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Consumer Reports: As MPG rises cars using more motor oil between oil changes

Even Japanese cars known for their reliability have lately been burning oil. When I took our 2012 Subaru Impreza to Boston for a weekend, it dropped down a quart on my way back, prompting a late-night search for more 0W-20 weight oil.

Auto engineers have told me they see no correlation between today's lightweight "0W-" motor oils, designed to reduce friction and save gas, and excessive oil consumption. But in our admittedly anecdotal experience, both the prevalence of such lightweight oils and the propensity of more engines to consume oil seem to be moving in tandem. And our test cars that have had this problem have all used such lightweight synthetic oils.

Has anybody else seen a correlation? Had a problem with a relatively new car consuming excessive amounts of oil? Do you think "a quart every 1,200 miles" is normal and/or acceptable for a modern car?


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Got a mercedez from mid last

Got a mercedez from mid last decade. It eats/burns that synthetic oil and it needs to be replaced monthly. I have nothing to compare it to. Well actually, I had a Mercedez from the 90s but I can't remember if it used synthetic oil--it definitely didn't burn oil.

The best for low friction

If you want less friction without as much burn, try Shaeffer 9000 full synthetic.

When I switched from Mobil 1 to that, the engine friction was so much less that I had to re-adjust to how much my car would slow down when I downshift! I notice the better mileage, and it doesn't burn anywhere close to as much as the old stuff.

It costs the same or maybe a little less because the company doesn't spend a fraction of what others spend on advertising. They rely on word of mouth.

Thanks for the info! I'll try Shaeffer 9000

and see how it works. If I notice a difference I'll report back.


Yeah, let me know!

This is

what you get when the dopey "green" agenda is polluting everyone's minds and the government is forcing unrealistic fuel standards on every manufacturer. It's just like education, they will practically mail a diploma to everyone and then tout that more kids than ever are getting an education. More cars then ever are getting better fuel mileage, they don't care if it burns oil like an old junker as long as it hits their bullshit numbers.

"Endless money forms the sinews of war." - Cicero, www.freedomshift.blogspot.com

It's sounds more like...

You have an oil leak. Check the floor under the car where you usually park. A good idea is to lay some cardboard down under the car (engine transmission area) after a reasonable drive. If you see oil spots the next day you've got a leak.

- Rear main seal.
- Rear access plate gasket.
- Heads (valve cover and half moon seals at the rear of the cams.)
- Turbo oil return.

Nothing is wrong with the cars

It's the oil. 0w and 5w are too light of weight. It seeps past the valves and piston rings and burns in the cylinder. I would bet anyone 500 FRN's right now, if they used 10w-30 their oil "Leak" problem would be resolved. Granted you might not get the exact manufacturer MPG because of the heavier weight of oil. But crankcase oil is more expensive than gasoline.

Which one would you rather pay for?


article is not about his car, it's about all new "green" cars.

"Endless money forms the sinews of war." - Cicero, www.freedomshift.blogspot.com

Ok... I made a boo-boo. No

Ok... I made a boo-boo. No more drinking and reading the DP. Lesson learned.

10-15% ethanol(what you get

10-15% ethanol(what you get at the pumps aka e10 or e15) WILL NOT harm rubber seals in older cars in any appreciable time frame. From what I have seen new cars dont seem to burn oil any faster...less so if anything. Now with a Subaru you are talking about a completely different type of engine...a boxer engine....its quite possible with the valves laying on their side in a boxer engine as opposed to vertical(or 60 degree angle in the case of a v6 or v8) in a more conventional engine its possible to oil pools at the valve seal and erodes it faster.

Oil consumption

My business is building Race and hi performance street engines, there are several issues here that contribute to this oil consumption the light viscosity oil is part of the problem but also the ring packages that are now commonly used in almost all new style gas burning engines are very low tension. This is done to cut frictional losses of(HP& torque)and decrease fuel consumption as the piston rings were the biggest cause of these losses. Also the engines venting system can also contribute to some of this oil consumption. So the gains in Hp/torque and better fuel economy are considered a good trade off for a small increase in oil consumption. Also these lower friction rings are narrower and lighter and deliver a better combustion seal which also increases power and economy even though the smaller oil ring can slightly increase oil consumption.


Are you buying gasoline with ethanol in it?

Ethanol breaks down natural rubber seals in older cars, is more friendly to Viton seals but could still be corrupting the oil.

Pandacentricism will be our downfall.

If you check the Subaru

If you check the Subaru owner's forums you will find that they eat oil at a rather rapid rate. Putting in synthetic or low weight oil will make the matter worse.

Be very careful to stay on top of it, if your oil gets too low it will damage the seals and lead to even faster oil "Eating"

My 2006 Impreza burns about a qt of synthetic 5W-30 every 1,000 miles.

We all share this eternally evolving present moment- The past and future only exist as inconsequential mental fabrications.

meekandmild's picture

after reading this article

I went out and checked the oil in my 2012 Honda Fit, Its about due for its 2nd 10,000 mile oil change. it was at the full mark and uses 0-W-20.

Not my Japanese car,

But my Japanese lawn mower.

My Prius actually burns

My Prius actually burns through a lot less oil. And with electric cars, you don't even have the obligatory oil changes. Don't know about other cars, though.