The Chevy Volt is fundamentally a new sort of vehicle and so maintenance will be a tad different. Chevy just went public with oil life numbers and it seems that with the proper oil, Volt owners who drive mainly on the battery might only have to change oil every two years. This only makes sense really as the on-board I-4 engine only kicks on to charge the battery and therefore isn’t used if the Volt is driven exclusively in EV mode.
Fluid stability is still a concern so the Volt has special drive mode called Engine Maintenance Mode that’s designed to extend the life of both the oil and gasoline. This mode will appear as option only after the Volt determines that it’s generally drove on EV mode — generally after six weeks. Once enabled, it will kick on the gasoline generator as necessary to cycle both the gasoline and motor oil. This keeps the engine well lubricated and the gas from going stale.
GM Executive Director, Electrical Systems Micky Bly via GM-Volt,
Oil likes to run at a certain temperature, and to burn off some of the water and some of the ligands that gather in oil. We call it engine maintenance mode. We’ll ask if you mind if we run the engine a couple of miles just to freshen up basically, and then that will be fine.
GM recommends that the Volt, along with the rest of GM’s 2011 line, use a new Dexos 1 synthetic blend. This oil while 25-30% more expensive delivers superior life and performance over the current standard. GM is not alone in opting for this new standard. Other OEMs are expected to start factor-filling and recommending the synthetic blend starting in 2012. But be careful, according to GM’s warranty information, if an engine failure was to occur and the oil used was found not to be Dexos 1-certified, it may void the factory warranty. Fun stuff.