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I'm the happy owner of a 2019 PHEV with 6,800 miles, and recently had my first oil change. I'm very lucky that my workplace has a free onsite Level 2 charger, so between that and Level 1 charging at home, my daily round-trip commute is almost 100% battery-powered except for uphill climbs/passing acceleration and winter cabin heating.

Occasionally, my family takes a trip on a weekend, but the ICE engagement is rare enough that I've been wondering (1) if the factory recommendations for oil changes are correct in my case (since the actual engine running hours are very few compared to miles driven), and (2) if I should be including some type of anti-deposit fuel additive in the gas tank to compensate for incomplete ICE warmups, long periods of disuse, etc.

I asked the Kia service department about this, and did not get anything more than a suggestion to follow the 'severe maintenance schedule' for oil changes, which I generally do with my cars anyway.

Does anyone here have any suggestions? Thanks in advance! :)
 

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You will probably get as many opinions as the amount of people you ask, but I will tell you what I would do:
1. Follow the recommended oil change interval or at least once a year.
2. I would try to use the ICE for at least 20 minutes straight (put it in HEV mode) a couple of times a month to make sure it gets hot and "burns off" any condensation in the oil/water in the exhaust system.
3. Add some Sta-bil fuel stabilizer if you are worried about the gas getting stale.
4. Enjoy your PHEV.
 

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In July our 2018 PHEV will be one year old with a little under 4,000 miles. I intend to keep to an annual oil change schedule despite the very low mileage and mostly EV driving. I figure this will suffice to satisfy any related warranty issues that may come up over the next 9 years. Plus, there are annual maintenance checks, computer updates etc. that need to be performed and any other vehicle considerations that may arise from an annual service appointment. It's a plan.
 

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For at least the first couple of years, I'm changing my oil twice a year, even though I don't put on a lot of miles (and **** few ICE miles).


The owners manual suggests oil changes every 7500 miles or 6 months, whichever comes first.


I did my first oil change at about six months, even though I had less than 3000 on the car (and about half was EV miles). One reason why I felt that the expense was justified was because it's a brand new engine and in my book, any brand new engine should get its first oil change much sooner than the standard interval, due to concerns about possible debris in the engine left over from the manufacturing process.


Another reason was because guess what: Kia is currently facing a class action lawsuit for several models (which, as far as I know, does not currently include the Niro) because of fires and premature engine failure, apparently arising from a problem with manufacturing debris left in the engine that plugged up the ports where the oil circulates. I have no reason to think the Niro has a similar problem aside from the fact that Kia apparently made this mistake with other models.


Another reason was because the Niro PHEV is a really new model and there might be bugs that will shake out in the years ahead and if that should happen, I want to be on really solid ground with respect to my warranty compliance.


And another reason was because I use my PHEV in a way that is probably somewhat atypical: I go for months in almost 100% EV mode, infrequently starting the ICE. While that's probably mostly good for ICE longevity, there might be some unexpected consequences that arise from using the ICE in that way, so here again, I want to hew close to the warranty requirements.

I imagine that along about year three, if my driving habits are still the same and I haven't heard anything awful about the Niro with respect to the ICE and lubrication in the interim, then I might drop back to the 12 months schedule.
 

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My ICE (and overall) usage is also very little. My PHEV did 6400 miles in its first year.
I am going on a 12 month/7500 mile oil change interval. The manufacturer of the Diesel engine in my motor coach says 11,000 miles or 1 year and that is my basis for the Niro.
I am changing one thing in the interest of ICE longevity. Once a week, I will use Sport mode to run the ICE for at least 15 miles.
 

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My ICE (and overall) usage is also very little. My PHEV did 6400 miles in its first year.
I am going on a 12 month/7500 mile oil change interval. The manufacturer of the Diesel engine in my motor coach says 11,000 miles or 1 year and that is my basis for the Niro.
I am changing one thing in the interest of ICE longevity. Once a week, I will use Sport mode to run the ICE for at least 15 miles.
On the days I go into the office (telework twice a week) I have a long grade to climb. I always enter HEV mode and hold the battery until I reach the top and get onto the main interstate. It exercises the ICE, and also extends my EV range enough to cover my commute back home. The total round trip is 34 miles, and I gain a little back going back down that long grade on the way home. So for the entire round trip, I'm in EV mode for about 30 miles. Since I can't charge at work, that's still a good range out of the PHEV, and I'm using the HVAC as well. If I take an alternate way home, it's a mile shorter, and since it's not freeway there's more opportunity for regen. I can actually arrive home with 3-4 miles remaining on the GOM. I'm learning how to get the best I can out of the limited EV range the car has.
 

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As long as you use top tier gas, you shouldn't have to use a fuel additive. It says as much in the manual.
Fuel additives are irrelevant for a direct injection engine, at least the Niro implementation. Fuel doesn't pass the intake valves and thus cannot clean it. The fuel additive suggestion is simply boilerplate crap from Hyundai/Kia port injection manual - especially for countries where detergent gasoline is rare. But if you follow the manual, the implication is one tank of top tier gas every 12 months is sufficient. Save your money for something you want - literally, that extra money is just being burned.
 

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Fuel additives are irrelevant for a direct injection engine, at least the Niro implementation. Fuel doesn't pass the intake valves and thus cannot clean it. The fuel additive suggestion is simply boilerplate crap from Hyundai/Kia port injection manual - especially for countries where detergent gasoline is rare. But if you follow the manual, the implication is one tank of top tier gas every 12 months is sufficient. Save your money for something you want - literally, that extra money is just being burned.
Agreed
 

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Just did my first oil change the other day. I used Moble 1 0W20 and a NAPPA Gold filter (made by WIX). Nothing remarkable but the typical first filter tightened by Mongo such that it's near impossible to remove. I intended to get a sample off to Blackstone but have bigger fish to fry right now. Maybe next time.
 

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I suspect that the right interval for the PHEV should be based on gallons of gas burned. Something like 46 mpg over 7500 miles for conventional oils or 10,000 miles for synthetics. I have no choice but 7500 miles.........period, under warranty but will go to 200 gallons burned or 1 year after the warranty.
 

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I suspect that the right interval for the PHEV should be based on gallons of gas burned. Something like 46 mpg over 7500 miles for conventional oils or 10,000 miles for synthetics. I have no choice but 7500 miles.........period, under warranty but will go to 200 gallons burned or 1 year after the warranty.
The Volt bases oil changes strictly on the gas miles racked up. The manufacturer recommendation is once every 24 months unless the car tells you to do it sooner. I wish the Niro PHEV followed the same system. There's no need to change the same 0w-20 oil in the Niro at 6mo or 7500 miles if you only have 4500 miles on the gas engine in that time frame.
 

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oil changes

Like others I just don't put many miles on my car (maybe 6K per year) and very few in hybrid mode. Yet I will likely follow the every 6-month requirement to keep my warranty clear. I really think it total overkill. I think an annual oil change would be more than enough to keep the lubricant in shape. I will spend more on oil changes than on gasoline.

I've always believed it is good to occasionally run an ICE at higher RPM for extended periods, like highway driving. So maybe I will try to work that in.

Robert
 

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Here’s an interesting article that describes how car manufacturers already thought about keeping the fuel fresh for PHEVs...
PHEVs - Keeping your fuel fresh

The Kia Niro PHEV has a pressurized tank (the owner’s manual states this).

And I know my Niro PHEV engine turns on occasionally when I didn’t think it needed to, so I figured it was doing its own maintenance cycle of some sort. Although it’s not mentioned in the manual, but based on this behaviour and the article, I think Kia (and Hyundai) are burning the gas and sludge to keep it fresh. Especially since the Niro PHEV has more advanced PHEV systems than many other PHEVs (and EVs) on the market.

It will be one year on Jan 19 2021 since I last filled my Niro PHEV with gasoline, and the Niro PHEV still starts up immediately, quietly, and smoothly like it always has (you still have to really pay attention while driving to notice when the engine starts up).
 

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One year on a single tank of gas, that's incredible. I have to exceed my EV range often enough that it's impossible for me. The best I've done was a bit over 2 months. And since the ICE is needed for heat, that's going to use it up as well. I can't get by with just the seat and steering wheel heating due to medical reasons.
 

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@atc98092 It’s been a year since my last fill because I’ve been working remotely at home since February 2020 so I haven’t been commuting to work. Hence, I’ve only driven about 30% of my usual yearly distance. And since I’ve been driving mostly around home this past year, it’s been mostly in EV mode. I’ve driven about 2950km (1844mi) this past year on this tank of gas with about 3/16 of a tank remaining yet.

When I was driving to work, it was a 50km (31.25mi) round-trip commute and I was able to travel the full distance in pure EV mode most of the time (during summer). On average I’ve been able to get 47-53km (29.4-33.1mi) in EV mode during the summer, which is significantly more than Kia’s EV range specs for the Niro PHEV (spec’d at 42km or 26mi in EV mode).

Winters in the southern part of the western Canadian prairies where I live will average between -3 C and -14 C (26.6 F and 6.8 F), so there’s a fair bit of ICE action in the winter for cabin heating. And when the coolant reaches below -14 C, it will force the vehicle into hybrid mode (and force the ICE to engage with the drivetrain) to generate a little more heat for the cabin. The Driver Only mode on the climate control definitely helps, and the long commute is actually better for fuel economy in the winter because the cabin heats up enough to turn off the ICE about 1/3 of the way to work.

Since purchasing the Niro PHEV in April 2019, I’ve only filled it up with gas 4 times (plus the initial dealership fill), and the overall average fuel economy is currently 1.14 Litres/100km (206mpg). My longest range on a tank of gas was 5432.6km (3395mi) with a fuel economy of 0.77 Litres/100km (305mpg) over a 5-month period (May to Oct 2019). During the 2019-2020 winter (cold months from Nov to early Feb), when I was commuting to work, I would have to fill up after 2 months of driving.

Since it’s become a regular habit of not needing to fill the tank with gas, I have been concerned about the stale gas. There was nothing in the owner’s manual, and Kia mechanics had no idea if it needed fuel stabilizer (even after consulting with a regional experienced mechanic). After some digging, I finally found that article I posted in my previous post, which definitely put me at ease about it.
 

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Nice job staying in EV mode as much as you have. Back when I too commuted to work, it's a 30 mile round trip (no ability to charge at work). I could just barely make it in EV if I really, really worked at it and turned HVAC off. My issue is there's a long hill to climb at each end. Regen coming down in the afternoon was the only way I could make it. In the morning, my battery is already full, so can't really capture anything on that downhill. It's not as long a hill as the other end, but far steeper.

The other thing that forces me to use gas is visiting my elderly parents. It's about 110 miles round trip, so impossible to stay in EV mode. I instead switch to hybrid mode on the freeway and maximize my EV mode while on city streets. I've also made a couple of trips across the mountains to visit the area I'm considering as my retirement home. That's 120 miles each way across two mountain passes. And if we do move there this summer, there will still be lots of trips back and forth to see the grandkids, who are only 1/2 mile away right now. :D
 

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@atc98092 It sounds like you got the butt end of the deal at both ends of your commute.

I live at the top of a river valley, so I go (mostly) downhill on the way to work. I start off with 41km of EV range (full charge), drive 25km to work, and the remaining range shows 28km, so I’m getting quite a bit of regen on the way to work. My drive home is uphill with the last 4km being the steepest (elevation change is about 500ft), which requires 7km of battery to complete that last 4km leg of my commute.

On the downhill slopes, I’ll put a little pressure on the brakes instead of just letting the regen slow it down a little. I’ll put enough pressure to increase the regen without slowing down the car. I wish Kia had put variable regen braking on the Niro PHEV like they had done on the EV model.
 

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On the downhill slopes, I’ll put a little pressure on the brakes instead of just letting the regen slow it down a little.
That press on the brakes is increasing regen. Look at your power meter. The physical brakes are not engaged.
 

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That press on the brakes is increasing regen. Look at your power meter. The physical brakes are not engaged.
Thanks, I’m aware of that functionality. I was trying to explain how I intentionally press lightly on the brakes to get more regen instead of just the coasting regen when going down hills. But after reading my sentence again, I see that it wasn’t a clear description.

If the Charge portion of the power meter is a linear measurement, then I’m seeing up to twice as much regen when pressing lightly on the brakes than just coasting. However, since the Niro PHEV does not provide detailed drive info, I’m not able to determine if it’s a linear meter nor exactly how much regen is occurring when I brake lightly.

The variable regen braking feature would be very helpful since people could adjust the amount of regen (and resistance) when coasting depending on the terrain and driving conditions instead of the touchy-feely braking to get the extra regen. There are some people who don’t know how to press lightly on their brakes. :p
 
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