Author Topic: servicing regimes: LongLife (variable intervals) vs Time & Distance (fixed int.)  (Read 72477 times)

Offline Teutonic_Tamer

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OK, this repeatedly gets asked, and some peeps seem confused, and others are concerned about modifications  :wink: - so I'll post the detail of the current requirements (when this post was made), along with my own opinions.  :nerd:

Before we start, let's clarify two separate, but related issues.  The "LongLife serving regime" is a completely distinct, and separate issue from the "LongLife oils".  (But you MUST only use LongLife oils when using the LongLife servicing regime).

Got that?  Now the lesson can begin . . .  :evil:


SERVICING REGIMES - & their requrements

LongLife Servicing Regime - variable servicing intervals
The actual LongLife serving regime really should not be used on any high performance, high revving petrol engine.  Although the LongLife regime was introduced across virtually all VAG cars in 2000/2001, with virtually no restrictions on useage, as time has progressed, and presumably VAG have gained "real-world" data, then the LongLife "requirements" have changed quite noticeably.  From 2006, the detailed requirements for LongLife were notably "downgraded".

This is the actual list of specific operating requirements for LongLife regime:
  • Mileage:  more than 30 miles per day.
  • Type of Journey:  Motorway and main road driving.  Mainly longer distance journeys.  Constant speeds.
  • Conditions:  Normal engine loading - eg, with little or no towing, with little or no hill climbs.  Normal vehicle loading.
  • Driving style:  Moderate acceleration, moderate braking, engine revs mainly below 3000rpm.

You must ONLY use the correctly specified VW approved LongLife oil.  A "generic" longlife, or a GM or BMW approved longlife oil is NOT acceptable.  If you do top up inbetween services with a non-VW LongLife oil, the oil quality sensor will notice this, and the car will develop a noticeable reduction in the service due computer.

You need to be able to comply with all of the above requirements.  If you can not comply with all of them, or there is a element of doubt that makes certain issues "boarderline", then you should not even consider LongLife, and use the Time and Distance regime instead.  Unfortunately, many VW stealers do not fully understand the exacting requirements for the LongLife regime, and will therefore incorrectly advise the customer of the wrong service regime.  :rolleyes:

Time and Distance Servicing Regime - conventional fixed servicing intervals
These are the more "relaxed" operating requirements for Time & Distance regime:
  • Mileage:  less than 10,000* miles per year.
  • Type of Journey:  Mainly city/town centre driving.  Short journeys.
  • Conditions:  Frequent cold starts.  High engine loading - eg, frequent hill climbs, vehicle fully loaded, towing.
  • Driving style:  Uneconomical - eg, heavy acceleration, heavy braking, constant changes in speed, constant use of high revs, 'sporty' driving.
* Mileages are approximate, as the service indicator system uses kilometers as its distance measurement.

Even if you only meet one of these requirements, but atually meet more (but not all of the above LongLife requrements), you should still use this Time & Distance regime.

When I originally wrote this thread back in 2007, the "official" advice is that you may use either the "normal" VW approved Time and Distance oils, or, you can also use the higher quality VW approved LongLife oils for enhanced protection (or indeed a mixture of both - usually for topping up purposes).  However, from mid-2008, all official franchised dealerships were forwarned of updates for this specific issue - and from December 2008, the ONLY oil allowed to be used in franchised workshops, irrespective of service regime, is the LongLife 3 standard of oil (there are a few very limited exceptions, but these do not affect any Volkswagen).


ENGINE OILS - specification standards and useage

LongLife oils
LongLife oils are a very specific, and very high grade fully (usually) synthetic engine oils.  They undergo all the "standard" oil tests, but also have to undergo more rigourous and arduous tests.  The two crucial areas are the "duration" tests, and HTHS tests.  The duration tests demand that the oil can last over twice as long as the ACEA requirements for conventional drain high performance engine oils.  The HTHS is more interesting, and is very relevent to turbos.  HTHS stands for "High Temperature, High Shear", and basically places an additional, extremely rigorous test at 150deg C, whereas conventional ACEA and API tests only go up to 100deg C.

The appropriate VW LongLife standards:
  • 503.00, 506.00, 506.01 - this is the VW LongLife "2" specification.  SAE 0W30.  For petrol engines, the 503.00 is the relevant spec, for non-PD diesels it is 506.00, and for diesels with PD 506.01
  • 504.00, 507.00 - this is the latest VW LongLife "3" specification.  SAE 5W30.  504.00 is the spec for petrol engines, and is the ONLY standard which includes FSI-specific tests, and 507.00 is for diesel engines (note: 507.00 oils MUST only be used in diesels with DPF)

Time and Distance oils
Well, these can vary from ancient quality straight mineral oils, through to relatively high performance full synthetic multigrades.  However, being as this is a Golf Mk5 section, I'll stick with relevent lubes for the Mk5.

One of the VW standards for conventional (non-LongLife) Time and Distance servicing for petrol engines is 502.00.  This is usually a fairly high spec 'fully synthetic' oil, normally 5W40 (though some oils from American manufacturers are not acutally 'fully' synthetic  :wink:).  For non-PD diesels a 505.00 specification is required, and this can actually be a high-grade mineral, semi-synthetic or fully synthetic oil.  For PD diesels a 505.01 is required, which is usually a fairly high quality fully synthetic oil.

So I hope you all agree that it can be deduced that LongLife oils are of considerably higher quality than even the best conventional fully synthetic T&D oils.


For part numbers of official VAG and Quantum (made by Castrol for VW) engine oils, look here: www.golfgtiforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=95565, and for some further discussion, look here: www.golfgtiforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=98261


ACTUAL "INTERVALS" OF THE TWO DIFFERENT REGIMES
These are the actual physical intervals - how many miles, and/or over what timescale will the car actually go between services.

Time and Distance Servicing Regime - conventional fixed servicing intervals
For the fixed interval "Time and Distance" servicing, then the actual intervals are 12 months or 10k miles - whichever occurs soonest.

That means that your car can go up to one year since the last service, and/or up to 10,000 miles.  The upper level for one of those will always be reached - so that means if you are an occasional driver doing, say less than 50 miles per week, then you will go 12 months between services (but will have only covered about 2,600miles).  However, if you are a high mileage driver, doing say 2,000 miles per month, then you will go the full 10,000 miles, but will only manage 5 months between.

LongLife Servicing Regime - variable servicing intervals
For the "LongLife" servicing regime, for a petrol engine, it can go up to 24 months, or, up to 20k miles (diesels up to 30kmiles), again, whichever occurs soonest.  However, unlike the T&D above (which WILL reach one or the other of the upper levels), with LongLife, there is absolutely no guarantee that you could reach either of the upper levels - they are "variable".

Even on LongLife regime, the 'Service Interval Display' (SID) can still ping for a service in as little as 12months, or as shockingly as little as 9,600miles - which is is blatant T&D territory.    At this extreme example, the LongLife can actually cost more to service - because you will be needing a "full" 20k service every 10k miles.  If you were on the T&D regime, then you would only be paying for effectively an oil and filter change at 10k, and then going another 10k before paying for the larger 20k service.  It is extremely rare, and virtually unknown for any engine to reach the claimed upper limits of mileages.  The accumulated data for Petrol engines on LongLife have shown they may reach around 13k to 15k miles, whereas Diesel engines do fare a little better, with around 27k miles being achieved.  So, based on this data, it confirms my "suspicions" and recommendations that no petrol engined car should be on the LongLife regime, especially if they have a turbo!  :nerd:


My recommendation for "modified" cars and/or "enthusiastic" driving
Now, to the point of modifications, particularly engine based mods.  My advice is simple.  Do NOT use the LongLife servicing regime, and only use the conventional fixed interval "Time and Distance" servicing regimes.  However, please DO continue to use the higher quality LongLife oil, and not the lesser quality Time and Distance oils.  If your engine or car is highly modified, or if you are a particularly 'enthusiastic' driver  :wink: - then I would very strongly recommend you not only use the T&D regime with LongLife oils, but also consider a further interim oil & filter change every 6 months or 5k miles.


Still awake at the back . . . .    :grin:
« Last Edit: 18 August 2009, 19:03 by Teutonic_Tamer »
Sean - Independent Automotive Engineering Technician (ret'd)
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'06/7 Golf Mk5 GTI 5dr (BWA) DSG, colour coded,

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Offline illyun

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Re: servicing regimes: LongLife vs Time & Distance . . .
« Reply #1 on: 11 September 2007, 16:39 »

    • Driving style:  Moderate acceleration, moderate braking, engine revs mainly below 3000rpm.



    yeah right!  lol  :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin:
    Mk1 GTI Campaign, Mk5 GTI Edition 30, Mk6 GTI (Coming Soon...)

    Offline Teutonic_Tamer

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    Re: servicing regimes: LongLife vs Time & Distance . . .
    « Reply #2 on: 11 September 2007, 18:20 »

      • Driving style:  Moderate acceleration, moderate braking, engine revs mainly below 3000rpm.



      yeah right!  lol  :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin:

      Seriously - that quote is copied directly from 2006 year VW and Audi brochures.

      Basically, unless you drive like a granny, LongLife servicing regime should only be used on diesels!  :nerd:[/list]
      Sean - Independent Automotive Engineering Technician (ret'd)
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      Offline speedynz

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      Re: servicing regimes: LongLife vs Time & Distance . . .
      « Reply #3 on: 18 September 2007, 02:35 »
      TT, I hope that you get chance to read this as I'd appreciate some clarification.

      You state that Longlife3 VW 504-00 5W 30 is the high spec petrol engine oil and that Longlife3 VW 507-00 is the diesel engine oil, correct?

      I have just been to my VW dealers and bamboozled them with my new found, internet based authority on the above mentioned recommended oils for my Edition 30 GTI.

      I asked for the 504 oil and was shown a 1 litre Castrol Longlife3 oil labelled 'VW 504-00 5W 30' and was amazed and happy that they even stocked it. However (here we go) the oil label also stated that it was a 'Longlife3 VW 507-00' (the 504/507 were listed next to each other on the back of the bottle).

      I will just clarify that this has nothing to do with extended service intervals as they don't exist here, it is to do with having the very best oil for my engine and the HTHS aspect of the VW504 appears to show this as the best oil available.

      Is this the oil that I need?

      Are VW504 and VW507 the same oil or is one for petrol engines and one for diesel engines?

      If so then why does it state both numbers on the same bottle?

      I read your thread (very helpful it was too) but this issue remains unclear and I would appreciate your input.
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      Offline Teutonic_Tamer

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      Re: servicing regimes: LongLife vs Time & Distance . . .
      « Reply #4 on: 18 September 2007, 12:14 »
      OK Speedy, just to clarify, all the VW LongLife oil standards are "dual purpose", in that they are applicable to both petrol and diesel engines.  For the sake of clarity, as this is a Mk5 GTI section, and there are no soot-slinging GTIs yet, I only quoted the petrol engine standard.

      However, as you have discovered, the LongLife 3 standard is 504.00 and 507.00, which applies to both fuels.  So the Castrol LongLife 3 oil the stealer showed is perfectly acceptable.



      HTH
      Sean - Independent Automotive Engineering Technician (ret'd)
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      Offline speedynz

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      Re: servicing regimes: LongLife vs Time & Distance . . .
      « Reply #5 on: 18 September 2007, 12:51 »
      ^^^^^^^^^OH GOD^^^^^^^^^

      Still confused, although a little less so.

      You state that you only quoted the "petrol engine standard" but you also quoted that "504 is the petrol engine spec. 507 is for diesels" Please clarify.

      Also you state that the Castrol Longlife 3 oil is "perfectly acceptable"

      Do you mean that this is as good as you can can get for the GTI engine (within reason) or acceptable within the set VW oil standard parameters but 'not the best'?

      Thankyou, Speedy.
      EDITION 30.
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      Offline Teutonic_Tamer

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      Re: servicing regimes: LongLife vs Time & Distance . . .
      « Reply #6 on: 18 September 2007, 16:41 »
      OK, let's look at it from a different angle.

      The very latest VW LongLife 3 specification oil consists of two separate VW test approvals.  One approval is the VW 504.00 standard, and this is for ALL current petrol engines.  It also includes 507.00, and this is the diesel specification (and is a must for the latest diesel particulate filters, or DPF).  Viscosity, ie 10w30 or 20w50 is not a requirement, but is actually a result of the two VW test standards, which is why the owners manual makes no reference to a specific viscosity.  Furthermore, there is no European ACEA, nor American API standards.  In fact, the VW standards are actually based on the already strict ACEA tests, but with some further specific and enhanced tests.  The API standards are considered woefully inadequate, and have been so for the last 8-10 years in all cars of European origin (it is for this very reason why the European ACEA standards were developed, and why the Japanese created their own JASO standards).

      The slightly older VW LongLife 2 specification included three test approvals, and can still be used in certain current cars, including our GTIs and non-DPF diesels.

      The original VW LongLife 1 oil is now obsolete, in terms of VW/Audi reqiurements (appart from a couple of very high performance cars, but these were often not on LongLife regime anyway), yet some oil companies still sell it.


      The confusion between what I stated in my original post, and my specific advice to GTI owners - is simple.  In the original post, I gave the full detail of the LongLife OIL - but in my subsequent post, I quoted the specification which relates to only the petrol engined GTI.  If you get your GTI Technical Data booklet, and also your VW Service and Warranty booklet out of your leather ring binder, and look at them side by side.  You will see that the GTI Tech Data specifies 504.00 - but the Service book will say 504.00/507.00.  The reason for this, is the GTI Tech Data book refers to ONLY the GTI (and is therefore very specific), whereas the Service book referres to EVERY type of vehicle on sale by Volkswagen through that partcular year (and therefore the oil specs will refer to a 1.0 litre petrol Fox [if they actually make one] - all the way to the other extreme of a Touareg 5litre TDI).


      Regarding to your specific concern of the "best" oil for the GTI - then any VW504.00 is it.  The GTI Tech Data book also states 502.00, but this is a lesser quality oil.  Don't, FFS, do what the Yanks do, and put what they think is "better", but non-VW approved oils in it.  In the UK, any engine related warranty claim will require the stealer to carry out an official oil sample test, and will REJECT any warranty claim where non VW approved oil was used.

      So, if the Castrol LongLife 3 which the stealer, or anybody else sells/sold you - if it has 504.00 in the rear - will be the best possible oil.

      Understood??  :smiley:
      Sean - Independent Automotive Engineering Technician (ret'd)
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      Offline speedynz

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      Re: servicing regimes: LongLife vs Time & Distance . . .
      « Reply #7 on: 18 September 2007, 22:04 »
      Thanks for patience and explanation TT, very clear and concise.

      Mobil 1 it is then!!!!!!! :wink:
      EDITION 30.
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      Offline Teutonic_Tamer

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      • GreasedMonkey - HoofHearted - GTI now mod'ed, ASK!
      BUMP!

      OK, I have now edited my initial post, and included the actual intervals which your car should, and may achieve on the two different regimes.

      If you have any more comments or questions, then ask away.  :smiley:
      Sean - Independent Automotive Engineering Technician (ret'd)
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      Offline goldenboy

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       Hi,
      im very new to this site so bear with me, i found your service information very interesting if only i had read it sooner!!!
      I own golf gti mk5, only yesterday had it serviced on long life at vw dealers, i drive it less than 100miles aweek sort jounerys so looks to me certainley got it wrong here!!  :cry: If i did want get it changed, would it just be a matter of changing the oil? What cost?