2003 VW Passat Wagon 6cyl

My car has only 35k miles on it today, august '08. This car has probably had a quart of oil put in every month. I had a 1986 Saab for 20 years that burned ZERO oil. I am driving and every other week the oil light comes on. AND I BARELY DRIVE THE THING

It sounds like you happend to get one that is inadequate in its performance. It happens less nowadays than it used to. You will have to perform an engine replacement or rebuild to make the fix depending on where the oil is going. Where is the oil going? Is it up in smoke or on your driveway or parking space? This will ultimately determine the related costs or repair duty.

I have an '03 VW Passat with a V6 as well. I know it inside and out, and no one works on this car but me.

1 quart a month isn’t enough to go on. How many miles between quarts?

I drive 1200 miles a month, and burn about 1 quart every 1500-2000 miles. Mine has done this since new, and it’s completely normal for this engine.

Do you have any leaks? Are you burning the oil, or are you leaking it?

If you have a V6 and it’s an automatic, you may have an issue where the breather system gets clogged, and it causes the valve cover gaskets and camshaft seals to leak. I have a writeup on how to diagnose this that your mechanic can follow:


Are you using the proper oil? You may burn more oil if you’re using the wrong kind. You should be using a full synthetic 5W/40 such as Castrol Syntec or Mobil1 0W/40 in this engine. The wrong oil may lead to higher consumption.

Are you getting a STOP OIL PRESSURE warning, or does your car have the oil level sensor? The former is a very bad thing to ever see on this engine- I know for a fact that even down 2.5 quarts that warning won’t come on, so you’re running this engine very low. This engine has a very large sump- it takes 6.5 quarts on a fill, so it’s very generous with its oil capacity.

Some cars burn oil, some don’t. Your SAAB may have never consumed oil, but the same SAAB belonging to another guy could. There’s also V6 Passats that don’t consume oil. I’ve had oil analyses run on this engine- there are no leaks, the rings aren’t experiencing blowby. My guess is that I burn the oil through the valve stem seals, slow enough not to ever get blue smoke.

With most all modern cars the manufacturers allow for a lot of oil use. Personally I believe the high usage they say is normal should not be tolerated. But I am not the judge. If it is of any help to you my 2002 VW gets oil changes every 10,000 miles and I have yet had more than maybe a cup of oil usage between changes.