Things to Know About Vehicle Oil Life Monitors from the service professionals at Carr Subaru in Beaverton, OR

It's important that all motor vehicle owners understand the importance of getting the oil changed regularly! But, there are a lot of conflicting ideas and misinformation out there about how long you should go between oil changes. To help take the guesswork out of it, many auto brands have developed oil life monitoring systems. Vehicles equipped with such a system will simply let you know when an oil change is needed with a dashboard alert. Sounds easy, right? But how do you know these systems are reliable? We'll tell you four reasons why it's better for you to monitor the life of your own oil in a Subaru vehicle. Following the owner's manual is always a safe bet when it comes to maintaining the quality, performance and longevity of your Subaru.

This vehicle's oil life monitor is indicating that an oil change is needed.

4. They Don't Measure The Oil Itself

Oil life monitors can't actually determine the viscosity of the oil inside your engine or anything like that -- but the idea behind oil life monitors is that they can take into account things like how you drive, how hot the engine got and how long it was running. These can affect how long the oil lasts in your engine. A car that's occasionally driven for long distances at highway speeds is kinder on the engine than one that's driven short distances every day in stop-and-go traffic. So, if you go easy on your engine, the oil life monitor can detect this and let you go longer between changes; if you drive your car hard, the oil life monitor will request an oil change sooner.

Oil drains out of this vehicle, so that fresh oil can be poured in.

3. They May Be Capped At A Mileage Limit

However, these systems may not always be entirely accurate. For example, the oil life monitoring technology developed by General Motors was generally considered the best in the industry, and gentle drivers could go 10,000 miles or more between oil changes! But they recently capped the system at 7,500 miles -- no matter how much life is remaining in your oil, you'll be told it's time for a change at no more than 7,500 miles. If you're going to trust the oil life monitor system in your vehicle, be aware that you might not be getting every last mile out of the engine oil.

A technician pours oil into this engine, using a funnel for a fast and clean pour.

2. Going By The Owners Manual Is Best

Because these systems can get it wrong from time to time, our recommendation at the Carr Subaru service center is always to simply trust the owner's manual and go by the manufacturer's recommendation. It's the best way to keep the warranty intact and ensure that you're always protecting your engine with fresh oil. As oil breaks down, it loses its lubricating properties, and the engine will eventually start taking damage inside. Having the oil changed regularly according to the manufacturer's recommendation makes sure the oil in your engine gets replaced before it breaks down.

1. Subaru Vehicles Don't Use Them

Not all brands feature oil life monitors, and Subaru is among those that do not. Instead, the Subaru STARLINK™ infotainment systems on late-model Subaru vehicles simply include a mileage timer. You'll let the system know when you get an oil change, and it simply counts the miles and lets you know when you arrive at the mileage at which Subaru wants you to change the oil. On older Subaru models, we think the good ol' windshield sticker should suffice. When you need an oil change in your Subaru vehicle, stop by Carr Subaru to have the Subaru experts take a close look at your vehicle and protect it with a high-quality motor oil.

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Carr Subaru

11635 SW Canyon Rd
Directions Beaverton, OR 97005

  • Sales: (503) 672-3370
  • Service: (866) 460-0188
  • Parts: (888) 627-4707
  1. Carr Subaru

    11635 SW Canyon Rd
    Beaverton, OR 97005

    • Sales: (877) 271-4560

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