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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In an effort to perform the optimum level of maintenance and to maybe learn something in the process, I have decided to follow GM's recommended maintenance schedule, changing the oil at or near the 20% level indicated by the Oil Life System. I will also be having an oil analysis done with each oil change. Because there is no mention of it in the Owner's Manual, and because my dealer's service manager recommended against it, I did not do an initial low-mileage oil change.

My Sky was a dealer demonstrator, and had 1850 miles on it when I got it. The Oil Life was 52%. This is pretty low for the mileage, but makes sense when you consider the typical demo drive cycle: Start engine, don't warm up, drive hard (its not yours), shut it off before it gets thoroughly warmed up, repeat.

The Oil Life read 20% at about 6200 miles. By the time I got it in for service it was at 6500 miles, and 15% Oil Life. Oil is standard mineral-base 5W30.

The analysis was done by Terry Dyson. I've read several articles about him: he's well respected in the lubrication field, works with several different labs, and seems to be pretty straightforward about everything. I told him my goal, which is to determine whether the Oil Life System is accurate, and to determine whether an early first oil change is necessary.

The analysis:

1) The oil had high levels of contaminants, all attributable to normal break-in wear and assembly lubes.
2) The oil is in acceptable condition, but badly depleted.

The recommendation:

1) An early change would have removed the contaminants, and should have been done for best results.
2) The oil condition is consistent with the Oil Life System, so there is no reason based on this analysis to stop following it.

The Oil Life System is showing a 1% drop about every 100 miles, so I am expecting an 8000 mile interval to the next oil change. This will probably change, given that the colder weather will cause the oil to take longer to warm up every time the engine is started. I'll post the results of the next analysis when I have it done.

If anyone has any specific questions about the analysis or the process, I'll be happy to tell you what I know.
 

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Thanks, I've been looking forward to your findings :thumbs: .
 

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Thanks

I had them put in Mobil1 before I drove it off the dealer lot, I now have about 600 miles on it when I called the service manager at Saturn said not to do an Break-In oil change. I think I will call him back and tell him I know it is not the recommendation but to change it anyway..........:eek:
 

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This is Great

Thanks JRinKY!

Your efforts have helped me out tremendously!
I did an early oil change (hey I'm an old cranky guy I do things the way I want) but at the same time kept reading the OnStar and Owners Manual materials and decided to follow their advice once broken in. That said, at 4700 (actually 3700 Mi. since the first change at 1000) my car's Oil life is at 56%. I wil change it when it gets to 20% as recommended.:thumbs:
My driving conditions are twofold - 1 - to/from work in great weather, but that is only 10 miles (each way)
2 - Long road trips in excess of 300 miles every few weeks.

Now, very little driving once salt is introduced onto the highways.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
turbopro : and where can one get an oil analysis?
I ordered a "kit" from Dyson Analysis. The kit is a sample bottle in a shipping box with a pre-printed address label for the box, and a fill-in-the-blanks data label for the bottle. The kit is $50, and it cost about $2 in postage to send it to the lab. The analysis came by email in about 10 days.

The sample goes to a lab for spectroscopic and other analyses, to determine what is in it, and what condition it is in. The results of that testing are sent to Terry, who then writes the final analysis to tell you how it got that way, and what to do about it.

http://www.dysonanalysis.com/

This is really not an economical thing to do for a typical car, the process is intended for heavy equipment, etc, where an oil change involves gallons, not quarts, of oil. Paying $50 to analyze a $35 oil change is not something I would recommend for many people. I am doing it because I have an obsession to learn stuff, and got tired of reading peoples opinions about oil change intervals and not having any data to justify my own opinion.

I will do another analysis at my next scheduled oil change, then decide whether I will continue the experiment, or not.
 
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