2007 VW Beetle Oil Consumption Problem

I own a 2007 VW Beetle (automatic) that I bought brand new and it currently has 85,500 miles on it. In the past year or so, I feel like this car has become even more of a money pit than it was to begin with (note to readers: do not buy a Volkswagen unless you are a millionaire!). I have one major concern and looking to see what others know or have experienced with this…

I got an 80,000 mile service done on my car towards the end of April. The mileage on my car was around 82,500, I think. The oil is synthetic and the dealer always recommends having the oil changed every 10,000 miles. The handy little sticker in my car indicated that I change the oil at 92,500. Fast forward to the end of June… check engine light came on though there was no difference in the driving of the car. I am hypersensitive about my car acting differently or driving oddly because I know how VW will gouge my wallet! I took the car to have the code read and it came back “Air Injection” which of course can be a multitude of things. I don’t like paying people $100 just to tell me what’s wrong with my car and not have that $100 apply to repairs. So, I took my car to a German car speciality shop. They ran diagnostics and told me that it was the Air Pump Injection Valve. A quick $450 later and my car is off and on the road.

Small problem… it wasn’t driving well AT ALL. No check engine light but I KNEW there was something wrong. Car would “rev” or drive in overdrive until it switched gears which always happened at a higher RPM than usual. Sometimes when I started off from a stop, I would notice a “slip” in the engine/transmission (pardon me but I don’t really know that much about cars). Other times, usually when turning, I would notice a knocking noise coming from under the hood. The car was literally SHAKING. Not vibrating. I know what a tire balance looks like - steering wheel shaking usually at higher speeds (60+), but that is NOT what this felt like. The steering wheel would be still, but the car itself shaking. This happened only at lower speeds (average 40 mph - I drive almost exclusively on city roads).

SO… off I go back to the shop. This time I decided to return to the VW Dealership because I trust that they really do know what’s wrong even if they overcharge you. They told me that there was very little OIL in the car which was causing the engine to knock. That is so puzzling since I had only driven 3,000 miles since my last oil change. I promptly asked them to check for a leak to which they replied that they already did. No oil leak. The reply I got as to why it would consume that much oil was “sometimes the level of oil consumption just increases.” HMMMMMM…

My car is driving very well now that oil has been added. No knocking. No slipping. No shaking (magic! they suggested a tire balance which I agreed to but then they said they couldn’t because the rim was bent. That is interesting since they just rotated them in April.)

Does anyone else think this is a problem? I can’t imagine why the oil would disappear after 3,000 miles. Could the repair shop who did the valve replacement have drained the oil?

Either someone did not add the proper amount of oil at the last oil change or it’s being burned past the piston rings. More than likely the latter.

Odds are the oil control (a.k.a. wiper rings) are stuck on one or more cylinders and this is usually caused by an oil change regimen that is too lengthy, overheating, etc. JMHO, but going 10k miles between oil changes is way too long and the current problem of oil consumption is likely due to just that.

You should have a compression test performed; both dry and wet. That can reveal a piston ring issue and while not 100% infallible it can be a good indicator.

You should also remain pessimistic because the engine is damaged goods to some extent and I might add that you need to get in the habit of checking the oil level on a regular basis and not automatically assume that things under the hood remain a constant.

The biggest problem that I perceive is that you don’t seem to do periodic checking of the dipstick in order to monitor the oil level.

Yes, consuming a large amount of oil (we don’t actually know just how much was consumed) is troubling, but if you had checked the dipstick at least every couple of weeks, it couldn’t have fallen to such a low level. Hopefully you will be diligent about this from now on, especially in view of increased oil consumption.

Do not wait for any type of warning light to alert you to a problem with your oil. Be proactive and check the dipstick yourself at least every couple of weeks.

Why is it consuming “a lot” of oil in 3k miles?
From afar, nobody can tell you for sure, but my two biggest suspects would be…
a clogged PCV valve
oil changes that were done too rarely.

If synthetic oil is required for your car, that is definitely what you need to use, however very few of the experienced folks in this forum would agree that 10k mile oil changes are sufficient–even with synthetic oil. If those 10k miles were almost exclusively highway miles, that type of regimen might be okay. However, once local, short-trip driving is a significant part of your driving pattern, that really mandates much more frequent oil changes.

I suggest that you have the independent VW mechanic check for evidence of oil sludging, and that you also have him change the PCV valve. Changing this $5.00 part might help to a great extent. If he finds evidence of sludging, ask him how much it would cost to open up the engine and clean it out before the sludge destroys the engine.

However, if the engine was making knocking sounds when it was run low on oil, it is very possible that its days are numbered–even if it is running smoothly at this point. I think that you need to have that indy mechanic do a compression check, and–possibly–drop the oil pan and check the condition of at least one of the main bearings in order to determine just how much damage resulted from running with a low oil level.

Sooo, a knocking noise under the hood didn’t prompt you to CHECK YOUR OIL?

I’m sorry… I may have misspoken when I stated there was knocking from under the hood. This knocking sound was not consistent nor constant. It was very occasional…maybe heard it briefly once a day. It would happen when accelerating from a stop.

So, no knocking from under the hood did not prompt me to check the oil. It prompted me to call the dealer and make an appointment. It was 10 days from the time it started driving rough to the time I took it to the shop. Not sure how much damage could have been done but I will contact the shop about potentially doing a sludge test and checking those couple of parts.

I have never had the low oil level light come on in my car nor do I wait for that to happen. As mentioned above, I took my car in without any lights being on because my intuition told me something was wrong with my car. I typically get the oil changes done around 8,000 miles. No, I do not regularly check the oil level but obviously will be from here on out!

“It was 10 days from the time it started driving rough to the time I took it to the shop.”

I would be very surprised if this engine hasn’t already suffered major damage as a result of extended running with a low oil level. With 8,000 mile oil change intervals and–apparently–never checking the oil level, the amount of oil that remained in that engine was likely insufficient for properly lubricating the engine, and the extended period of oil starvation is not that different from a long period of dehydration for a person.

I would suggest having the compression checked and having a main bearing cap removed in order to assess the overall health of the engine before deciding what else to do to the engine. Truthfully, even if it is filled with sludge, I think that it is likely too badly damaged to even spend the money on sludge removal.

Clearly you’ve not monitored your oil, and clearly you’re learning a very expensive lesson. Allow me to suggest that you learn to monitor other things too.

Brake fluid level in the reservoir, tire wear, the condition of the belts and hoses, and a good visual look-see under the hood when you’re checking the oil will save you breakdowns and help your cars live long reliable lives in the future. Low brake fluid can tell you to start saving for a brake job (the fluid level goes down as the pads wear), cracking hoses can warn you of an impending engine-destroying sudden hemorrhage, cracking belts can warn you of an impending sudden failure, and abnormal tire wear can warn you of suspension wear, damage, or needed alignment. A green crusty blotch on the radiator can warn you of a radiator ready to rupture. Let the lesson be larger than just checking the oil routinely. Let the lesson be to monitor the car’s fluids condition overall.

Excellent advice–as usual–from mountainbike.

Changing your oil after 10,000 miles is a bad idea even if you are using synthetic. The dealership is clearly wrong here. At 8,000 miles you are not doing your engine any favors. Couple that with the fact that you didn’t check your oil on a timely basis and the result is…you’ve killed your engine. Lesson learned…I hope.

I have a co worker who has a 2007 honda civic, 270k miles, oil is changed by dealer using conventional motor oil whenever the oil life monitor says to do so. Said car uses no oil and has never had the engine touched. Intervals are 7k minimum to 10k maximum, that being said car is used for a 90 mile round trip commute daily.

Lets get off of this crap about 10k mile intervals being too much, maybe the oil leaked out, maybe it burned it, maybe it was never changed the last go around, maybe it was not properly refilled.

We simply do not know and alot of people are jumping to conclusions. Yes the oil should have been checked, but lets not blame it on the intervals just yet… Lets get some facts first.

OP wrote: “They told me that there was very little OIL in the car which was causing the engine to knock”
" I have never had the low oil level light come on in my car nor do I wait for that to happen"

Does this car have a (un-common) low oil level light or just the low oil pressure light?
The low pressure light means damage is happening, don’t drive another mile.

OP also wrote: “I drive almost exclusively on city roads”

In this kind of driving 8-10,000 mile oil changes are too far.
I would go with 5000 miles or 6 months, whichever comes first.

WheresRick wrote: “car is used for a 90 mile round trip commute daily”

That’s a very different situation from the OP.

@circuitsmith Right on! Oil change intervals are a function of driving patterns, climate, and engine design. Largely highway driving allows very long drain intervals, whereas driving short distances with frequent warmup cycles will require much more frequent changes.

My 1965 Dodge Dart had a whole chapter in the handbook on oil changes. It said in severely cold weather with short trip driving, oil changes as frequent 800 miles might be necessary. It also said that with easy highway driving a 4000 mile interval (with 1965 “MS” oils") would be OK!!!

@WheresRick needs to take a short course in engne lubrication to familiarize himself with these facts.

+1 to Docnick and circuitsmith

Our friend “Rick” apparently doesn’t realize that one size doesn’t fit all, at least when it comes to oil changes. The person with that Civic, who does 90 mile highway trips daily, is in an entirely different category than somebody like the OP who does mostly city driving.

7k of mostly highway driving is indeed very “gentle” on a car’s motor oil, and is a far cry from the oil torture test represented by mostly city driving.

In addition to the OP revealing that she typically goes 8k miles between oil changes, in light of the nature of her driving patterns, I have to wonder how many months elapse between those oil changes. More than likely, if she does mostly city driving, those oil changes come around only about every 10 months or so–which is about 4 months too late for a car that does mostly city driving.

The accumulated moisture in the oil of a car driven like hers, coupled with the reality that no oil–including synthetics–can disperse that moisture, means that the oil is accumulating sludge and is taking on a somewhat acidic nature. Both of these conditions are like poison to an engine, and a car that is driven mostly in local driving situations should not go more than 6 months between changes, although–personally–I would change the oil every 4 months.

@WheresRick needs to take a short course in engne lubrication to familiarize himself with these facts.

I am not saying that the extended intervals are not the cause of the oil consumption, I am just saying that we do not know where the oil went for a fact, certainly its possible that the extended drain intervals caused oil consumption problems, but for all we know the oil leaked out or was never filled completely in the first place.

Too many people are assuming things that we do know know as fact.

For all I know the OP has an enemy that drained the oil out, we simply do not know.

Well, I won’t buy a German car EVER, until the Koreans or Toyota engineers and builds them.

Like Toyota engineered and built the floor mats and accelerator?

Let’s also not forget the 1986 Hyundai Excel

A bestselling POS . . . snicker, snicker

Be careful what you wish for

Are you sure you have an oil level light? Most cars just have an oil pressure light and if that illuminates it is usually too late to prevent damage unless the loss was catastrophic and you shut the engine off immediately/