Reader asks about initial oil change

Most experts recommend that the oil be changed when the oil life monitor indicates that it is time to change oil soon or when the useful life reaches 10%. James Halderman photo
Most experts recommend that the oil be changed when the oil life monitor indicates that it is time to change oil soon or when the useful life reaches 10%. James Halderman photo

Wheels:

Dave R. from Miami, Florida asks: “I just took delivery of a new Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck in Orange Crush. I love the color and I think it is perfect for someone who lives in Florida. My question is the owner’s manual states the oil should be changed at 12,000 miles and it requires six quarts of oil. I always thought the first oil change should occur as soon as it is broken in to get rid of the ‘shavings and metal debris’ left from the manufacturing process. The manual says that break-in period is 500 miles. I was thinking that I should change the oil then. What are your thoughts and recommendations?”

Halderman:

I would follow the owner’s manual recommendation and not change the oil until 12,000 or whenever the oil life monitor (OLM) indicates the oil life is less than 10%. The oil life monitor is a computer algorithm (program) that tracks engine usage and detects percentage points based on the time and temperature usage. For example, one cold start from zero degrees may deduct one point whereas it might take 1,000 miles of highway driving at a steady speed in 70-degree weather to deduct another percentage point.

Engine manufacturing and engine oil have greatly improved since you heard the oil should be changed soon after purchase. Now most vehicle manufactures are recommending the oil be changed about once a year or whenever the oil life monitor indicates the oil needs to be changed. The OLM also “assumes” the specified oil is being used, so always use Dexos approved oil in your new truck. Enjoy.

Have an automotive question? Get a straight answer by writing to Jim at jim@jameshalderman.com.

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