How the Oil Life System Works
We’ve explained the GM Oil Life System (GMOLS) in detail before (March 2000, May 2003) so this is going to be brief.
GMOLS is a computer-based algorithm that assesses engine combustion events, temperature, vehicle use, and other parameters to determine optimum oil change intervals. Oil changes are now called for when actually needed, instead of depending on generic time or mileage interval tables. Mild highway driving in a mild climate can yield change intervals of 7,000 miles (11,000 km) or more, and as high as 12,000 miles (19,000 km) for some vehicles. Short trip driving in cold weather may reduce intervals to 3,000 miles (5,000 km) or less. Most people driving a combination of city and highway will likely see intervals of about 6,000 miles (10,000 km).
When GMOLS determines that an oil and filter change is needed, the driver is notified by a Change Oil message on the instrument panel . Oil should be changed within 600 miles (1000 km).
TIP: The Oil Life System must be manually reset when the oil is changed.
How the Oil Life System is Related to Maintenance
The previously complicated, traditional normal/severe maintenance schedules required about 25 pages of explanation in the owner’s manual. The new simplified maintenance schedules can be explained in about 3 pages (see TechLink May 2003 for a summary).
All routine maintenance is grouped into one of two schedules, Maintenance I and Maintenance II. These services should be performed alternately, each time the GMOLS message is displayed.
Benefits of GM Oil Life System and Simplified Maintenance
Benefits for the customer -- GMOLS takes the guesswork out of when oil changes are needed; the owner doesn’t have to keep track of anything. With maintenance intervals now aligned with oil changes, the customer can conveniently have both done during one service visit.
Benefits for the dealer -- Because of the typically extended oil change intervals, the customer may come back less frequently. But when they do come back, it’s for more services. The inspection and service points of both Maintenance I and Maintenance II are thorough, and are intended to keep the vehicle in good working order. They also give the technician the opportunity to locate, identify and recommend other needed services.
Benefits for the environment -- With GMOLS now installed on upwards of 20 million vehicles, if it’s used as intended, it can save almost 100 million gallons of oil in 5 years. And remember that every quart of oil poured into an engine eventually has to be drained out and properly disposed of.
In the next few months, GM is going to saturate owners with information about the GMOLS. Radio interviews, TV talk shows, magazines, newspapers, the internet and dealership kits will all be used to promote a proper understanding of GMOLS and its benefits, and to promote its proper use. GMOLS was also promoted at the National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) convention in January of this year.
How Can You Prepare?
Because of GM’s media efforts, owners are going to become familiar with GMOLS. It’ll be a good idea for you to get yourself up to speed as well.
IDL Courses -- Three courses have been designed to promote GMOLS and customer retention.
- Understanding the GM Oil Life System (PPS03.P1D) explains the reasons and benefits behind the GMOLS and provides suggestions for explaining it to customers.
- The GM Oil Life Maintenance Schedule -- Keeping the Cutomer at the Dealership (PPS03.P4D) covers the benefits of the new maintenance schedules and explains how to use them to benefit customer-pay business.
- Building Trust and Long-Term Customer Retention (PPS03.P6D) explains how to earn and build customers’ trust and how to retain them.
Literature and Materials -- GMSPO is making Oil Life System promotional material available through several sources. You can download service reminder letters and maintenance schedules at gmpartscoop.com GMSPO-approved vendors have a wide selection of new service reminders including a message about GMOLS. A kit including poster, consumer brochures, and counter display is available from gm-dealerworld.com
Maintenance Reminder Stickers -- Traditional stickers provided a place to write the date and/or mileage for the next oil change. To encourage use of the Oil Life System, a new maintenance reminder sticker says the Change Oil Light indicates a need for maintenance. It provides a place to check off whether the next service should include Maintenance I or Maintenance II, plus the date and mileage of the last maintenance performed.