Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Understanding the GMC Oil Life System and Service Indicator Lights

Understanding GMC Service Indicator Lights - view of a GMC instrument panel with warning light on

Performing all scheduled and recommended maintenance on your GMC vehicle is imperative to keep it running well so you can avoid the many untimely, inconvenient, and possibly expensive repairs that come from neglect. Luckily, the days of the standardized manual maintenance schedule are coming to an end.

Smart technology, like the Oil Life System (OLS) system from General Motors (GM), automatically monitors the oil life in your vehicle using an advanced algorithm-driven, on-board computer system that alerts owners when it’s time for an oil change, so they can address the issue promptly and without hassle. When the service light is triggered, such as the “CHANGE ENGINE OIL SOON” light, all the owner has to do is schedule an appointment with a trusted mechanic, take the vehicle in for servicing, and a mechanic will take care of the rest; it’s that simple.

How the GMC Oil Life System (OLS) system works and what to expect

The GMC Oil Life System (OLS) system is not a simple oil quality sensor, but a software-based, algorithm-driven device that takes into account various operating conditions of the engine to determine when the oil needs changing. Certain driving habits can affect the life of the oil, as well as driving conditions such as temperature and driving terrain. Lighter, more moderate driving conditions and temperatures will require less frequent oil changes and maintenance, while more severe driving conditions will require more frequent oil changes and maintenance. Read the table below to see how the OLS system determines oil life: Understanding GMC Service Indicator Lights - HOW DRIVING CONDITIONS AFFECT THE ENGINE OIL LIFE OF A GMC

  • Note: Engine oil life is dependent not only on the factors listed above, but also your vehicle’s model, year, and type of oil that is recommended. Check your owner’s manual for more information about what oil is recommended for your vehicle, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our experienced professionals for advice.

The oil life meter is located on the information display on the dashboard, and will count down from 100% oil life to 0% oil life as you continue to drive the vehicle; at a certain point, the computer will trigger a reminder for you to “CHANGE ENGINE OIL SOON.” Around the 15% oil life threshold, the computer will remind you, giving you ample time to plan ahead to have your vehicle serviced. It is important not to wait to have your vehicle serviced, especially once the indicator reads 0% oil life. If you do wait and servicing is overdue, you risk severe damage to the engine which could leave you stranded or worse. GM recommends that an oil change should be completed within two fuel tank fill-ups from when the first message was displayed, or within 600 miles. Additionally, GMC vehicles - like most other vehicles - require an oil change at least once a year, whether the vehicle is seldom driven in short distances, or is a Garage Queen. If the Oil Life System has not triggered on your GMC for a year or more, take your vehicle in for servicing as soon as possible.

The following table outlines what the information on your dashboard means when the engine oil reaches a certain level of usage: Understanding GMC Service Indicator Lights - WHEN TO CHANGE THE ENGINE OIL IN A GMC

When your vehicle is ready for an oil change, GM has a standard list of inspection for servicing your GMC: Understanding GMC Service Indicator Lights - RECOMMENDED MAINTENANCE SCHEDULES FOR A GMC

GMC also recommends these scheduled maintenance items throughout the life of the vehicle: Understanding GMC Service Indicator Lights - ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED SERVICES BY MILEAGE FOR A GMC 1 Understanding GMC Service Indicator Lights - ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED SERVICES BY MILEAGE FOR A GMC 2

After your oil change and servicing is complete, you might need to reset the OLS system in your GMC. Some servicers will neglect to do this, which can lead to premature and unnecessary service light triggers. There are many different ways this light can be reset depending on your model and year. Consult the owner’s manual on how to do this for your GMC.

While the engine oil percentages are calculated according to an algorithm that takes into account driving styles and other specific driving conditions, other maintenance information is based on standard time tables like in old-school maintenance schedules, located in the owner’s manual. This does not mean GMC drivers should ignore such alerts. Proper maintenance service will greatly extend the life of a vehicle, ensuring it is reliable, safe to drive, covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, and it also provides a greater resale value. Such maintenance tasks should always be performed by a qualified technician. If you have any doubts as to what the GMC Oil Life System (OLS) system means or what services your vehicle may need, do not hesitate to contact our experienced professionals for advice.

If your GMC’s Oil Life System (OLS) system is indicating that your vehicle is ready for servicing, have it checked out by a certified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic. Click here, choose your vehicle and service or service package, and book an appointment with us today. One of our certified mechanics will come to your home or office to service your vehicle.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Flexible Clutch Hose
Common signs include difficulty shifting, low clutch fluid, and feeling no resistance at the clutch pedal.
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho
The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the...


Related questions

Q: My GMC safari van misfires on the freeway or when I go faster than 65 mph then the check engine light comes on steady for 15 minutes

Hello - first task is to determine what problem codes are being set which are turning on the Check Engine light. Most auto parts stores will read these for you for free. This problem could be weak ignition (old plugs,...

Q: How do I check the engine oil level?

Checking the oil level is an essential part of owning a vehicle. You should check the oil levels with regularity, especially before and after long trips. Checking the oil is easy: 1. Park the car on a flat surface, and...

Q: Would cold temperatures make my service all wheel drive system warning come on? 2012 GMC Terrain

Hi there - while a big drop in temperatures shouldn't cause a service light per se, cold temperatures DO have an effect on electrical connections, and a connection problem may be the case here. You need the actual problem code...