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Q. I have year-old Chevrolet Volt, and I love it. I barely put gas in it and charge the battery when needed. The car has an oil life monitor, which shows it has 40 percent remaining. Should I get an oil charge or wait until the car tells me it needs one?
A. The GM oil life monitors use a few criteria, including mileage, time, and engine temperature. Generally the car hits 7,500 miles or one year has passed, the oil life will go to zero, indicating it should be changed. With the Volt, the oil reminder calendar can go up to two years before dropping to zero and prompting you to change it. Even with an extended range electric car or plug-in hybrid powered by an electric motor, I still wouldn’t want to go more than a year without an oil change. The Northeast’s varying temperatures and traffic conditions are tough on any engine — even one that doesn’t run very often.
John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician. He answers readers’ questions each Saturday. You can tune in to his radio program Saturday morning from 8:30-10 a.m. on 950AM WROL or www.wrolradio.com. Email your car question to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow John on Twitter @johnfpaul and friend him on Facebook mrjohnfpaul.