1 quart every 1000 miles

I have a 03’ Montana 3.4 with 55,000 miles on it. It is using a quart of oil every 1000 miles. There is no oil in my driveway and does not smell. I have not had much luck working with Pontiac or my dealer. Should I:

A- Trade this van.

B- Have them take the engine apart.

C- Just keep driving it.

C- Just keep driving it. Keep the oil at the proper level. Your could still get another 100k as long as you don’t let the oil get to low.

Has it always used this amount of oil sense new? Is there documentation of that? Could you have possibly been the cause of the vehicle burning oil by the lack of timely oil changes, and or letting the oil level get down low enough to cause engine damage? All questions needing answered before a good response can be made.

I would go with option C. Some years back, 1 quart per thousand miles was considered normal. I had a Ford Maverick that I drove practically forever that used 1 quart per thousand miles. My brother had a 1977 Cadillac that used a quart every 900 miles. He bought the car used with about 55,000 miles and sold it with over 200,000 miles on the odometer. The oil consumption never went up.

Automobile manufactures consider 1 quart of oil/1000 miles consumption as being normal.


If the truck has sufficient power, does not smoke, does not drip oil on you driveway, just keep driving it. Old style Jaguars with the straight 6 were designed to burn a quart overy 1000 miles, and had a 7 quart oil sump. An engine overhaul will cost you a great deal, and since the oil you put in will not be expesnive (you are “changing” it every 4000 miles or so by topping it up), this is your best bet. If you live in an area where annual emission tests are required, keep your fingers crossed, but I doubt if it will fail because of the oil consumption. This is a good application of Wallmart house brand oil of the right grade, since you are constantly replenishing the additives by topping it up. Remember, OIL IS CHEAP!, every other option is expensive!

Are you using 5w-20 oil? Try 10-30 in the winter, 10-40 in the summer.

But for sure option “C” is the way to go…

It started using Oil around 40,000 miles. The low oil light came on which was the first sign of problems. It has not been low on oil since. It seems to be staying around a qaurt every 1000 miles. I was having the oil changed every 5000-6000 miles but have went to every 3000 miles since this porblem started. Is there an additive you would recomend?

I drove a 1980 Monte Carlo for close to 10 years that ate up a quart of oil every 2 weeks. Blue smoke out the tail pipe every morning and a teaspoon on the ground wherever I parked but it never stopped running.

Has the PCV valve ever been changed. A sticking PCV may cause greater oil consumption. This was the problem with my pickup.


Ed B.

You might try a different brand of oil, but use the weight specified in your owner’s manual. On one car I owned, the oil consumption went from 1 quart per 1000 miles to 1 quart per 1200 miles when I switched from Sunoco to Valvoline. I only switched because Valvoline was on sale at the time. I certainly wouldn’t have the engine torn down for 1 quart per 1000 mile oil consumption. It might be even worse when it is put back together.

Its possible the piston rings are gummed up causing the oil consumption. Having a procedure called a piston soak may or may not help.

So when the low oil light came on was it only two quarts low?

I agree about checking the PCV valve first.
There would be some concern over this Low Oil lamp coming on, depending on just how low that oil was.
Since you are having someone else change the oil, and previously were going 5-6k miles between oil changes, I hope this does not mean you were going that distance without checking the oil level on a regular basis. If so, this could mean a chronic low oil problem and this can affect things like valve seals and piston rings.
Seeing as how someone else is doing the oil change they may not pay any attention to how much oil is in the engine and will strictly drain and refill without knowing or mentioning this to you.

If you drive where it won’t get cold enough to snow, get some 30 weight oil in that thing. If two out of 5 quarts doesn’t slow the oil consumption down, try adding thirty weight when the oil gets low and run a third quart of 30.

On most cars, the “low oil light” is really a “no oil pressure light”. It only comes on when the oil level has fallen below the pickup for the oil pump. At that point, continuing to run the engine is sure to cause damage. Have the compression checked and the oil pressure measured with an external gauge. That will tell you the condition of the engine. Then, you can decide what to do. If there is significant internal damage, you might as well keep on driving it for as long as it lasts.

An '03 with those miles shouldn’t be burning any oil between oil/filter changes.

Never mind the manufacturers bs considering 1 quart in 1k mlies ‘normal’. I think that’s nonsense. JMO.

I own a 2000 Olds Silhouette 3.4L 123k miles) (sister to your Montana) and my daughter has an '03 Montana (87k miles) like yours and neither one burn oil between oil/filter changes. Both have changes done at 3mo/3k mile intervals (mostly in town driving).

However, if it were mine, I’d have a cylinder compression test done to ensure no unseen problems, even if only for peace of mind.

You MAY have a small leak that only occurs while the engine is hot and may not be being routed to anything hot to produce a smell.
Have a good engine/compartment detailing/cleaning done, then very closely check all gaskets for tiny leaks.

One minuscule slip-up when manufacturing the engine can result in using/burning up oil.

In the meantime, just keep driving the van and check the oil level (engine cold) periodically.

Drive it.
A quart every K is not bad and most Chrysler vans normally burn that much. I’ve never owned a ontiac of any kind but it would have to burn a lot more before I took action

(you are “changing” it every 4000 miles or so by topping it up)

Careful there! You still need to drain the old oil and change the filter at the recommended intervals. Oil builds up a load of water, acid, soot, unburned gas, metal particles, and who knows what else that you need to get rid of periodically. Don’t assume all this nasty stuff goes out the tailpipe along with the oil!