Reducing Oil Consumption - 96 Dodge Neon

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Oct 10, 2002
My girlfriend drives a 1996 Dodge Neon with the SOCH 2.0 liter motor. The car and motor have 82,000 original miles on it and I have been maintaining it for the last 10,000 miles or so.

I was running Pennzoil 5w30 at relatively short drains, around 1500 miles, but I have switched to the Pennzoil 10w30 to help reduce consumption. It doesn't seem to be helping. In 2,000 miles the car burned 1.25-1.5 quarts of oil. I am going to pull a sample of this oil and check out how well it is holding up, good I hope with only 2,000 miles on it, but I am looking for perhaps a little less volatile oil to try and reduce consumption. Any suggestions.

I have a ford, v8 4.6 with a 157,000 miles, it burns some oil, about one qt. in 2000 miles, I have used penz 5w30 and penz 10w30 with almost no difference in oil burning. the motor burned more oil with mobil dino drive clean in it.

maybe try penz 10w30 high milege oil
Try something thicker...

Most of the major oil companies have a "high mileage" formula; trying one of these in a 10W30 would be a good first step as they are typically at the top end of the viscosity scale for a given weight.

If that doesn't help, you could try a heavy duty diesel type oil; Pennzoil Long-life 15-40, found with the diesel oils, is one of many options in this category.

Avoid conventional 10W40's; this weight has proven problematic with regards to shearing and deposits.

And, if you feel the car is worth it, try a 5W40 synthetic. Given Michigan winters, this type and weight of oil seems ideal...and might make a 15W40 less than ideal on those cold winter mornings...

If, of course, it helps with consumption!

Bottom line...don't be afraid to experiment a little!

And remember...

ALL 30 weight oils are roughly the same thickness at 100c, the approximate operating temperature of the engine. It doesn't matter if it is a 0W30, 5W30, 10W30 or straight weight 30; they all fall within a certain range regarding viscosity. Some brands are slightly thinner or thicker than others, but still fall within this specified range, at 100c (212f).

So...using a 10W30 instead of a 5W30 OFTEN! (not always; there are other factors that can influence consumption as well...) makes little difference in consumption, if viscosity is indeed the primary factor behind the consumption.
I was under the impression that it is not that good of an idea to run a HDEO in an oil burning car with a CAT and 2 02 sensors. Won't the burning of the HDEO with the additional additives foul up those parts faster?

Then again if it cuts consumption I guess that is a moot point.
1.25-1.5 quarts in 2000 miles, I would consider that perfectly normal. i know many will disagree with me. I wouldn't even worry about it. I would just go on changing the oil and filter as usual and use a 10w30 oil. Just my opinion.
Just my very unscientific observation here. That 2.0 engine seems to be known for oil consumption
, even more so when run it's entire life on dino juice. I would try Castrol High Mileage 10w30 and see if it helps cut down on consumption. Otherwise try the above ideas; 15w40 etc.
Make sure the headgasket isn't blown. My 95 Neon beater car that I picked up back in April had a blown headgasket and I didn't even know it. However, the thing burned a lot of oil and coolant about every 2 weeks. Then one day it overheated and really made the gasket worse and then I fixed it with the MLS gasket. Now I can go for about a month without having to add coolant and I probably have to add about 1/2 quart.
I belive I have herd a lot of guys with Neons complain of this. It might be something as simple as replaceing the valve seal! WIth that said I too would recomend a thicker oil.
I would try Auto-RX'ing it first. It has been known to free stuck rings and reduce oil consumption. I agree with others too, that would suggest looking for a leak. I would also replace the PCV valve. Once done, I would try the Pennzoil 10W-30 again and go from there.
Thanks for the replies.

There oil is definitely being burned and not leaking. I am aware of the headgasket problems on the Neons but it is not consuming any coolant so I do not think this is the problem. The analysis should help prove that for me.

I am under the impression that a conventional 5w30 with more VII's will have a higher consumption because it's volatility is greater than a 10w30 in the same oil. Is this not correct?

Are there any negatives to using a high mileage oil? What is the preferred high mileage oil around here (sorry but I never really paid attention to the high mileage oil threads)?

Thanks again.

Originally posted by RC:

1)I am under the impression that a conventional 5w30 with more VII's will have a higher consumption because it's volatility is greater than a 10w30 in the same oil. Is this not correct?

2)Are there any negatives to using a high mileage oil?
3)What is the preferred high mileage oil around here

1) In theory eys in real world little if any difference is noticed I agree 100% with geeemans descriptions of teh issue.
2)No negatives in a hi milage motor (in others yes as the extra seal swellers may take up the room some otehr additives could have taken)
3)The Pennsoil has a real good rep here.


You need to clean the ring pack, cylinder walls and valve stem seal deposits, or NO oil will help - no matter how thick it is. You could run a 20w-50 synthetic in here and if the rings are stuck you will burn it just as easily ....

Time to spend the money on a double AutoRX treatment and flush cycle (with a 15w-40). I think you can reduce the oil consumption by 50%-75% if you go that route ....Nothing else short of taking the engine apart and cleaning the parts in solvent will be nearly as effective.

Thanks for all the replies.

I understand that 1.5 quarts in 2000 miles is not overly excessive, but it is more than I think a 80k miles engine should consume. Perhaps the previous owner did not care to well for this car? Maybe buring a little oil is just the nature of these engines?

Well I think I am going to try the AutoRX treatments. I have been wanting to give it a try for a while and this seems like a perfect opportunity.

For now I changed out the Pennzoil 10w30 that was in there. I sent a sample off to see if in fact it is a head gasket issue. I decided to dump in some Pennzoil High Mileage 5w30 (unfortunately Wally World was out of the 10w30) I will see if that curbs the consumption any.

When it warms up again and it is easier, and warmer to change the oil I will look at AutoRx'ing the motor to see if that slows consumption a bit.

Thanks again.
I think 1.5 quarts for a 4 cylinder is getting up there, note I burn a little less in my car, but that is a much bigger engine so it actually burning much less per cylinder
I know that the ARX treatment along with Castrol 10W40 High Mileage oil reduced my consumption from 1.5 quarts every 3000 miles to .25 quarts in my 22RE 4cyl. Toyota 4x4. And thats a fact!!!! Believe me, I tried everything and this did the job. I will try the 10W30 next oil change though instead of the 10W40. Hopefully with the same results. Rando
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