Are you the owner of a vehicle with a subscription model for specific features on your car such as GM's SuperCruise hand-free driving or Toyota's remote-start feature? A reporter would like to speak with you; please reach out to [email protected] by Friday, September 22 for more details.

Dodge Neon using a lot of oil (no outward signs)

meeskimeeski Member Posts: 2
edited March 2014 in Dodge
My friend has a 97 Neon with 101,600 miles. She drives 400-600 mi. a week and is using 1 or 2 qts. of oil weekly. No oil drips on ground; no smoke is visible from exhaust; valves don't knock. She has oil changed every 3,000 mi. Does anyone have an idea what can be going on? Car is running good now, but could she be facing a breakdown? She must have a car for work. Should she look for a new car? Thanks for any help you can give!


  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    are head-gasket eaters - in many cases, there'll be no check engine light and no real drop in performance - a compression test would tell the story.

    A headgasket job on a Neon is a 2-2.5 hour job with about $80 in parts. Don't let anyone soak you, if that's the deal.
  • meeskimeeski Member Posts: 2
    zueslewis, thanks for the helpful info! I'll share it with my friend tomorrow. Please excuse my ignorance, but what could happen if she doesn't get it fixed in time??? Thanks, again...
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Are you sure that's all the labor it takes?

    Seems like it would take a lot longer.

    And, I don't know why a blown head gasket would allow the engine to still run good but use oil without it being visible.

    I'm thinking it might be valve guides. Still, it should smoke. that's a lot of oil consumption!
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    who could do the job, without comebacks, in under an hour - it's just not that difficult.

    DaimlerChrysler pays 2.1-2.3 hours, depending on whether the car has a/c and what transmission is involved (more emissions hose routing to deal with on automatic cars), Chilton's pays 3.0-3.2.

    We had Neons come in all the time running fine, with 2-3 busted connections in the head gaskets...
  • beanboybeanboy Member Posts: 442
    What color is the coolant in the holding tank (dark, with a oily feel/smell, oil in the coolant)? How's the oil look when it is drained (mily looking sustance, coolant in the oil)? Both are good ways of telling if the headgasket is going.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    If there are no outward signs, you aren't looking hard enough. Oil can only be

    1. burned

    2. leaked out

    Also, there really should't be a correlation between head gasket and oil consumption unless the oil is leaking to the outside of the head gasket and dripping down the engine.

    An internal leak between an oil galley and a combustion chamber, such as a cracked head, would cause a severe degradation in performance, that you would notice immediately. The car would hardly be driveable.

    I suspect you have internal engine wear, either rings or valve guides.

    Best way to test is have someone follow behind you while you:

    1. Climb a hill

    2. Coast down the other side of the hill in a low (engine braking) gear, like 2nd, without using the gas at all.

    3. After coasting for15-30 seconds, hit the gas and note the color of the exhaust. A big puff of blue smoke (which your following car might see a lot easier than you) tells you the story.
  • boredbored Member Posts: 300 and has a LOT of information about the head gasket in the 2.0L engine. The fix was applied for the 1998 model year. It's a new headgasket of a different design. When it's fixed, MAKE SURE the new design is put on the engine!
  • vidtechvidtech Member Posts: 212
    my old car used oil like that.there was no smoke but the spark plugs told the feeling is if the head gasket were at fault you would have a great amount of pressure building up in the crankcase.the results would be leaks and oil blowing out the breather.a compression test should reveal ring or valve guide problems.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Either burning like a chimney or a leak, there's no other way to lose a quart every 500 miles. It doesn't evaporate. If the engine isn't puking all over, you probably just can't see the smoke out the back. If the intake was sucking up tons of blowby, the car would run really awful.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    oil, tranny fluid, etc. have different fluorescent dyes put in them as a troubleshooting aid. I had a bit of trouble with my pickup finding out where the oil went, until I accidentally put my hand on the frame rails back by the transmission... and came away like I had been fishing in a tar pit. some small amount of chasing later, it was evident I had leakage under operating conditions only from the rear main oil seal. some thousands of miles later, it would have become somewhat easier to find as the issue got worse, and the frame rails dripped.
This discussion has been closed.