Over 25 Vehicles and Never Had to Top Off

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1,774
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?
You are playing with semantics here when you say “couldn’t, had, could”. The fact is the oil level dropped on the dipstick and by definition anything that is no longer full can be topped off. Whether or not you want to, could have, should have, etc. doesn’t change the fact that a top off can be done.
 
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PNW
You are playing with semantics here when you say “couldn’t, had, could”. The fact is the oil level dropped on the dipstick and by definition anything that is no longer full can be topped off. Whether or not you want to, could have, should have, etc. doesn’t change the fact that a top off can be done.
Most OMs say don't add oil unless the level is at the "add" or "low" mark on the dipstick. So that would technically become the point of "have to" add oil to satisfy the OM.
 
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155
Location
Connecticut
I try to top off at half a quart down personally. I feel like I've committed a mortal sin if I top off and it's over a full quart down.

As far as my vehicle history, I've only had issues with cars springing leaks when switching from conventional to synthetic. On my mother's first Taurus, car I did my first oil change on at 16 years old, I filled it from 60k to 130K with all synthetic of various brands and 3-4K oil changes, and it never went down more than maybe a quarter quart in that time. Conversely, her Five Hundred had dealer oil changes from 60-100k or so, didn't use oil between changes (likely using bulk conventional in 2011) and when I switched to Motorcraft semi-synthetic it started leaking. (Now doing awesome with consumption with Supertech conventional HM.) My old Galant, same story, 5w30 Supertech conventional, even with an oil pan gasket leak, never went down more than a quart between changes at 5-6K oil changes. Switched to a synthetic Rotella diesel oil for 1-2 oil changes, sprung a giant front main seal leak.

I'm not exactly saying never ever switch to synthetic, but it's more like if you've been consistent with your oil changes your chances of springing major leaks are a lot lower, imo. I used to think switching high mileage cars to synthetic springing leaks was some Boomer myth, but now my personal experience tells me otherwise unless I know the car's service history.
 
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1,212
Am I missing something? I always assumed the dipstick was there to let you know when to add oil and check level. If it’s low it needs to be topped off. You don’t have to do that.

You don’t really have to do anything at all. I could crap my pants and walk through the mall like every day was a Black Friday sale, but I don’t.

But I get the point...he’s going 10,000 mile oil changes or more and the lowest he’s seen his oil level drop is to the “low” level on the dipstick. Now, let’s say it was bellow “low” and wasn’t registering anything, but he was right at the point where he was going to do an oil change and therefore didn’t “have to top off”. Does that count too? Yes, yes it does, because like I said, you could let your hair grow down to your grandmother‘s shoelace and you don’t have to get it cut. You just don’t.

As for me personally? I have two vehicles that don’t “need to be topped off/up”. One is a 2008 Honda CRV...I could go 6,000 miles and that thing doesn’t seem to really register any usage on that dipstick. The other is my 2016 Avalon, same thing. But I’ve had three cars/trucks that do like to get topped off. 2012 Mercedes ML350. Needs to be topped off at around 3,000 miles. 2007 Lexus Ls460 - needed nothing for top offs until it started reaching 120,000 miles or so, then just got worse and worse until I was topping off every 500 miles. And a 2018 Chevy Silverado needEd to be topped off with a 3/4’s a quart in 4,000-5,000 miles from day one. And I’ve seen many Silverados come in for their 6,000 mile oil changes with nothing registering on the dipstick at all (I’d say maybe 40% of them that I service).
 
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mdtaylor86

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122
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MD
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.
Makes sense. I can tell you that I live in a hilly area and I definitely use the accelerator liberally. I'm sure some designs are more prone to those than others.
 
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5,886
Location
Tn.
My now gone 2005 buick lasabre drank or burned one quart before the old 3000 mile oci,,,,but my existing 2010 F150 never loses a drop and the oil always looks clean,,never gets black,,,how does that happen, it is amazing..
 

mdtaylor86

Thread starter
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122
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MD
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.
I didn't really see a question in your post. If you want to know age, mileage, and use it ranges from 1 year to 21 years, 11K miles to 287K miles, and from "grandma driving" to "wannabe rally racer". Most of these are fleet vehicles so they aren't treated fantastically.
 

mdtaylor86

Thread starter
Messages
122
Location
MD
I try to top off at half a quart down personally. I feel like I've committed a mortal sin if I top off and it's over a full quart down.

As far as my vehicle history, I've only had issues with cars springing leaks when switching from conventional to synthetic. On my mother's first Taurus, car I did my first oil change on at 16 years old, I filled it from 60k to 130K with all synthetic of various brands and 3-4K oil changes, and it never went down more than maybe a quarter quart in that time. Conversely, her Five Hundred had dealer oil changes from 60-100k or so, didn't use oil between changes (likely using bulk conventional in 2011) and when I switched to Motorcraft semi-synthetic it started leaking. (Now doing awesome with consumption with Supertech conventional HM.) My old Galant, same story, 5w30 Supertech conventional, even with an oil pan gasket leak, never went down more than a quart between changes at 5-6K oil changes. Switched to a synthetic Rotella diesel oil for 1-2 oil changes, sprung a giant front main seal leak.

I'm not exactly saying never ever switch to synthetic, but it's more like if you've been consistent with your oil changes your chances of springing major leaks are a lot lower, imo. I used to think switching high mileage cars to synthetic springing leaks was some Boomer myth, but now my personal experience tells me otherwise unless I know the car's service history.
That's interesting. I can tell you that I've gone all over the place with oil. Many brands, many types, different viscosities, conventional and boutique synthetic all in the same engines dnd have never found a correlation. The GM vehicles all leak from the rear main seal no matter what I do. One the 2015 Transit 250s with the 3.7 leaks and has had synthetic it's whole life.
 

mdtaylor86

Thread starter
Messages
122
Location
MD
Am I missing something? I always assumed the dipstick was there to let you know when to add oil and check level. If it’s low it needs to be topped off. You don’t have to do that.

You don’t really have to do anything at all. I could crap my pants and walk through the mall like every day was a Black Friday sale, but I don’t.

But I get the point...he’s going 10,000 mile oil changes or more and the lowest he’s seen his oil level drop is to the “low” level on the dipstick. Now, let’s say it was bellow “low” and wasn’t registering anything, but he was right at the point where he was going to do an oil change and therefore didn’t “have to top off”. Does that count too? Yes, yes it does, because like I said, you could let your hair grow down to your grandmother‘s shoelace and you don’t have to get it cut. You just don’t.

As for me personally? I have two vehicles that don’t “need to be topped off/up”. One is a 2008 Honda CRV...I could go 6,000 miles and that thing doesn’t seem to really register any usage on that dipstick. The other is my 2016 Avalon, same thing. But I’ve had three cars/trucks that do like to get topped off. 2012 Mercedes ML350. Needs to be topped off at around 3,000 miles. 2007 Lexus Ls460 - needed nothing for top offs until it started reaching 120,000 miles or so, then just got worse and worse until I was topping off every 500 miles. And a 2018 Chevy Silverado needEd to be topped off with a 3/4’s a quart in 4,000-5,000 miles from day one. And I’ve seen many Silverados come in for their 6,000 mile oil changes with nothing registering on the dipstick at all (I’d say maybe 40% of them that I service).
You don't "need" to top those off though. You can just let the oil drop and wait for the engine to explode...

I'm sorry but I'm not understanding your point in the first half of your post.
 

mdtaylor86

Thread starter
Messages
122
Location
MD
You are playing with semantics here when you say “couldn’t, had, could”. The fact is the oil level dropped on the dipstick and by definition anything that is no longer full can be topped off. Whether or not you want to, could have, should have, etc. doesn’t change the fact that a top off can be done.
First, I'm replying to what you said. You brought up semantics for some reason I'm not sure about. Second, "can", "have", and "need" are all different words used in English to mean different things. Replacing "have to" with "can" completely changes the meaning of a sentence. It's not semantics. These words are not interchangeable.

This is a thread for anecdotes about topping off oil. Why are you arguing purpose here? Do you have any comments at all that are on topic?
 

mdtaylor86

Thread starter
Messages
122
Location
MD
Most OMs say don't add oil unless the level is at the "add" or "low" mark on the dipstick. So that would technically become the point of "have to" add oil to satisfy the OM.
Thank you. This is the commonly accepted meaning when someone says "need to" or "have to" top off oil.
 

mdtaylor86

Thread starter
Messages
122
Location
MD
Very misleading title.

Eh, the oils low! I’ll just change it.
They were never low. I said they were towards the bottom end but still well within the good range. That's not "low". Low is typically considered below the add mark (or safe operating range). Now, some people around here consider a 1mm drop in level to be "low" so, this is just my opinion.

I have also never decided to change oil because the oil level was below the full mark.
 
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35,631
Location
NY
In a little over 45 years of car ownership probably 30 vehicles in total, I had a few that used oil. They were bought used. When I pop the hood if the oil level is off a few ounces I add it. My logic is the hood was open, why not? Especially now with oil being packaged in plastic bottles with screw on tops.

Some of today's engines use oil, most of the time it has nothing to do with how the vehicle was cared for. When I sold cars at Nissan, Honda, VW, Kia and Suzuki there were many people who bought new cars complaining about oil use. Most were sent packing, told oil use is normal, leaks were addressed. Some people get lucky and don't use oil between changes. There might even be a few people who think they're not using oil because the level stays close to full, they never had a UOA and have some oil being replaced with fuel.
 
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13,024
Location
Indiana
They were never low. I said they were towards the bottom end but still well within the good range. That's not "low". Low is typically considered below the add mark (or safe operating range). Now, some people around here consider a 1mm drop in level to be "low" so, this is just my opinion.

I have also never decided to change oil because the oil level was below the full mark.
What you and I consider low are 2 different things. To me, “towards the bottom” is low.

1/4 of a tank a gas is towards the bottom. Many would consider that “low” and fill up before a considerable amount of driving.
 
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