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New Car with Min Oil Indicator on at 5000?

racerx2001racerx2001 Member Posts: 13
edited March 2014 in Audi
Hey y'all Audi Fans!

I've taken a sabatical from these posts and I'm back! I truly enjoy driving my Audi A4 1.8T Quattro that I bought this past December. What a ride:)

I'm a pretty meticulous person when it comes to my car, having owned a used car then a new car, neglecting the former and after learning my lesson with repairs, I have been good to my car. I take care of my Audi, wash it every week, and just started waxing the car with Meguiar's Gold Classic wax and started using Rich Leather conditioner/cleaner because I thought the leather was getting dry from parking outside the Texas heat with no tint. As for oil change, I was going to change it initially at 5,000mi for brake in period and then every 3,000 to 5,000 mi. Anyway, At about 5011 mi, right before I was to take it in for an oil change, the Min Oil indicator light came on. I was thinking "you gotta be kidding me". The Audi guy was like "oh, these cars do that", but I spoke ot another person, they said to bring it in. Since they are an hour away, a lady there told me to bring it in without adding oil, but the first guy said to add some oil, and when I asked him what, he said Mobil 1 5W30, which I did, and later found out in the manual that the car came with 0W30, and the first guy did not even know this fact. I brought it in for oil leak check (the light switched off after I added a quart), and they found nothing (I was not sure if they looked real hard), and they changed my oil (I brought with me a box of Mobil 1 0W30 and a K&N oil filter) and they charged me $21 (which was fine by me).

    My question is: What gives? Don't cars consume more oil as it gets older with more mileage? The Houston dealership said that it was anomalous, but I have read in the past here that the 1.8T has some oil consumption problems. Please advise, and thank you all for past support.


  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    Sometimes, but seldom in recent years, new automotive engines will consume a bit of oil during break in. If you're lucky, that will prove to be the case for your Audi. I would recommend that you change oil and filter every 3K miles, and even sooner than that for oil change #1 on a new car.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    everything uses a little oil these days, another reason to check the dipstick weekly or every two weeks if you haven't been. when I get down a third of a quart, and that rarely and right before oil change time, I just pour a third in, because I'm anal about oil levels. there are going to be owners who come back and say, "you got 5000 miles?" because the occasional 17th car is a drinker, not a sipper. all your manufacturers say less than a quart of use in 2000 miles, not a problem.

    of course, they also say it's not a problem if the tranny drops out, the wheels fall off, etc. meaning it's not THEIR problem as soon as the warranty is over. but that little oil sipping you're having is better than many.
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    And just how SURE are you that at the beginning of the 5K you mention, that the oil level was really full right up to the mark?
  • chris_hornechris_horne Member Posts: 10
    One quart in 5,000 miles is certainly nothing to worry about. Someone above posted that new car manufactuers are saying that 1 quart in 2,000 miles, but I am sure that unless you are using more than 1 quart in 1,000 miles, they are not going to address it.

    Your owners manual probably gives some instructions about how often you should check your oil. Many manufactuers recommend checking it when you buy gasoline. Check out your manual and follow it.

    Don't let this ruin your satisfaction with a fine car. It is nothing to worry about.
  • racerx2001racerx2001 Member Posts: 13
    Thanks to all for the reassuarance. To answer Fleetwoodsimca, I checked the oil level after I added the oil and the level was right up at the second hash mark where it borders the "enough oil" to "you must NOT add oil."

    I have heard that experienced Audi/VW owners have advise checking oil levels like drivers/gas station attendants use to do in older vehicles. I will likely do that from now on, checking periodically myself. It gets you more involved with your car. Thanks again for all the help. Please post more info and opinion about this if there are others!
  • gearhead10gearhead10 Member Posts: 84
    I only have 650 miles on my 2003 A4 1.8T and the oil level is about half way down the "you may add oil" range. I'm thinking I'll have to add oil before I get to 2000 miles. Can anyone recommend what weight I should add? The above post and the manual says to add 0W-30. Would this be best or would 5-30 or 0-40 be better--some other boards have recommended this? I live in southern California so the temperatures will be pretty warm during the period before the first change.
  • bodble2bodble2 Member Posts: 4,514
    Our current cars, an Acura CL and an Accord, seem to consume ZERO oil. Everytime I've checked, the level is right at the second hash mark. I've never had to add a drop between oil changes (6000 km intervals). It's gotten to the point where I feel perfectly safe checking once every couple of months or so. A '95 Maxima I had was also the same way. The biggest oil consumer I've had was a 2000 Prelude. It would go down to half way between the hash marks in 5000 KM. (To be fair, I can't say if that was a trend 'cause I only kept it for about 5500 KM)
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Member Posts: 1,391
    New engines may consume a little oil. When I get my TDI last year...it ate about 1/2 quart at 5000 miles. 45,000 miles now, and it barely consumes oil during the 10,000 mile oil change interval.

    Before some flip out...I use Mobil Delvac 5w40, which oil analysis testing has shown with the stock filtration system, it's good for at least 20,000 miles.
  • newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    "everything uses a little oil these days"

    My 2001 Protege hasn't used any oil in 28,000 miles. My brother's 2002 Civic doesn't use any oil. My parent's 2003 I35 doesn't use any oil. My 92 Integra STILL didn't use oil when I sold it at 122,000 miles. I would say that newer cars that use oil are the exception, not the rule, and I say this with 6 years of lube shop experience.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Depends on the engine and on how you drive. If you're a harder driver you are more likely to consume oil, definitely. Also the higher performance engines tend to burn oil. Ferrari owners are used to this and of course race car drivers.

    But average car driven conservatively, in these modern times, very little oil is used that's true.

    My point was that a little oil consumption does no harm and in fact does some good. If I had an option on a new car to have it burn just a little bit of oil, I would choose that.

    What you don't want to see is this small oil consumption gradually increasing as the car ages and never reaching a comfortable plateau.
  • bodble2bodble2 Member Posts: 4,514
    How come? I can see the "no harm" part, but it can be actually good for the engine?
  • newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    "If you're a harder driver you are more likely to consume oil, definitely. Also the higher performance engines tend to burn oil."

    My Integra had a high performance engine and it didn't use oil. It was a 1.7L with 160 hp and an 8000 rpm redline that was never lonely. Can't tell me that's not a hard workin' engine. If burning a little oil is good, I don't see why more and more newer cars aren't doing it. I guess VW, Audi, Ferrari, must be ahead of the game.
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    A slight bit of oil burning is cooling to the engine, and in essence assures that ample lubrication is attending to duties in the top end.
  • jkhodjkhod Member Posts: 1
    Looks like I'm not alone, I've got a 2001 A4 2.8 w/24k. Anyone else experiencing excessive oil use? Two dealers have told me that 1 quart every 1000-1500 miles is "normal" for this car. I've never owned a car that burns oil with less than 75k on it. I've checked for leaks etc. nothing. Also, any tricks to get Audi to address the problem while it's under warranty?
  • newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    They're right. It is normal for that car.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    A little oil burning is good because it gets oil up to the valve heads and lower stems. Many of these expensive gas additives are doing the same thing for you.

    So if you are burning no oil whatsoever, I find that a bit worrisome for the long run of the engine, but of no consequence for the average time & mileage most people keep their cars.

    I don't think burning a qt per 1000 miles is acceptable for a modern street engine,however.
  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Member Posts: 398
    1 qt per 2000 miles is quite acceptable, though. But only if it stays constant and doesn't worsen over time.

    I agree - absolutely no oil consumption may not be good for the engine. You want some lubrication all the way down to the areas exposed to the internal combustion.
  • newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    "A little oil burning is good"

    "So if you are burning no oil whatsoever, I find that a bit worrisome for the long run of the engine"

    Well, ALL cars burn a little oil but not necessarily enough to register on the dipstick. I personally don't think burning a quart every 3000 miles is acceptable for a modern street engine because I've never had a car that burned oil like that and I've had 6 cars, most with high mileage.....including one Mazda turbo 4 cyl, one Ford 5.0L V8, two high revving Honda 4 cyls, one Subaru flat 4, and one Mazda N/A 4 cyl. The only two cars that used oil were the Mustang and the Subaru and it was less than a 1/2 quart every 3K.

    My problem is with cars like some VWs that can't go the full oil change interval without the oil light coming on. Some VWs will burn themselves out of oil before the oil change interval if you don't add. That's not right IMO.
  • loungerlounger Member Posts: 32
    I currently own a 2001 Beetle with the 2.0 engine; 45k miles. This engine burns a quart every 5000 miles when I use 5W-40 oil (Texaco Havoline synthetic), more if I use the alternate 5W-30. I have owned 2 other VWs and 1 Audi. Overall I would say that they averaged oil consumption of about a quart per 3000 miles.

    As far as newcar31's point, he is right. I personally don't see the oil consumption as a problem, but newcar31 represents how a lot of people feel. Buyer beware. If checking and adding oil is burdensome for you, think twice before buying a VW or an Audi (gasoline engine). If the perception is that the VW/Audi engines tend to burn oil, I suspect that sales will drop and lead to redesign. I think perception is very important, regardless of what the "truth" is.

    As newcar31 mentioned, the 10,000 mile drain interval for some VW/Audi cars is going to upset many people because they expect this to mean that they are able to go 10,000 miles without checking (and adding) motor oil. This is a bigger issue in VW's since my Beetle does not have a low oil warning lamp.

    As far as racerx's post, I would suggest that you use Mobil 1 0W-40 European Car Formula, which I suspect is the recommended oil in your owner's manual. The oil consumption may drop some after the engine has 10,000 to 20,000 miles.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    is leading a lot of non-technical people astray, and is pretty irresponsible.

    that being said, it may be a natural Darwinism for many of the folks who don't add air to tires, oil to engines, and a read of the manual to their first weekend with a new car to melt those machines into little sculptures. God meant them to walk in traffic.
  • newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    checking and adding oil, it's just that it would bother me to have to add a quart or two to a brand new engine. If it was a Ferrari, I'd put up with it because at least the Ferrari has an excuse to burn a little oil. VWs aren't high-performance enough to warrant the kind of oil consumption that I've seen at J-lube. I rarely check the oil in my 2001 Mazda because it is never low. Why doesn't Mazda's 2.0L burn oil when VW's lesser performing 2.0L does burn oil? Is the VW 2.0L going to last longer because burning a "little" oil is good? I doubt it. There is just something wrong IMO about having to check and add oil to a brand new car.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    It's simply a design issue. An engine that burns a quart every 3,000 is not "inferior" nor is one that burns no oil "superior". Some people have a 62 heartrate, some a 72, some dogs bark some don't. They all live the same length of time.

     It's just that type of engine with those type of rings and this metallurgy and that power band and this much oil pressure and those type of bearings and this operating temperature and that grade of oil and this climate and those driving habits and this type of PCV system.

    There is simply nothing wrong with an engine that burns some oil. It is as normal as breathing for a machine to do.

    If you rarely check your oil, that's a no-gain habit, no matter what you drive, and I'd encourage you to discontinue dipstick avoidance. One ten cent seal will put your car out of business whereas lifting the hood every second fill up might save it.

    Not checking oil because your engine does use it is a sure road to making a mistake.
  • newcar31newcar31 Member Posts: 3,711
    "It's simply a design issue. An engine that burns a quart every 3,000 is not "inferior" nor is one that burns no oil "superior". Some people have a 62 heartrate, some a 72, some dogs bark some don't. They all live the same length of time."

    ....and an engine that doesn't burn hardly any oil at all is just fine. You said you'd be concerned about an engine that doesn't burn oil and that burning a little oil is good. I'd rather have a car that I don't need to add oil to and I have not seen one shred of evidence that suggests that burning oil is good for your engine. Has there ever been any study performed that proves the *long term* benefits of burning oil? Do engines that burn a little oil last longer statistically than engines that don't? Is burning oil from day one good for the longevity of your emissions systems? How much oil does your engine need to burn to realize the benefits of burning oil? Is burning a quart every 1000 miles even enough to lubricate anything? Does it do more harm than good? Does burning oil create more carbon deposits on the pistons and valves over time? Point is, I'd be embarrassed adding oil to a car that doesn't even have license plates yet at a gas station, and I'm not worried at all about my car NOT using oil. If Mazda can build a 2.0L that doesn't burn oil, I don't see why VW can't.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    and the others who have made a decision that a little oil lost to the cylinders is not the end of the world.

    finally got my stent work last thursday, and almost saw the end of the world due to a complication elsewhere. I'm not going to waste my time on the "no oil use anywhere at any time" bandwagon, I have other things to do for the next 40 years or so.

    you burn a quart in 500 miles, call me.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    yes, that's right, I'd be a bit concerned about an engine that didn't burn any oil at all, especially at very high speeds. I would PURPOSELY add a special type of oil to the fuel on a car like this, especially the way I drive, which is FAST.

    A little oil, a few ounces during the oil change cycle, should be enough to offer the benefit to the upper cylinder area.

    Oil burning doesn't effect emissions or create carbon buildup unless it is an *extreme* situation. Even then I've personally witnessed moderate oil burning cars passing California emissions testing. Apparently, the test cycle doesn't care about those types of emissions.

    This is why I always say that a quart every 1,000 miles is alarming on a newer car, but a quart every 3,000 or whatever has no effect on emissions or carbon, etc. It's not enough to matter.

    You may have seen all kinds of engine additives, upper cylinder lubricant, "top oil", etc. being marketed in stores. This is essentially a light oil that goes into the gasoline to lubricate the valves and upper cylinder area.

    In fact, you could burn a quart of oil every 100 miles, and if you keep adding it and take on the job as Mosquito Abatement Officer in your town, your car could run for 200,000 miles like that.
    Of course, I'd hope you'd fix it and give us all a break.

    A new car burning a small amount of oil, or even a quart between changes, is a non-issue IMO. I wouldn't give it a second thought except to monitor the oil level, as one should do on ANY car naturally.

    People have enough to worry about on new cars. A little oil burning isn't one of them.
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    Mr_Shiftright-- Correcto Mundo. Time was when truck engines were built with oil shedders on the valves of a design that allowed more oil to get by and into the cylinders, to facilitate the lubrication and added cooling effect this provided. GM (and others) had engines for trucks that differed from similar car engines almost exclusively in the size and shape of the shedders.
  • gearhead10gearhead10 Member Posts: 84
    My 12 year old Integra with 112,000 miles on it burns 1/2 to 3/4 of a quart every 1000 miles (1 month). It didn't burn nearly this much when it was younger. Other than this, it runs fine and I just check it often and add oil when necessary. Should I be concerned?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Nah, it's normal wear and tear. You might experiment with different weights of oil or even a synthetic just to see what happens. Perhaps your valve stem seals are hardened up and your engine is sucking some oil from the cylinder head itself. This is common with older engines, as age plays a part just as much as mileage when it comes to seals.
  • gearhead10gearhead10 Member Posts: 84
    It's what I'd hoped you'd say. Don't really want to sink any money into the car when its running fine.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    You might do this test (carefully).

    Find a long downhill or a long level road. REv it up in say second of third gear close to redline---then just let off the gas and nothing else...look out the back window (CAREFULLY! or have someone following you) as you slowly decelerate. Don't use the brakes, just let the engine wind itself down...once you are down to maybe 2200-2500 rpm, PUNCH the gas and see if you get a cloud of blue smoke out the back.

    If you do, that's probably valve stem seals, as you have created high engine vacuum by decerating from high rpm, sucking oil past the valve stem seals, and then by punching the gas, you've suddenly burned it.

    Be sure you do this with no obstructing traffic or have a friend follow you so that you can concentrate on what's ahead of you.
  • gearhead10gearhead10 Member Posts: 84
    Okay, will try it. Thanks.
This discussion has been closed.