Over 25 Vehicles and Never Had to Top Off

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1,054
Location
Wash, DC
In my life I've owned 7 used cars. None needed topping off.
Before the second purchase an old mechanic showed how to inspect the tailpipe for oily deposits.
That helped me avoid probable oil burners.
My latest car has GDI, so a little dry soot is acceptable.
 
Messages
4,632
Location
Decatur AL USA
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?

How many '18 5.0 Ford's in that fleet?
 

mdtaylor86

Thread starter
Messages
122
Location
MD
In my life I've owned 7 used cars. None needed topping off.
Before the second purchase an old mechanic showed how to inspect the tailpipe for oily deposits.
That helped me avoid probable oil burners.
My latest car has GDI, so a little dry soot is acceptable.
I'm actually surprised I haven't had more issues with the GDI engines. I've had a Focus with the 2L GDI, a new Transit Connect with the same engine, an F150 Gen 2 3.5L EB, and an F150 2.7L EB. None of them ever had any issues with oil. I know some people with GDI have serious issues.
 

mdtaylor86

Thread starter
Messages
122
Location
MD
How many '18 5.0 Ford's in that fleet?
None. I avoid the 5.0. I have one '18 F150 (which is actually the fleet truck that I use) and I went with the 2.7L EB they had to ship from out of state instead of the 5.0 they had on the lot. They really wanted me to take that 5.0. 🤣

That 2.7L is great.
 
Messages
4,632
Location
Decatur AL USA
None. I avoid the 5.0. I have one '18 F150 (which is actually the fleet truck that I use) and I went with the 2.7L EB they had to ship from out of state instead of the 5.0 they had on the lot. They really wanted me to take that 5.0. 🤣

That 2.7L is great.

I was just making the point that certain vehicles are a bit oil consumption prone. I have never seen an '18 5.0 that could go 10,000 mi without using a quart of oil. They may very well exist but I've been personally aquatinted with about a half dozen and all of them used at least 2 quarts in 10,000 mi (Worst was about a quart every 1,200 mi even after the PCV fix).

I'm very impressed with the 2.7EB as well. Good engine. Hopefully they updated the oil pan in 2018 which was the only real issue on the '15-17 engines.
 

mdtaylor86

Thread starter
Messages
122
Location
MD
I was just making the point that certain vehicles are a bit oil consumption prone. I have never seen an '18 5.0 that could go 10,000 mi without using a quart of oil. They may very well exist but I've been personally aquatinted with about a half dozen and all of them used at least 2 quarts in 10,000 mi (Worst was about a quart every 1,200 mi even after the PCV fix).

I'm very impressed with the 2.7EB as well. Good engine. Hopefully they updated the oil pan in 2018 which was the only real issue on the '15-17 engines.
That's definitely true. I have heard nothing but problems with the 5.0 and oil consumption. That's the main reason I avoid them. A quart every 1,200 miles is just insane for a fleet vehicle. I'd have to top it off constantly.
 
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5,535
Location
down in the park
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?

Never had a vehicle that needed topping off either, only the factory fill on this vehicle I topped off to get the level on maximum after a few k miles.
 
Messages
531
Location
Brittany, France
Here is what i noticed over the years on a many engines (all Mercedes but some gassers and some diesel) :

Every time, synthetic 5W40 even the cheap stuff, seems to burn less than semi-synthetic 10W40.

If i fill up an engine up to the top mark, oil consumption is always higher until it's down to the middle of the dipstick.

On neglected engines, synthetic may reveal leaks but maybe this had more to do with me buying a cheap car that's not been driven much and just starting to do oil changes and driving it a lot.

However, extensive italian tune-ups with a few short OCIs with synthetic can really bring consumption down on this type of cars.

On my daily driver, i fill up to the middle of the dipstick with only 5L instead of 5.5L and usually add 0.5L to keep the oil level right in the middle after around 7000 km or simply do an oil change.

In my experience so far, synthetic + oil level in the middle + lots of highway driving + italian tune-ups = the lowest oil consumption.

However there are a few low Noack, Group II/III, SN 15W40 i am willing to try next, maybe these could work well too.
 

jurko

Site Donor 2021
Messages
607
Location
Carson City
Interesting conversation about topping off and people's experiences so I'll share mine.
I don't have to top off between OCI in my Golf yet.
But I have some experience with it.
Back in 70's and 80's I used to go to outdoor music festivals and people kept topping off porta potties and you almost sat in S#$T if you had to go.
I also had a girlfriend many years ago who had a strange habit during the act yelling "Oh yeah baby keep topping me off".
I also do quite a bit of topping off at all you can eat Chinese buffet.
 
Messages
521
Location
KY, USA
I top off the oil level in my vehicles when they get down 1/2 qt. In my Fords with a 4 qt. capacity if I allow them to get to the add mark on the dipstick I'm running 25% below maximum capacity. My Nissan Versa takes about 3 quarts to fill it on an oil/filter change so if it got to the add mark it would be about 33% below maximum capacity. A couple of my Fords with over 200K miles usually get topped off one time (1/2 qt.) between changes. Sometimes when the OCI rolls around they'll be about 1/2 qt. low again and sometimes not. The Versa is usually only about 1/8-1/4" below the full mark at time for an oil change so probably wouldn't need more than 4-8 oz. to bring it back to the full mark. I bought a new Buick with a 350 in it in 1977. It used oil from day one. I had an '88 Ford Escort that didn't start using enough to bother replacing until it had 250-300K miles.
 

mdtaylor86

Thread starter
Messages
122
Location
MD
Here is what i noticed over the years on a many engines (all Mercedes but some gassers and some diesel) :

Every time, synthetic 5W40 even the cheap stuff, seems to burn less than semi-synthetic 10W40.

If i fill up an engine up to the top mark, oil consumption is always higher until it's down to the middle of the dipstick.

On neglected engines, synthetic may reveal leaks but maybe this had more to do with me buying a cheap car that's not been driven much and just starting to do oil changes and driving it a lot.

However, extensive italian tune-ups with a few short OCIs with synthetic can really bring consumption down on this type of cars.

On my daily driver, i fill up to the middle of the dipstick with only 5L instead of 5.5L and usually add 0.5L to keep the oil level right in the middle after around 7000 km or simply do an oil change.

In my experience so far, synthetic + oil level in the middle + lots of highway driving + italian tune-ups = the lowest oil consumption.

However there are a few low Noack, Group II/III, SN 15W40 i am willing to try next, maybe these could work well too.
I have experience with a Sprinter 3500. I usually only ever used synthetic Euro 5w-40 in it and definitely never had any issues with consumption. That engine was a beast. One of my employees filled it up with gas once, drove it back to the shop and let it idle while he was loading it up. It stopped running after about 10 minutes. After we figured out what happened, we purged all the gas out of it and filled it back up with diesel. Drained the oil and put in the cheapest 15w-40 we could get. The thing started and we ran it for 10 min, drained the oil and filled it again. Did that two more times until we couldn't smell gas anymore and ran the thing hard through 1/4 tank of diesel then drained the 15w-40 out of it one more time and filled it back up with the synthetic 5w-40. That thing was still running 2 years later when I sold it.
 

mdtaylor86

Thread starter
Messages
122
Location
MD
I top off the oil level in my vehicles when they get down 1/2 qt. In my Fords with a 4 qt. capacity if I allow them to get to the add mark on the dipstick I'm running 25% below maximum capacity. My Nissan Versa takes about 3 quarts to fill it on an oil/filter change so if it got to the add mark it would be about 33% below maximum capacity. A couple of my Fords with over 200K miles usually get topped off one time (1/2 qt.) between changes. Sometimes when the OCI rolls around they'll be about 1/2 qt. low again and sometimes not. The Versa is usually only about 1/8-1/4" below the full mark at time for an oil change so probably wouldn't need more than 4-8 oz. to bring it back to the full mark. I bought a new Buick with a 350 in it in 1977. It used oil from day one. I had an '88 Ford Escort that didn't start using enough to bother replacing until it had 250-300K miles.
Do those vehicles have dipsticks calibrated for 1qt between Add and Full? That seems like a huge amount of oil to lose before topping off. I know not all dipsticks are calibrated for a 1qt difference.
 
Messages
521
Location
KY, USA
Do those vehicles have dipsticks calibrated for 1qt between Add and Full? That seems like a huge amount of oil to lose before topping off. I know not all dipstick
I know the Fords are a quart low when they hit the add mark. I can't say for sure about the Nissan but I've always assumed it would be a quart low at the add mark. Next time I change the oil in the Versa if I don't forget I'll put two qts. in then check to see where it is on the dipstick. Every car I've owned since buying my first one in '70's was a quart low at the add mark.
 
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27,528
Location
PNW
Only vehicle I've owned that's not 1 qt between the low and full marks on the dipstick is my 2005 Tacoma 4.0L V6. The Owner's Manual indicates it's 1.6 qts between the marks.
 
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