DETROIT (AP) _ General Motors Corp. will equip most of its cars and light trucks made in North America with a computer system that monitors engine-oil quality and warns the driver when it is time to change the oil.
The patented ``GM Oil-Life System″ will help eliminate unnecessary oil changes, which GM estimates could save up to 40 million quarts of oil annually.
The system will be standard equipment on 90 percent of GM’s North American production within five years, GM announced Monday at a trade show in Las Vegas.
The system already is in use in some GM vehicles, including the Chevrolet Corvette sports car and Cadillacs equipped with the Northstar V8 engine. The first high-volume vehicle to get it is the 1999 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickups, GM’s best-selling product.
The computer senses when the oil has degraded to the point that it needs to be replaced, through monitoring of engine revolutions, operating temperatures and other factors.
``Every driver operates with different driving styles and under different conditions,″ said Michael Grimaldi, a GM vice president. ``GM’s Oil-Life System compensates for that, allowing a customized diagnosis of each vehicle’s oil-change needs.″
Fixed oil-change schedules typically recommend changing the oil between 3,000 and 7,500 miles. Starting with the 2000 model year, some GM vehicles equipped with the oil-life system will have a maximum oil-change limit of between 10,000 and 15,000 miles when driven under optimal conditions, the automaker said.
``The initiative is part of GM’s continuing program to provide owners with a more hassle-free ownership experience and more environment-friendly vehicles,″ Grimaldi said.