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I recently bought a new 2013 Dodge minivan and the manual says to change the oil when the "light" comes on and I hear an audible sound. I have about 5,600 miles on it now ( mostly highway) and no light still. Is that light set to a certain mileage amount or does it actually monitor the type of driving the driver does? The dealer said to get my 1st oil change at about 5,000 or 6,000 miles but is that necessary or can I just wait until the light comes on?
 

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I have no idea; each decade or so the automakers introduce a new round of idiot proofing--in 1999 Mercedes added their FSS (Flexible Service System) that behaves as you describe, using distance per trip, oil temperature and other factors to calculate engine oil service life. Fortunately mine is a '98 and does not have such silliness.

On the older cars I have owned when "the 'light' comes on" the audible sound will likely be piston slap or a rod knock. Even with a new car having such glitz I would still follow my grandfather's advice and change the engine oil every 2500 to 3500 miles--he always told me that "Oil is cheaper than engines."

With synthetic oil I have run a bit longer between changes. All that said my advice is to do as the dealer says and change it at 5k to 6k miles regardless of whether the "light" is on...
 

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My 05 GMC pickup has a system like that. It doesn't make a sound or have a light but it has a readout that shows oil life left as a percentage. I change it when it gets to about 20% of life left. Depending on how I've used the truck I've seen that range anywhere from about 3,000 miles to almost 6,000 miles. The lower numbers occur when I have been doing a lot of towing and/or stop and go driving. The higher numbers occur when I have been doing a lot of highway driving.
 

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On the older cars I have owned when "the 'light' comes on" the audible sound will likely be piston slap or a rod knock. Even with a new car having such glitz I would still follow my grandfather's advice and change the engine oil every 2500 to 3500 miles--he always told me that "Oil is cheaper than engines."
I'm a grandfather also and I used to think like your grandfather. The oil has improved a great deal since I started driving in the 60s. You can tell by the feel of the oil. I now feels like the oil felt in the old days when it had STP added to it. I have changed my oil and filter at 5,000 intervals for many years. It is easy to keep up with. My cousin has a company truck he drives 70,000+ miles per year and he changes his oil every 10,000 miles. He gets a new one at around 225,000 miles and he has never has an engine problem. I had an Impala with the oil monitor and it showed a 40% remaining oil life when I changed it at 5,000 miles.
 

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My 65 Plymouth Barracuda had a 3000 mile oil change interval. That was with 1965 quality oil and the crappy machinist tolerances in the engine. The oil has gotten 1000's of times better and even in some foreign country's the machinists have better tolerances than 1965 Chryslers. IMHO a 3000 mile change interval is a big waste. DO AS YOU PLEASE, YOUR MONEYS.
 

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Just asked the Chrysler Service Manager here at the dealership where I do the webpage. He said the system monitors the type of driving you do (stop&go, short vs long trips, cold starts, etc) and the light can go on anywhere from 3K miles all the way up to the max of 10K miles. Chrysler actually states that under optimum conditions (re: steady highway), the max oil change interval on that vehicle is 10K. So, to answer your question, kind of, yes you can wait for the light.

Would I?? Probably not, especially the first oil change. As clean as modern engines run, plus the improved oil, I think with mostly highway driving you would be fine with 5K oil changes. Just my opinion.

I know everyone has their own opinion about oil and oil changes, so there may be some that go towards the extreme of 3K oil changes regardless of the driving conditions and some that say "follow the light on the dash" and go up to 10K. I think 5K is a good middle ground. YMMV
 

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Yea my 2012 F-350 diesel has the same kind of set-up. Being a mechanic for 40+ years when mine got to 7k I couldn't stand it & changed it. Reset the light which then came on after I drove it for another 8.5k (1200 miles towing with it).
My new Passat diesel is every 10k so I'll wait until then plus the service is free for 3 years or 36k.:hello1:
 
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