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Mechanical Maintenance: Break-in / Oil & Fluids / Servicing Discussions on mechanical maintenance and servicing of your Camaro

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Old 02-20-2011, 02:28 PM   #1
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Exclamation 50% Oil Life = Dark Oil?

I was just checking my oil and I noticed it seemed sort of dark. I really don't know what is normal for the car though so I figured I would see what others were experiencing.

I have about 4k miles on it since the last oil change and the oil life meter is reading 49% remaining. I have been doing a lot of short city trips in the cold winter weather where the car doesn't get a chance to warm up very well. The oil temp doesn't get up to normal before I turn the car off usually. I have a cam, headers, intake, and exhaust on an L99 if that matters any.

Does this sound normal from what others are seeing? Would my cam have any affect on oil life? Thanks!
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Old 02-20-2011, 02:29 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Agent WD-40 View Post
I was just checking my oil and I noticed it seemed sort of dark. I really don't know what is normal for the car though so I figured I would see what others were experiencing.

I have about 4k miles on it since the last oil change and the oil life meter is reading 49% remaining. I have been doing a lot of short city trips in the cold winter weather where the car doesn't get a chance to warm up very well. The oil temp doesn't get up to normal before I turn the car off usually. I have a cam, headers, intake, and exhaust on an L99 if that matters any.

Does this sound normal from what others are seeing? Would my cam have any affect on oil life? Thanks!
I also would like to know...
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Old 02-20-2011, 02:34 PM   #3
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just change it,,
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Old 02-20-2011, 02:44 PM   #4
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the oil turns dark about the same time you drive around the block...no big deal.
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Old 02-20-2011, 02:49 PM   #5
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I change it every 3K miles or every 3 months, whichever comes first no mater what anyone says.
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Old 02-20-2011, 02:55 PM   #6
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I change it every 3K miles or every 3 months, whichever comes first no mater what anyone says.
good man!!,, we are seeing so many issues from people going by the oil life monitor,, oil changes are cheap if you like your car and plan on keeping it for years to come.
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Old 02-20-2011, 03:05 PM   #7
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the oil turns dark about the same time you drive around the block...no big deal.
This. It happens

Also note that the oil life expectancy is merely a meter. More like a service light but with percentage. I first changed my factory oil at around 3550 with Mobile 1 full syn. Then changed it again at 6985. Draining the oil, It was darker than triple zero black. These engines nowadays are ok from 5k-7k before needing an oil change. But that's at the limit. The most important thing to do is keep an eye on your oil level. check it often. Coming from the import scene, those little engines live or die on a quart
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Old 02-20-2011, 03:16 PM   #8
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I change my oil about every 3k - 4k (way before the oil life is up), but I race my car. If you run your car hard, you'll want to change your oil more frequently.
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Old 02-20-2011, 03:22 PM   #9
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That oil monitor scares the crap out of me, my second oil change was done just under 5000km and the oil monitor still read 70% oil life remaining... Even the Manager at my local dealership said someone would have to be crazy to listen to that thing and that he still recommends changing it every 5000 or so. I agree with him completely.
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Old 02-20-2011, 04:29 PM   #10
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good man!!,, we are seeing so many issues from people going by the oil life monitor,, oil changes are cheap if you like your car and plan on keeping it for years to come.

I'd like to see some more information on this.
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Old 02-20-2011, 05:00 PM   #11
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That oil monitor scares the crap out of me, my second oil change was done just under 5000km and the oil monitor still read 70% oil life remaining... Even the Manager at my local dealership said someone would have to be crazy to listen to that thing and that he still recommends changing it every 5000 or so. I agree with him completely.
Sure he does .....they get paid to say that.
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Old 02-20-2011, 05:23 PM   #12
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3k change is a waste. I change the oil in my supra at 6-8k miles and always send it for analysis. They always say I had around 30% of oil life left. And its a race engine that usually sees about 25 psi and 8k rpms daily. Oil turns black pretty quickly once its in the engine. I change my filter halfway through the interval. I plan on doing the same with my camaro. I changed it at 500 miles and 1k miles and wont change it til prolly 5k then send it out and they will most likely say I had about half the life left in the oil.
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Old 02-20-2011, 05:25 PM   #13
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If you're running synthetic, changing every 3k would be a huge waste.
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Old 02-20-2011, 05:26 PM   #14
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That oil monitor scares the crap out of me, my second oil change was done just under 5000km and the oil monitor still read 70% oil life remaining... Even the Manager at my local dealership said someone would have to be crazy to listen to that thing and that he still recommends changing it every 5000 or so. I agree with him completely.
Every 5000km?! You're just barely getting your money's worth from that batch of oil.

At many dealerships where income is more dependent on vehicle maintenence than auto sales, the managers just might tell you the same thing. From a strictly financial point of view, the more frequently he can get you into the shop, the better for his pocketbook.

Oil life is determined by how hard the engine is driven and how much strain the climate puts on the system. Today's synthetic oils are quite temperature stable and durable; 5,000-8,000 miles between oil changes for a broken-in engine is not unrealistic.
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Old 02-20-2011, 05:35 PM   #15
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You can send a sample to http://www.blackstone-labs.com/ and have it checked. That way you know how it did and decide when to change it next time.
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Old 02-20-2011, 05:59 PM   #16
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You can send a sample to http://www.blackstone-labs.com/ and have it checked. That way you know how it did and decide when to change it next time.
Yep and anything else is just guessing. I would imagine people, including myself, would be surprised how long you can go between changes. For now I've changed from my long time old school 3k to the new excepted low of 5k.
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Old 02-20-2011, 06:01 PM   #17
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Just change it!
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Old 02-20-2011, 07:33 PM   #18
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I have notice that depends on how you drive the car because my friends
Camaro oil life monitors percentage is higher than mine.he drives more highway and when Im a more stop and go.
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Old 02-20-2011, 07:44 PM   #19
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I spoke with a Mobil 1 lubrication engineer and he told me it is easily capable of going 10,000 miles, depending on how you drive, between changes. The oil is capable you just need to change the filter.
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Old 02-20-2011, 09:37 PM   #20
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I've got 62,500 miles on mine. If I changed it every 3K with 9 qts of Molil 1 synthetic and a quality filter, I would be one broke dude.

GM put the oil life meter there for a reason. They have hundreds of millions of miles worth of test data for each GM engine... let the engineers do the thinking.

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I have notice that depends on how you drive the car because my friends
Camaro oil life monitors percentage is higher than mine.he drives more highway and when Im a more stop and go.
the formula is complicated (temperature, RPMs, miles, etc.)
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Old 02-21-2011, 12:31 PM   #21
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Every 5000km?! You're just barely getting your money's worth from that batch of oil.

At many dealerships where income is more dependent on vehicle maintenence than auto sales, the managers just might tell you the same thing. From a strictly financial point of view, the more frequently he can get you into the shop, the better for his pocketbook.

Oil life is determined by how hard the engine is driven and how much strain the climate puts on the system. Today's synthetic oils are quite temperature stable and durable; 5,000-8,000 miles between oil changes for a broken-in engine is not unrealistic.
Everyone has their own opinion. Ill stick to the 5000-8000 km changes, Ive only had one oil change so far on the car it now has just shy of 8000km on it and i did the first change quite early. I have no problem with paying for oil changes more frequently. Id rather see light colored oil come out of the drain plug then dark oil knowing I want to keep the engine in good condition since I plan on keeping this car for some time and have future SC plans and starting with a well maintained fresh engine is always a nice feeling. For arguments sake has anyone reading this thread actually waited until the oil life said 0% or close to ? I would be curious on an avg km/miles it takes to get lower than 40-50%
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Old 02-21-2011, 12:40 PM   #22
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I've got 62,500 miles on mine. If I changed it every 3K with 9 qts of Molil 1 synthetic and a quality filter, I would be one broke dude.

GM put the oil life meter there for a reason. They have hundreds of millions of miles worth of test data for each GM engine... let the engineers do the thinking.



the formula is complicated (temperature, RPMs, miles, etc.)
If you ever tore down engines you would see exactly why i change it every 3k miles no matter what.
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Old 02-21-2011, 12:53 PM   #23
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If you ever tore down engines you would see exactly why i change it every 3k miles no matter what.
I agree, for the same reasons.
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Old 02-21-2011, 01:09 PM   #24
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I agree, for the same reasons.
My 03' ESV and my buddie's 05 Escalate has the same oil life monitor and it is usually at 60-50% life remaining when I change it and he follows the monitor. I tore my motor apart at 100k miles and a few months later my friend had his built up at 45k miles. My motor looked BRAND NEW and his looked like it had 100k miles. It's not just about the way it looks, the bearings in mine also had very minimal wear and his had some questionable spots.

Also he used Mobil 1 every time and I always used Castrol Synthetic at first then these last years Wal-mart brand synthetic. I'm not saying walmart oil is better, I'm saying changing out any oil frequently is more important than what you put into it. I know all the Mobil 1 fan boys will jump in and say "Then why does GM use it?!?!" so i usually try to stay out of oil conversations. To each their own.
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Old 02-21-2011, 01:32 PM   #25
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My 03' ESV and my buddie's 05 Escalate has the same oil life monitor and it is usually at 60-50% life remaining when I change it and he follows the monitor. I tore my motor apart at 100k miles and a few months later my friend had his built up at 45k miles. My motor looked BRAND NEW and his looked like it had 100k miles. It's not just about the way it looks, the bearings in mine also had very minimal wear and his had some questionable spots.

Also he used Mobil 1 every time and I always used Castrol Synthetic at first then these last years Wal-mart brand synthetic. I'm not saying walmart oil is better, I'm saying changing out any oil frequently is more important than what you put into it. I know all the Mobil 1 fan boys will jump in and say "Then why does GM use it?!?!" so i usually try to stay out of oil conversations. To each their own.
What he said... I change mine EVERY three thousand miles...
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