More Oil Burner's Today?

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Nov 16, 2002
No matter what car forum I go on, it seems todays small 4cylincer engines and even some 6 cylinder engines have oil consumption issues. Does anyone think today's high rpm 4 bangers are more prone to oil consumption then engines of the past? Subarus and quite a few Honda models all have these problems. Even some Audis. Whats the deal with that? [ September 12, 2005, 05:09 PM: Message edited by: buster ]
Low-tension rings, high compression engines, higher vacuum, and 0W-x oils contribute to oil consumption. PS: Take those "plural" apostrophes out or else...! [Razz]
Low tension rings, high ring land ie the top ring to close to the top of the piston combined with next to no skirt on the piston. If you add in long oil change intervals with dino 5W30 it is a recipe for diaster in my humble opion.
If you go searching for an issue, you're likely to find it, especially thanks to online forums. Myths and rumors spring forth where real data and information are lacking. Maybe that's the phenomenon you're running into. Also, the squeaky wheel gets the oil (sorry), so some issues get blown way out of proportion by particularly vocal online individuals. Perhaps there's less to complain about on modern cars (yeah, right!), and people notice things they hadn't seen before. Is this about the oil catch can?
Good point. I really don't know, it just seems many people complain of oil consumption. Mori's explanation sounds about right.
This is personal experience so take it for what it's worth. I think it's just the opposite. Some of the cars I've owned in the distant past (70's and 80's) used far more oil than any of the mid-90's and newer that I've owned. I can remember being picky about checking my oil every couple of days and topping it off a couple times a month. The last vehicle I owned that used oil was an 84 Chevy pickup that I sold in 1994. I have not had to add oil between changes to any vehicle I've owned since then.
This is personal experience so take it for what it's worth. I think it's just the opposite.
Actually, I agree with you, at least when it comes to modern engines with under 100k miles or so on the engine. However, I do suspect that all the before-mentioned innovations, aimed at reducing friction and maximizing fuel efficiency, increase the chance of components wearing and getting out of tune.
I think in the past, oil consumption was expected and considered normal. Nowadays people want their cars to go 100k without having to open the hood. Then add in the fact that the average recommended OCI has doubled or more it's easy to see how oil consumption would be more noticeable. If your car burns 1 quart/3k and you did 3k OCI's, you would just change the oil instead of adding and you could tell yourself that your car doesn't use any oil because you didn't have to add any. Now take thge same car and do 7.5k OCI's and suddenly the car burns 2 quarts of oil! I currently own 7 vehicles 2001 and up. They all average about 1 quart per 10-12k miles. 20 years ago you nearly had to lift the hood each morning to make sure it was still above add. My dads 86 F150 302 burned a quart/week right from brand new till the day he sold it. The Ford dealer insisted it was normal.
I know that oil consumption is WAY down from years past. Adding oil was normal between oil changes, and most cars now have very little usage.
Talking of the Oz experience, oil burning is up, since the switch to thinner oils. An engine that used 1litre/5000km (quart per 3000 miles) was considered an oil burner, and due for a rebuild. a Buick 3800 in a Commodore that emptied it's sump to the point of engine damage in a normal service interval was unheard of. (Later fixed by longer dipsticks and bigger sumps).
Strangely, my 91 Mazda Protege' LX never burnt oil and I used it hard,used M-1 15W-50 in summers and M-1 10W-30 in winters, absolutely no consumption problems till I sold it at 130,000 miles.
So far my low-tech OHV Cavalier 2.2 hasn't burned any oil either between changes. I wouldn't worry about a little oil use. No big deal esp. if you check it every now and then.
IMO, a well maintained engine today has less chance of having oil consumption issues than in years past. There are several reasons: 1) computer design and modeling, 2) better machining processes, 3) better casting processes and 4) more advanced metal alloys. Some engines have design weaknesses, but for the most part I think that neglect of oil changes is what causes oil consumption.
Audi says consumption of 1 litre/1000 km is ok in my old turbo 5-inline. It's never been close. People expected an engine to use oil before [Smile]
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