Over 25 Vehicles and Never Had to Top Off

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121
Location
MD
Over the years, I have been either owned or have been responsible for (through small fleet management) over 25 different vehicles. The majority of these vehicles have been Fords (variety of cars and trucks) followed closely by GM trucks, with a Toyota FJ Cruiser, a Toyota forklift (4Y LPG engine), a Mazda Protégé, and a Mitsubishi forklift (CAT branded, LPG engine) thrown in for variety. Not once have I ever had to top off the oil in any of these vehicles. A few of them have been right on the low end of the dipstick when it came time for an oil change, but they were still in the good range. It's not like I was changing every 3K miles either. Many of these vehicles, especially the fleet ones, go for well over 7K miles with the newer Fords going 10K to 12K miles between changes.

Reading around this place, it seems like there are some people that no matter what they do, every vehicle they ever own needs to be topped off at some point. Am I just really lucky or is topping off not as common anymore as it may seem to be reading around here? What about all of you? Are you like me and never have to top off or do you tend to drive vehicles that just can't keep oil in them no matter what?
 

JC1

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5,999
Location
Oshawa, Ontario Canada
You answered part of the question, some used oil, but you never added, they just got another oil change before it was critical.

I'm too OCD, I'd rather top up the oil level unless I was changing the oil within that week and I wasn't driving the vehicle that much.
 
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2,337
Location
South Carolina
Like you, I've never had to top off between oil changes but on some vehicles the oil level was nearing to fill line. I don't obsess where the oil level lies. If it's anywhere in the range, I'm good. If it's getting near the fill line but coming up to an OCI I don't worry about it.
 
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24,260
Location
Dallas,Tx USA
Same here. I've never owned a car that's used a single drop of oil. Mine have all been Japanese (Nissan and Mitsubishi) with the exception of my one 3800 powered Oldsmobile.
 
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226
Location
eastern WA
there was an interesting thread recently about engine braking causing oil consumption. maybe driving style has something to do with it?
 
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1,763
“Top off”. Seems like everyone has a different definition for that verbiage. To me “top off” means to bring back to the FULL mark on the dipstick.

Based off your description you have had plenty of vehicles in your fleet that needed a “top off”.
 
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85
Location
USA
Some cars were designed bad. Early Nissan Altimas with the 2.5 like an 02' would have a cat disintegrate, pieces would get sucked back into the engine and score the cylinder walls. The same thing happened to the Toyota MR2 Spyder because how the exhaust was laid out being a rear engine car.
Same thing happened to my 2002 Maxima with the 3.5L V6. Started drinking a quart of oil every 800 - 1000 miles after the precat disintegrated. By the time I heard the precat substrate rattling around it was too late, damage was done.
 

mdtaylor86

Thread starter
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121
Location
MD
“Top off”. Seems like everyone has a different definition for that verbiage. To me “top off” means to bring back to the FULL mark on the dipstick.

Based off your description you have had plenty of vehicles in your fleet that needed a “top off”.
This is false. The definition is the same as you said. What varies is what level people will think they need to top off at. If it's between the marks, as all of my vehicles have been, it doesn't "need" a top off as defined by any vehicle manufacturer.
 

mdtaylor86

Thread starter
Messages
121
Location
MD
Some cars were designed bad. Early Nissan Altimas with the 2.5 like an 02' would have a cat disintegrate, pieces would get sucked back into the engine and score the cylinder walls. The same thing happened to the Toyota MR2 Spyder because how the exhaust was laid out being a rear engine car.
Undoubtedly poor design will play a role in some vehicles going through oil quickly. Or maybe sometimes it's just a trade off and the manufacturer knows it will consume oil.
 

mdtaylor86

Thread starter
Messages
121
Location
MD
there was an interesting thread recently about engine braking causing oil consumption. maybe driving style has something to do with it?
That's an interesting point. I'm sure driving style has some impact on it. I wonder how exactly certain driving habits impact oil consumption.
 
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3,173
Location
Western S.C.
That's a meaningless claim when information as to how long or far the vehicles have been used is missing. You'll never need to top off if you dump every vehicle as soon it starts consuming enough to get down to the add mark between changes.
 
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1,763
No need to get defensive about it, sir. But the actual definition of topping something off is to fill something completely. I don’t want to be the one to tell you but a dipstick with oil sitting halfway between the Low and Full can indeed be “topped off”.

Some engines for whatever reason are always at the full mark at all times. Those engines don’t constitute a top off.
 

mdtaylor86

Thread starter
Messages
121
Location
MD
That's a meaningless claim when information as to how long or far the vehicles have been used is missing. You'll never need to top off if you dump every vehicle as soon it starts consuming enough to get down to the add mark between changes.
What meaning are you looking for in my life experience here? It's an anecdote and clearly presented as one. There isn't an end goal here other than swapping anecdotes about other people's experiences.
 

mdtaylor86

Thread starter
Messages
121
Location
MD
No need to get defensive about it, sir. But the actual definition of topping something off is to fill something completely. I don’t want to be the one to tell you but a dipstick with oil sitting halfway between the Low and Full can indeed be “topped off”.

Some engines for whatever reason are always at the full mark at all times. Those engines don’t constitute a top off.
I assure you I'm not defensive. Please note that I stated I never "had" to top off. I did not say that I "couldn't" top off. So yes, they "could" have been topped off but they did not "have" to be topped off. Do you understand now?
 
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2,337
Location
South Carolina
That's a meaningless claim when information as to how long or far the vehicles have been used is missing. You'll never need to top off if you dump every vehicle as soon it starts consuming enough to get down to the add mark between changes.
Look at the age of the vehicles in my sig. All but one are well over 200k miles.
 
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2,337
Location
South Carolina
That's an interesting point. I'm sure driving style has some impact on it. I wonder how exactly certain driving habits impact oil consumption.
If you are constantly coasting down long grades there is a lot of vacuum created in the cylinders which sucks oil up through the piston rings. If you constantly have your foot in the accelerator the PCV valve is wide open allowing oil mist into the intake manifold.
 
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3,173
Location
Western S.C.
What meaning are you looking for in my life experience here? It's an anecdote and clearly presented as one. There isn't an end goal here other than swapping anecdotes about other people's experiences.
That's fine, but still doesn't reveal how far you you've taken the vehicles in question.

In my unscientific survey, there seem to be fewer complaints of non-abused, moderate-mileage Fords guzzling oil than some other brands.
 
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