Things to Know About Vehicle Oil Life Monitors

Modern cars are taking care of more and more things for us -- from auto-dimming rear-view mirrors to rain-sensing windshield wipers, today's vehicles are getting easier and easier to operate. Some competing cars even offer oil life monitoring systems. No more fussing with windshield stickers and mileage intervals; just let the car tell you when to change the oil! Sounds easy, right?

However, there's more to the life of your engine oil than a mere mileage number. Learn how to properly maintain the lubrication system of your Subaru with these five facts from Subaru of San Bernardino.

Learn more about oil life monitors form the professionals at Subaru of San Bernardino

Fact #1: Your Subaru Doesn't Have an Oil Life Monitor

Late-model vehicles from some automakers like Honda and General Motors come equipped with oil life monitors. They're intended to take the guesswork out of when to get an oil change -- but they also come with caveats. For example, Honda insists that their vehicles should get an oil change at least once a year, even if a lightly-driven vehicle's oil life monitor doesn't say it's necessary. Failure to have the oil changed once a year could cause problems with warranty service down the road.

Subaru, on the other hand, has chosen not to provide these systems. Instead, a simple mileage reminder can be configured in the infotainment display. You can go by what's indicated in your owner's manual or get a recommendation from a Subaru certified technician. Just set the maintenance reminder for the mileage interval that you choose for your car. The car will remind you when the time for an oil change approaches.

Remember that oil life monitors can only remind you to change your oil!

Fact #2: Oil Life is About More than Just Mileage

The purpose of oil life monitoring systems is to actually measure the strain that's been placed on the oil. Mileage is a helpful measuring stick, but not all miles are the same, at least as far as your engine is concerned.

For instance, highway miles are gentler on your engine than city miles. That's because your engine generally operates at a constant speed as you cruise along. In the city, frequent braking and accelerating mean your engine must constantly fluctuate, putting additional stress on the engine.

Oil life monitoring systems are intended to account for this. These systems measure things like engine temperature, number of starts and stops and level of engine load.

On a Subaru vehicle, we recommend picking a good oil change interval with the help of a friendly dealership technician based on the type of oil in your engine, and the type of driving conditions you typically experience.

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Fact #3: Different Oils Last Different Amounts of Time

Almost all late-model Subaru vehicles are equipped with synthetic oil from the factory. Synthetic oil is much more sophisticated than conventional motor oil. That means it's more resistant to breaking down and slower to form sludge. As a result, you can go much longer between oil changes with synthetic oil.

Still using conventional oil in your car? Contrary to some myths, there's nothing that needs to be done to prep an engine for a switch to synthetic. All it needs is an ordinary oil and filter change. Consult with one of our service advisors if you'd like to make the switch and go longer between maintenance visits.

Fact #4: You Can Set Other Maintenance Reminders

Depending on which Subaru model you own, you may be able to set reminders for other important services too. For example, on the 2018 Subaru Forester, you can set separate reminders, based on either mileage traveled or for a specific date, for oil changes, oil filters, tire rotations and more! And if you prefer to perform your own oil changes at home, be sure to go into the system and reset the reminder when you do so. That way, you won't forget the next one.

Fact #5: Your Subaru Has Other Oil Indicators

Don't forget that your Subaru also has indicator lights in the dash that will alert you when your oil system needs immediate attention. An amber-colored oil light indicates the pressure of the oil system is low. Your Subaru engine may have a leak, or it may be burning a small amount of oil. You might need to periodically top off the engine oil between oil changes.

A red-colored oil light tells you that the oil pressure in the engine is low. This means the lubrication system isn't working properly, and your engine could become severely damaged with continued operation! If you see this light, visit your local Subaru authorized dealership service center right away.

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Subaru of San Bernardino

645 Auto Center Dr
Directions San Bernardino, CA 92408

  • Sales: 909-888-8686
  • Service: 909-571-5305
  • Parts: 909-571-5397
  1. Subaru of San Bernardino

    645 Auto Center Dr
    San Bernardino, CA 92408

    • Sales: (877) 501-8065

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