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GM Oil Life System (GMOLS)


Moderator Emeritus
January 26, 2004
Reaction score
City, State
Mechanicsville, Virginia
Year, Model & Trim Level
2004 Acura TL
So a lot of people wonder what kind of intervals your vehicles engine oil should be changed - well GMs Oil Life System (GMOLS) has been for awhile, but hasn't been discussed or explained too well. It's actually a very basic system.

How It Works:

The GM Oil Life System is a computer-based algorithm that asesses engine combustion events, temperature, vehicle use, load and other parameters to determine optimum oil change intervals. Here are a list of expected oil change intervals within the system:

Frequent Trips Less Than 2 Miles: 3,000-4,000 Miles
Urban Driving: 4,000-6,000 Miles
Typical Mixed Use: 4,000-7,000 Miles
Towing: 5,000 to 7,000 Miles
Highway Driving: 7,000 to 12,000 Miles

When GMOLS determines that an oil and filter change is needed, the drive is notified by a Change Oil message on the insturment panel (via light or through the message center). Oil should be changed within 600 miles of the message.

The Oil Life System must be manually reset when the oil is changed. Since the GMOLS does not actually sense oil condition, the engine computer must know when the vehicle has had an oil change. It registers this information through the reset procedure described in the Owner's Manual. Most reset are as follows for GM models (Tahoe, Suburban, Avalanche, Yukon, and others)

To Reset:

Turn the ignition key to the on position (not start) and within 5 seconds fully-depress the gas pedal 3-times to notify the computer that an oil change too place. In the message center, it should say "Oil Life Reset" or the Oil Light should go out.

Benefits of GMOLS:

To The Customer - 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.

To The Service Center - Customers do come back less frequently, but when they do come back - it's for more services. The service is to keep the vehicle in good working order. Also give service centers the opportunity to locate, identify, and recommend other services.

To The Enviroment - Since the introduction of GMOLS in the mid-90s and now installed on about 95% of GM Vehicles. If used as intended, it can save almost 100 million gallons of oil in 5 years.

Just thought everyone could use this information. I'm sure someone will need the resetting information sometime.



More Information here: FAQ

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Just to kind of keep an update on stuff, BMW has "sealed" their engines. There is no longer a manual dip stick for the engine oil, it is computerized.


ExplorerDMB said:
Just to kind of keep an update on stuff, BMW has "sealed" their engines. There is no longer a manual dip stick for the engine oil, it is computerized.


Mercs are that way as well I believe.

Good info.

mercedes or mercury? I am sure you ment mercedes since bmw and them are usually head to head, but mercury would be a surprise


Mercedes. Sorry, this is a Ford board, duh :p

the new explorers dont have a transmission dipstick either at least the couple we have had at our shops didnt. You have a hole in the pan you pump fluid into until it runs out kinda like a manual trans but alittle more difficult to fill.

yeah, VW has had those for awhile. Some are pretty specific to - atleast with a vw I had, you had to check the fluid temp with the scan tool, then raise the vehicle up and pull the plug to see if the fluid runs out or not.


Anyone know much about the Ford system? I have only really dealt with GMs.