By on April 24, 2013

Jim writes:

Dear Sajeev:

I hope you are well. I have a 2011 Subaru Forester (silver/5 speed) which has been great since purchase. I have travelled 19K to date and change oil every 6 months or 7,500 miles. I have one somewhat troubling matter, however: I’ve added a quart of synthetic oil prior to each 6 month/7,500 mile oil change.

Is this to be expected? My friendly local Subaru dealer says that “all cars” will use oil over a 6 month period. I’ve stopped in every 1200 miles the past 6 months and verified that it is using some oil.

However, my silver 1990 535i 5 speed with 250K did not use any oil when I drove it daily for many years. It is now in retirement. The local bmw guys tell me that the m30 engine was the best ever built by the Munich folks.

I keep my cars for a long time and would prefer to address this now, prior to the warranty expiration date.

Thanks and best wishes,

Sajeev answers:

Supposedly many (all?) late model vehicles come with a caveat about oil consumption in their owner’s manuals.  Just for fun, I looked at my only late model vehicle’s owner’s manual and the 2011 Ford Ranger (modern Duratec or ancient Cologne V6) doesn’t have a penchant for oil consumption. So anyway…

We’ve discussed Subaru’s oil concerns several times before in this series, but I doubt they have relevance here.  So I’m not surprised to read your problem. Do I know any details off hand? Nope. Luckily, we have Google searches and the NASIOC. Do more searches there and you’ll see my point.

Odds are your dealer isn’t lying: the Subaru Boxer engine (especially the turbocharged ones) can burn oil, so be okay with it.  Kinda like Mazda RX-8 owners! Ditto the V-10 powered BMW M5 and M6. These whips prove that certain engines are designed for performance, consequences be damned.

Unhappy with my answer? Sell the Subie and buy a normal car with owners that’d call for blood if their machines started sucking down oil…and they’d get that blood, too. To wit, a quote from an interesting article I Googled:

“Do cars today consume more oil than in the past? Not according to John Ryder, a master automotive technician and Philadelphia-area manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Approved Auto Repair Network.

Ryder agrees that manufacturers now commonly insist it’s normal for a vehicle to use up to a quart of oil per 1,000 miles. But in real-world experience, he says, such consumption is rare. “You see it in a super small percentage of cars,” Ryder says.”

 

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

106 Comments on “Piston Slap: Do New Cars Burn Oil?...”


  • avatar

    I change the synthetic oil in my supercharged SRT8 religiously at about 5000 miles, unless I feel I’ve driven particularly hard that period. Yes – I know i could wait, I just don’t. That’s why I’ve been problem FREE.

    Mercedes charged me $200 per change and Jaguar charges me nothing.

    • 0 avatar

      No, that is not why you’ve been problem free. Stop throwing away your money.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        If it were a 2.7L 300 I would agree.

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          Many of today’s new direct injected engines contaminate the oil much sooner than there SFI predecessors and some companies are starting to shorten the oil change intervals back to 4-5K change times. If you have a DI engine I would pay very close attention to both the dipstick and what the owner’s manual says and use good judgement.

      • 0 avatar
        Kinosh

        I don’t mind his money, but the industry is trying to reduce the amount of waste oil being produced. You get no benefit out of changing it more often than the OEM recommends. If not for your wallet, do it for the environmental benefits.

    • 0 avatar
      Robstar

      I change mine at 2500 miles on my 8 year old STi, which is about every 8-10 weeks. Full synthetic is required. I was thinking of going longer but my oil is already black by then…..? I think of it as cheap insurance.

      Edit: I do mine at an independent who lets me bring my own supplies and charges me $10, so it’s not all that expensive….

      Edit2: There is a TSB @ http://store.forcedperformance.net/merchant2/graphics/subaru_oil/02-103-07.pdf That says engine oil should be changed every 3 months anyhow….

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        “I was thinking of going longer but my oil is already black by then…..?”

        The color of the oil doesn’t really tell you much about it’s condition so don’t go by that. In fact, dark oil can be a sign that the oil is doing it’s job and keeping contaminants in suspension instead of leaving them deposited in your engine.

        • 0 avatar
          Robstar

          According to the TSB I’m pretty much within a week or two (time-wise) of changing the oil anyhow. I’ve thought about sending some in to get an oil analysis but haven’t yet.

          With that being said, how many people drive 3750 miles in a guzzler like an impreza, every 3 months? I don’t and I have a long commute.

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            3750 miles in three months is pretty average. That’s only 15k per year. While I doubt most STI buyers plan to use them for long commutes (at least 20k miles per year), I don’t think many STIs end up as garage queens either.

            What’s the STI’s oil capacity? Do you change the filter every time too?

            It costs about $85 in supplies alone to change the oil and filter on my daily driver – I would be pissed if the manufacturer wanted me to do that every three months. Not my idea of cheap insurance.

          • 0 avatar
            Robstar

            I change the filter every time.

            Oil capacity is 5 qt. I buy one of 2-3 brands of full synthetic + filter at one of the auto chains for $30-$35 + tax, and then $10 for my mechanic to take the parts I bought & swap them.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I’m unsure what all the hubbub is about I change the oil in all my gas vehicles at 3k miles with synthetic, I realize the computer on some of them allow up to 7-8k miles but w/e.

      I could care less about what others think as far is that is concerned, my diesels, that’s a different story.

    • 0 avatar
      Kendahl

      Rather than change oil at some arbitrary interval much shorter than the car’s manufacturer recommends, have Blackstone Labs test samples and change only when they tell you the oil is going bad. If you run synthetic, the savings will be substantial.

      • 0 avatar
        NeinNeinNein

        Hey why be scientific and all that? If people want to burn through their own money–I say go for it. P.T. Barnum said it, A fool and his money are soon parted.
        I miss the days of my old ’95 V6 Tacoma. As a punk kid I’d change the oil on that thing every 25K or so–dino oil no less! HAHHAHAHHA Coolant? Ran the same stuff from 101K till the head gasket finally blew at 235K. It looked like rusty mud. My mechanic just laughed at me. Now–older and wiser I’m a bnit better at maintenance.

  • avatar
    burnbomber

    Low to moderate oil consumption does not equate to poor vehicle durability or reliability. Our Chrysler minivan took a quart of added oil between changes, also a quart of oil on road trips. After 16 years, it’s still the primary ride for my daughter/son-in-law and 4 kids. It’s very reliable, fully functioning, and clean (always garaged), with only a couple of minor part failures over the years (door switch, frozen tensioner).

  • avatar
    Garak

    The oil level going slowly down is no cause for alarm. However, if it starts rising….

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Is there a chance of fouling sensitive emissions components if you’re burning, say,
    a quart every 800-1000 miles? I would say that is borderline excessive.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      yes. Cars that are oil burners early on often end up with a dead cat by 80K or so. By burners I mean 1K per quart…

      • 0 avatar
        TwoTone Loser

        I’m burning up a quart every week these days, bout every 300 miles. First gen 4.6 FTW. Cats still working though, 19 years later, even if just barely passing emissions these days.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          I’ve heard that up until 1997 4.6s burned oil after the 100,000 mile mark. The 1998 and up models they fixed it by making changes to the design.

          • 0 avatar
            TwoTone Loser

            Its the valve guide seals. I just think of it has having the pistons “extra lubricated.”
            Other than that, the thing has been a rock.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Check with Subaru forums with cars with the same engine for the best response. But I have seen PCV systems consume their share of oil or when the engine s operated at higher rpms.

  • avatar
    zaxxon25

    My ’06 Impreza has done this since new … with no sign of burning oil through the tailpipe or leaking oil through the head. I’ve just kind of accepted it as a Subaru thing. Keep an eye on the oil level and keep on motoring.

    • 0 avatar
      grzydj

      Your ’06 Impreza has the EJ series engine, while the OPs Forester has the new FB series engine, which is a completely different engine.

      I’ve heard of some oil consumption with the new FB series engine, but not as much as he is describing.

      As for your Impreza, it probably isn’t using any oil, but it probably is leaking oil out the headgaskets. Ask your Subaru tech to verify this, or you can even check yourself. You might see weeping on the outside of the head, or it could even be a camshaft seal leak. I didn’t even make it to 60k before these issues presented themselves with my Impreza, which happens to be the same year as yours, and also a total piece of garbage.

      • 0 avatar
        zaxxon25

        I agree it doesn’t seem like it’s using it … but I never could figure out where it was losing it. I always kept a sharp eye out for leakage from the headgasket and could never find (or smell) any signs. Did all my own changes, I ran Lucas Oil sealer through it last year and that seems to have helped. My sister’s been driving it for the past 6 months, so far she’s reported less consumption. Even with this mystery it’s been a very reliable car, especially after I swapped out the OEM plugs. BTW, it is a manual.

  • avatar
    burakvtec

    Toyota has the same problem specially in 1.4d diesel engine. a lot of complaints since 2010 (Corolla and auris).
    check other models;

    http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/150-2nd-generation-2009/410513-2009-matrix-using-lots-oil.html

    http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/104-5th-6th-generation-2002-2006-2007-2011/405154-2007-i4-burning-oil-like-crazy-oh-no.html

    http://toyota.pissedconsumer.com/newer-toyotas-burn-oil-not-covered-by-warranty-20120301301316.html

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      I would have thought Toyota would be the least likely to burn oil. Between our 3 active cars with a 4.3L V8, 3.0L V6 and 2.2L I4, with a combined mileage of around 700,000km, I haven’t had to top up the oil even once. I use 5W30 synthetic for all 3, and switch brands depending on what’s on sale. The latter 2 engines have bulletins on sludging, so I never reach for conventional oil.

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      2nd gen xB, also.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    New engines will burn more oil until broken-in, when it starts to levels off.

    But why do you care about ‘time’ between changes? I did change my oil at 1,500 miles in my new ’04 F-150 (4.6 V8) to full synthetic and it now has 25,000+ miles on the same oil, except it’s consumed more than 2 quarts. I don’t drive it much, but that’s 8+ years on (almost) the same oil change and the oil still looks and smells new.

    • 0 avatar
      TheEndlessEnigma

      Oh my, Denver, where do I start?

      Engines don’t have breakin periods any more, haven’t for the past 15 years or so.

      You say you haven’t changed your oil in 25k+ miles…..and 8 years. You must enjoy the idea of a total engine rebuild in your future? Good luck with that!

      • 0 avatar
        jz78817

        “Engines don’t have breakin periods any more, haven’t for the past 15 years or so.”

        um, yes they do. There’s just no defined “break-in procedure” for modern engines. both of my Mustangs drank a quart of oil before the first change, and consumed no oil after that.

        “You say you haven’t changed your oil in 25k+ miles…..and 8 years. You must enjoy the idea of a total engine rebuild in your future? Good luck with that!”

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          Honda’s K-series engines have a defined break in procedure. It probably doesn’t hurt their great longevity a bit. I suspect other Honda engines have break in procedures spelled out in the owner’s manual too, but the three Hondas we have are all K-series powered.

          I think the 2012 Audi had its first oil change at 5,000 miles before going to a 10,000 mile oil change interval. I suppose it is better than the way some BMWs get their first oil change at 18,000 miles.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        I’ve saved 10′s of 1000′s of dollars by changing my oil at 30 to 40,000 miles in my lifetime. I’ve spent zero on rebuilds.

        A buddy drove a V6 ’89 Toyota flatbed 1 ton to over 300,000 miles on the original oil (aside from oil added) and filter, when he sold it. He’s a legendary cheapskate. World class. I saw the oil myself and it was very disgusting. He has absolutely no reason to lie to me and is the most straight up guy I’ve ever known. I’ve bought real estate from him on ‘hand shake’ deals. That poor 1 ton was always overloaded too.

        And what’s ‘time’ got to do with it? Does oil expire like milk? And what’s really changed in engines in the last 15 years? The better they are, the less maintenance they need, right?

        • 0 avatar
          Toad

          It would be interesting to have an oil analysis done on that 8 year old oil. Big trucks go 40k between oil changes all the time, but I’ve never heard of 8 years.

          DenverMike, it is only about $10 for the analysis. You really need to know if what you are doing is very clever or…not. Let us know.

        • 0 avatar

          Oil can get contaminated by water, if not driven regularly to burn it off. Don’t know if that applies in Denver, but I’m just sayin.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          I use it 3 or 4 times a week and mostly short trips around town, but one thing I *always* do is warm it up 1st. Every time. I don’t care what people tell me, I always have and I’m sure that’s a key element to my success. And frequent WOT acceleration.

          My neighbor bought a new ’05 Mustang GT and does the normal maintenance. Same 4.6 btw at about the same total mileage. Him and his wife will start it up ‘cold’ and put it in reverse in the same motion. I cringe every time. It would be interesting to see who needs an engine 1st. We’ll both probably die of old age before our Fords do.

          • 0 avatar
            Toad

            You can’t really warm it up to operating temperature in your driveway. Once the oil pump has circulated oil throughout the engine you are ready to go, somewhat gently.

            Idling your engine to warm it up wastes fuel and creates smog for no good purpose. The engine will warm up much faster under a load.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Changing my oil at around 35,000 miles is a good compromise vs never. So is warming it up for 10 minutes vs never. It works for me and I sure it would for 99% of the populace.

          • 0 avatar
            Aqua225

            Toad, disagree on warmup.

            Several factors here:

            (1) Ring expansion: Piston rings expand as they heat. Running the engine dead cold simply means the rings are banging around a bit before they fully seal. Loading the engine guarantees a more brutal beating till they warm up. You also reduce their spring properties by rapid heating (such as loading the engine when it’s dead cold).
            (2) Bearing surfaces: same as piston rings. Gradual heating equals longer bearing life, vs. shoving the car in gear and blasting down the road. This applies even more to turbo bearings than crankshaft bearings.

            Honda will not allow cam phasing in K series engines until coolant is sufficiently warm.

            (3) Smog is not that big of a deal during warm-up, since the advent of 3 wire oxygen sensors. The engine can be placed into closed-loop operation immediately since the sensor’s temp is maintained by system electric power until the engine can sustain sensor temperature.

            Older engines with single wire sensors were more polluting till the oxygen sensor heated up from exhaust gas.

        • 0 avatar
          Crabspirits

          What’s changed?
          The amount of mechanisms inside the engine that run off the oil. Things like this….

          The oil itself never really goes bad. It’s the additives that break down under repeated thermal cycles. You wouldn’t re-use your bath water. The same thing happens in your engine. Over time, the oil will get dirty, or be diluted.

          In my case, I change every 3000. I have a 3 mile commute, and my car never fully warms up. The oil smells like gas rather quickly because it always runs rich during warm up. The gas and water vapor stuck in the oil is never “boiled out”.

          Hmm, I wonder why people complain about “failure-prone” turbos on these newer cars.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        That’s maybe what certain manufacturers claim. I can tell you that many green engines will consume some oil in the first 5k miles and will be tight until everything breaks in. My 2008 Impala 3900 is a perfect example. When new it was noticeably slower and used about a quart of dino in the first 5k miles. After that the motor livened up considerably and oil consumption dissipated to nearly none.

      • 0 avatar
        Aaron Whiteman

        My 2006 Impreza came with a manual that described a break-in procedure. Standard “don’t drive extended miles at steady engine RPMS, don’t red-line it for the first 1000 miles”.

        I followed it. Now it’s got just over 60K and uses no oil (mobile 1). I do “waste my money” by changing the oil every 6 months, no matter the mileage. Typically, I’m putting about 5000 miles on an oil change. Sometimes less, sometimes more.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      There is a world of difference between oil sitting in a jug on a shelf for 8 years and oil sitting in a moisture, chemical, dirt, exhaust gas, and fuel laden engine. How an oil looks doesn’t tell you anything. The oil you see could be fine, but you could have a layer of sludge deposits all over the inside of your engine. An oil change is cheap insurance and it takes a special kind of skinflint to pass on something that has been proven to increase the life of a very expensive machine.

      I would strongly suggest you get a UOA to check on the status of your oil before you potentially do any more damage.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        I don’t recommend my MO for everyone, but actually I do. Especially kids and older folk on fixed incomes. People buy 15 year old Lexus’ and proceed to do the ’3mo or 3,000 mile’ routine. I have to ask them how long they plan on owning it. I recommend using full synthetic on the next oil change an never change it again.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          Do you tell potential buyers of your cars about your maintenance practices, or do your cars go straight to the crusher when you are done with them?

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            This. I wonder if DenverMike brags about how little maintenance he can get away with to prospective buyers.

            I wonder how that turbo SVO motor likes 30k mile oil.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Buyers see clean oil and move on to tires and such. When taken on trade, it just has to run good. Some cars I just keep for their parts. I kept my mom’s ’88 Turbo Coupe for its 2.3T, 5-speed and 3.73 (8.8″) rear end with discs. I kept my ’90 Mustang GT for its 5.0 and 5-speed and near perfect ‘triple white’ top and interior. Both “ran (excellent)when parked” with very high mileage on the old synthetic oil. We just moved on.

            I’m dealing with Fords and none are rare or collectible. I definitely never fear engine damage, rebuilds or swaps. Not even in my SVO. Now if I had a GT500… nah, I’d do the same.

            Mostly, people leave too many unused miles on cars at the time they part ‘ways’. Lots of times, it’s from failed emissions, or transmission failure on “lifetime” trans fluid.

            I’m just insuring I minimize ‘leftovers’ on my automotive plate. And I’m not convinced I truly am.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            And this is why I buy new.

        • 0 avatar
          nrd515

          Guys like you are what makes me really scared to buy used cars. I would love to see a teardown of one of your oldest motors.

          • 0 avatar
            Aqua225

            When I was in college, I worked a summer at a full service gas station. We had one customer with a old mazda pickup truck. He *never* changed the oil in it, and it was about 15 years old, and had over 150Kmiles on the clock. He would have us swap the filter for a new one, and top off the lost oil. The thing ran like a clock.

            I personally get the hibijibis even talking about it, but it is absolutely true.

            While oil additives do break down, I assume the replenishment of the additives in the half of quart of new oil was sufficient to keep the engine happy.

          • 0 avatar
            burgersandbeer

            There may be cars that survive this kind of treatment; however, if it were remotely advisable, all manufacturers would change engine oil to “lifetime fill.”

            Who cares about the service department at that point; never changing oil would be too strong of a selling point.

  • avatar
    TheEndlessEnigma

    This article takes me back to 1995, Buffalo NY. A fellow, Jeff, I worked with bought, for his wife, a brand new Caddy Seville. Fast forward approx 13 months and 17,000 miles, the engine seizes up. The car is towed to the dealer service bay and the technicians begin their diagnosis. Jeff gets a call at the office, “Sir, your engine seized due to lack of oil, we measured less that 1 quart in the engine and pan. Sir, when did you last have the oil changed?” Well, Jeff calls his wife, the only driver of this vehicle. He explains the situation to her then asks, “Hon, when was your last oil change?” Her response, heard by the whole office on speaker phone, “Oil change? Jeff dear, when we bought the car, I thought it came with oil?”

    • 0 avatar

      When my parents bought their first car, a late ’40s Studebaker, they didn’t realize you had to get a lube and oil change. After about 8 months, the car squeaking like a bast*rd, one of their friends informed them.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    Yes this is normal. All my cars have gone through .5 to 1quart right before the change period ends.

  • avatar

    My 2006 CTS-V (LS2 V8) burned (or otherwise misplaced) a quart of Mobil 1 every 5k miles or so. Never ever had any engine-related trouble (or much of any other trouble) in 90k miles.

  • avatar
    Eyebolt

    Oh God…my 2008 Town and Country burns it like nothing. If it wasn’t for changing the filter…it wouldn’t really ever need an oil change because by the time I do the actual change it has already had a whole refresh of oil. No visible leaks or anything…just disappearing oil.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    Not enough info. If it is using exactly one quart over 7,500 miles, I probably would not worry that much at this point, but I would keep an eye on it, because as the author states, it’s a Subaru. It might still be breaking in, although that sounds fishy.

    If it’s requiring the addition of a quart like halfway between changes AND then at the time of the change is getting down to half a quart or a quart low AGAIN, I would start to wonder.

    I have owned American, German, Japanese cars over the period from 40 years ago to present, and have gotten rid of them at anywhere from 36,000 miles to 225,000 miles (usually somewhere in excess of 150,000), and I have never had a car that would burn even half a quart over 5,000 miles.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    My wife has a 2009 Forester with the 4-cylinder and hers uses about the same amount. When we first got married and I started checking/changing her oil I was kind of alarmed, but according to guys on the Subaru forums, it’s not uncommon. Therfore I don’t worry about it.

    I wouldn’t compare one manufacturer’s engine oil use to another because from what I understand some engines just use oil and some dont. I never really understood why. Maybe some have tighter tolerances than others?

  • avatar
    jgcaulder

    My 2009 Civic Si used a quart or more betwen oil changes. I would have liked to have known that up front, but either way, the harder you drove it, the more oil it used. I guess the VTEC’s are thirsty. Thankfully my Sonata turbo I currently drive does not have the same problem.

    • 0 avatar
      deliverator

      My 2008 Civic Si doesn’t appear to use any oil b/w changes. I have about 49000 miles on it. I suppose I don’t drive it too hard though, but do follow the shift points given in the manual, for the most part.

    • 0 avatar
      Aqua225

      K24 Si here. Did not baby it in the first 600 miles. Doesn’t burn oil at 15K. I change it when the computer hits 20% so far.

      I never baby it, unless I am really relaxed that day, and drive like a person twice my age (like I am 78 :)).

      Run the 0W20 synthetic as directed. Honda forums people run heavier oil, but evidently this reduces shaft output power & decreases economy. No thanks!

      My Dad is amazed anything uses oil that thin :)

  • avatar
    ant

    On the TSX forums there have been a few people with manuals that have had problems with oil burning on new cars.

    Honda doesn’t like to fix the problem, but will if enough oil is being consumed.

    The explanation given is small variations in the ring size. Some of the cars come with the rings too small, and a little bit of oil sneaks by and then burns.

    My tsx doesn’t burn any oil at all.

    I wouldn’t think adding a quart every 3k would be a problem.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      I’ve heard the K24 in the ’04-’08 TSX can burn oil. Acura forums often blame it on improper break-in procedure.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Our 2004 TSX has burned no oil since new. I once added almost a quart to my 2007 K20 Civic Si, but considering it hasn’t reoccurred in the four years since, I suspect the dealer just under filled it during an oil change. There are break-in procedures defined in the owners’ manuals for these engines, and we followed them. Considering the number of salesmen that told me to stand on it and ‘feel the VTEC’ in cars with single digit mileage, I can believe that incorrect break in is an issue in our moron-rich environment. My parents gave my sister a turbocharged car when she was in college. My father and I told her to idle it for 30 seconds before shutting it off, which was necessary on this ’80s car. She knew that both of us were very informed automotive enthusiasts. She listened to us until some impatient know-it-all told her there was no need to let the car idle. I once put four quarts of oil into one of her cars. Her response was that all that matters about a car is that it has gas. Probably just as well that she moved to Manhattan when she graduated.

        • 0 avatar
          Aqua225

          Though Honda has that 600 mile easy driving rule, I did not on my Si. I usually flog it daily, and it doesn’t burn any oil according to the stick, at 15Kmiles.

          I think some castings are just softer than others. The only religious thing I do in my Civic is allow the coolant to come up to temp before taking it over 3Krpms (try to keep it below 2500 for the most part).

          Most modern engines are run hard for short periods of time at the factory. While not enough to loosen the motor up, they will usually find any weak spots, since these motors, whether dogged when new or not, are under warranty that must be honored by mfg. if you haven’t modded it.

        • 0 avatar
          kvndoom

          The 2006 TSX I had burned enough to cause the timing chain to stretch. Bam, needed a new engine. I think I’ll pass on any future engines that need the piss revved out of them to produce torque.

          • 0 avatar
            Aqua225

            Do you mean the cam bearings were seizing and that stressed & stretched the chain?

            I am not sure, but that is what appears when doing an internet search on the issue. I check my oil every two weeks on the Si, but haven’t seen any consumption yet.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Every Ford, and I’ve had a lot, 4,6 and 8 cylinder, truck van or car has gone through 1/2 quart of oil every 1000 miles. Most were bought new and well maintained. I change the oil per schedule. It has never been an indication of bigger problems, in fact I have few complaints about any of them. They all just consume oil like a drunken sailor

    My Chrysler/Jeeps and GM’s did not or just a negligible amount

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I wouldn’t say that constitutes drunken sailor consumption. I’ve had Plymouths that needed a quart with every tank of gas. I followed those with five cars that probably averaged a quart every 2,500 miles. It took me a couple years of driving a car that doesn’t consume oil to finally stop instinctively checking the level at every gas stop.

  • avatar
    skor

    Love the Mad Max-esque picture.

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    The 2.5L Subaru engines have been know to drink synthetic oil, Mobil 1 in particular. I never had an issue with mine but you might want to try switching to a quality dino oil. There is really no need to run synthetic in a NA 2.5L boxer unless Subaru is now requiring it.

    • 0 avatar

      All new-ish Subies are required to use synthetic, IIRC. I am pretty sure the 2011s are all synthetic.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim_Turbo

      The 11-up Forester does require 0W-20 synthetic.

      • 0 avatar
        Advance_92

        Another reason not to get a new Subaru. Mine made Mobil 1 disappear at an alarming rate until I just started using plain old Castrol. Eight years later it’s still not losing any between changes.

      • 0 avatar
        redmondjp

        0W-20??? No WONDER they use some oil!

        Heck, even my lawn and riding mower manuals (I have been reading those a lot lately while getting all the equipment in shape for the season) clearly state that oil consumption will be higher when using a multi-weight oil vs. 30W.

      • 0 avatar
        Truckducken

        Yep, unless you’re living in Minnesota or Alaska, try some 20W-whatever synthetic and see what happens to consumption. Your oil pump will thank you, and your fuel mileage (whence the low-vis mfr recommendation) might drop by a fraction of an mpg on cold days.

  • avatar
    Onus

    Reminds me that a bunch of companies have decide select fit pistons are not needed anymore. I guess their machining is so perfect now. If only i could say that was true.

  • avatar
    MikeInCanada

    Audi/VW 2.0 engines. These motors have sucked countless oil fields dry.

    • 0 avatar
      cacon

      In particular the 2.0 and 1.8 TSI engines (turbo-direct injected).
      They’re quite the oil drinkers

      • 0 avatar
        arun

        This has me worried…I have a 2.0T VW CC and I change my oil regularly every 10,000 miles – which is the recommended interval….is this good enough? This is a 2011 CC if that makes a difference.

      • 0 avatar
        segfault

        Reports indicate that the 2.0TSI used in the newer vehicles doesn’t consume nearly as much oil. The 2.0FSI (used from 2006-2010, I think) is reputed to have all sorts of problems, including fuel issues, oil consumption, and carbon buildup, plus it has a timing belt.

    • 0 avatar
      jco

      oh my god you’re not kidding

      it’s actually alarming how much oil they consume. I had taken the Eos to a specialist to have them perform the DSG fluid change, and commented on this. the shop services a lot of VWs and he said a lot of the issue comes from the PCV system. VW knows about this, and the newer 2.0 motors have apparently been redesigned but yeah.. it’s terrible.

      but still. 1 quart of synth every 1000 miles. even my old 100,000 mile turbo Mitsubishi motor didn’t burn like that.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      We had a ’79 Plymouth Horizon with the 1.7 liter VW-Audi supplied engine. When new, it used oil at a rate of a quart every 700 miles or so. When we sold it with 70,000 miles, it needed a quart about three times as often. I had an ’85 Jetta GL with the 1.8 liter engine from the same family. I checked the oil every gas stop, but it only consumed about a quart between 3,000 mile oil changes.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      I had a 2000 Passat with the 1.8T I started using 0W-40 full synthetic with the larger filter when the TSB about it came out – probably around 45,000 miles. I got rid of it at 162,000 miles – traded it in. Never used any oil.

      I have a 2011 GTI with 25,000 miles on it. I use Castrol Syntec or Edge 5W-40 at 5k mile intervals (it’s chipped) Doesn’t use any oil.

      I had an ’87 GTI 8-valve that I sold when it had 225,000 miles on it. It never used any oil, either.

  • avatar
    JMII

    The only vehicle I’ve had that drank oil was my ’96 Eclipse turbo. I kept an extra quart in the back and often had top off once a month to keep the warning light on the dash from coming on. I figured it was the turbo to blame as oil circulated thru it as well as the engine. At start-up you could see it blow a tiny bit of blue smoke out the exhaust. My other vehicles (various makes/models, foreign and domestic) have gone thru oil too, but a much slower rate. Never really kept track of it as I’ve assumed a little bit of oil consummation was perfectly normal. Generally the oil level would be on the “low” end of dip stick by time a change was required.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    Other than making octane ratings look nice lead is also a lubricant. Lead free fuel resulted in engines allowing small amounts of oil into the top of the cylinder through the valve stem seals. I believe boxer engines need more lubrication due to oil draining to the bottom of the cylinder, because it lies on it’s side.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    BMW’s M54 engines are also known for using oil. As with a few other cars mentioned already, PCV is often the problem.

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    My ’09 XT Forester used very little oil, but that model year didn’t specify synthetic. So far my ’14 XT Forester also burns little oil, but I was careful during break-in (fingers X-ed it stays that way).

    A useful product is ASL CAMGUARD. No, this is not some quack oil additive (there are many) but an anti-wear product developed by an Exxon chemist for aircraft use, and now reformulated for autos.

    • 0 avatar
      grzydj

      As annoyed as I am with my lemony crapness Impreza, I’m sort of thinking about the 2014 Forester XT as a replacement. Give me/us some updates once it’s broken in. It looks like a pretty compelling vehicle overall.

  • avatar
    greaseyknight

    All cars burn oil, its the nature of the beast with an internal combustion engine. The question is how much is actually burned and what is added to the oil from the combustion cycle. Unburned fuel and such makes its way into the oil and offsets the oil that is burned. Generally this occurs at an even rate in the perfect world. Other times not, hence this piston slap. On an otherwise good running engine the fix is to just keep adding oil, its not that hard to open the hood once every 7.5k.

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    I had the opportunity to open up the oil filters on a new vehicle for the first 5 oil changes. The amount of metal in there was scary!! It got less and less with each change and there has been no trouble and no oil usage. There may not be any break-in procedures but the engines do wear-in.

  • avatar
    scrappy17

    If it is 1 quart per 7500 miles then it works out to 0.13 Quart per 1000 miles which is almost nothing.

    If it still bothers you step up to a heavier 20 like the redline 0W20 which has a much higher HTHS value and tends to reduce consumption.

  • avatar
    brettc

    My car (2012 Sportwagen TDI) has about 9300 miles on it and hasn’t burned any oil in the 8 months I’ve owned it. Even got a quart of VW’s fancy 507.00 oil when I picked the car up because I was expecting some consumption. But so far no consumption and I’ve been checking it frequently. So it does burn diesel oil, but not motor oil (yet).

    My wife has been looking at Subaru for a replacement car but has been turned off by their fuel economy. So it’s good to know that if we bought a Subaru I’d have to deal with crappy fuel economy and oil consumption.

  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    Wow! A Caprice Classic Brougham LS with the RPO CB4 ladau roof still intact. Another unbelievable demonstration of B Body durability!

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    I have owned VW’s since 1984 both gas & diesel. Never had an oil burner. The old 8v engine always leaked from the valve cover gasket but if you keep after the cork gasket the engine stayed mostly dry. My original 1984 VW Rabbit diesel is still on the road doing duty between Mass & Ct every day and has over 800,000 miles on it with out being rebuilt. I sold it years ago with about 180,000 miles on it but i still hear that the car is still going. Top speed 85 MPH. Have the Pa ticket to prove it and that was down hill. Always got a good 45 miles per gallon. My 2009 TDI was twice as fast as my 84 up to about 90 MPH but had a top end of about 132 MPH. Mileage is approx about the same but the 2009 engine has twice the number of parts. For the record my 2011 VW GTI with 30,000 miles does not consume a drop between changes.And the oil is changed every 10,000 miles or one a year.

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      There were some issues in the mid 90s about VWs burning a quart every 1-2k. Generally dealers wouldnt do ANYTHING unless it was worse than a quart every 1000, and the dealers had done all the service themselves.

  • avatar
    tdavis1338

    The only car I have ever owned that used a detectable amount of oil was my 1992 Saturn SC2. From the day I bought it until I finally got rid of it at 70,000 miles, it used 1.5 quarts of oil every 3000 miles. I thought it was excessive, but Saturn refused to acknowledge a problem.

    That same car also used up motor mount “bumpers” (Saturn’s solution to engine vibration) every 10,000 miles, and an transmission Valve body every 30,000.

    Worst car I have ever owned.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    Was the car broken in with regular oil? If the parts never had a chance to get worn in and the car was immediately switched to synth, that could be an issue. Ive always used regular dino oil and a new filter for the first 2 changes/10k miles. Then synthetic, and 7500 mile (or so) changes

    • 0 avatar
      tdavis1338

      I changed the oil for the first time at 1000 miles, then went to my usual 2500 mile cycle using dino oil. I have learned (perhaps a rumor) that the issue was that the supplier of the valve guides used a different material than that specified by Saturn due to availability issues, and that they wore excessively.

      Saturn’s position was that it was not an issue unless oil consumption reached 2 quarts per 3000 miles.

      It seemed to me at the time that my Saturn was having issues that I had never encountered in other vehicles I had owned due to “a new kind of car” engineering choices.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    The one and only thing I had that used any oil was my ’04 Hemi Ram. It was totally from the PVC system, and would come and go. Whenever I complained about it to the dealer, it would stop, like it somehow knew what was going on. One time it sucked a quart in two weeks (about 500 miles), and then when I started watching it for the service tech, it stopped and barely used a cup in 1000 miles. I went and just changed the PVC valve and that seemed to cure it. The old valve was loaded with gunk that looked a lot like snot. My two Hemi’s since then use no oil at all.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    My 95 Ford Thunderbird with 115k the 4.6 V8 tends to use oil, about a quart every 700 miles. There are no leaks and the exhaust is clean, no blue smoke. From what I have researched it is the valve guides. Apparently they are an issue with the earlier modular 4.6′s. From time to time I put in some Lucas treatment and it seems to help.

  • avatar
    corntrollio

    I also sometimes wonder if what people think of as “using oil” is sometimes a very small and hard to perceive leak. More than once and on different cars (American, German), I’ve had a mechanic catch a leak that wasn’t leaving spots on the driveway before, and after that the oil level wasn’t below spec again.

    Note that the stealership service department would often do nothing if it’s 1 quart every 1000-1200 miles, but my indy guys have always caught these things.

    I’ve always contemplated doing an oil analysis (a la BITOG) on my cars (synthetic) to determine if I’m changing oil too soon, but it’s convenient to do an oil change when other service needs to be done, so I’m sure I do it early sometimes. Even if I did the analysis, I’m not sure if it would change my behavior that much, so it’d mostly be to confirm that what I’m doing is okay.

    On one car, I followed the 10K factory service interval for synthetic oil until it hit 100K, and then I started doing it every 5K, somewhat idiosyncratically. I’d just rather keep it running, and it doesn’t cost that much with the amount I drive to do it every 5K.

  • avatar
    hans007

    my cousin and i both had 2010 Audi A4s. mine was a 2.0T quattro and his was a FWD 2.0t

    there is a defect in the EA888 engine with the piston rings in certain model years (earlier ones like 2009-2010) .

    both our cars burned about a quart of oil every 1000 miles, after about 2 years ownership. audi would say it was within spec and to just top it off at first when it was only burning a quart every 2500-3000 or so.

    anyway i sold my car, he still has his after audi made some valve fix that makes it “less bad”.

    so yes, a modern car can still burn oil if it is a piece of shit made by VW group


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India