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vw jetta oil consumption



  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    true, porsches and ferraris can burn some oil. The difference is that they hold A LOT more oil than 4 quarts. Think about it this way: The Jetta 2.0L burns 25% of its oil when it burns one quart. I've seen fairly new Jettas down 2 quarts in 3000 miles. Thats 50% of the oil and VW recommends changing the oil every 5000 miles. If these people would have gone 5000 miles and not added, they would almost run out of oil completely. In my opinion, that is unacceptable, especially on a modern car. A porsche 911 that hold 12 quarts of oil would need to burn 6 quarts to equal that rate. I used to work at a quicky lube very recently and we do "pre checks" before we change the oil. Almost all of the cars we work use very little oil if any unless they have a lot of miles. Some Jetta 2.0L's don't show any oil on the dipstick even when they are on time for the change. If Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Nissan etc can build engines that do not use oil, why can't VW? This is definately something that is common with VWs and I would not be comfortable with it if it were my car.
  • I have a 2k 1.8l Protege and it doesn't use a drop of oil btw 3k changes. This is a high revving engine and I regularly run it up to 4500-5000 btw shifts. And the oil stays remarkably clean during these change intervals.
    I bought new and did first change at 1k, then 3k intervals. A change adding manual's recommended volume gives me a dipstick reading of 1/4" over the "F" level, but it's not enough to bother me and I don't think it's causing any harm.
    My 2k Accord v6, bought new also, uses a couple of ounces btw 3k changes, but it does get dark pretty fast. But I don't think that's a problem either. I'll just be consistent with the 3k intervals. And I just use regular Mobil dino 5w/30 in both. Any dino oil that has the star burst API certification mark and the appropriate API service rating is quite sufficient. The accord has @25k miles and the pro has @ 9k.
    I had a good laugh when I read the one about letting the oil drain over night so as to get all the old oil out. That's being a little extreme as far as I'm concerned. But then, it appears 3k changes are extreme to some people and certainly unnecessary according to the owners manuals. But I've got no problems with oil consumption, so it works for me. If either used a quart after 1k miles I'd certainly be concerned and I think it's ridiculous to ever consider it normal in a new or low mileage car, regardless of the make.
    Using porsches and ferraris as examples doesn't make a whole lot of sense either. The majority of us readers probably haven't even sat in one much less owned one.
  • gslevegsleve Posts: 183
    What is NORMAL Oil Consumption ?

    Oil consumption is a phenomenon unique to internal combustion engines and consists of many separate mechanisms.

    Because internal combustion engines are fueled primarily by burning of hydrocarbons, and lubricants also are flammable hydrocarbons, it is only natural that some of the lubricating oil is also burned in the combustion process.

    Engine design, quality of construction, materials used, types and frequency of use, maintenance, fuel and lubricant used all affect the lubricating oil consumption. Although each of these variables may have only very minor effect on oil consumption their cumulative effect determines the total oil consumption of particular engine.

    Car owners often ask about what is "normal" oil consumption, however just as there is no answer to what is "normal" fuel consumption for all vehicles, there is no such thing as "normal" oil consumption for all engines. Just as different automobiles can vary widely in fuel consumption from but few miles per gallon to well over
    50 MPG, similarly there is wide variance in how much oil does engine consume.

    Highly stressed racing engine can consume quart of oil in less than 100 miles, while engine in small economy car which is driven on highway under ideal operating conditions can consume less than one quart in 10,000 miles.

    Therefore the only aspect that is important is to determine what is typical and normal oil consumption for your particular engine. Any deviation from that norm is considered "abnormal" and merits investigation.

    Car owners often boast about their car "not using any oil", however this is not true. Every internal engine consumes some lubricant, however if the car is properly maintained and the oil changed very frequently, the amount of oil used between the oil changes may be so small as to go unnoticed.

    There are three methods for calculating the oil consumption:

    The first method: Miles per Quart of Oil [MPQ] is the most frequently used or quoted by car owners and just as Miles per Gallon of Fuel it is relevant only if compared to identical car under identical operating conditions.

    The second method: Percentage of Fuel used [OC%] is used by automotive engineers to compare engine designs, engine design quality as well as severity of service.

    The third method: Grams of Oil per kilowatt-hour of Power Output [g/kW-h] is the only truly scientific method which is used in certification bench tests.

    For example:

    The maximum allowable oil consumption for motor oil to qualify for API CG-4 service classification is: 0.304 g/kW-h.

    ( Or its equivalent in U.S. measuring system, i.e. 0.0005 lb./bhp-h = pounds of motor oil per brake horsepower hour ).

    However, this method is of little value to average motorist, since it is difficult to calculate.

    Data such as Oil& Specific Gravity, Engine Hours of Operation and Engine Power Output are required.


    (Miles per Quart of Oil):
    1. Check oil level with engine OFF and car on LEVEL surface when engine is COLD and before any driving of the car.

    The oil level should be between LOW or MIN and FULL or MAX marks.

    Adjust oil level to MAX, but do not overfill !
    2. Note the Odometer mileage. (Miles @ START of the Test)

    3. Drive car 2,000 to 5,000 miles, checking oil about every 500 miles or once a week.

    4. When Oil Level reaches LOW or MIN, add enough oil to reach the FULL or MAX mark, (about one quart for most cars).

    5. Note the amount of oil used in ounces (quart is 32 oz.).

    6. Note the Odometer mileage when oil is added. (Miles @ END of the Test)

    7. SUBTRACT MILEAGE #2 (START) from MILEAGE #6 (END) and DIVIDE by OUNCES in #5 and MULTIPLY the result by 32.

    The result is how many miles you drive before adding one quart of oil is required or your engine's oil consumption in MPQ (Miles per Quart of Oil).


    Motor Oil Consumption (Miles per Quart) MPQ = ([Odo End] - [Odo Start]) / [Oil]

    (Percentage of Fuel used):

    1. Check oil level with engine OFF and car on LEVEL surface when engine is COLD and before any driving of the car.

    The oil level should be between LOW or MIN and FULL or MAX marks.

    Adjust oil level to MAX, but do not overfill !
    2. Fill the fuel tank to full
    3. Note the Odometer mileage.
    4. Drive car 2,000 to 5,000 miles, checking oil about every 500 miles or once a week.
    5. Each time you buy fuel note the amount of fuel (Gallons) purchased.
    6. When Oil Level reaches LOW or MIN, add enough oil to reach the FULL or MAX mark,
    (about one quart for most cars).
    7. Note the amount of oil used in ounces (quart is 32 oz.).
    8. Fill the fuel tank to full
    9. Note the Mileage when oil is added.
    10. SUBTRACT MILEAGE #3 from MILEAGE #9 and DIVIDE by OUNCES in #5 and MULTIPLY the result by 32.

    The result is how many miles you drive before adding one quart of oil is required or your engines MPQ (Miles per Quart of Oil).

    11. Add up all the fuel purchased (Item #5 and #8).
    12. SUBTRACT MILEAGE #3 from MILEAGE #9 and DIVIDE by GALLONS in #11 the result is your fuel consumption in MPG (Miles per Gallon of Fuel)

    13. Take the result from #10 and MULTIPLY by 4 this will give you oil consumption in Miles per Gallon of motor oil.

    14. DIVIDE the result from #12 [ MPG Fuel] by [Mpg Oil] from #13 and multiply the result by 100, the final result will be your engine's oil consumption expressed as percentage of fuel used.


    Car uses one quart of oil every 3,275 miles, that is a gallon every 13,100 miles (3275*4) and has a fuel mileage of 26.4 MPG. This is equal to an oil consumption of .2% which is considered excellent

    Fuel Consumption (Miles per Gallon) MPG = ([Odo End] - [Odo Start]) / [Fuel]

    Motor Oil Consumption (Miles per Quart) MPQ = ([Odo End] - [Odo Start]) / [Oil]

    Motor Oil Consumption (Percentage of Fuel used) OC% = ([MPG] / ([MPQ]*4))*100

    Odo Start = Odometer mileage at Start of test in Miles
    Odo End = Odometer mileage at End of test in Miles
    Fuel = Fuel consumed during test in Gallons
    Oil = Motor Oil Consumed during test in Quarts


    Based on Miles per Quart of Oil.
    Oil consumption depends on many factors and what may be normal for one car such as 500 miles per Quart of oil (MPQ), may be quite excessive for another car.

    Typically brand new or rebuilt engine will consume up to five times more oil than "normal", and this oil consumption will gradually decrease (more MPQ), until engine has reached its mechanical "break-in".

    Depending on use the break-in period may be from 500 to 30,000 miles.

    The typical oil consumption after break in for older model engines is between 1,000 to 5,000 miles per quart. Good quality newer model engines with premium oils may consume as little as one quart per 6,000 or Based
  • gslevegsleve Posts: 183
    Based on Percent of Fuel Consumed.

    The second method of calculating motor oil consumption that is based on actual fuel consumption is more scientific and more accurate, plus it can be used as a meaningful comparison between different vehicles and different engine designs.

    It can be also used to compare quality of the lubricants that are used, i.e. better lubricant will be consumed at lesser rate.

    High Oil Consumption or "Oil Burning"
    More than 1% of Fuel Consumption.

    Engine Related:
    Any engine design that consumes more than 1% of lubricating oil and which is not suffering from mechanical leaks is "burning" quite a bit of the lubricant in the combustion process.

    This will ultimately result in high exhaust emissions of unburned heavy hydrocarbons.

    This however may not be necessarily an indication of a mechanical fault. For a large diesel engine of pre-1970 design, Wankel rotary (which injects oil to lubricate rotor seals), or any racing design that is known for lube oil appetite (Porsche, Ferrari, Maserati, etc.) such a high oil consumption may be quite normal.

    Lubricant Related:
    In modern engines that require API SJ or API SH multi grade lubricants high oil consumption will result if API SA single grade lubricants are used.

    Use Related:
    Any engine subjected to sudden and frequent WOT (Wide-Open-Throttle) accelerations and
    FCT (Fully-Closed-Throttle) decelerations such as those encountered in some types of Racing (Auto Slalom, Autocross, Rally Racing, etc.) or in High Performance driving under severe conditions.

    Normal Oil Consumption
    Between .5% and .3% of Fuel Consumption.

    Engine Related:
    Any engine whose oil consumption is between .5% and .3% is considered normal and of good modern design. Most engines will fall into this category.

    Lubricant Related:
    This oil consumption is typical of most modern multigrade petroleum motor oils.

    Use Related:
    Typical oil consumption for most passenger vehicles in normal use.

    Low Oil Consumption
    Between .3% and .2% of Fuel Consumption

    Engine Related:
    Any engine whose oil consumption is between .3% and .2% is considered an excellent modern (usually low-emission) engine.

    Lubricant Related:
    If oil consumption this low is achieved in conventional engine the lubricant is superior (high flash point and low volatility) usually a synthetic.

    Use Related:
    The service is extremely favorable and mild (long distance, steady speed, moderate velocity and low load operation).

    Ultra Low Consumption
    Between .2% and .15% of Fuel Consumption

    Engine Related:
    Very efficient low emission engine of very recent design.

    Lubricant Related:
    High quality and low volatility synthetic multi grade lubricants such as SAE 5W-40 or SAE 5W-50 lubricants of API SJ/CH-4 quality.

    Use Related:
    Oil consumption this low is generally accomplished only in engines that are operated at steady speeds and steady loads such as in stationary industrial applications (power generation, pumping, etc.).

    In automotive applications it is not unusual to see engines with Oil Consumption in .25% range if the vehicles are used in very light applications, such as light loads, level roads, moderate acceleration, and driving at moderate speeds (45 to 60 MPH) and if a high quality synthetic lubricants are also used.

    "Dry" engines
    Less than .1% of Fuel Consumption

    Engine Related:
    Engines that consume less than .1% of lubricating oil. Few experimental adiabatic
    or ceramic engines are this good
  • Well, that's a whole lot to digest! But interesting once you get through it.

    I think a good point is made though. There is no one single "normal" for engines. You have to compare comsumption of your engine next to the "normal" range for your type of engine.

    I was just trying to make a point that just because your VW engine burns some oil, that doesn't mean there is anything wrong with it. There MAY be, or may not be, and this is why you need to do a monitoring test to see how much oil is consumed. If it's in VW specs, then there's not much you can do, or even much to worry about.

    Personally, I would always want a car that burns a bit of oil, but a quart every 1,000 on a new car could get on my nerves. Still, nerves aside, I wouldn't be worrying about it.
  • spalispali Posts: 8
    I've been looking for these answers for almost 2 yrs now. I bought my 2000 Jetta in November 1999 and I'm coming up on the 2 yr deadline for filing Lemon Law. I've been struggling with this decision, the hassle with the dealership, and my time. My story mirrors the others here. I've done a fairly good job of monitoring the oil consumption and even had VW doing consumption tests for a while. However, I am a bit concerned because my oil consumption has dropped some since I purchased the car. At first, it was in excess of 1 qt per 1000 miles. Now, it is closer to .75 qt per 1000. I have 45,000 miles on the car now and I still think the oil consumption is excessive. However, my father and brother (both engineers) have conflicting views on the matter. Dad agrees with Mr. Shiftright and says it's OK to burn a quart/1000 miles and it's not hurting anything. My brother thought the car was a lemon from the first time he checked the oil (at 700 miles and it was down a quart!). I am not certain of the exact consumption and I absolutely refuse to spend any more of my time on this car. Mr Shiftright, should I be concerned that my oil consumption has now dropped? The dealer always told me the oil consumption would level off. I'm so tired of thinking about this car, but I don't want to find out a year from now that there is something seriously wrong with the engine, and I missed my opportunity to use the Lemon Law.
    Thanks for your help, and this much needed discussion!
  • Well, that's a hard question, because I'm not sure you will have much success with the Lemon Law procedure anyway. What you are facing is being in direct opposition to VWs stated acceptable parameters for oil consumption.

    By this I mean that your case is not, at least not now, apparently grievous enough to challenge VW on these grounds.

    If people ask me "Is a car that burns a quart of oil every 1,000 miles a lemon" I say no, it is not, because it could run forever that way and there are no signs of it getting worse. If, however, they ask me "Is a car that continues to increase its oil consumption rate month after month, and that has now dropped to 750 miles per quart and falling, a lemon"? I'd probably say it was.

    Why the two different answers? Because case #1 may not in fact deteriorate. It may stabilize and may even improve (not likely to improve, but.....).

    All my cars burn a quart every 1,000 more or less (I have three of them). I drive them hard and go anywhere in any climate at any time. I don't feel any of these cars are lemons. (Mercedes diesel, Alfa 164 sedan, Alfa Spider). Their combined mileage is 331,000.
  • Thanks Mr. Shiftright. Since my situation has improved a bit (rate of oil consumption is not getting worse), I'm not going to worry about Lemon Law anymore. Unfortunately, VW's way of dealing with these complaints has soured my VW ownership for the past two years. (One of the dealers even told me to just drive until the engine blew! That it would be VW's fault!) I have no appreciation for my car now, even if it is a good car. I will try to change my attitude towards my car so it treats me right for the next 50K miles. :)
    Sour grapes in Mass.
  • Yeah, sometimes you have to work with what you've got. Striving for perfection can drive you crazy. If the car stops burning oil, then the cat starts throwing up and it's vet bills.
  • Here is what I know of this on-going problem with the 2.0L engine from VW.

    These engines, made in Mexico, have a problem. The rings are not properly seated. My Service Manager told me that the problem may go away if you run your engine a bit. He suggested getting it up to 3000-4000 RPM before shifting. This will cause the rings to wear a little and hopefully seat properly. He also said,, "The problem may never go away. Your best bet is to start a paper trail." Our 2001 Silver 2.0L 5-speed is FANTASTIC except for this lone problem. The rate of oil consumption is slowing but will probably never go away entirely. My plan is to keep the car for another 2 years or until problems with oxygen sensors, exhaust ports, etc. (things related to excessive oil consumption) become common.

    Overall, I am disappointed VW has not fixed this problem yet. There are obvious quality control problem with the factory in Mexico.
  • justinjustin Posts: 1,918
    on new 2002 Jetta 1.8 Turbo's I hope.....

    From what I have read, this is a problem on the 2.9 liter engines, right? I THINK the 1.8T's are made in Germany. Does that make a difference?
  • Sorry Mr. Shiftright, I have seen your comments concerning the oil burning problem, and I think you are dead wrong.

    My son's new 2000 Jetta burns a quart every 1500 to 2000 miles. I complained at 10,000 miles and the dealership and VW tech. rep. said it should go away at 15,000 miles. (Bump and Stall) It is my understanding you can't file under the lemon-law after 15,000 miles. The VW tech. was about half my age and gave me a free lesson on how to read an oil dipstick. Little did he know, I was rebuilding engines in the 50's and 60's. I asked him if he knew what 327, 283, 318, 454, 289 were. He didn't, but I think he was thinking, "Lottery Numbers." Darn Kids, I should have told they going to learn anyway.

    I filed under the lemon law in June of 2000 and just received an out of court settlement from VWOA. My lawyers fee's were paid 100%, (win or lose), by VWOA and totaled nearly $2m. I received close to twice that amount. It took nearly a year and a half, but they didn't want to go in front of the arbitration hearing in the Court of Common Pleas and talk about what is normal oil burning. Why was that? My experience is that they will try to bump and stall you until you give up. And yes, I also have had most of all the other problems people complain about...window off of track, broken glove box door, engine light, temp. gauge, floor mats, rear defroster grid, etc. Mr. Shiftright it is easy to sit in a chair and read all about is much harder to live through it, like us car owners have done. You try going out in 4 degree weather, every 3 weeks, to add a quart of oil to your son's new $20,000 car. Makes you reconsider what is normal. Darn kids.

    My best advise is to quickly contact a lemon-law law firm and get an opinion from a lawyer. Win or lose, you will have no lawyer fee's. It worked for me.

    If the Jetta engines leaked, (rather than burned), a quart every 1500 miles, would it be considered normal? Not hardly. So don't give me your reasons that burning oil is normal. Is VW going to give us all a new $600 Catalytic Converter that is being ruined by this oil blowing through the exhaust system? Where do you think this oil goes anyway? Will it get worse with higher mileage? Will my car flunk inspection? I paid good money for this car....why should I have to study automotive engineering and hire lawyers?

    Mr. Shiftright, I had a Volvo 240dl with 309,000 miles on it. It lost (dripped) a quart of oil every 5,000 near the end. I considered that normal. What is my Jetta going to do with that kind of mileage? A new car that burns a quart every 1,500 miles isn't normal. You go spend $20,000 on a new car and see how you feel...and then be poorly treated by the dealership and mfg. Do you see any common threads here Mr. Shiftright? Do you need more than 100 people to tell you their story about oil problems, dearlerships, and VWOA? Why did my lawyer have a yellow VW on the homepage of his lemon-law website? Wanna see. Why is my other son's 1999 Honda Prelude not burning a drop of oil and holding together without a problem? Give me answers to these questions, and you will regain some of my lost respect. All I know is that talk is cheap.....I sued them and won and I'm still mad. Where are you in 4 degree weather?

    Mr. Shiftright, I think you are going uphill in the wrong are raising everyone's rpm's......oil pressure is OK, but your blowing smoke out the's time to shift. Yup.
  • I had an 89 GTI 16V since it was new. The thing went through a quart and a half between oil changes since it was new. The first time I checked the oil at 4000 miles, I was shocked, there was none on the dipstick. So I re-checked it and sure enough no oil on the dipstick. I took it back to the dealer. The dealer, since out of business, told me that this was normal. Back then, being fresh out of high school, I believed them. So I religously checked the oil ever so often and bought cases of motor oil when they had the mail in rebates. After 198,000 miles, it finally died. The demise was not caused by then engine though. I just got sick of replacing all of those little parts that get worn after this kind of mileage. It was starting to get costly. I think the engine would have went another 30 to 40k. Maybe that slick 50 does work. Who knows. The little quirks in these cars are part of the VW ownership experience. Anyone interested in the list of things replaced or fallen off?
  • Burning a quart of oil every 1,500 is normal if a) that level of consumption remains constant and b) if it is within the manufacturer's specs.

    I don't think your legal ruling was correct, and the manufacturer should not have had to make good on an engine burning a quart every 1,500 miles. If I had personally rebuilt that engine, and it was running well and the oil consumption stayed at 1,500, I would not feel morally obligated to give you an engine either. Oil burning is not a defect per se, simple as that. I would have fought you in court as well.

    You must not confuse court decisions with justice or auto science. Courts are about playing the game of outmaneuvering your opponent. Good points for your attorney, however. He knows exactly what his job is.

    I never said that oil burning is fun and nice and that I wish it for everyone. The question came up because people worry that their car is going to blow up if it burns oil. Well, that is simply not true. Exotic cars burn oil, Ferraris burn oil, race car certainly burn oil (they have to). Oil burning can be very NORMAL, as long as you understand that constancy and reasonable levels of consumption are part of what NORMAL means.

    I'll wager your legal settlement was based on more than oil burning.
  • gslevegsleve Posts: 183
    I have a friend have been servicing his 98 kia since new used amsoil synthetic his oil consumption has been 1/2qt every 13,000 miles or since we drain at end of yr and he is lazy and hardly ever checks his oil the dipstick registers oil between the add and maxium mark

    Now this makes me wander why is it that kia (now hyundai)not a top tier car can make a engineer a motor with this level of oil consumption and vw can't and they have been around for years
  • Well, it could be that his Kia engine will fail prematurely, low oil burning or not. Point is, oil burning is not a defect and no or low oil burning is not an asset. People simply put too much importance on either extreme and it really doesn't matter. You can give me the flexibility and power of a VW V6 over anything Kia makes, even if I have to add oil. Would you say the best mountain bike is the one that requires no adjustments? T Hey, buy a Huffy! The best boat the one that never needs paint? How about an inflatable then?

    And tell your friend to stick his nose in that engine more often or he'll regret it. Have you ever seen how fast an engine can pump out 5 quarts of oil when there's a serious leak?

    Would it be better if some VW engines burned a quart every 3,000 instead of 1,500? Sure, "better" for the owner, but not necessarily better for the engine one way or the other.
  • It goes somewhere. Oil heaven? It contributes to the pollution of OUR environment. Responsible vehicle owners shouldn't want to pollute, no matter who the vehicle manufacturer.
  • gslevegsleve Posts: 183
    the kia is basically a throwaway car not advocating its purchase, yet as a whole society has been led to believe over the years with the advent of new technology that oil burning or consumption tends to be taboo ie:not good and yet we have accepted this to be the norm or indicative of a good solid motor held very tight with years of good service in the future.

    Now all of a sudden in this day and age and new engineering are we now to believe that oil consumption at a rate 1qt every 1500 mil is right from the factory is normal, now if half a dozen car manufacturers had this approximate rate of oil consumption in their cars i'd consider in this case (VW) it would be the norm.

    I believe that (could be all wrong) that most car manufacturers in their final production do not expect their cars to consume a 1qt of oil every 1500 mil right from the the assembly line.

    It's kind of hard to rationalize that this is an acceptable norm for any new car for that matter let alone VW, just seems a bit excessive for a new cars comming off the assembly line

    Oh yeh I warn my friend all the time yet to quote an addage my mother use to say to us kids over the years "A hard head makes a soft behind"
    He may have to experience the repurcussions for such negligence
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    except for VW,just a lousy engine.
  • In fact I think if we took the time to dig it out, I would bet you lunch that at least 6 auto manufacturers would list an oil consumption rate of 1,500 per quart as "normal". I'd bet it's in the owner's manuals of many new cars driving around today, as we speak.

    The reason it is called "normal" is that the manufacturer has to allow for variances in consumption.

    It's the same logic that gives you a "range" for anything. Are all 53K modems operating at that speed? Nope, some at 53, most at 48, some even at 42. Yet, all of these speeds are normal for the equipment. Do all new Honda Civics get the published fuel mileage? Nope. "Your results may vary".

    Let's say you do everything WRONG with your VW.

    dirty oil
    wrong weight
    drive on a cold engine
    short trips
    very high revs

    Now, you are going to burn more oil than the average. You are going to be on the very low end of "normal".

    And if you add to this that you have an engine that was built on the sloppy side of the tolerances to begin with, then it's even worse.

    A manufacturer has to draw a line and say "this is acceptable, and this isn't".

    The issue, then, is whether the manufacturer's "line" is reasonable or not.

    I say 1,500 is a reasonable line and legally defensible, and others say no.

    If you drew the line below 1,000, I'd also say NO.

    That's essentially my argument on the matter at present.
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