Once changed the filter on the HHR at around 7000 miles on Mobil1. After that and a 1/2 quart of top off, the oil on the dipstick was no longer black, and appeared almost new.
I think I'll go with a synthetic, wal-mart or mobil, oil for 2 countdowns of the oil monitor and replace the filter after the first cycle. The cartridges for the ecotec cost about twice as much as a spin on, but they're hella easy to change.
The Holy Cow asked me to comment on this thread. I've never done any testing on oil filters, but I assume he want's me to put my 2 cents worth in because of having a car with over 510K miles. I'm sure there are some filters that are better than others, but I've always just used whatever brand filter I could pick up the cheapest whenever I needed them. I know I've used Car & Driver, Fram, STP, Supertech, Motorcraft, Mighty, A/C, Castrol, Quaker State, Purolator, and Pensky. There's probably been other brands too that I just can't remember at the present time. I'm currently going 10K miles between oil changed on that car using Lube Contol LC-20, Pennzoil 20w20 that I bought from a man that had several cases for sale at a flea market several years ago. I bought about 12 cases at $.65 a quart. The filters I'm currently using on the '88 Escort with 510K miles are some very old A/C's that I bought for $1. each at a flea market and I change them at the 10K mile oil change interval. Until I bought the Pennzoil 20w20 I had always ran conventional 10w40 motor oil of varoius brands along with varoius brand oil filters. I still use 10w40 in all my other cars and use varoius brands of filters
Some things to be asked, Ford Man(thanks for sharing the experience by the way):
What is the shelf-life of motor oil anyway? 2, 3 years? How old is that Pennzoil stuff? Just a thought.
Have you always changed at 10k intervals? How do you drive your car MOST of the time, during any said interval?
Is it driven often? As in more than 2 or 3 times a week; not including short trips but actually getting up to operating tempt for a measurable amount of time/distance?
Did it ever have any major mechanic failures while in operation,(ever had overheating etc)? Did you stay on top of regular performance maintenance intervals as well? What is your climate conditions like year round? Have you towed much/ever with this vehicle?
All of these things are important to specify if another person chooses to start using conventional oil with any filter they can get and go 10k mile intervals. I wouldn't do that on that next generation V6 Stratus from the one I have(99 I-4) since it was prone to sludge and would suffer a pre-mature death.
Not that you are suggesting that, but some people could still run away with your experience, taking it out of prospective. I'm not familiar with your vehicle, but I wonder if they typically would last that long if cared for? Nice milestones.
I have no idea what the shelf life of motor is, but I'm sure the Pennzoil I've been using for the past several years was probably at least 10-15 years old when I bought it because I haven't seen 20w20 on the store shelves in years and the API service on label on the bottle is SF/SE. As for the shelf life of oil I don't worry about it. I've currently got about 25 cases of oil on hand that I bought before the price went through the roof and use it in all my cars and never have had any lubrication problems. I'm currently using some Exxon Superflo in my '97 Escort wagon with less than 30K miles on it and I've had that oil ever since before I bought the car new and still have about 4 cases of it.
I just started the 10K mile change interval about 35K miles ago when I started using LC-20. Proir to that the change interval probably averaged 4-5K miles. The only reason I started using the 10K mile change interval is because the LC-20 recommends 10K mile intervals and I couldn't think of a better car to test it on than one with 500K miles. If there's no problems after a couple hundred thousand miles I'll increase the change interval in my better cars. The 510K mile Escort currently uses a quart of oil about every 1000-1200 miles and I use the oil I drain from my better cars at oil changes for topping it off instead of using new oil.
The car is still driven almost every day and most trips are 25+ miles each now. When it was being driven to work on construction jobs for about the first 12 years of it's life, I was usually driving anywhere from 25-65 miles each way to and from work 5-6 days a week.
Never had any major mechanical failures. It has overheated twice because of a bad temperature sensor. As for maintenance schedules about the only thing I really tried to keep on top of was making sure the fluid levels were kept in the safe range (no special maintenance schedule) and making repairs when needed. Our climate here in this area of NC is pretty mild. Summer time highs usually run in the 90's to low 100's and winter time lows usually run anywhere from the single digits to the 30's. I've never used the car for any type of towing.
I'm really not sure what the LC-20 is, but my guess is that it's just an oil additive package to help renew the additives since you just add 1 oz per quart of oil at oil change and 1 oz every 1000 miles between changes.
One other thing I forgot to mention in the above post about the '88 Escort is that I have used a quart of Slick 50 or similar product in it every 50K miles ever since it had 150K miles and use it in my other cars every 50K miles. I'm not saying this to get a big discussion started about Slick 50, or other additives, because I know there are people who are convinced they are no good and they have been discussed over and over. I'm just telling what has worked for me.