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vw jetta oil consumption

ali64ali64 Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Volkswagen
I have a 2000 jetta that is consuming oil. I am worried that this is not normal. I'm putting oil in about every 1000-1500 miles. The dealer gave me part of a technical service bulletin specifically regarding oil consumption...I'm worried he left out the pages saying my consumption is abnormal. They say this is normal and that the car has no leak. I see other people are having this problem too. This is bizarre. Should I sell? Should I buy an extended warranty? Or is this car defective and a lemon? My heat sensor has already been replaced and so has my glove compartment door. Is there a mechanic out there who knows whether or not this could be "normal" as vw is contending?


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Yes, it could be "in the normal range" other words, on the low end of normal. And the engine could run for years and years consuming that amount of oil.

    If your consumption drops under the "low normal range", or is even HEADED THAT WAY, month by month, then you HAVE a problem. But it is perfectly conceivable and quite okay to be using a quart every 1500 miles. Many very VERY expensive cars use oil, and some are even designed to do so. In fact, using some oil is a good thing. VW will absolutely not replace or repair an engine using a quart every 1,500 miles, and neither would I if I were them.

    What I'd suggest is a few hopefully helpful things:

    One, get the "lemon" idea out of your head. There is no such thing as a "lemon", that is, a TOTALLY bad car, no matter who or what government agency tells you. Sure, there are cars with defects, and some with REALLY BAD defects, but no car is made ALL BAD. This is impossible. So forget "lemon" and substitute "potential problem?" with a question mark. That is what you are dealing with.

    Second, now that we have you out of negative thinking (which is only using your own mind to ruin your relationship to all those you can help you), I'd like to suggest that you CAREFULLY and accurately monitor your oil consumption by mileage, being sure to check the oil level in the same parking place and with the engine sufficiently cool (i.e., let all the oil drain back into the pan). Write down these readings (say once every 500 miles) and keep this record.

    Third, be sure that your "concern" over the oil consumption is written down on a dealer repair order, with date and mileage, SO THAT in case you have a claim later on, you have a record of this complaint. This may help you considerably in an after-warranty adjustment of some sort.

    Last of all, when anyone says "lemon" to you, put your finger in your ears; otherwise, you will completely spoil your experience with this very nice car. A Warranty and a good technician and a good dealer can handle any car problem. Scream "lemon" at them and they won't do anything for you but make you suffer, sue and jump up and down. Give the car and the dealer a chance before you jump to too many conclusions, okay?
  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    Unfortunately, to CYA all manufacturers place the phrase "oil consumption up to a quart in 1000 miles is considered normal" I would never consider that normal! However, like the host says you need to accurately monitor your consumption before discussing with a dealer.

    As to lemons, well my lemon law states that bringing the vehicle back to the dealer "three" times for the same problem (and after the third time it remain not repaired) qualifies it as a "lemon" and subject to refund or replacement. As to irritating the dealer by discussing it. Well, upon my second visit to my Buick dealer (1,500 miles on the car and still leaking oil) I placed a copy of my state's lemon law on the dash.

    the leak does not exist anymore!!!!!!
  • adc100adc100 Posts: 1,521
    The only thing I would add is to be especially careful with documentation of maintenance activities, especially oil changes. If you think the extended warranty will add to your peace of mind, go for it. Folks will tell you that this warranty is a waste of money. But hey, statistically insurance is designed to make money for the seller. Some win, some lose. I bought it. Now I know what my costs will be over the next 7 years.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    All that bringing a car back to the dealer three times for the same problem PROVES is that the dealer can't fix the problem...doesn't mean the car was a lemon. In fact, these "buybacks" are often fixed up (finally!) and resold without incident. If I were a dealer and I totally ignored you three times, then that makes any car you drive a lemon according to the lemon laws.

    But really, many expensive cars use oil (Porsches, Ferraris) and of course race cars are built "loose" and use some oil. It isn't "abnormal" to burn oil as long as it is not excessive. And a quart every 1,500 miles, or even 1,000 miles (if it stabilizes there) isn't abnormal. It's on the low side of normal, true, but doesn't mean there's a "defect".

    What it inconvenient, because then you have to check it.
  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    well, I agree except if your dealer cannot fix the problem in three tries something smells like a lemon there and I would dump the car if I had the chance rather then deal with idiots!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    A classic case of the wisdom of shopping for service as well as price, I think, when you buy a new car.

    My dad was a roving field engineer for a prestige automaker, and he never failed to fix a client's car, sooner or later. Of course, his company went out of business.....hmmmm........
  • kholden1kholden1 Posts: 1
    I have a 1999 Jetta and I've had the same problem. The car consumees oil! I have read that this occurs normally in volkswagons, but it still seems pretty odd to me. Even the guys at the dealership (complete idiots that they are) tell me that it's normal. I'd say on average I have to replace oil every 1000 miles.

    Do you drive your car hard? Faster than 70mph everyday? I've heard these can contribute to oil loss.
  • achong9achong9 Posts: 5
    ali64 you hit the nail on the head. I have a 2000 VW Jetta GLS... I purchased it Sept 99 and I have had several problems one of which is oil comsumption. Back in Nov 2000, my MFI light went on. Since the light is an yellow check engine light I checked the oil. My oil was out of the accepted range. After two sensor replacements and two quarts of oil things were fine... or so I thought. I check the oil every 2,000 miles same issue. I took my car in for a 5,000 service at 33,000 miles. I took it in for two reasons: 1) low oil and 2) vibration in the steering wheel. The service advisor stated I should do an oil consumption test every 1,000 miles. He never made mention of a technical service bulletin. The vibration... Well, there was another technical service bulletin regarding for the Goodyear Eagle LS 195/65/R15. These tires are defective and will be replaced by Volkswagon under 25,000 miles. If you're like me, you're on your own for brand new tires. All in all, Volkswagon doesn't care about their customers. I don't believe oil shrinkage of this magnitude is normal... Can anyone help? Amazing!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I think you need to be checking your oil a lot more often than every 2,000 miles. That isn't safe for any car. You should check it every fill up. It's a good habit and only takes a minute.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    It is true that almost all of these cars you are talking about use oil. I used to work at Jiffy Lube when I was in college in a relatively up-scale neighborhood. We serviced many Audis and VWs and they all seemed to use more oil on average than any other make that I have seen and I have worked on literally thousands of cars. Jiffy Lube offers free top offs of fluids if you service you car there and it seems that no one really takes advantage unless the have A) An older car or B) a Volkswagen or Audi product (doesn't matter how many miles or how old it is) The dealers you are talking to are right, it is normal for a VW. On the other hand, there are many cars that hardly burn any oil ever. My old Acura Integra had 130,000 miles on it and it STILL didn't use any oil. In my mind, it is not normal to burn a quart every 1000-1500 miles, but if you have a VW or Audi that is the way it is. I really liked the new Jettas and GTIs, but that is one reason why I chose not to get one. How much oil will it use when it has 100,000 miles when it already burns oil brand new?
  • joe3891joe3891 Posts: 759
    I owned a 120 hp 4 cyl engine and with 70,000 miles on it drove cross country and back at a steady 70 mph,went 8500 miles and added no oil.The car was a 1994 model.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    There really is no "normal". Manufacturing and design characteristics account for variations. Both Ferrari and Porsche, for instance, use engines that will use some oil. I just don't want people thinking that if their car uses some oil they should panic. That engine could burn a quart every 1,500 miles for the next 200,000 miles. At around 1,000 miles or lower, though, I'd start to be concerned, it's true.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    Yeah, Ferraris and Porsches use oil. BUT, they have very high performance engines and the crankcase in those cars holds A LOT of oil, so 1 quart really doesn't matter. VWs on the other hand, really don't have anything special about their engines nowadays, and to me, really have no reason to be burning the amount of oil that they do, especially since they don't hold 9-12 quarts of oil like 911s do. So, IMO, 1 quart out of 4 quarts is too much oil to burn when MOST new cars don't burn any. While the VW dealer may tell you that it is normal for VWs, it is not normal for most other cars.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well, if it's in the manufacturer's specs, then it's normal. Of course, they don't show you the specs when you buy the car, do they?
  • riswamiriswami Posts: 192
    I had an 88 Jetta and it didn't use much oil.Not enough to add any. Know other people who own 91 and 96 Jettas. Not aware of their cars using oil.

    The engine hasn't changed that much in 12 to 13 model years. Actually VW engines are very durable.

    Anyone who says that VW doesn't care about their customers is right. I understand what Mr, S is saying. But if my car was using that much oil I wouldn't be happy!
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    Thanks, you just proved my point even more. It is true that the engines haven't changed much. So what gives for the cars that DO use oil? There are many, even BRAND NEW ones. So maybe it is NOT normal. If some use oil and some don't, how can VW say that it is normal. If I ever buy a VW, can I tell my salesman that I want one of the VWs that doesn't use oil? ie) one of the "abnormal" VWs since the "normal" VWs use about a 1 quart every 1500 miles.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Actually, NOT using any oil is not necessarily a beneficial thing. Maybe you want some oil up there lubricating the valve stems from the upper cylinder area. Maybe you don't want engine clearances so tight and fine that they cannot withstand an overheat situation.

    Engine design is compromise, and VW engineers may have factored some oil burning into their compromise...perhaps they get more HP/per liter or faster warm up...maybe they were fishing for some advantage.
  • achong9achong9 Posts: 5
    This is a great dialogue. Mr. Shifright, you appear to be very knowledgeable. Two cars prior, I drove an 89 Ford Taurus. I checked the oil when leaving for work and I checked the transmission fluid when I got to work. After the Taurus, I had a 97 Toyota Camry. I checked the oil regularly. The level was consistent and I changed the oil every 3,000 miles. It drove like a charm. With VW, they recommend an oil change every 5,000 and I check the oil regularly and rarely is the oil level in the acceptable range. Prior, my family has owned American and Japanese cars. So I am accustom to checking the oil level and not being alarmed. If for VW, losing 1 quart of oil within 1k to 2k miles is acceptable this shouldn't be a huge shock at the dealership. It seems VW knows this is the way there cars are but they don't want to formally admit it because it appears abnormal. Mr. Shiftright, I will take you advice and reccommend to all VW owners, keep a great supply of 10W30 in your car and consistently check the oil. I shake my head because I feel if I don't my engine may seize on me one day and that's not a good feeling and unfornately, it's a feeling I've never had before.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    USING OIL IS NOT BENIFICIAL when you are talking about the amounts that VWs use. Sure, a quarter to a half quart of oil is normal, but like I said, almost all new cars use almost no oil at all. Obviously it is impossible not to use ANY oil, but you have to question a brand new car that uses over a quart of oil every 3000 miles when it only holds about 4 quarts (2.0L vw) Excessive burnt oil by-products are not good for oxygen sensors, exhaust ports, and catalytic converters on gasoline cars. Everybody knows that. My question is: Why does it seem that VW/Audi are unique in burning lots of oil for regular everyday cars. ie) not ferrari, not porsche. Why do they burn so much oil, when almost all other cars don't?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    But we don't know if they all burn lots of oil, or more than Japanese cars, there's no statistical basis for that, and we don't know that burning a quart of oil every 1,500 miles is harmful to an engine. I would certainly consider any studied argument or proof that it is harmful, or peculiar to VW, but in such amounts I can't imagine why it would be. You are talking about a pint of oil for every 30 gallons of fuel, or a gas oil mix of 240 to 1. Compare this to 2 cycle engines, with a mix of 30 or 40 to 1.
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    I worked in that field for 5 years through part of high school and all the way through college. I know everybody thinks Jiffy Lube is a joke, but I did see a lot there. Before every single oil change, you check the oil to see if it is low. Now, I am not saying that other cars, mainly older cars, don't use oil. But I couldn't believe how many VWs and Audis used oil. They were definately and obviously out of proportion with other cars. You could almost guarantee at least a quart low especially on Audi 2.8L V6s. Audis and VWs also came in for the free fluid checks (top off their oil) way more often than say, Honda or Toyota. I have seen thousands of cars, and checked thousands of cars' oil. Variances in driving style, regular maintenance, etc. can determine if a car uses oil or not, but VWs and Audis seemed to use the most, even if the owner was meticulous about maintaining their car. Not only that, but VW was giving away free oil changes for 20,000 miles or so, and people weren't even taking advantage of that. Why, you ask? Because it could take as long as a month to get your car into the dealer for an oil change. As a result, we did many brand new VW oil changes. I feel like I have a unique perspective on this since I have seen it first hand many, many times. I have also talked to many VW and Audi owners who were concerned about oil consumption and I don't know what to tell them, so I tell them it is normal for their car. I feel bad too because some of those Audis are expensive. By the way, why did you bring up 2 cycle engines and what do they have to do with a 4 cycle? They are designed to use oil and lots of it. They don't have intake and exhaust valves (which would get very gummed up with constant oil burning), or catalytic converters, and I haven't seen any with oxygen sensors either. You think VWs might be two strokes? ;)
  • Folks,

    In all the discussion , twice it has been mentioned that VW doesnt care for its customer. I say thats completely false. I own a VW bug. I bought it when it had 25k miles on it. First week its instrument cluster broke. Since 25k no warrenties. Called VW, they fixed it free of charge. After two months Oxygen sensor and Catalyic converter broke. Called VW, complained whinned, they offer to pay for every thing but I had extended warrenty, it was covered. Next month indicator rely broke, Called VW, concerned , worried, aggrevaited, again they offered a full repair at the dealer free of cost but again covered under extended warranty.

    Though I got many problems in my BUG but every time I called VW they offered me full service free of charge. They do stand by their products and they do care if you talk to them properly.

  • achong9achong9 Posts: 5
    Thanks again for the info. I think everyone has valid points. This is the main reason why I am working with this dealership wil the oil consumption test (every 1,000 miles or a quart of oil lost) I must got to the dealership). As for VW service, in my particular case, it has not been good. First, when I has a stress fracture in my windshield the dealership I purchased the car from said I caused the crack. I complained to the CARES center they never followed up. I went to another dealership, they fixed it under warranty after I requested their field specialist inspect it. This took approximately a week to complete. When my MFI indicator went out, the CARES center said it wasn't serious take it to the dealership. The dealership I purchased it from said I would have to wait 1 1/2 weeks to get into the shop. I went to another dealership they looked at it and supposedly reapaired it (I looked at the test results). After 40 miles, the light came on again. Back to the dealership. The Service Advisor has an attitude. They had to keep my car for two days. I vented and it took a Mazda Service Advisor to obtain a loaner car for me (a 00' Subaru Outback). My ABS became disengaged in a snow storm of which I slipped and slided down the street. These are just a few issues. In all instances except one, the CARES center followed up with my CARES ticket. In two cases, the Service Manager at Heritage and the Service Advisor at Russel no longer work there due to customer complaints. I realize this may be specific to me or specific to the Baltimore Area. I don't want to malign certain dealerships. But when dealing with the National VW CARES center, they don't seem to care, they barely if ever follow up. Naveed, I'm glad your experience has been good. Just for instance, my tires were recalled in a technical bulletin in which Goodyear nor VW notified me of though I serviced the car at 5K, 10K, 15K, 20K, 25K, 30K and 35K. Since I have more than 25K miles, I'm responsible for replacing my tires and the stem, mounting and balancing for them. The CARES center said it's no longer covered though the problem existed before 25K. So for me, VW hasn't been that great.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    The analogy to two-stroke was meant to suggest that the amount of oil burned in 1,500 could not possibly foul up a catalytic converter or 02 sensor in a 240 to 1 dilution. In fact, many of the additives you see marketed today are in fact an upper cylinder lubricant (oil) meant to achieve this level of oil mix into the gasoline. Whether they are really needed in modern engines is debatable, but I'd personally add as much upper cylinder lube in my car as you'd be willing to send me for free. I see no harm in this at all.

    Thanks for the feedback from Jiffy is interesting, but not really solid data, as you have no control group or valid sampling. This is what we call anecdotal evidence, which might be good enough to support a good statistical model but can't substitute for one.

    All this is NOT to say that perhaps there really is a problem with VW engines. I just think the issue is not at all proved by the oil cosumption levels of a quart every 1,500 miles, nor is it proved by a few unfortunate folks who post greater oil consumption here on these boards. There are a LOT of VWs out there, and we don't know what they are all doing.

    I'd say that if something like 5-10% of all new VWs burned a quart of oil every 1,000 miles or less, I'd call that a maufacturing defect. Less percentage than that, or at 1,500 miles a quart on up, and it's more like the variation you'd expect in any manufacturing process. That's my opinion, anyway.
  • lspanglerlspangler Posts: 102
    I have a friend who works at GM powertrain. In testing engines, they are usually more concerned about the the engines that use no oil at all. He says that 1 quart every 3,000 miles is considered normal and that is the reason why manufacturers are shying away from extended drain intervals. People never check thier oil
  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    there are many VWs out there. I just found it interesting that I came across this message board and it seems to mesh with my own experience. I know that every single VW owner doesn't post here, but it is interesting that there is a topic specifically for "VW oil consumption" Also, there must be quite a bit of variance in the manufacturing process when some use 1.5 quarts of oil, and some don't use any. I find that really strange. If I bought a brand new Honda and it did this, I would be very worried, but it is supposed to be normal on VWs? Are there any other boards similiar to this about a different make? NaveedRahim, does your car burn oil? What a coincidence that your Catalytic converter and O2 sensor failed prematurely
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I wouldn't jump to such conclusions based on what you read here. All that does is upset owners who then will worry needlessly when their engines use some oil, which is normal.

    What you need to worry about is if, by careful monitoring, you notice your oil consumption going down and down, and finally approaching the manufacturer's lower limits. If it's just consistently burning a quart every 1,500 miles, you don't have a problem, period, either with the engine or the catalytic or anything else. It's the *rate* of burning mile after mile that you need to pay attention to. It should not keep dropping.
  • mdecampsmdecamps Posts: 115
    My wife and I bought a brand new 2001 VW Jetta TDI last year. It now has 9,000 miles and doesn't use a DROP of oil! The oil now has 4,000 since the last change and is still at the same point on the dipstick as it was the day it was changed! I'm not saying that some don't burn oil, but I just wanted the voice of a happy VW owner to be heard.

  • newcar31newcar31 Posts: 3,711
    The diesels don't use oil and some gas engines do.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    The oil consumption issue is actually a lot more complex than just noting these complaints.

    For instance, think of all the variables:

    Is the car driven regularly at high speed or high rpm? (will burn more oil)
    Is the car driven only for short trips? (oil dilution and evaporation)
    Is the engine overfilled or underfilled?
    Is the level being checked properly or read properly each time?
    Are there possible leaks?

    Any of the above will affect the oil consumption--"Your results may vary".
  • mac9681mac9681 Posts: 2
    You seem to imply that oil burning provides some sort of benefit by lubricating the upper cylinder of your engine. You go on to say that this causes no harm, as far as you can see. You seem to imply that the more oil your engine burns, the better benefit this is because of this upper cylinder lubrication. The flaw with your logic is you are not taking into account what is happening to your engine in the other direction. What I mean is: if oil is getting by the rings and up into the combustion chamber, then contaminents from the combustion chamber must be leaking by the rings down into the oil. Whatever gain you receive from upper cylinder lubrication is likely more than lost from excess dirt and contamination of the oil. I would much prefer my '94 Jetta GLX with 95,000 miles which burns 1/2 quart per 3,000 miles than any car that burns 1 quart per 1,500 miles.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Yeah, in theory perhaps but we are talking about much much less than a critical amount here. You may be making a wrong deduction from a good observation. And besides, you can have looser oil control rings and still maintain excellent compression rings. I have seen many cars that burn significant amounts of oil but actually have good compression. Volvo engines from the 80s were well known for this ability...they could burn a quart every 500 and still show 160 lbs compression, so they performed quite well and were not harmed by the oil consumption.

    At a quart every 1,500 miles, I would guess oil contamination to be quite minimal and performance or longevity not to be affected. So again I tell people not to worry about a certain amount of oil burning. You are fretting over what may be nothing at all in terms of engine life or internal troubles.

    The only real downside of oil consumption (within factory limits) is the danger of not checking it and running low. This is an annoyance I know and so I do understand why some owners don't like it. Also, people are mistaken in that they think they may be polluting more, but in fact an oil burning car within factory limits can pass a smog test as easily as one that hardly burns any at all.

    The whole thing looks a lot worse than it actually is, kind of like Monday morning.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    When an engine uses oil at the rate of 1 quart per 1000 miles, you then add a quart of FRESH oil. On a car that only holds 4 quarts that means that 25% of your oil is new. As a result, you will have nominally better oil quality than the same engine that does not use oil.

    Best Regards,
  • yettibuttyettibutt Posts: 98
    My wife has a 2000 Jetta GL with the 2.0L engine. I went to check the oil not to long after it was bought and to my suprise, it was VERY low with only a few thousand miles on it. When we took it in for the 5K service, I mentioned it to the dealer and he said that it was "normal". I don't mind that it burns a little, its not like we are getting blue smoke, but it suprised me for a new car. My 92' Toyota P/U with 130K did'nt burn any oil. We have since switched to synthetic oil and the consumption is much less. Im not too worried about it. I also had the tire issue with the "roaring", the dealer is looking at it next week and hopefully we will get new tires prorated. Its louder on the highway than my Jeep Cherokee! I have had excellent service from my Dealer so far and I hope it continues. I would'nt worry about the oil consumption, just check it more often.
  • w/ 135miles on the odometer btw oil changes of 3k miles . I was a previous Scirroco owner and they are fun car to drive when they run until things start breaking down which was over 100k miles for me then they are a real pain to own. VW in my opinion doesnt hold up as well as Japanese car due to inferior components.

    I dont remember how much my oil was burned when i own the Scirroco but 1 quart at 1000 miles seems way too excessive to me.
  • chanz1chanz1 Posts: 1
    I was having the same problem with the engine on my 2001 VW Jetta GLS. I was completely fed up with whole situation, but after a year of complaints VW agreed to change the motor. Unfortunately, I think that this engine might have the same problem.

    This problem as well as others has turned me off to VW. I dont think that I will ever buy one again. Aside from the persistent rattles, My glove box lever has broken off, I had a loose engine mount and the reception on my radio has turned sour. I took the car in for the engine job and when I got it back the radio no longer worked properly. Now the dealer is telling me that I need to had a $400 job done to repair the problem. I am thinking that it is a bad connection and I am in the process of checking it out, but it is still frustrating. If I wanted all of these problems, I would have bought a used car. It is extremely frustrating.
  • I must be lucky. I own a New '99 Jetta purchased in may '99. Car has a VR-6 and has nearly 30,000 miles on it. I change oil regularly at 3000 miles, but have gone as high as 5000 between changes when lots of highway miles involved. It does not use one drop of oil between changes.

    I broke it in the old fashioned way on the highway. I drove it round trip about 2200 miles at varying speeds including high speeds.

  • First off, I am starting to think Mr Shiftright must work for Volkswagen

    Anyway, I own a 99 Jetta GLS....when I bought the car used, oil didn't even register on the dipstick. It was 2.5 quarts low since the guy I bought it off of assumed it didn't burn oil. I topped it off and discovered that my 2.0L engine burned a quart of oil every thousand miles. I called Volkswagen and they told me the same bullsh*t line that it is normal! UMMMM NO IT ISN'T NORMAL! DON'T LET ANYONE TELL YOU THAT. My father had a 85 Buick LeSabre that didn't burn that much oil! To the facts though....

    I took my Jetta to the dealers service manager who said they see it quite often and there is a problem, and Volkswagen says it is normal. He followed with, "Volkswagen is a very secretive company." He continued to explain that after much prying and complaining on his part, he finally discovered that there is a set of VIN numbers that are known to have the problem. He was told that some 2.0L engines(only VW engine to be built in Mexico) were assembled with the piston rings upside down!!!! They said only a few of them had the problem.....more like 30,000 engines!!! If VW considers it normal, I am curious why they have a set series of serial numbers to cross reference the problem with. Mine happened to between this list of VIN numbers so as we speak, it is being repaired. They are replacing the pistons, rings, and depending on how they look when the engine is apart, the bearings. I am trying to get them to put it in writing so I can send it to my brother in Chicago who also has a jetta 2.0L burning oil (surprise surprise) and the dealer is spitting the same line, "it's normal". Only thing I have to say about that is if it normal, why doesn't the commercial say "Mechanics wanted." instead of "Drivers wanted."

    More interesting notes on what else VW considers normal on my Jetta:

    Bad emissions sensor triggering the check engine light and making my car smell funny.

    Power Window Regulator that malfunctions and drops the passenger window into the door...and then charging $350 to fix it (luckily they paid for the part but I was still stuck with $200 in labor)

    Rear ashtrays that lose the springs and don't work properly.

    All these things wouldn't be such an issue if:

    #1 Volkswagen wouldn't be so shady and would make efforts to try to help the customer instead of covering for their mistakes.

    #2 The vehicles had a real warranty as opposed to the 2 year 24,000 miles joke and the illusion that there is a 10 year/100,000 miles warranty on power train (only 5 year/50,000 for second owners and after all that, they put you through hoops before they actually warrany anything)
  • I think Mr. S works for VW too as I read along. Why can't he just admit that there's a problem with VW engine?

    Would you post the range of the VIN? My car (VW 00 Beetle) burns oil too. I use synthetic oil, it doesn't help to reduce the consumption.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    No, I don't work for VW. I'm just telling you that oil consumption doesn't mean you have a defective engine. It can run forever using some oil. Only when it is excessive, and only when it is getting worse month by month, might you have a problem. Some people here posted using a quart every 1,500-3,000 miles. Brand new Porsches can do that, Ferraris certainly will.

    I'm not defending VW, just telling you you don't have a case unless your oil consumption gets a LOT worse. Also, I would encourage you to have the dealer monitor your oil consumption to see what it really is. Sounds like you really don't know exactly.

    Last of all, don't ever mention to the dealer that the previous owner ran it low on oil, or you are a dead duck.
  • 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
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    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!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    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.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    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.
This discussion has been closed.