Understanding the Saab Oil Life System and Service Indicator Lights

Performing all scheduled and recommended maintenance on your Saab 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.

Your Saab might have one of two different kinds of maintenance reminder systems, depending on the vehicle’s year and model. Older models can be equipped with a mileage-based or interval-based reminder system that is triggered after a certain amount of miles, or a certain amount of time between maintenance periods, regardless of specific driving conditions and/or driving habits that can affect oil life, as listed below.

Newer Saab models can be equipped with smart technology, like the Oil Life System (OLS) system from General Motors (GM). This system automatically monitors the oil life in the 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 a service light is triggered, such as the “TIME FOR SERVICE” 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 Saab Oil Life System (OLS) system works and what to expect

The Saab Oil Life System (OLS) system is not just 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 change and maintenance, while more severe driving conditions will require more frequent oil change and maintenance. Read the table below to see how the OLS system determines oil life: Understanding Saab Service Indicator Lights - HOW DRIVING CONDITIONS AFFECT THE ENGINE OIL LIFE OF A SAAB

  • Note: Engine oil life is dependent not only on the factors listed above, but also on your specific vehicle model, year, and what type of oil is recommended. Check the 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 that it’s “TIME FOR SERVICE.” 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, Saab vehicles - like most other vehicles - require an oil change at least once a year, whether the vehicle is seldom driven for short distances, or is a garage queen. If the Oil Life System has not triggered on your Saab 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 Saab Service Indicator Lights - WHEN TO CHANGE THE ENGINE OIL IN A SAAB

When the “TIME FOR SERVICE” light is triggered and you schedule an appointment to have your vehicle serviced, Saab recommends a series of inspections that will help keep your car in good running order, and can help prevent untimely and costly damages to the engine, depending on your driving habits and conditions. Saab has very model- and year-specific routine maintenance schedules for your vehicle. Click here and enter your model, year, and mileage to see what service package suits your vehicle now, or consult the owner’s manual.

After your oil change and servicing is complete, you might need to reset the OLS system in your Saab. 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 Saab.

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 such as those in old-school maintenance schedules, located in the owner’s manual, or by clicking here and entering the vehicle’s information. 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 Saab 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 Saab’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.


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