Last Minute Panic - 2009 Ford Flex Limited Long-Term Road Test

2009 Ford Flex Long Term Road Test

2009 Ford Flex Limited: Last Minute Panic

December 25, 2008

555 Oregon Day 0 oil label.jpg

I was struck by a sinking feeling on the day before liftoff to Oregon in our 2009 Ford Flex. Just as the odometer turned over the 13,000 mile mark I noticed that the mileage on the dealer-installed oil change label was identical.

Great. I'm about to embark on a 2,000 mile trip and it looks like the Flex needs an oil change. But didn't it just have one? And how am I going to pull this off on Christmas day?

Out comes the owner's manual to look at the maintenance schedules. The first oil change comes at 7,500 miles; the second at 15,000 miles. This 7,500 mile interval carries through the life of this Ford. Severe service intervals are 5,000 miles, but Ford's definition of 'severe' is quite specific and, well, severe. We don't tow, we don't make deliveries or use it as a taxi. Our driving pattern doesn't come close to meeting any of the threshholds.

So the manual is quite clear that 7,500 miles is the proper oil change interval for the way we drive our Flex.

Vehicle Testing Assistant Mike Magrath texts me to say that the last oil change came a couple of hundred miles after the service reminder light came on. He's home for the holidays and away from the receipts, but we figure it at about 7,800 to 8,000 miles. The next change is therefore due at 15,500 miles or so, not 13,000 miles. Indeed the service reminder light has not yet re-illuminated to indicate that oil change #2 is looming.

So the sticker mileage is either an example of a dealer who doesn't read the manual himself or good old upselling. And check out the 'Motorcraft Full Synthetic' label. More upselling. The Flex neither requires synthetic nor did we spring for it on the last change. By its presence, the label implies that pricier synthetic is required here. But it's just an ad. The Flex needs nothing more than regular 5W-20.

Nice try, guys. Better luck next time. I'll have ithe oil changed when I get back, and I'm not going with synthetic, either.

This is one of several reasons why I usually change my own oil.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 13,042 miles

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