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Thread: Is it Normal for a New Car to Burn Oil ?

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Is it Normal for a New Car to Burn Oil ?

    We have a 2019 car with 11,000 miles on it that's my wifes. We it bought new from a dealer. First oil change was at dealer at 5k as recommended. No idea if it was low as I trusted a new car not to burn oil. At 7k mi a low oil light came on. It was a quart low! I added proper spec oil. Now 1k mi after the 2nd oil change its a quart low. No drips or leaks. The local quick lube who did the 2nd change is a friend and he and I are both mystified.

    I googled it and found:
    https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/...tion/index.htm
    Subaru considers a quart burned every 1,000 to 1,200 miles to be acceptable! Audi, BMW, and Subaru stick firmly to the statement that oil consumption is a normal.

    Consumer reports says Subaru is wrong. I'm ready to insist Subaru fix the problem.

    Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 05-03-2019 at 10:54 PM. Reason: Defaulted text so it was readable on all devices
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  2. #2
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    Neither of my Subarus (2011 and 2019) did that.

    Cars have changed significantly in the last few years to tighter tolerances and thicker oils, but my 2016 Mazda never burned oil either.

    Just read your article... It is dated 2015 and says that Subaru has been fixing the problem. Do they still say it is normal?
    Last edited by Wade Lippman; 05-03-2019 at 12:21 PM.

  3. #3
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    Andrew,

    Our forester burns a little oil too. From what I've gathered the rings don't always seat properly which leads to more than normal blow-by.

    The issue is suppose to be warrantied to 100000 miles. But where it gets dicey is that in order to determine if it's burning too much you have to take it to a dealer and request an oil burn test. They will then do an oil change and have you drive it a certain number of miles and then check the level. So you're basically trusting that they're honest.

    We had the test done on ours at around 40-50k miles and they told us it passed.

    My '96 Cummins with 420k doesn't burn a drop!

  4. #4
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    Consumer Reports opinion means exactly nothing when it comes to determining what is and isn't normal. If the owner's manual says to expect to have to add oil then you don't have a legal leg to stand on. Having said that, I would be irritated too. I have owned a lot more new cars than most people because I worked for a car company and it was in my financial best interests. I never had a new car that used that much oil - even after 100,000 miles.

  5. #5
    There's no reason for a modern car to use (burn or leak) oil.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  6. #6
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    My 03 8.1L GM has always burned a liter about every 4000 Km, which is what the documentation said it would do. My '13 Honda V6 has never burned a drop & it has about 230,000 Km on it now. The diesel Smart my wife had always used oil, but not our Mazda or Nissan. Seems like most don't but some do.

  7. #7
    I would say that the amount of oil being consumed by your auto is abnormal. I have owned 11 cars and small trucks ( 1 Opel, 3 Toyotas, 5 Mazdas, and 2 Hondas) over the years and none ever consumed oil. At least 8 of them had over 100K miles and still didn't lose/use any appreciable amount of oil between oil changes.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Joiner View Post
    We have a 2019 car with 11,000 miles on it that's my wifes. We it bought new from a dealer. First oil change was at dealer at 5k as recommended. No idea if it was low as I trusted a new car not to burn oil. At 7k mi a low oil light came on. It was a quart low! I added proper spec oil. Now 1k mi after the 2nd oil change its a quart low. No drips or leaks. The local quick lube who did the 2nd change is a friend and he and I are both mystified.

    I googled it and found:
    https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/...tion/index.htm
    Subaru considers a quart burned every 1,000 to 1,200 miles to be acceptable! Audi, BMW, and Subaru stick firmly to the statement that oil consumption is a normal.

    Consumer reports says Subaru is wrong. I'm ready to insist Subaru fix the problem.

    Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks
    If a Subaru has one of the Subaru boxer engines, some oil consumption is normal. It's just the nature of their flat 4. A tendency to eventually eat head gaskets is also normal, but you should be able to get at least 100k on the vehicle before that happens.

    Just make sure you keep checking the oil every 1000 miles or so.

    Is it using 0w-20 oil? That stuff tends to evaporate more quickly. In any case, keep a spare quart in the trunk.

  9. #9
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    Doug is correct. Different engine types can have certain characteristics. And sometimes a particular engine will behave differently. That said, "excessive" usage is not something I would consider normal, but defining excessive is complicated, especially when a manufacturer's written specifications allow usage over what many of us would consider up to our expectations.

    The 5.7L Hemi that was in my MY12 Grand Cherokee used a quart in about 4000 miles which was half the change interval. That particular engine often exhibits this behavior. The written spec said it could use that much in as little as 1000 miles and they would consider it normal. Our 2011 Subaru Outback uses a quart in about two months...we've gotten our daughter conditioned to check it monthly now. The 2016 Outback doesn't use any oil. I don't know what I'll see with my 2019 Subaru Ascent yet as it only has 200 miles on it...
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  10. #10
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    I am still driving an Infinity that I bought new in 1997. It now has 238000 miles on it and I have never had to add oil to it between my 3000 mile changes. It's amazing.
    Best Regards,

    Gordon

  11. #11
    One of the biggest advances in gasoline motors has been the development of improved oils. Years ago, the bearings on the crankshaft would wear out - to fix it was called a bottom end job (you'd put new bearing inserts in). Then, the rings would wear along with the cylinder walls. The rings would not wipe all the oil off the cylinder walls and that oil would get burned by the combustion. You just don't see that any more. The last thing was the valve guides - the intake valve guide would wear and then the engine would suck oil down along the valve stem and burn it. You'd have to do a "valve job" which would involve replacing the valve guides about every 50,000 miles. These days, that problem is pretty much eliminated.

    The engines in modern cars are just amazing. If you take care of them, it's not unusual to get 250,000 to 300,000 miles (or even more) from an engine with very minimal repairs. Years ago, 100,000 miles on an engine was considered a good lifetime.

    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 05-04-2019 at 1:20 AM.
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  12. #12
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    Jim,

    How do you like the Ascent? I've been surprised that I haven't seen more on the road.

    As mentioned above we have a forester that uses a little oil and that fact alone has me put off from buying another Subaru. Otherwise it's a great car.

  13. #13
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    Wayland, MA
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    My last BMW used a quart every 5-600 miles; that was said to be normal. My current Mini uses about a quart every 1000 miles. OTOH, I've never had to add oil to my F350 diesel, the level has never even budged.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    One of the biggest advances in gasoline motors has been the development of improved oils. Years ago, the bearings on the crankshaft would wear out - to fix it was called a bottom end job (you'd put new bearing inserts in). Then, the rings would wear along with the cylinder walls. The rings would not wipe all the oil off the cylinder walls and that oil would get burned by the combustion. You just don't see that any more. The last thing was the valve guides - the intake valve guide would wear and then the engine would suck oil down along the valve stem and burn it. You'd have to do a "valve job" which would involve replacing the valve guides about every 50,000 miles. These days, that problem is pretty much eliminated.

    The engines in modern cars are just amazing. If you take care of them, it's not unusual to get 250,000 to 300,000 miles (or even more) from an engine with very minimal repairs. Years ago, 100,000 miles on an engine was considered a good lifetime.

    Mike
    Exactly. Engines are way better, and so are lubricants. I drive a Toyota Prius, change the (synthetic) oil every 10,000 miles (the spec is 5000 miles, but the identical car is sold in Europe spec'd for 15,000 km), and it comes out looking almost as clean and fresh at that mileage as it went in. Collectively my wife and I have put 250,000 miles on three of the same model Toyotas without a single engine related issue. Only issues have been computer failure (once), a lost fight at 60mph with a deer, and un inexplicable attraction of the air system to field mice as a nesting box.

    I would not tolerate a new engine using oil.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Art Mann View Post
    Consumer Reports opinion means exactly nothing when it comes to determining what is and isn't normal.
    I'd hate it if my car used oil like you describe. But I strongly agree with Art here. Read your owners' manual. Talk to tour dealer's service department. Then evaluate your options based on what you learn.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
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