WHAT oil consumption???

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Apr 1, 2006
SW Indiana
I've read on BITOG regular references to oil consumption between changes, even on relatively low-mileage cars. It seems to be met with little concern, even indifference. Maybe I've been spoiled, but I don't think I've ever had a car that consumed any observable amount of oil between changes. That includes, uh, several Hondas (1.6L, 2.2L, 3.5L), Fords (5.0L, 3.8L (2 each), 3.0L Vulcan, 3.0L in a Ranger), Dodges (2.7L, 3.3L), and maybe a few more that I'm forgetting. Am I just lucky, good, blind, or ignorant? Is this normal, or only on some cars? When does oil consumption become "unacceptable" (besides when it obviously runs low o.p. or worse)? [I dont know]
regular references to oil consumption between changes, even on relatively low-mileage cars. It seems to be met with little concern
Its just one of those facts of life for engines. Engines consume oil as they operate. You may be changing your oil frequently enough that you do not notice a change on the dipstick.
Same here.. in our recent family history, 3 hondas, 1 mazda, 3 mustangs, two dodge trucks, two nissan trucks and 3 nissan cars. OCI was 3k and never recall having to add oil to any of them between changes. YMMV I guess.
LouDawg, I'm with you. Modern engines with modern oils and fuels, should not use an appreciable amount of oil. Heck, my 1979 Dodge 318 St Regis used about a pint of oil to 3K, and never used any measurable amount after that. At 127K when I sold it, it still didn't use any oil. My current 89 Turbo Caravan with 199K uses no oil, leaks about a pint in 6K though. Need to replace the pan gasket. The only one I own that uses oil is the 94 GC 3.3 which I bought at 182K. I have no idea how it was maintained, but I suspect it wasn't very well cared for. It now has 202K on it and is on the 2nd. A-RX and I expect oil use to improve to less then a quart in 2-3K miles.
Originally posted by GMorg: LouDawg, Cross a mountain, you will consume oil.
Or traverse up a decent hill (A "Mountain" in the lower Appalacians) and you will see some consumption, unless you drive like you are from Cherokee County, AL and ease up the hill at 18 mph!!!! [Mad] [LOL!] I used to drive up a pretty steep gap road everyday, 1-3 times a day. Revving that 4cyl VTEC up to 4,000+ RPMS will use a little oil. No more than 3/4 qt per 4,000 miles, tho.
I've owned 6 cars in the 21 years since getting my drivers license. 1975 Toyota Corona No oil used The engine was bullet proof, the rest of the car just fell apart. OCI was 'whenever' with pennzoil 10w40. 1981 Honda Accord 1 qt every 3000 miles I drove this little 4 cyl engine HARD and it never complained. OCI was every 5K miles with Pennzoil 10w40. Lots of road trips and also took it 'muddin' often with my insane high school friends. 1988 VW Golf Owned for 1 year and 30K miles. No oil used ever, valvoline 20w50 used year-round. 1989 VW Jetta Owned it for 11 years, No oil used during the 225K miles i drove it. Valvoline 20w50 used year-round. Both VW's saw lots of 'spirited' driving and frequent red-line. When i sold it i could still chirp the tires in second gear! 2000 Mazda Protege (1.6) Owned 1 year and drove 15K miles. No oil used, dealer oil changes done at 3K intervals with Motorcraft 5w30. Sold it cause it was too slow. 2001 Mazda 626 ES-V6 Bought new, and it seemed to use about 1/2 qt every 3000 miles or so during break-in but after 10K-15K miles it settled down and has not used any since. Now has 45K on it and has had multiple brands of 5w30 and 10w30. Seems to like 5w30 best, specifically Motorcraft. It gets red-lined once a month or so, but i guess i'm getting older as my driving has calmed down a bit. Of the multiple cars my father has owned through the years, the only one with a oil consumption problem was our 1977 GMC Rally STK 3/4 ton passenger van, 350 V8. It would not use any oil around town, but on the highway it would consistantly go through approx 1 qt every 1000 miles. It had one plug that would get really fouled and sludgy on the right-rear bank. We drove it from TX to NY and back. It gave us no problems, as long as we kept pouring that pennzoil in. It never got worse, never got better. We sold the van with approx 90K miles on it. I'm assuming it was in bad need of a ring job.
A whole lot of things contributed to lower consumption in modern engines (post 1975). Better fuel managment, better machining techniques, reduced compressions, and better oils (not all at the same time nor to the same degree). Those of us who have spanned 30 years or more of car ownership have seen these evolutions. I doubt any one owned a 60's car that didn't consume oil. Then again if you had such a car ..your OCI may have been 2k-3k max ..so you may have never had to add oil. We drove less back then ..so time and cold starts with poor fuel managment were the real destroyers of oil/engines [I dont know] There are still those engines that routinely consume oil. The owners accept it for those installations. It's not considered a defect and doesn't effect the long term drivabilty/longevity of the engine. So ..I'd say unless the consumption results in some other problem (fouled plugs, excessive deposits through the PCV system in the intake, whatever) that consumption itself isn't a major issue. It's mostly a mental condition (as in perception).
Results may vary but I have not seen anyonme here mention the way that fuel dilution and condensation can also change the oil level. After a long trip it will appear that the oil level has dropped , in fact there may be close to the same amount of oil left but the moisture and fuel has flashed off. By design there has to be some oil consumption in reciprocating piston engines. The compressing ring needs lubrication and that lubrication is destined to be exposed to the combustion chamber. This is in a very small scale and in short OCI's the consumption may not be noticeable on a crude dipstick. I have myself stated that my vehicles consume no oil. Technically I am wrong. "My cars do not consume an abnormal amount of oil" is more correct. High toil temps and heavy loads will increase consumption. Short trips and city driving will accrue moisture and fuel into the crankcase. Although 15 minutes at operating temperature is considered enough to prevent this accumulation I think up to an hour of highway speeds is needed to "dry" the oil once it has been used in short trip/city scenarios for repeated uses.
out of all the cars ive had the easiest on oil as far as comsumption is my 00s10 that i bout new.ive went a few 10k intervals and it might have used 1/4 of a quart if that.the worst i had on oil was a 79 ford fairmont 2.3 engine.every time i filled up i bought a case of the cheapest 20w50 i could find and every 20 miles or so stop and put a quart in.even ran 85w150 in that car and it still leaked.
Originally posted by GMorg: LouDawg, Cross a mountain, you will consume oil.
2500 miles thru the Catskills & Blue Ridge Mountains last year saw zero consumption averaging 75 MPH. Saw zero consumption for the entire 6k OCI using "noisy" Mobil-1 and full bottle of VSOT.
My 4.3 GM V-6 always used about a pint every 1000 miles from new. It did not improve as some people told me it would. This was on 10W-30 Valvoline. After 75,000 or so I experimented with straight 30 in the summer with improved results. 15W-40 Delo became my "high mileage" favorite with all-year reduced consumption. Supposedly GM went to "low tension" rings for better fuel economy in the early '90's and that led to higer than expected consumption in certain engines. Ford V-10 owners also complain a lot about oil usage. In that case I think it is just a huge displacement, and ten cylinders will naturally use a visible amount of oil. For warranty purposes, a quart every 800 miles is still "normal". On the other hand, I think the aveage consumer today has almost unrealistic expectations. If you buy a brand new $300,000 single engine airplane, you expect to add some oil after every flight.
I think it depends on the engine and that generally speaking, the older engine designs used oil, or use more oil than the newer designs. Driving mountains does not alone result in oil use. I live in the Rocky Mountains and drive an 03 Ford Ranger and my wife drives and 03 Subaru Forester and neither uses oil. The engines in both were first introduced in the 80's.
My 91 Civic Si was the tightest engine I ever owned....checked the same way every time (usually a saturday morning before startup) the level on the dipstick never changed between OCI. My biggest oil consumer was my 74 Beetle...about 1 quart every 2000 miles. The odo had been broken for a number of years when I bought the car, so I have no idea how many miles that engine had on it. My second worst oil consumer was a 78 Chevy Monza 2.5...used about 1/2 quart every 3000 miles, at 72,000 miles on the clock. Considering I'm now on my 15th car, I think I've had pretty good luck in the oil department. None of my brand new cars have used a noticable amount.
This Hyundai Accent, 2005 1.6DOHC is freaking me out. In 5350 miles, and that's stop and go, two trips to Boston (1000 miles high-speed round trip each), a trip over Blue Ridge to Winchester, Va. a couple of times, in other words, a mix of vehicle usage, it's used between 1/8 and 1/4 quart of oil. I figure the oil it's "used" is the oil consumed wiping the dipstick at fill up time (yes, I check it EVERY time, and the fluids, too). It refuses to dirty the oil (4Qt.M-1/VSOT, and an Amsoil SDF36 filter), too. I'm waiting and waiting for the oil to darken, and it's not happening. ***? [Eek!]
Hey Bryan!
Results may vary but I have not seen anyonme here mention the way that fuel dilution and condensation can also change the oil level.
Would the oil smell gassie from fuel dilution? Also, would it change the color or appearance? I was wondering if there was some factor like that involved, but the oil isn't smelly in anyway, and again, it won't darken. Admittedly, I don't drive the car hard (it's a Hyundai, after all), but it has been over 5K.
toocrazy2yoo: Some DOHC engines take a long while to drain the oil back into the sump. If you check the oil at fill-up, it may show 1/4 qt low. Check it after the car sits overnight, it may show 1/4 over-full. I've found my car has to sit a minimum of 20 minutes to get an accurate reading. The super-thick VSOT you have been using also adds to the problem making the oil thicker than it should be to flow quickly and slows draining back to the sump.
VSOT IS super thick, but I used 5W20 S-Syn, and a 1.5 oz/qt dose (Mixed it in the jug after the first 2 quarts were in, I didn't just dump 6 ounces in, you know, premix, kinda), and that's it. 6 oz/Qt shouldn't be that much, but what do I know? [I dont know] I was thinking when all was said and done I'd be between 5W20 and 5W30. It flows off the stick onto the wipe-rag, if that's any indicator. Plenty thin, hot or cold. This thing reads the same after the three minutes it takes me to fill up as it does after sitting all night, so it doesn't seem to drain slowly. Wonder if I got lucky at engine-build time and got the cream-puff (well, for a Hyundai, anyway). [LOL!] Thanks, Homms! [Cheers!]
2002 Hyundai Accent 1.6L DOHC, 5spd, about 71K miles on it now. The only time it used a noticeable amount of oil was my first long (5 hr) trip with it. After a few hours of spirited highway driving at speeds up to 85mph (~4000 rpm) it used about 1/4 quart of oil. It hasn't used a noticeable amount of oil since then. I actually get a little worried about adding LC every 1000 miles because the oil level doesn't go down! I also use about 4oz of VSOT every OCI. toocrazy2yoo - don't worry about driving it hard. That little engine comes alive between 4000 and 5000 rpm! Run it up to 60mph in 3rd and go from there! Stop picking on your Hyundai!
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