty period is up. You may or may not know about all the abuse the masses do to their own vehicle, I've seen many cars where the oil hasn't been changed for 10,000 or more miles, and then they complain about a ticking noise or oil consumption (!where did my oil go???? It's only been 6,000 miles since I changed it!?!?!?).



    And no FBJ, I didn't miss your point about sending in the oil for a UOA. This is not practical for the everyday driver, this is what the OLM is intended for. I never claimed it takes samples. Also, ''right on the money Jeff'' is basically what I already wrote in post number 4, if you ignore his rant.

    It is an estimator. Not a UOA. It's not really a big deal, go ahead and change your oil whenever you want to, but for the average person who views their car as an appliance, this monitor helps them.

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