First, I see under "7500 mi or 6 months"
Replace engine oil and filter
(7,500 miles (12,000 km) or 12 months)
Doesn't "7,500 miles (12,000 km) or 12 months" contradict the "7500 mi or 6 months"? Is the oil change required at 6 month intervals, or as I only drive 7-8K mi/year, at 12 month intervals? If the latter, is it still required that I bring the car in at 6 months intervals to have other things checked?
You have a good point. It definitely does seem contradictory, and the oil isn’t the only maintenance activity that has this problem. And if you look at the table for the second maintenance interval, which is described as “15,000 miles (24,000 km) or 12 months”, the guidance for the oil change is “15,000 miles (24,000 km) or 24 months”.
Who knows what they really mean? I interpret it this way: think of the first table as “Service Visit #1” and the second table as Service Visit #2, and so on. When should you schedule service visit #1? Ideally, after 7500 miles or 6 months, whichever comes first. But regardless of when you actually decide to get the car serviced, you really need to change the oil at 7500 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first, and you might need to schedule it sooner if your car is subject to “Severe Usage Conditions”. If you visit the dealer at 6 months and the car has only gone 3000 miles of “normal usage”, then they should tell you that you don’t need your oil changed yet (but don’t count on that).
I plan on getting the first oil change at the dealer after six months, for several reasons.
The manual defines pretty much everything except highway driving on flat roads as “Severe Usage”.
I think that there’s a greater chance of the oil getting contaminated more quickly during the first few thousand miles while the engine is still breaking in.
In addition to changing the oil, the dealer might know of some other kinds of service that need to be done. There might be TSBs that affect my car that I won’t hear about unless I check in with a dealer.
If you’ve ever shopped for a used car and looked at CarFax reports for different cars, you might have noticed that some show the owner getting the oil changed regularly, and others don’t. I feel better about those that show a pattern of regular oil changes, because it suggests that the owner took good care of the car. So maybe getting the oil changed regularly, at the dealer, improves resale value, or maybe not.
The owner’s manual considers frequent short trips to be “Severe Usage Conditions”. If I’m making lots of short trips exclusively in EV mode, I don’t think that counts (at least, not for the oil change aspect). But if I’m making trips where the ICE starts and stops several times without ever warming up to normal temperature, I think that does count as severe usage. When the ICE is running cold, it seems likely that extra fuel is being injected and also likely that more oil contamination can occur. And because I do drive a lot in EV mode, days or weeks can go by without the ICE ever starting. When it finally does start, I wonder if some parts of the engine might suffer poor lubrication for the first few seconds because the engine has been off for so long. That problem is likely to be less extreme with new oil in the engine, rather than with old oil that has begun to break down.