Are Saturns oil burners?

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Mar 5, 2003
Just a question for you Saturn owners-are Saturns oil burners? This is my third Saturn-they are okay cars that don't cost too much and provide reasonable transportation. Maybe Hondas, Toyotas, and Nissans are better, but try buying one of those for the price you can get a Saturn for. I have not really noticed a lot of oil consumption in my Saturns. My current Saturn has almost 50,000 miles. It is a 2001-I put a lot of miles on. I did use Auto-RX and discovered there had been some sludge build-up, but apparently not as bad as what I have heard about some Toyotas. And what kind of oil, oil filters, etc., are you Saturn owners using?
I'm not sure what constitutes high oil consumption. However, my 125,000 mile 97 Saturn SL-1 consumes more oil than any, bought new, car I've ever own.

During its first 97K I ran Penn 10w-30 with consumption of about a quart every 3K. That consumption level remained constant for the entire first 97K. Then ran Mobil 1 10w-30 for 6k and consumption was about a quart and a half per 3K. Switched to Schaeffer's series 7000 15w-40 for the last 21K and have a consumption of about a half quart per 3K. Oh no leaks.

I think the DOHC engines are better know as oil burners.
I've owned 4 saturns, 91 SL, 93 SL2, 96SL2, 98 SL2, none of them burned any noticeable oil between changes except my 93SL2. I chalk that one up to the "synthetic" oil that was used.

So far, I really haven't experienced the oil burning that others have. Not to say oil burners aren't out there, but I do feel fortunate that the Saturns I've owned have done quite well.
ToyotaNSaturn, when you say that only one of your Saturns used oil, and you atribute that to synthetic oil, what synthetic oil did you use?
over a larger survey base you'll notice that the majority of higher mileage saturns with the 1.9L engines(sohc or dohc) burn some amount of oil(some more than others).


I bought a new 98 Saturn in October of 98.
It had zero problems other than burning 1/4 quart
every 3,000 miles.

I've heard about oil burning reputation of
Saturns and I have personal experience with oil

It's not a big problem, though. I used to
just top off with a quart of oil I kept in the


My 97 SL1 (1.9 SOHC) with 106,000 miles is pretty typical I think among saturns. I burn about 1qt every 4K-5K miles. I have been topping of with M1 15W-50 this last change, and that has seemed to slow it a bit.

Originally posted by Mystic:
ToyotaNSaturn, when you say that only one of your Saturns used oil, and you atribute that to synthetic oil, what synthetic oil did you use?

The car was changed at a local Valvoline oil change shop with the "synthetic" oil. It was Durablend, not the real synth. It may have burnt some, but I didn't notice the car burning any prior to this experience. That whole fiasco was the reason I found this board!
First, let's be specific. The older 1.9 liter Saturn engine (no longer built) had a tendency to burn oil once past 80,000 miles or so. The newer Ecotec engines appear to have no such problem.

The problem seems to be coked oil freezing the oil control rings, allowing a thicker film of oil to be left on the cylinder wall which then gets burned in the combustion chamber.

But it appears to have no effect on the lifespan of the engine. A guy at with a 92 SC (150,000 miles +) has been burning 1 quart per 1,000 miles for the last 50,000 miles. He just got his oil analyzed and the wear ratings were VERY low. His compression, power and emissions are still good too.

In short, just watch the oil level and keep it topped up. You'll be fine.
ABSOLUTELY, oil consumption is no indicator of the remaining life in a saturn untill it starts getting out of control due to severe compression loss. There are people around feeding a quart of oil to their saturns every 500 miles that can still pass emissions and the cars run fine. There are lots of ways to reduce this consumption tho if you are so inclined to do so.

My 97 Saturn was a real oil burner so much so that I had to replace the engine at 130K.The previous owner swears that he changed oil every 3000 miles.Now my second engine is starting to use oil; not a lot but enough to make me concerned about it.I tried several treatments of Marvel Mystry Oil to no avail and ended up replacing the motor.When I switched the motor out I put in Amsoil synthetic in an effort to prevent the sludge problem but evidently because it was a used motor 50K-that was enough miles to create sludge.I've ordered the Auto RX and will try it soon.
I do think that there may be some sludge problems with Saturns-after my first treatment of Auto-RX there was definitely sludge in the oil filter. From what I have heard I would guess that the sludge problem in Saturns is not as bad as in some Toyotas that allegedly have had problems. I have done two cleanings with Auto-RX and I will use three oz. of Auto-RX every oil change from now on. Now that I know about Auto-RX, if I ever get another new car I will start using Auto-RX from the start.
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