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Oil life indicator

My new F250 has an information screen that tells the % of oil life remaining. My question is how accurate is this. I'm at 4500 miles with 43% oil life left. Can I trust the sensor to be accurate?

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Staff member
My truck has the same think and I've wondered the same thing... Personally I plan on sticking to normal intervals but I'm curious to see what the consensus is


The Token Canadian
Staff member
As far as I know they work on an algorithm of temperature, revs etc. I also think the old adage of an oil change every 3000 miles is outdated.

OL's car has it, I sent one sample off for a check and it had a lot of life left in it.
like duncan said... its not so much a sensor.. but the computer doing guesstimate math based off your driving habits to determine oil life... some of the earlier vehicles just had a light that came on after so many miles.. the newer ones with the more sophisticated computers are "allowed" to float the intervals based on more parameters...
i sure its also based of the the fact that the oil and filter got changed with the ones that meets the OE spec.
side note/ two cents
i normally say 5000 miles on a change is good for any of today oils, that way the oil gets changed 2 maybe 3 times a year if you don't drive a lot (moisture, deposits etc get flushed out). if you drive alot like i used to it seems that most good synthetics off the shelf (mobile 1,castrol, etc) will get 7-8000 with a filter change at at 4000. i was getting 8000 out of my gas vw on mobile 1 with wix filters, but at 2000 miles a month who wants to change oil ever other month


Charter Member
I'll bet ya that if you run a good synthetic such as Penz Platinum, Valvoline, (Napa synthetic = Valvoline Syngard, FYI) and a few others and use a Motorcraft oil filter, and if you drive a normal routine meaning you get it fully warmed up and drive it a bit to drive off any condensation or take it for a 1X a week joyride to do this if you putt around town during the week, I'd bet that if you sent a test sample of your oil off to Blackstone Labs at 10K along with $25 for the test, that would find you could have left it in there quite a bit longer. This assumes normal driving, not excess dust, etc etc, no prolong extremities.

Remember, it's the additives in the oil that are prolonging the life; the lubricating properties of the oil itself, they don't "go away", the go on indefinitely. If you want a really good crash course on oil, go do some reading over on IMO, I'd bet your "sensor" will be sure to error on the conservative side.


Redneck Prognosticator
Belton, MO
I agree with Bill mostly about the thing being conservative. Usually burn-off is a bigger issue than oil deterioration.

And yes, it's simply the computer tracking your driving habits.



Oilfield Trash
Stigler, OK
Simply it takes the guesswork out of the criteria in your owners manual as to which service category you fall under. Most vehicles have a 7500 mile interval for the easier miles as stated earlier in this thread.


Oilfield Trash
Stigler, OK
If an oil sample was cheaper than $25 or you were changing more than 6 quarts, it would probably make sense to oil sample. The biggest thing is that GP III oils are now considered synthetic, many brands conventional oils use GP III base stocks, with a shade less add pack. This is the primary driver for the extended service intervals on todays newer vehicles.