Extended Drain Intervals and Warranties

Q. The GM Factory extended 6/60 warranty I purchased for my Pontiac Grand Am states the following under the "Your Responsibilities" section:

"YOU must properly maintain the covered VEHICLE which includes, but is not limited to, changing the engine oil at a minimum of every 3,000 miles or as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. If requested, proof of required service, including receipts and work orders showing date and mileage of the VEHICLE at the time of service must be presented to US in the event of a FAILURE or CLAIM."

Because of this I fear switching to the AMSOIL Series 2000 0W-30 synthetic oil and oil filter and leaving it in the engine for the full year or 35,000 miles, thus risking voiding the factory warranty. Is there anything you can do to contact GM and convince them of the fallacy of the 3,000 mile oil change and convince them to use and recommend AMSOIL synthetic oil in their cars? They are convinced enough to use Havoline "extended" drain interval antifreeze, so why won't they see the advantages of AMSOIL synthetic 0W-30 oil?

A. The language in the extended protection plan was written by an insurance company, and it is definitely intended to intimidate you into changing your oil every 3,000 miles. They are doing everything they can to try to limit their liability for claims and create wiggle room.

All of the vehicle OEMs in the U.S. have agreed that a warranty cannot be denied because a customer was using any brand of motor oil at any length drain interval unless an engine failure was directly attributable to the oil or drain interval. For example, if your radio, power steering unit, air conditioner, etc. broke down, they could not void the warranty that covers those items because you were changing your engine oil at extended drain intervals. If it is not an oil related failure, they cannot void the warranty. The law supports this position.

If your engine failed, and the manufacturer denied your warranty for repair due to your using extended drain intervals, then you would submit your claim to the AMSOIL Technical Services Department for handling. (See the AMSOIL Limited Warranty.) Our staff will analyze the oil, and if we are able to provide documentation that proves the source of the problem was something other than the oil, and that in turn allows your claim to be processed under the original warranty, then we will. If no proof can be assembled regarding the source of the problem, our insurance adjustor will be dispatched to resolve the claim. A warranty claim being denied because of the use of extended drain intervals is an extremely rare occurrence. That’s because motor oils do not cause engine failures; dirt, glycol and other mechanical problems do.

Ironically, in Europe the auto manufacturers’ recommended drain intervals are from 12,000-18,000 miles using petroleum products, and they are moving even higher. In the U.S., it has been published that auto manufacturers are also going to be moving toward extended drain intervals of up to 15,000 miles in the not too distant future. Some auto manufacturers include systems in their vehicles that tell you when to change oil based upon a computer program that evaluates driving habits. As these changes develop, so will the language in owner’s manuals and extended warranty policies.

As an AMSOIL customer, you have our warranty coverage to fall back on in the unlikely event of an engine failure that is not covered by your vehicle warranty. I hope you will not be intimidated by the language in your extended warranty policy and will continue to use the highest quality and best performing products that you can, AMSOIL.

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