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Question about checking oil before weekend trip S90-V90 1998

Volvo Lovers,

I am an admittedly inexperienced car owner. I have probably more questions about oil changes than any of you have ever heard from one person.

Here's the scoop...

I bought a 1998 V90 back in July 2014 so we've been together for about 10 months. In that amount of time, I've put 6,000 miles on the car. Just today, the car turned 155,000. I want to be good to it and help to give it the best chance at being a reliable companion.

The last time it was in for service November 2014 (so, six months ago... which was 5 months after I bought it). In November, it had 151,600 on it. I had them do a standard oil change plus a major service (original owner had not done the 120k service so I asked them to please do it). During that same visit, I also had them replace all 6 ignition coils (it was throwing codes from two cylinders).

Fast forward to today. It just turned 155,000. So, I am now 400 miles over the mileage that is listed on my next oil change sticker (sticker recommended I do the next change at 154,600) and almost FOUR months past the date that was on the sticker. The little sticker they put on my windshield said it was due to go in on 1/24/2015 or at 154,600.

Generally speaking, which is it? The date or the mileage that counts? I check the oil level regularly for color and smell and to make sure it doesn't get too low. I've never had to add anything in between changes and when I had the pre-purchase inspection done by my mechanic who is a Volvo specialist he said there weren't any oil leaks.

I am feeling really guilty because I am now 400 miles over their recommended mileage. I tried getting an appointment at my local independent shop but they can't do it until next week. When I start the car, all of the lights on my dashboard light up. There's one of an oil can that lights up. It is always the last to light up and then it goes away. I thought this had to do with oil pressure vs. oil level but maybe I'm wrong. If the light is ever triggered to come on, it would stay on, right? Basically, I never used to notice it before but I've noticed it recently but mostly because I'm paranoid and feeling guilty about not taking it in. I'm 99% sure the light means nothing and is just part of the normal start up lights that flash across the dashboard and then go away. For whatever reason, I feel like it lingers a bit but by the time I've put the car in reverse it has gone away.

It is a beautiful weekend here and I'd like to take a drive to the coast this weekend. It would be mainly highway driving but the roundtrip is in between 300-400 miles. That means if I go on this trip, by the time it gets its oil changed next week it will be about 700-800 miles over the mileage that is on that little sticker.

While the oil level is ok, I'd say it's getting low. Still above the minimum but lower than it usually is.

Should I add a quart? If so, what kind? I'll be going to O'Reilly Auto Parts or a similar store later tonight. I have a funnel I can use.

I just do not want to abuse this vehicle.

Thoughts on whether it's ok to just go for it and drive to the coast (with a little extra added just to give it a cushion) or if I should forego the little weekend adventure?

When it does go for its oil change next week, should I talk to them about possible switching to 100% synthetic? I've been reading about different types of oils and some boards talk about cleaning pvc loop and switching to 100% synthetic to avoid build up. Is this something I should initiate in conversation with my mechanic?


Thanks to all of you for reading this (and responding).


- Worried and loving mother of newly adopted v90










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