Consequences of not adding make-up oil?

Messages
530
Location
Atlanta, GA
My confession: I have not been very good about checking the oil level in my Taurus for the past 6-9 months. I know it's one of the pillars of car maintenance, but for one reason or another I have been distracted and negligent. Won't get into that now. I did the oil change on the Taurus this afternoon -- 11 months, 7500 miles OCI. Including draining the old oil filter I barely got 4 quarts out of an engine that takes 6 quarts, so I was down about 2 quarts by the end of my OCI. Yes, I should have checked earlier and topped it off but I didn't. What are the consequences of not keeping my car's sump topped off to the proper level? Engine is the Duratec 24 valve 3.0 liter V6.
 
Messages
5,342
Location
Southeast Texas
If you "barely got 4 quarts out of it", it probably had 4.5 quts in in, because you never get a complete drain. Might have even been closer to 5. Your engine DID NOT run dry. So, relax on this one, but just watch it closer going forward.
 
Messages
13,132
Location
By Detroit
But it is fun to pour oil in your engine, so make a habit of once a month topping up. Also look at the owners manual and see if it allows for above the full mark on initial fill. That will give you some extra time.
 

Pajamarama

Thread starter
Messages
530
Location
Atlanta, GA
Originally Posted By: wog
Do a Uoa on oil,see what you have. Then maintain oil level car won t die from a one time neglect.
Yep will do the UOA. Drained it after a long drive and nearly scalded myself while collecting the sample.
 
Messages
17,301
Location
OH
No harm done. You now know that your engine will go through a quart in a little less than 4K. Check the oil every K or so and add a quart when it's down a quart. Do not become OCD and top off every few ounces. This might lead to higher observed consumption, since many engines will burn off a bit from full and then consume oil at a lower rate.
 
Messages
22,446
Location
Apple Valley, California
4qts in a 6qt system is probly ok. i see cars with much less oil in them daily. if it gets too low it will ruin the engine. figure $4000 to have a shop put a rebuilt into the car thats probly worth 1\2 that.
 
Messages
12,925
Location
Northern Kentucky
I don't think you hurt a thing. 4/6 quarts is probably plenty to keep the oil pickup happy unless you were pretending to be a NASCAR driver when the oil was stone cold. Interesting that it has a 6 quart capacity, i thought all the 3.0s were 5 quarts like my Vulcan.
 
Messages
11,655
Location
Illinois
Probably the Duratec. It's 5.5 to 6 quarts. Unless you are carving corners in the Taurus, you are probably fine. The 3.0L Duratec drains oil from the heads better than the 2.5L version did. I think it deals with low oil levels better than the 2.5L Duratec. IIRC, Ford added more oil return from the heads. The 2.5L could pump all the oil out of the sump into the heads faster than it would drain back when running the engine at higher RPMs. Combine high RPM operation with a long Right Hand Sweeper like a cloverleaf offramp and you could starve the bottom end for oil. But you have the 3.0 and probably don't drive it like a rally car, so you'll likely be fine.
Originally Posted By: 901Memphis
I don't think you hurt a thing. 4/6 quarts is probably plenty to keep the oil pickup happy unless you were pretending to be a NASCAR driver when the oil was stone cold. Interesting that it has a 6 quart capacity, i thought all the 3.0s were 5 quarts like my Vulcan.
 
Messages
10,713
Location
MA
I do it all the time although not quite 4 quarts, usually about 4.5 quarts come out as it really holds between 5.5-5.75 quarts. I do keep it topped up then let it go for the last 1-2k so that it's about a quart low on the dipstick and hence 4.5 quarts out of it. Got 200k on it. Don't worry about it, I wouldn't bother with the UOA either.
 
Messages
9,108
Location
Marshfield , MA
My current pair of 528es will lose a pint in a few k, then not use a drop. The 4 liter sump has a low oil level light that goes on exactly where the stick is showing a qt low. Accurate in all 5 of the 528es I've had. It also has a low coolant light. That made it easy to keep the fluids up. My first one had minor leaks of both and it was bone simple to keep ahead of. I did it for 200K miles.
 
Messages
227
Location
USA
I work at a Wallyworld Tire & Lube express and get about 5-10 cars daily that have no oil on the stick and maybe about a quart or two that drains out... kind of scary but they keep on ticking lol so i'm sure you're fine this once.
 
Messages
220
Location
Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: jsfalls
I work at a Wallyworld Tire & Lube express and get about 5-10 cars daily that have no oil on the stick and maybe about a quart or two that drains out... kind of scary but they keep on ticking lol so i'm sure you're fine this once.
That's brutal and you start thinking about the condition of their tires and brakes, etc. On a day when you see ten of these cars, how many cars in total have been worked on?
 
Messages
7,492
Location
North America
Once is no biggie as mentioned above, we've all probably done it, but: Consequences = same as not changing your oil often enough. Depletion of additives, sludge formation, etc etc.
 
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Messages
3,117
Location
Virginia
How would a pro football team do starting 8 players instead of 11? Not good. I believe oil level is more important than actually changing it. I've seen cars survive on low oil, but you're playing with fire.
 
Messages
6,388
Location
Washington St.
While the oil pickup is always covered and the engine never starved of oil, the oil has less time to lay in the pan and cool until it is pumped again through the engine. The remaining oil gets worked harder and exhausted sooner.
 
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