Is oil consumption a gauge on engine condition?

Messages
5
Location
Ontario
I have a 2003 Mazdaspeed Protege (turbo) with 135,000km and I've always run Amsoil SSO 0w30 at 15000km OCI's and it burns absolutely NO oil in between oil changes. Does that mean the engine is still in great shape or does that have no bearing on what the cylinder walls and rings look like? Thanks
 
Messages
1,007
Location
Dallas, TX
It means the oil rings, valve seals, and gaskets are still in good shape. It says nothing about main / rod bearings, wrist pins or cam lobes, however.
 
Messages
895
Location
PA
It means the engine is so tight that oil can't penetrate moving parts and could grenade at any moment In many cases of newer vhehicles burning oil it's oil that gets past the rings on loose tolerances and shoddy union work. On older vehicles it tends to be seals that that have shrunk or worn.
 

Giesbrecht

Thread starter
Messages
5
Location
Ontario
Why would a tight engine cause it to grenade?
 Originally Posted By: wannafbody
It means the engine is so tight that oil can't penetrate moving parts and could grenade at any moment In many cases of newer vhehicles burning oil it's oil that gets past the rings on loose tolerances and shoddy union work. On older vehicles it tends to be seals that that have shrunk or worn.
 
Messages
8,859
Location
Texas
 Originally Posted By: Giesbrecht
I have a 2003 Mazdaspeed Protege (turbo) with 135,000km and I've always run Amsoil SSO 0w30 at 15000km OCI's and it burns absolutely NO oil in between oil changes. Does that mean the engine is still in great shape or does that have no bearing on what the cylinder walls and rings look like? Thanks
Its a fair judge of the condition of valve stem seals and piston oil-control rings. It tells absolutely nothing about the condition of bearings, cams and follwers, or any of the other moving parts. Its really only useful as a comparison to similar engines, too. Both a 1.8L 4-cylinder and a 6+ liter v8 usually have 5-quart sumps, but the big v8 has several times the piston ring circumference so the big v8 will probably show more oil consumption between changes than the 4 even if its rings actually seal better.
 
Messages
22,653
Location
Dallas,Tx USA
Imo,I`d think an engine that uses oil is defective. Maybe the rings are worn/faulty. I`ve never owned a car that uses any oil. Anyone I`ve ever know who has a car that uses oil has always been something so old it`s on it`s last leg.
 
Messages
55
Location
Atlanta, Georgia
I'm gonna take a shot in the dark and say the grenade comment is sarcasm. Congrats that you have never owned a car that uses oil, but to say anything using oil is "on its last leg" is gross exaggeration.
 
Messages
1,007
Location
Dallas, TX
Whatever causes a car to begin consuming oil doesn't necessarily signal that it's near its end. I've known plenty of cars during my life that used a couple of ounces every 3000 to more than a quart every 1000 and just kept going. I don't think it's good that an engine (even a big V8) uses a quart of oil every 1000 miles, as it can really take a toll on the top end and the emissions equipment (if so-equipped) and since oil is so much more resistant to burning, it can compromise performance. But if the bottom end is holding together (not really phased by consumption unless you let it run dry), you can go a long time with a 'smoker'. An old Chevy 350 is a perfect example of this. Bulletproof mechanicals, even if you have to top up the oil every week. But I have to admit that I get a good feeling about an engine that has the same amount of oil in it at the beginning and end of an OCI.
 
Messages
14,777
Location
Illinois
 Originally Posted By: wannafbody
It means the engine is so tight that oil can't penetrate moving parts and could grenade at any moment In many cases of newer vhehicles burning oil it's oil that gets past the rings on loose tolerances and shoddy union work. On older vehicles it tends to be seals that that have shrunk or worn.
I couldn't help notice the crack about " shoddy union work". Perhaps the real problem lies with shoddy non union engineers that designed some of the junk we see out there.
 
Messages
39,781
Location
Great Lakes
 Originally Posted By: Giesbrecht
I have a 2003 Mazdaspeed Protege (turbo) with 135,000km and I've always run Amsoil SSO 0w30 at 15000km OCI's and it burns absolutely NO oil in between oil changes. Does that mean the engine is still in great shape or does that have no bearing on what the cylinder walls and rings look like? Thanks
A bit off-topic here, but have you done any UOAs? Sometimes, especially in turbo aplications, lost oil can be masked by excessive fuel dilution. I'm not sure if it's a common issue with this particular Mazda engine. A UOA might also give some indication about engine wear, but not always.
 
Messages
1,267
Location
Tennessee
Some cars will use a little oil and still go 300,000 miles. I've personally never had a car in our family that didn't use at least 1/4 a quart by 3000-4000 miles. Oh wait, we did have one. My sister had a 2001 Civic that didn't use a DROP after 12,000 miles of PP 5W-30. And, so far after 1200 miles of Rotella 5W-40 in my 5.0 F-150, it has had 0 consumption. Dunno if it will stay there until 3-4000 miles or not. But, the rest are domestics. They might use a little oil, but I'll still keep buying my domestics. I think in my 1994 Thunderbird 4.6 manual, it said that it was 'normal' to use a little oil by 1500 or 2000 miles? Can't remember.
 
Messages
19,479
Location
Chicago Area
I always thought that an engine should use a bit of oil. That insures that it is getting to where it should in the ring/bore area. Some street performance engine builders strive for 1 qtoil use in about 2,000 miles. [could be the special rings] Many modern engines do not appear to use any oil [like my present 2.0 Ford Zetec], so it works out that it is a good thing. Being much smaller than previous designs, modern engines use less oil by default, anyway.
 
Messages
4,619
Location
The Garden State
 Originally Posted By: mechtech2
I always thought that an engine should use a bit of oil. That insures that it is getting to where it should in the ring/bore area. Some street performance engine builders strive for 1 qtoil use in about 2,000 miles. [could be the special rings] Many modern engines do not appear to use any oil [like my present 2.0 Ford Zetec], so it works out that it is a good thing. Being much smaller than previous designs, modern engines use less oil by default, anyway.
I have a 1996 Contour with the 2.0L Zetec and it uses no oil in 4-5,000 mile OCI's. Since 2004 I've been using Schaeffer's Supreme 7000 5W-30. However previously I used TriSyn Mobil 1 5W-30 and it used some oil, not a lot, after the first change from MC 5W-30. After subsequent oil changes the "usage" of Mobil 1 decreased. My wife's 2005 Explorer and my 2002 F-150 both have 4.6L V-8's and neither use any oil during 5,000 mile OCI's on MC 5W-20. Whimsey
 
Last edited:
Messages
1,714
Location
CA.
I've had cars that used oil. Years ago normal oil use was considered to be 1 qt/1000 miles. I never had one use that much oil, but I did have cars that used some oil. Many of them ran in excess of 150,000 miles using the same amount of oil since day one. All of them passed NYS emission inspection when I lived there, and were sold and lasted the new owners several more years. AD
 
Messages
502
Location
Canada
Since most engines are machined and assembled by robots these days you can pretty much take the shoddy union out of the equation. (almost) I think it's unacceptable that with modern materials many engine designs have such outrageous allowable oil burning standards even at low mileage. Blame that on unacceptable manufacturing tolerances...
 

Giesbrecht

Thread starter
Messages
5
Location
Ontario
No i've never done a UOA. I don't think there's anywhere near where I live (Aylmer Ontario) that does such a thing. What do you need to send it to blackstone?
 
Top