How to Reduce Oil Consumption - Tips and Tricks...

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All this talk about oil is getting bor...err...I mean...interesting [Big Grin] Anyway, what are your suggestions/tips/advice on reducing oil consumption (ie. Using certain oils, additives that you think works, Driving Habits <- this is what I'm reffering to mostly, proper engine care, etc.). First off, does it have to be specific as to whether the vehicle is under mostly stop-and-go OR mostly highway conditions? If you think so, just make sure to mention it [Smile] Of course, this is provided that your engine is in pretty good shape (ie. no oil leaks). So far, here's what I've learned: - Use heavier weight oil (ie. 5W40 instead of 5W30). - avoid over-revving the engine (in my case, I normally stay around/shift at 3000RPM). - Allow full warm-up before driving the car. In regards to "full warm-up", does that mean I should wait until my Temp needle hits the middle of the gauge? So, explain yourselves, boys and girls (if there are any women here [Smile] ). Thanks, Oz
 

Patman

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NO, do not idle the engine to warm it up! That'll take too long and just waste fuel and harm your engine. Start it up, idle no more than 15 sec., then start driving, but just drive gently until the car comes up to temperature. I missed out on a good opportunity to street race against a new Camaro last Friday morning at 5am because I had just started my car a minute before that and the oil was still cold. [Smile]
 
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If its an old leaker, oil leakage from the rear main can be reduced by using a thinner oil. By going to 0W30 (especially in the winter) I reduced the leakage by about 30% on my old 88 305 truck. Also make sure that your PCV valve is working good. That suction tends to keep oil from leaking out of other areas. Regards, RW
 
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If it's a manual transmission, avoid downshifting. Downshifting creates mucho vacuum which can suck oil right past the rings. The theory on the Saturn engines is that most of the oil drinkers are manual transmissions. (One caveat: some cars compensate for the vacuum with computer controls that prevent a huge increase in vacuum. Honda is one maker that does this, but I don't know which others.)
 

MolaKule

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Other than what's been stated previously: 1. Use an oil with lower volatility. 2. Insure gaskets are sealing properly. Replace leaking gaskets and/or seals. 3. Since sludge buildup contributes to leaking seals, change oil before NOx and Oxidation readings become too high.
 

The_Oz

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Patman - This is what I do everytime I start the engine cold. The temp gauge (when cold) always fall below the "Cold" mark. Regardless if it is summer or not, I wait until the temp needle starts moving (at least hitting the "cold" mark) before driving off. When I do drive off, I try to accelerate as slow as possible and shift at 2500RPM up to 3rd gear and try to stay within 40-50km/h. Is this okay? kev99sl - I downshift very frequently because I live in a city with lots of stop signs/lights. And traffic is pretty big for a city so small. However, when I do downshift, I double-clutch. If I cannot accomplish a double-clutch, I at least, rev-match to the desired gear. And the only time I downshift is when I'm trying to prevent engine lugging. Is this okay? MolaKule - Do you mean an oil with lower a NOACK? Thanks Guys, Oz
 

Patman

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quote:
Originally posted by The_Oz: Patman - This is what I do everytime I start the engine cold. The temp gauge (when cold) always fall below the "Cold" mark. Regardless if it is summer or not, I wait until the temp needle starts moving (at least hitting the "cold" mark) before driving off. When I do drive off, I try to accelerate as slow as possible and shift at 2500RPM up to 3rd gear and try to stay within 40-50km/h. Is this okay?
So how long are you idling for before you pull away? I still say you should idle it no more than 10-15 seconds, then pull away gently. With my car, I actually back into my driveway so that when I start up the car, I just put it in drive, and then let off the brake, and for the first minute or so I can just let the car move on it's own without touching the gas at all. Is this obsessive or what? [Big Grin]
 

The_Oz

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quote:
So how long are you idling for before you pull away? I still say you should idle it no more than 10-15 seconds, then pull away gently. With my car, I actually back into my driveway so that when I start up the car, I just put it in drive, and then let off the brake, and for the first minute or so I can just let the car move on it's own without touching the gas at all. Is this obsessive or what?
Patman, Idle can vary anywhere from 3-10 minutes. 3 minutes during a hot humid summer day, and 10 minutes during a fiery cold winter morning (I live right in front of the St. Lawrence...brrrrr). Unfortunately for me, I cannot just simply run the car doing 5km/h as I live in a fairly busy street. One thing to note: My Mazda owner's manual states that I can simply drive off after the engine has finished idling at "fast idle". Driving off at fast idle is not recommended. Since it's summer, my fast idle only lasts a mere 5 seconds. Winter temps will be longer obviously. Regards, Oz
 
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I also drive off immediately after I start my car. I keep the RPMs below 2000 until I feel it is warmed up. I do judge when it is warmed a little different than mentioned above though. I watch the oil pressure gauge and when it is half way between the cold pressure and the hot pressure, I'll allow myself to open the carb secondaries. By this time, the engine is hot enough that the thermostat is open (180*).
 

Patman

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quote:
Originally posted by dickwells: So according to how you guys are thinking, one would not put a remote starter on a car or buy a used car that had a remote starter on it. Right? RW
I for one wouldn't put on a remote starter, or even consider buying a car that had one. I would be very surprised if an engine lasted 200k and beyond with a regular diet of those cold start long idle sessions. I would imagine the oil would be a lot more fuel diluted too, especially in the wintertime when it takes even longer to warm up. Small cars don't even take that long to warm up, my wife's Honda with it's tiny cooling system will reach operating temperature in less than 2 miles of driving, even on the coldest winter day. That's why I used to love it when I used that car to commute back and forth to work in the winter. So with a car like that there was definitely no need to idle it, since I'd have heat coming out of the vents within a minute or two anyways.
 
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Forgive me for my ignorance, but it seems to me that driving the car immediately would be at least as hard as letting it idle for about 1 minute or 2. If the engine isn't running efficiently and has fuel dilution, why would putting a load on it by driving it help it? I realize that the oil warms up quicker, but extending the logic further, it would warm up even quicker if we just open the sucker up at start up, wouldn't it? And we know this would be a bad idea. But I admit I'm not the most mechanically inclined so my logic is probably off. I just don't understand it that's all.
 
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Maybe he's just lucky, but my best friend has a 1987 Chevy P/U with a TBI 305. It had a remote start on it when he purchased it in 1990 and he has always used it. The truck has 185k with the original, untouched engine and runs perfect with NO oil consuption. It has had Valvoline 10W30 in it from the first change with a 3k interval. Based on his experience, I put one on my car. I never let it sit more than a few minutes idling, but that eliminates the heat shock one usually experience getting into a car that has been sitting in the sun. I don't believe that extensive idling is needed to warm a car up before driving, but I don't think it hurts it either. [ August 16, 2002, 03:23 PM: Message edited by: VaderSS ]
 
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"I don't believe that extensive idling is needed to warm a car up before driving, but I don't think it hurts it either." I agree completely. The main reason to get a car moving in the winter is because it will warm up bearings and other parts of the car at the same time the engine is warming up. Click and Clack were asked the question about idling hurting an engine a few months ago. Their comment was that idling was essentially the same thing as driving slow and would have no detrimental effect on an engine. That being said, I get things moving immediately in the morning summer or winter. To do anything else is just wasting fuel.
 

Patman

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Think about it this way though. If you idle an engine for 5min in your driveway to warm it up before driving, compared to driving it during those 5min, the engine will spend less time in it's cold start mode. An engine under load warms up faster, so your engine spends less time where more fuel is getting into the oil. I still say that you are shortening your engine life by doing this extra idling. An engine that does high mileage with this practice is not achieving it BECAUSE of this practice, and IMHO, it would most certainly go longer without this practice. [ August 16, 2002, 03:43 PM: Message edited by: Patman ]
 

The_Oz

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Here's a monkey wrench for your thoughts, Guys. Patman, if I do what you do which is moving the car without any additional help from the gas pedal, I would essentially be at cold idle (not fast idle). In this case, let's say 1500RPM. I would be travelling at 1500RPM, and probably forced to go higher since I'll have some honkin' traffic behind me. My normal operating temp. idle is at 750RPM, and I normally just drive off around 1000RPM. What do you think? Regards, Oz
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Patman: Think about it this way though. If you idle an engine for 5min in your driveway to warm it up before driving, compared to driving it during those 5min, the engine will spend less time in it's cold start mode. An engine under load warms up faster, so your engine spends less time where more fuel is getting into the oil. I still say that you are shortening your engine life by doing this extra idling. An engine that does high mileage with this practice is not achieving it BECAUSE of this practice, and IMHO, it would most certainly go longer without this practice.
Patman, Not trying to second guess you since I know you know a lot more about cars than I do. Just trying to understand for myself. If our goal is to warm up the engine as quickly as possible, and if that is the reason why we should put a load on it, then why stop there, why not just redline the car? This will get up to operating temperature fast! Now I know this is an extreme example, but it follows the same line of logic. What am I missing? BTW, my VW owners manual does state that we ARE suppose to drive off immediately after starting the car so I know there is merit in what you are saying. But an Audi mechanic I met shortly after I bought my car told me to let it idle for 30 seconds to a minute. He said this is particularly important for a turbo motor. He also said the only reason VW put the drive off immediately recommendation in the manual is so that the 1.8 motor can meet emmissions standards since the EPA tests emissions based on recommended use. Are there any studies that have tested for engine wear based on warm up procedures?
 

Patman

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If you start up an engine and immediatly redline it though, you are putting extreme stress on the engine and even though it'll warm up faster, you'll have considerably more wear. The parts need to warm up before you can drive that hard. The key is to just lightly stress the engine so it warms up, but don't push it too hard. Remember, in those first few minutes, the oil hasn't totally circulated properly either.
 
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I keep the idle to 30 seconds or so normally. too little and you haven't equilabrated the temperatures of all the parts in the engine. You don't want to reve it or put stress on it until all the parts are moving to the same temperatures, oil has really circulated, even around the places that might (but shouldn't with good oil) have varnish or sludge. Additional idling wastes gas and adds wear. 5 min per day x 360 days x 1000 rpm. Back to the original question. As for a thinner oil, it is the other way around. I have stopped a lot of leaks, and fixed consumption on a lot of engines by upping one grade. Yes, downshifting will pull more oill in if rings are bad. But since all my dtiving is mountains, I depend more on the downshifting than brakes, with no real consumption. PCV valve is critical. Lower NOACK is good. Reduce loads carried and pulls at low RPM Reduce high speed driving, especially in not-so-aerodynamic vehicles. The only way I can force my engines to consume oil is to do the whole trip over 100 mph (although the only 40 miles of asphalt we had has deteriorated so badly that I haven't done it for about 4 years)
 
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