Learning About Your Vehicle’s Oil Life

Nancy explains all about your vehicle’s oil life and how your car figures it out.


How many times have you seen on your dash that your monitoring system displays the oil life remaining such as 87% or even 40%? Hi, I’m Nancy at Kneble’s Auto Service Center.

Now you thinking you have 80% left of the oil in your vehicle, or if it’s at 40 you have 40% left. What is this number really tell you? This number is referring to the condition of the oil. Auto and during the years have devised a way for some vehicles to almost accurately calculate the remaining life of the oil without actually sampling the oil. But depending on the manufacturer of your vehicle, these indicators are determined by two possible approaches. The first is based on an algorithm. With this technique, your oil isn’t tested. Your computer obtains data on the number of miles you’ve driven, the temperature of the engine, and how much work the engine has performed.

With this data, your power train control module, or the brains of the vehicle calculate the life or quality of the oil in percentage. This doesn’t mean the quantity of oil left before your next oil change is due. Now the second approach actually has sensors sampling the oil in your vehicle to determine the quality of the oil. This includes the soot or dirt concentration, the presence of water, or the thickness and conductivity. Whichever indicator your vehicle has, make sure your oil change indicator light has been reset when you get your oil change. It’s also nice to have that sticker that’s put in the windshield to show when your next oil change is due in terms of miles and time.

Share the video with others and let them know what actually that oil life is referring to. Like us on Facebook. And also at next time you stop in mentioned the phrase oil life and get 10% off your labor. Thank you for watching.