How much oil should a car burn between oil changes (2023)

How much oil should a car burn between oil changes

Out of nowhere, you may see your engine is consuming more oil than it was supposed to. If that is the case, there are most probably two reasons for this problem. First, there is a leak inside. Or, the engine is burning more oil than normal.

Isengine burning oilnormal? We will answer that later. But we think you will want to know the answer to the following question the most. “How much oil should a car burn between oil changes?” Read on to find the answer to this question and several others related to it. Find out the reason:Car losing Oil but no Leak or Smoke.

How much oil should a car burn between oil changes?

Well, there is not a unified answer. Even the manufacturers don’t match each other’s answers. For this reason, we will give three answers here.

BMW’s limit

As per BMW, it will be normal for your car if it burns 1 quart of oil every thousand miles. So, if you own a BMW car, you won’t have to worry even if your car burns 1 quart of oil every 1K miles. However, for a normal car, the average limit is much higher than this.

GM’s limit

By default, the normal consumption limit of a GM car is pretty much higher than BMW’s limit. If your GM car burns 1 or more quarts of oil in less than 2000 miles, you will get warranty service from the manufacturer.

Common limit

Normal consumption for cars other than BMW or GM is not a piece of unified information. It mostly depends on the manufacturer or dealer you are buying the car from. Some dealers may say you will get warranty services if your car burns 1 quart of oil every 1000 miles. Some dealers may state the limit at every 500 miles.

That is why you have to be careful whenever buying cars from local dealers or less popular brands. Skipping things like this may cost you a lot in the long run.

Why is my car burning oil so fast?

At first, you have to be clear about the fact ‘burning oil fast’. You can consider that your car is burning oil fast only if your car consumes 1 quart or more oil just within less than 1000 miles. If not, your car is in a normal state. You don’t need to worry much about this issue. However, the following are the probable reasons that your car may burn oil so fast-

(Video) 7 Engine Oil Myths Stupid People Fall For

Piston rings

Piston rings are very crucial parts of an engine. They don’t let enter excessive gasses into your engine’s crankcase. In simpler words, they are the shields of your engine’s combustion chamber. If the piston rings get out of shape and don’t work properly, the oil may enter the engine’s combustion chamber.

After that, the oil may burn inside, and you will eventually lose oil without knowing anything.

PCV valve

The PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) is another crucial part of your engine that keeps dangerous gases at bay. As soon as the gases enter into the PCV valve, it reroutes the gases back to the place from where they came, the combustion chamber.

If the PCV valve can’t do its job properly, it can suck oil inside. If that happens, you will lose oil by a huge margin. To get rid of this problem, you have to simply replace the PCV valve.

Head gasket

Another sealer of the cylinders is the head gasket. If the head gasket goes down, coolant will enter into the cylinder head. In this way, coolant will mix with oil, and eventually, your car will face poor idling.

The easiest way to differ the head gasket problem with the PCV valve is to see whether there is a coolant mix-up with the oil or not.

Valve seal

The job of the valve seals is to control the oil consumption system. In addition, it controls the valve lubrication too. If a valve seal goes bad, it will become one of the matters of your concern. Instead of doing the job it was supposed to, a damaged seal will leak oil into the combustion chamber.

Car oil consumption calculator

Using an oil consumption calculator is always a better option to calculate the actual amount of fuel consumed. Because without a calculator, you may not be able to calculate accurately if you get stuck in a traffic jam sometimes. During a traffic jam, the usual oil consumption is more than normal.

You can easily calculate your car’s oil consumption using the following formula-

(Video) How to Fix a Car Engine that Burns Oil for 10 Bucks

Qy = ∑q + (Qз-Qсл)

Here, ∑q is the oil you have used within a certain period (cycle),

Qз is the amount of oil you use while refueling,

Qсл is the amount of drained oil at the time of replacement.

Engine oil consumption chart

Here is a chart of oil consumption that provides information from as far as the 1980s.


Average oil consumption per 1000 miles

We were talking about the safe limit ofcars that burn oil. Let’s see what the average oil consumption of a car per 1000 miles is. You are in a safe zone, or your car is burning oil normally only if your car burns 0.3 to 0.5 quarts of oil per 1000 miles. This is the average scenario for a normal car.

However, having a performance or modified car can make the scenario different. Performance cars usually burn more oil as these cars don’t focus on being fuel-efficient. For this reason, if you have a performance car, you should not expect this stat as an average.

Even if your performance car burns more than 1 quart of oil every 1000 miles, things are maybe normal. In this case, you have to cross-check the amount of oil you are losing with your manufacturer’s recommendation.

(Video) Synthetic Oil vs Conventional Oil - Which Type For Your Car Engine

So, unless your car is a performance or specialized car, you can expect the average figure of 0.3 to 0.5 quarts per 1000 miles in terms of burning oil.

Engine oil consumption no smoke – What does it mean?

Engine oil consumption generally means your vehicle will emit smoke. But your vehicle may still burn oil even if it doesn’t emit smoke or you don’t getaburning oil smell. If that is the case, the oil control ring extenders are most probably collapsed or worn.

What should you do if your engine consumes oil without smoke? Don’t worry much. The solutions are not that much different than those of normal situations. Diagnose your car. You may have to replace the PCV valve or valve seal.

Burning a quart of oil every 500 miles- what will happen

Is yourcar burning oil1 quart or more every 500 miles? It is pretty scary just to imagine this scenario. You should not expect this situation unless you have a very old model car. Cars from the 80s or 90s can give you this type of experience. Modern vehicles must not reach this type of situation by any means.

As we have already mentioned several times, you can easily expect the average figure of oil consumption of 1 quart per 2000 to 3000 miles. A quart per 500 miles means you are getting four or six times lower than the expectation.

Now, what are the outcomes of it?

If you have anoil burner car, you may face some serious problems. At worst, you may end up with a dead engine if you drive for a long time with this much oil consumption. And we are almost sure of the fact that you don’t want your engine ending up dead.

If you are lucky and quickly fix the faulty engine parts, you may get out of the situation by paying only a few bucks. We hope you get lucky in this particular case. But for that, you have to check upon the oil level every 300 miles or every week.


How much oil should a car lose between oil changes?

If things are okay with everything in your car, you should not lose more than 1 quart of oil between oil changes. If you have one of theengines that burn oilmore than 1 quart of oil, things are not okay. You should take your car to the service as soon as possible.

(Video) What Happens if You Don't Change the Oil in Your Car?

Is it normal to have to add oil between oil changes?

It depends on the condition of your car. If your car is an old one, it is normal to add oil between the oil changes. And if your car is comparatively a newer model, you should not need to add oil between the changes.

How much oil burning is acceptable?

Modern cars burn very little oil these days. You can expect 1 quart of oil consumption in every 3000 miles or more. But if your car is comparatively older, the acceptable figure is 1 quart in every 1000 miles.

Is it normal to lose oil between oil changes?

Yes, it is. The purpose of putting oil in the first place is to let the engine use some oil. That is why it is normal to lose oil between oil changes. However, there is a safe figure in terms of losing oil. And that figure is 1 quart in every 1000 miles.

Do cars burn oil between oil changes?

Yes, more or less, every car burns oil between oil changes. If you have a modern car and the manufacturer has put a lot of effort into fuel efficiency, you won’t lose much oil. Otherwise, an old car will lose pretty much around 1 quart of oil every 1000 miles.

Why do engines burn oil?

Engines burn oil if there is something wrong with engine parts. For example, having a worn valve seal will cause engine oil burn. In cases like this, the engine burns oil to counter the extra heat produced inside.

What oil is best for a car that burns oil?

Synthetic oil will be your best bet if your car burns oil normally. For different models, you can pick one from the following-

  • 10W-30 Motor oil (synthetic)
  • 05W-20 Synthetic blend
  • 05W-30 high mileage oil (synthetic)


Usually, oil consumption is a symptom of some engine problems. But it can be a normal process for your car, too, depending on the model of your car. In that case, you may ask,how much oil should a car burn between oil changes.

We have tried to answer the question depending on some different variables. Hope you have found enough to take appropriate actions.

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(Video) Customer States Car Burns Oil. Let's find out why and if this car is worth fixing!


How much oil should my car burn between oil changes? ›

The majority of manufacturers consider one quart of oil in the range of 1,500 miles to be acceptable. It should also be pointed out there are some performance vehicles that will consume a quart of oil in less than 1,000 miles and is also considered acceptable.

How much oil should a car burn in a month? ›

A general rule of thumb is that cars with less than 50,000 shouldn't burn more than a quart of oil between oil changes.

How much oil should a car use in 1000 miles? ›

Checking Your Oil Level

Many car companies will put it in print, in your owner's manual or maintenance guide, that usage of a quart of oil every 1000 miles is in the acceptable range.

How much oil does a normal car use? ›

Well, that depends on your vehicle's engine. Many engines will take between five to six quarts, although some small four-cylinder engines may need closer to four quarts. On the other hand, bigger engines can take up to eight or nine quarts.

Why is my car using so much oil but not leaking? ›

Low Oil But No Leak? You're Probably Burning Oil. Oil burning happens when faulty engine parts allow oil to seep into the combustion chamber. Blue-tinted smoke coming from your exhaust is a potential indicator of this issue but may not always be evident if your engine only burns small amounts.

At what mileage do cars start burning oil? ›

It's normal for cars to burn a little oil as they age toward 100,000 miles and beyond. But Consumer Reports believes that for an almost new car to burn that excessive amount of oil is unacceptable.

Can a car lose oil without a leak? ›

Though you may not see any visible signs of leakage on the ground, oil loss can still happen. This typically happens because as a car ages, engine seals harden and shrink from the plasticizers being removed over time.

Is it normal to burn a quart of oil every 2000 miles? ›

GM considers one quart every 2,000 miles normal in some conditions. Excessive oil consumption, however, invites problems, including the following: Leaves engine parts unprotected if oil level drops below a safe level. Causes you to waste time and money frequently topping-off your oil.

How much oil do you burn in the winter? ›

How warm you keep your home will have an impact on the amount of fuel you use. Warmer winter weather, like in the 50-degree range, might require only 2 gallons of fuel each day. However, when the temperature drops to 15 degrees, you might use as much as 8 gallons a day to keep warm.

What are the 3 causes of oil consumption? ›

In the majority of cases where oil consumption problems have been investigated, it usually turns out to be a leak issue – either the valve cover gasket is leaking, crankshaft seals leaking, or one of the main seals is leaking. A bad gasket down in the pan could also cause the leaking.

How do I know if my engine is burning oil? ›

How do I know if my engine is burning oil?
  1. If your car's oil level starts getting low faster than the usual rate.
  2. A burning smell.
  3. Blue smoke from the tailpipe of your vehicle.

Does driving fast burn oil? ›

Driving fast, especially in a sports car, can burn gas more quickly. And while the result isn't as drastic, driving fast burns oil as well. However, this is typically only true at high RPMs, and the burning of oil is negligible unless you have other engine issues.

Why does my car burn oil so fast? ›

Burning oil is often the result of worn-out parts. For example, worn valve seals and/or piston rings could lead to your car burning oil. Both valve seals and piston rings work to keep engine oil out of the combustion chamber.

Is it normal for engine oil to decrease? ›

However, many modern cars now suffer internal oil loss from day one, partly due to the tight tolerances inside the engine while it's under load. Depending on the make and model, “normal” oil loss between changes can be as much as one quart of oil every 700 miles.

How much oil should be on the dipstick? ›

Step 4: Note Oil Level

Insert the dipstick into the tube slowly and push it all the way down. Now withdraw it and look closely at the tip, which should have oil on it. If the level of the oil is between the two lines, your vehicle has enough oil. If it's at the low mark or below, it's time to add a quart.

What leaks a lot of oil? ›

The vast majority of leaks are due to degraded engine gaskets, oil pan leaks, oil seals or bad connections. Crawl under the car and check the oil pan seals. While you're there also check the oil pan drain plug. Next check the timing cover seal and the valve cover gaskets.

Do cars burn more oil as they get older? ›

Because of wear, vehicles are more likely to consume engine oil as they age. Burning oil is a common problem, but when it is ignored, it can do major damage to your car's engine.

Do cars leak oil when parked? ›

Q: Why does my car leak oil when parked? A: If you see a puddle of greasy-looking liquid on the ground after your vehicle has been parked for a while, then that means you have an oil pan leak, which usually indicates holes in your car's oil pan or gaskets. Take your vehicle to a shop straight away.

Does car burn more oil in winter? ›

Reduced Energy Efficiency. When the engine takes longer to warm up from the cold, its fuel consumption increases. Under cold temperatures, oil also has a negative effect on fuel efficiency. Its thicker state means it will take longer for the engine to reach its most fuel-efficient temperature.

Does idling your car burn oil? ›

Idling your car or truck longer than is necessary causes it to burn more oil. The longer you let your engine run, the more motor oil circulates and burns. That means spending more money on more frequent oil changes. Excessive idling also decreases your car's performance.

How often does oil run out in car? ›

Today, many carmakers have recommended oil change intervals of 5,000 to 7,500 miles. Also, if your car requires full-synthetic oil, it could even go as far as 15,000 miles between services.

How much does it cost to fix an engine that burns oil? ›

A car that is burning oil can come from a variety of causes. The fix to your leak can be as simply as replacing an oil filter or as complex as replacing an entire blown head gasket. On average, repair costs for a vehicle burning oil will be about $600. This average is high because of how expensive some oil repairs are.

Is there an additive to stop oil burning? ›

Lucas High Mileage Oil Stabilizer helps to control blow-by, dry starts and oil burning - maximizing efficiency, reducing harmful emissions and extending oil life. Lucas High Mileage Oil Stabilizer can also be used as an IDEAL ASSEMBLY LUBE.

How does a car act when it runs out of oil? ›

If the engine runs out of oil, it will start to grind, and then seize up, stalling the vehicle. Your engine will be damaged and possibly ruined. Many drivers will not get a warning about the lack of engine oil until it is too late.

Does synthetic oil reduce oil consumption? ›

Lower oil consumption. Synthetic motor oils experience less "boil off" than conventional motor oils. A good synthetic will lose only about four percent of its weight when run at 400 degrees for six hours, compared to a 30% loss for a conventional petroleum based oil.

How many gallons of oil do you burn a day? ›

If you divide the average amount of fuel used (500 gallons) by the number of days (182), the average home uses about 2.75 gallons of oil each day. The amount of heating oil a household uses in a day depends on several factors.

Why is my oil dark after 2000 miles? ›

Thick, very dark, or black engine oil usually indicates that your oil has been exposed to dirt or dust contaminants that lead to a soot build-up. Direct injection gasoline engines produce soot over time that causes standard motor oil to turn black and thick.

How long should a tank of oil last in the winter? ›

If your house is totally average and it's the middle of winter then a full tank of heating oil will last approximately 3-4 weeks. Remember to always Order at a Quarter!

How long does 100 gallons of oil last in winter? ›

That means, 100 gallons of oil will last you about six days (100-gallon tank / 17 gallons per day = 5.8 days). Or, if you want to calculate using a full day (24-hours), 1.7 gallons per hour x 24 hours a day = 40.8 gallons a day.

How long will 25 gallons of oil last? ›

How long will my heating oil last? When should I fill my oil tank?
Average Outside Temperature (°F)Approximate Gallons Used in 24 HoursApproximate Days 25 Gallons Will Last
4 more rows
30 Dec 2016

Why do I have to keep topping up my oil? ›

Your engine is likely burning the oils in the combustion process. This happens when the valve guides or seals wear or the piston rings are very worn. The oil leaks into the combustion chamber during the intake cycle, and is burned with the fuel.

What does running out of oil sound like? ›

Should your vehicle's engine run low on engine oil it could cause it to make a loud "ticking or tapping" noise. This noise is caused by an insufficient amount oil being pumped into the top part of the engine. A simple check of the engine oil level will help you determine if the system is low.

Why can't you go back to regular oil after synthetic? ›

Myth: Once you switch to synthetic oil, you can never switch back. This is one of the most persistent myths about synthetic oil—and completely untrue. You can switch back and forth at any time. In fact, synthetic blends are simply a mixture of synthetic and conventional oils.

Does oil last longer with highway driving? ›

The quality of the oil isn't measured; instead, a calculation is made based on your driving patterns. So, if you take a lot of short trips, the light might come on after driving only 5,000 miles. If you do a lot of highway driving, which causes less wear on the engine, it might come on after 6,700 miles or more.

Does driving slower save oil? ›

Slow Down and Drive Conservatively

Reducing your speed by 5 to 10 mph can improve fuel economy by 7%–14%. Using cruise control on the highway can help drivers maintain a constant speed; vehicles use the most energy when accelerating.

Is it safe to drive a car that is burning oil? ›

Your car can run for a while if it's burning oil, as long as you keep adding engine oil when it gets low. There are, however, issues that will come up. The engine will run rough, because oil doesn't burn properly in the cylinders. Spark plugs will become fouled by oil, turning on the Check Engine light.

Where are common oil leaks? ›

Here are a few places engine oil leaks in cars can take place:
  • Oil Filter Gasket. ...
  • Oil Pump Gasket. ...
  • Oil Pan Gasket. ...
  • Rocker Cover Gasket. ...
  • Brake Fluid Leak. ...
  • Coolant Leak. ...
  • Power Steering Fluid Leak. ...
  • Engine Oil Leak.

How much oil should come out during oil change? ›

How much oil should come out during an oil change depends on your vehicle's oil capacity; for most cars, that will be four to five quarts.

Will thicker oil help a worn engine? ›

A: Yes. This is a practical method to improve oil pressure in an older, high-mileage engine. The slightly thicker oil film from the heavier base weight oil — 10W — can help protect worn engine bearings as well.

Is it better to have too much or too little oil? ›

Fresh oil is an engine's best friend, but too much of it can cause costly damage and should be removed as soon as possible.

How accurate is a dipstick oil? ›

RAY: The dipstick almost never lies. It can give you a false reading if you use it incorrectly -- if you check it while the engine is running, or just after it's been shut off and there's still oil in the upper part of the engine that hasn't drained down yet. But generally speaking, the dipstick tells the truth.

Should oil be all over dipstick? ›

There are markings that indicate the level the oil should reach. Sometimes there are holes instead of marks. If the oil doesn't reach inside the markings or holes on the dipstick, you need to add at least one quart of oil. If the dipstick is not showing an oil level, you need to add oil immediately.

At what oil percentage is too low? ›

If the readout drops to 5% it means that the oil has become so dirty that it needs to be changed immediately before it drops even lower. Indeed, once it reaches 0%, you have not only reached the point where service is past due, but also the point where the remaining oil is probably doing more harm than good.

Is 10000 miles between oil changes OK? ›

Most auto manufacturers today recommend oil changes between 6,000 and 10,000 miles, but there are some manufacturers that go as high as 15,000 miles. Even if you are on the low end of the scale, you would still be changing your oil at least twice as often as necessary if you stick to the old 3,000 mile recommendation.

Should I go by oil life or mileage? ›

Typically, follow the mileage and time intervals listed by your vehicle's manufacturer. But this can vary, depending on the severity of your driving. As detailed above, shorter trips, track time, and dusty roads can cause your oil to break down faster and need to be changed earlier.

Does full synthetic oil last longer? ›

Unlike synthetic blends or conventional oils, fully synthetic oils won't break down and will protect your engine for longer—sometimes as much as 250,000 miles.

What's the longest you can go between oil changes? ›

Cars can generally go 5,000 to 7,500 miles before needing an oil change. Furthermore, if your vehicle uses synthetic oil, you can drive 10,000 or even 15,000 miles between oil changes. Continue reading to learn more about oil changes or skip to scheduling your oil change right here on our website.

Can a car run out of oil without a leak? ›

Though you may not see any visible signs of leakage on the ground, oil loss can still happen. This typically happens because as a car ages, engine seals harden and shrink from the plasticizers being removed over time.

How can I slow my oil consumption? ›

Switching to a heavier viscosity motor oil may also help reduce oil consumption. Try moving up one viscosity grade the next time you change oil. If your engine currently uses a 5W-20, switch to a 5W-30 or maybe a 10E030 oil.

Does driving a lot burn more oil? ›

Driving fast, especially in a sports car, can burn gas more quickly. And while the result isn't as drastic, driving fast burns oil as well. However, this is typically only true at high RPMs, and the burning of oil is negligible unless you have other engine issues.

How much does it cost to fix burning oil? ›

A car that is burning oil can come from a variety of causes. The fix to your leak can be as simply as replacing an oil filter or as complex as replacing an entire blown head gasket. On average, repair costs for a vehicle burning oil will be about $600. This average is high because of how expensive some oil repairs are.

Does synthetic oil stop oil burning? ›

Re: Does Synthetic Oil Burn Faster Then Regular Oil? Answer: synthetic oil will not burn faster than conventional oil.


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