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Old 05-06-2002, 10:09 AM   #1
VentureForth
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2006 ION-3 Sedan
Happy Break In, Oils, and Other New Owner Stuff

This is, I'm sure, typical newbie stuff. I searched the forums already, but am hardpressed to find the answers to the questions I'm looking for.

I just bought a brand new SL SE (The $9995er), have had it for about 10 days, and have put a good 700 miles on it. I did what the book said - drive it under different loads and different speeds.

Here are my questions:

1) Should I go ahead and change the oil now, or should I wait for my first 3000 miles? When I get my oil changed, should I add a quart of a) Slick50, b) Duralube, c) Other, or d) Nothing? I've not seen too many plusses for synth oil, so anyone object to dino oil? And what viscosity (ok, I didn't read the manual)? I like Castrol 20W50, cause I'm in Texas, and it rarely gets too cold for the 20. Any suggestions?

2) I've been getting about 27 mpg on my first two tanks. I'm supposed to be getting 29 (C) 40 (H). Is this just a break-in thing? Can I expect my milage to increase?

3) I see that the OEM Firestones are made to wear out quickly. My last new car had the same problem with Michelin's. What is the best 185/65R14 tires that you guys use? Also, can I expect my brakes to wear out quickly (as they did on my last car), too? What should I replace them with?

4) Anyone use magnets on their fuel lines to boost performance? Do they work or not?

5) I'll want to change my own brakes. Are they pretty conventional? Also, I would like to do some of my own work, but Chilton's (or Haynes) doesn't go up to 2002. How many model years back is the 2002 SL comparable to?

Thanks for all your help in advance.

VF

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Old 05-06-2002, 10:28 AM   #2
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I would check the oil recommendations in the owners manual. 20-50 is pretty thick and is not good in a lot of new engines. On the L series they recommend 10-30 or 5 -30. I use 5 - 30. You can read the threads on syn. vs. regular oil. Again, Read the owners manual or ask the dealer or the CAC.

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Old 05-06-2002, 10:44 AM   #3
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Don't use anything thicker than 10W-30, preferably 5W-30. Also, don't put any additives in the oil. Synthetic may be a good choice for the hot Texas summer. Sure, I would change the oil and filter at 1000 miles. It's cheap insurance to get rid of any manufacturing junk,such as cutting oils, shavings, bearing material, inside the engine.

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Old 05-06-2002, 10:52 AM   #4
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consult with the owners manual on oil. 5w-30 or 10w-30 is recommended depending on your weather. you can use the chilton's to do the brakes they are pretty much the same on 1991-2002 s-series. or get the saturn factory service manuals. for tires i'd recommend the dunlop d60-a2 to replace the stock crap. don't bother with fuel magnets or slick 50.

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Old 05-06-2002, 11:00 AM   #5
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1) Follow Saturn's recommendations. You'll be ok doing oil changes at 3,000-6,500 miles depending on your driving habits. I believe Saturn recommends 5W-30. Use it. No additives. Synth is a waste of money unless you are in a very cold climate, in my opinion.

2) Your mileage should increase after break-in.

3) Older Saturn's brakes had warping problems, but newer Saturns don't seem to have issues with brake problems or premature wear. I think most tires are the same so I buy a well known brand just to be safe. I have OEM Firestones on my SL2 and they are fine.

4) Magnets on the fuel line is a marketing ploy and a waste of money. Same as the deer whistles you put on your bumper.

5) The 2002 SL series has been pretty much identical from the 2000 redesign on. Mechanically it's very similiar to possibly 96. I don't know about brakes.

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Old 05-06-2002, 11:00 AM   #6
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Default Re: Break In, Oils, and Other New Owner Stuff

Quote:
Originally posted by VentureForth
This is, I'm sure, typical newbie stuff. I searched the forums already, but am hardpressed to find the answers to the questions I'm looking for.

I just bought a brand new SL SE (The $9995er), have had it for about 10 days, and have put a good 700 miles on it. I did what the book said - drive it under different loads and different speeds.

Here are my questions:

1) Should I go ahead and change the oil now, or should I wait for my first 3000 miles? When I get my oil changed, should I add a quart of a) Slick50, b) Duralube, c) Other, or d) Nothing? I've not seen too many plusses for synth oil, so anyone object to dino oil? And what viscosity (ok, I didn't read the manual)? I like Castrol 20W50, cause I'm in Texas, and it rarely gets too cold for the 20. Any suggestions?

2) I've been getting about 27 mpg on my first two tanks. I'm supposed to be getting 29 (C) 40 (H). Is this just a break-in thing? Can I expect my milage to increase?

3) I see that the OEM Firestones are made to wear out quickly. My last new car had the same problem with Michelin's. What is the best 185/65R14 tires that you guys use? Also, can I expect my brakes to wear out quickly (as they did on my last car), too? What should I replace them with?

4) Anyone use magnets on their fuel lines to boost performance? Do they work or not?

5) I'll want to change my own brakes. Are they pretty conventional? Also, I would like to do some of my own work, but Chilton's (or Haynes) doesn't go up to 2002. How many model years back is the 2002 SL comparable to?

Thanks for all your help in advance.

VF
1) Change the oil as often as you feel like it, but at least every 3000 miles. Don't add anything to your oil. Stick with 10w-30 until the car has at least 60,000 miles on it. After that, you can go with 10w-40, 20w-50, or whatever. As long as the car is under warranty, though, stick with no thicker than 10w-30. And use synthetic: you'll be glad you did.

2) Your mileage should get better as the engine is broken in.

3) I replaced my 175/70R14 tires with Pirelli 400s and have been very happy. Your brakes should wear well, but that depends on how hard you are on brakes.

4) No, and no.

5) Brakes are pretty easy. I'd say that the SLs haven't changed all that much since '99, as far as the simple maintenance stuff is concerned. To be safe, I'd wait for an updated Haynes manual. I use Haynes and it hasn't let me down yet.

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Old 05-06-2002, 02:08 PM   #7
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DO read the maintenance section of your manual. Good info in there.

For example, you probably are required to replace the transaxle fluid at 1,500 miles. It takes very little (check the book), consider using synthetic fluid there too. I don't use it for the engine, but you change tranny fluid so rarely why not splurge the extra $5?

Slick50 is a disaster for Saturn engines. PTFE Could gunk rings up and lead to oil burning. Don't do it. The others are snake oil too. If you really want to baby it, use the synthetic oil. At least that can't HURT the engine.

I've got a Haynes. It's good for maintenance, but maybe not so good for bigger repairs. Front brakes are dreamy easy. Rears may never need replacing (mine haven't).

Enjoy! My 95 SL jsut turned 128,000 miles. Still trust it to jump into for a 1,000 mile trip.

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Old 05-06-2002, 02:41 PM   #8
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Another thing .. If you don't do your own oil changes you never know what oil you are getting or the weight. If you can do our own oil changes.

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Old 05-06-2002, 07:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by ricksLS1
Another thing .. If you don't do your own oil changes you never know what oil you are getting or the weight. If you can do our own oil changes.
Amen. About ten years ago I had a V6 Fiero and had all the service performed at the local Pontiac dealer. Then one day a friend was doing some work on it and discovered that not only had the rear three spark plugs never been changed (even though I was charged several times for the service) but that some grease monkey had twisted on a four-cylinder oil filter!

From that time on, I did as much maintenance myself as I could. Guess the good new is that the dealership folded from many, many similar experiences such as mine!

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Old 05-06-2002, 11:20 PM   #10
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Synthetic is probably NOT a waste if you run where it is very hot (Texas) or very cold (up here is WIS. winters), as it flows better when cold and shouldn't loose its lubricating properties at high temps as quickly as dino stuff.

Change every 3,000 miles. Earlier Saturns liked to develope a thirst for oil to the tune of 1 qt /1000 miles. This is a dirty little secret of Saturn. The 1.9L runs forever, but may get an oil thirst with age. This may have been fixed in later models, but why take the chance. Changing every 3,000 seems to help keep the appetite from developing.

As for Slick50 or others, I would avoid due to the oil appetite from coming from stuck oil contrl rings. Anything that is "foreign" the the engine probably doesn't help.

Don't use 20W50. Use synthetic instead. The factory wants 5W30 or 10W30. I'd use 10W30.

I don't mean to scare you, as I think the oil thing has been fixed, but wouldn't screw around with long times between changes or any "snake oil".

Enjoy the SL! It should prove to be fun, economical, safe and reliable transportation!

Bob Vue 02

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Old 05-06-2002, 11:27 PM   #11
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manualman wrote:
Quote:
use the synthetic oil. At least that can't HURT the engine.
Not quite true.

I switched to Mobile 1 at 150,000 miles in my '92 Caravan. (Switched because I missed a change and went 8,000 miles on dino stuff and didn't like doing that...)
Mistake to switch on an engine with that many miles. It started leaking oil from the front and rear main seals and 1 head gasket. It got better when I went back, but was not perfect. It did NOT leak before and the extra cleaners or something must have created paths to the outside for the oil to leak. I have heard of this happening before to high milage engines. I hated cleaning the drop or two that it left every night on the garage floor after switching to synthetic.

I did switch at 2500 miles on my new Vue. I plan on letting the computer tell me when to change oil. If it wants to got 5-6k miles, I won't care like I would have with dino oil. No leakage problems on that one...

Bob

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Old 05-07-2002, 07:30 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by BobVVue02
I did switch at 2500 miles on my new Vue. I plan on letting the computer tell me when to change oil. If it wants to got 5-6k miles, I won't care like I would have with dino oil. No leakage problems on that one...

Bob
Hey Bob I've got a question for you. Does the computer or whatever it is in the Vue (or L I imagine) know that you're using synthetic oil and adjust it's "change oil" recommendation accordingly?

jeff

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Old 05-07-2002, 08:34 AM   #13
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Syn and regular oil coillect dirt and contamenents the same. If you look at the Saturn web page (I have posted what they said) they say not to extend your change intervals if you use syn's. The computer monitors # of starts and other car functions (I believe) so the would be the same.

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Old 05-07-2002, 09:46 AM   #14
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Quote:
For example, you probably are required to replace the transaxle fluid at 1,500 miles. It takes very little (check the book), consider using synthetic fluid there too. I don't use it for the engine, but you change tranny fluid so rarely why not splurge the extra $5?
Will I have to do this in my new Vue? How hard is it to do? Iam stupid about service prices on Saturns... what would it cost to have my first service done at the dealer?
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Old 05-07-2002, 09:54 AM   #15
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Idea I agree

I think NicksLS1 is right -

According to the S-series owner's guide (and I'm not quoting verbatim - hey be proud of me, I've been encouraged by folks in these forums to read the thing), the COS light comes on based on computations related to engine starts, engine operating temperature, engine revolutions, etc.

The term "sensor" that is described quite frequently by Saturn is therefore actually a slight misnomer since there is no 'sensing' of the oil's viscosity. Rather, I would probably use the term 'Engine Monitor', as that is what is really happening. When the combination of environments reaches a calculated level, then the light comes on.

Now, here are my little twists:

- If you change oil per the light (let's say 6,000 miles) instead of per the odometer, could it void your warranty if there were a catostrophic oil-related failure?

- Since the monitor must be reset in the fusebox, if the oil is changed at 3000 miles (before the light comes on), won't the light come on sometime soon there after if the reset button isn't pressed at the oil change? Wouldn't that freak out non-user-manual-readers?

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Old 05-07-2002, 09:56 AM   #16
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Light should come on before 7,500. I think some techs don't reset the oil monitor. Anyone who dosen't read the manual should be shot

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Old 05-07-2002, 11:00 AM   #17
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Default Here is my logic

Here is my logic to using synthetic.

The computer is calibrated to tell you when to change based on running DINO oil. It does not know I am running synthetic. I always thought feel Dino oil, but the computer will use that as the baseline in its calculations.

By using synthetic, with the computer calucluating based on dino, I should have better protection all the way out to 7,500 miles.

Bob

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Old 05-07-2002, 11:06 AM   #18
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Here is waht is on the Saturn website in "mysaturn"

Can I use synthetic oil in my Saturn?

Saturn does not recommend or endorse synthetic oil. While it is acceptable to use synthetic oil in a Saturn (so long as the synthetic oil has the API "starburst" symbol and is either SAE 5W-30 or, if the temperature in your area will not be going below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, SAE 10W-30), it is still necessary to follow the recommended maintenance schedule. Please refer to your Owner's Handbook or contact your retail facility for your specific maintenance schedule. Oil changes are necessary because oil not only cools and lubricates the engine, but it also cleans the engine of dirt and contaminants.

Synthetic oil picks up dirt and foreign matter just as any oil does and will continue to carry this foreign matter through the engine. Many people believe that longer periods of mileage and time are acceptable between synthetic oil changes. This increases the amount of time contaminants are circulated through the engine.

Saturn Corporation cannot be held responsible for damage to the engine resulting from the effects of failing to use the recommended oil.

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Old 05-07-2002, 11:12 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by ricksLS1
[B]Many people believe that longer periods of mileage and time are acceptable between synthetic oil changes.
"Many people" include the engineers at Mercedes and BMW (full synthetic from the factory, 15,000 mile first oil change), General Motors (Mobil 1 in the Corvette), Porsche (Mobil 1 as well I believe), and many others I'm sure. I think Saab uses a semi-synthetic blend.

These companies must do it for a reason.

jeff

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Old 05-07-2002, 11:47 AM   #20
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What Saturn says makes sense. What I posted was from Saturn.

Synthetic oil picks up dirt and foreign matter just as any oil does and will continue to carry this foreign matter through the engine

If I own a Saturn I would follow what their maintenace schedule is and if I owned a Mercedes or BMW follow theirs. If you have and engine failure under warranty and change the oil every 15,000 and say I used syn what do you think Saturn would say about your warranty claim? You can tell the Saturn writer that BMW and Mecedes say you can go 15,000 because you used syn's.

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