Thursday, June 30, 2016


One of the dreaded things car owners face is oil consumption. Most people give this no thought at all, especially if the "oil light" has not come on or they are driving newer vehicle. One would think that oil consumption is the oil's fault, the truth however is not so simple.

Oil consumption has many reasons.

  • Engine design.  Some engines consume oil by design.  From day 1.  The consumption can be as high as 1.7 quarts per mile.  This depends on the make and model of the engine so if oil consumption matters to you a lot then you are better off asking questions before purchasing.
  • Driving style.  RPM affects oil consumption.  The higher your usually RPM is the more oil will be consumed.  That's because you put extra pressure on the seals and gaskets and some of the oil finds its way around and gets burned away in the combustion chamber.
  • Seal and gasket condition.  The more worn they are the more oil will be consumed.  As mentioned in the previous section: the oil finds its way around the seals and it gets burned away in the combustion chamber or it simply leaks out.
  • Higher-than-normal engine temperature.  The hotter your engine runs the thinner your oil will be. Once again it will be simpler for a thin oil to reach the combustion chamber and get mixed and burned with the fuel. 
  • Too-low viscosity motor oil.  If you use an oil with a viscosity below the recommended by the engine manufacturer than you will experience oil consumption for the same reason as presented in the previous section.  By viscosity I do not mean SAE viscosity only.  The HTHS viscosity also counts.
  • Low quality motor oil with high volatility.  I mention this as the last one because this is the least common reason.  If the oil's volatility is very high than it could be noticeable in the oil consumption rate.
  • There are also numerous other reasons including but not limited to high oil level, the damage or clogging of different engine parts and the fuel contamination of the oil.
Do not wait for the "oil light" to come on.  Get into the routine of checking your engines oil level at least every other fuel up.  Do not wait for the vehicle to tell you to change your engine oil, it is recommended every 3,000 miles or 3 months which ever occurs first.

Your vehicle is one of your most important assets - if you take care of it, it will be reliable for you for a long long time.  If you have any questions regarding maintenance please contact the ASE certified experts at The Auto Analyst (530) 621-4591 or visit our website

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