2011 GMC Terrain oil consumption

I own a 2011 4 cyl. Terrain. I had an oil change at 66,000 miles. At 70,000 miles I noticed an engine noise and took it to my Local GMC dealer for service.
They told me I was down 2 quarts of oil and that was the source of the noise. They also told me it was NORMAL for the
4 cyl engines to burn 1 quart every 2000 miles! Is this true or is it GM trying to get out of fixing a problem?

How can GM solve the problem of someone not checking their oil level for 4000 miles?

Increased oil consumption seems to be a known issue with the 2010 and 2011 2.4 DI 4cyl engines.

I have a 2013 Equinox with the same 2.4 engine. I check the oil regularly and use a 5k change interval regardless of the OLM reading. There was no noticeable oil usage between changes up to 25k miles. After the last change I noticed a drop in oil level starting about 1k before the next 5k change. I estimated the oil usage to be ~1/2 qt over the 1k miles. I switched brands of oil and will keep a close eye on the oil level.

Here is a link to a discussion I started on the subject.


For now, I suggest you check your oil level regularly and keep it topped off. Personally, I think Direct Injected (DI) engines are a lot harder on oil.

Good luck,

Ed B.

Even with a brand-new vehicle, it is not unheard-of for oil to be consumed at the rate of 1 qt per 1,000 miles. For a vehicle with 66k miles on the odometer, consuming 1 qt every 2k miles is certainly not unreasonable.

As was already suggested, the biggest problem in this scenario is a vehicle owner who apparently doesn’t bother to check the oil dipstick on a regular basis, and who only seeks help when his/her engine begins to make strange noises.

If the OP doesn’t know how to check his/her dipstick, then enlisting the help of a knowledgeable friend would be a good idea. A car owner who wants to get the most miles and years out of his vehicle–with minimal repair costs–will check the oil of his/her vehicle at least every couple of weeks, with the object of the game to make sure that the level never falls more than 1 qt below the “full” mark on the dipstick. Personally, I like to replenish the oil once the level has fallen by 1/2 qt.

It’s true. Some new vehicles will burn a quart of oil every 1,000 miles and it’s considered normal. VDCdriver is correct.

Let me make a guess at your oil change intervals. Would it happen to be 6-10k miles in between them or based on the OLM?

If so, that’s likely the reason for the oil consumption and going even 1000 miles without checking the oil level is bad practice; much less 4000 miles.

Noise also means damage is being done. Topping the oil off and shutting it up does not cure any problem that has been caused by low oil.

VDCdriver is correct about replenishing oil when it’s half a quart down. Driving around with a chronically low oil level just means the remaining oil is having to work harder and will be more prone to oil sludging or coking which will mean an oil consumption increase which will mean… :frowning:

Your owners manual will clearly state the necessity of checking the oil level regularly.

How can GM solve the problem of someone not checking their oil level for 4000 miles?

Well, they might want to look into it, since it seems to me that an awful lot of people nowadays never check their oil at all, they just have it changed once or maybe twice a year.
Of course some don’t even do that.

@auto-owner is right.
The general understanding for when to check oil has changed. An ever shrinking percentage of the public thinks about cars the way the contributors to this forum do. That’s an opportunity for vehicle designers.

Why should GM look into it. If you don’t check your oil and ruin your engine, you just need a new car sooner rather than later. If you get mad at GM and buy a Ford, GM will just sell a car to the Ford driver that does the same.

The OP needs to learn how to check the oil between changes.

And learn that when the engine is making strange sounds, to stop, shut the car off and check the oil. Even that drive to the dealer may have done serious engine damage.

As far as the car makers doing something…they are…they list how to check your oil and how often. I never read a manual that said. " If you have oil changes according to the recommended
mileage…you never have to check your oil". They always suggest checking between oil changes.

That’s about all they can do unless @auto-owner & @JoeMario would rather have the makers install a 30 gallon reserve oil tank in the trunk.

It is part of the responsibility of owning a vehicle…reading the manual, and following their suggested things that they mention that the owner should be checking.


I noticed that the toilet was dirty even though it was just cleaned 2 months ago. Is this normal?

OK, just kidding. There have been some reports of the 4 cylinders using excessive oil. However 2 quarts in 4000 miles is nowhere near excessive. It’s normal usage. I’d also bet that since your last oil change service your tires have lost a little bit of air, your washer fluid is getting low, and maybe a few other little things just need a little lovin’.

Checking and adding oil to your engine is quite simple, and would actually take less time than cleaning your toilet. It’s something that needs to be done once in a while, just normal maintenance.

@asemaster The good old days were better. You didn’t have to worry about oil consumption on a horse and you didn’t have to clean outdoor toilet.

ASE, that’s not normal. Can I refer you to a nutritionist?

Seriously, I wonder of we’ll ever hear back from the OP. I don’t think he got the answers he was expecting. Hopefully he’ll learn from them.

I might add to the answers that the oil is not the only thing you should be monitoring.
tranny fluid (for automatics),
brake fluid,
power steering fluid (not applicable to those who have the newer electric systems),
belt wear,
tire wear,
windshield wiper blades,
and I’m sure I forgot a few, are all important to monitor.

For some of these (read your owner’s manual) periodic replacement is necessary. For others, monitoring them can detect changes before they become damage. For brake fluid, it can actually suggest when it might be time to get your brakes checked… and if you should develop a leak, detecting it by monitoring your brake fluid might just prevent a headon with a bridge abutment.

I often check my oil when I buy gas. I will sometimes.have a person come up and think I am an expert because they see me lift the hood. It gives me a sense of prestige. If the person asks a question, I give them an answer. 90℅ of the time it’s wrong, but you would know that if you read the answers I give on this board.

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The problem is that with some engines it’s impossible to get a good consistent reading via the dipstick (Subaru for one). I have a Subaru engineering report saying to check both sides of the dipstick and picking the lowest one. But even that doesn’t work. I can read it 5 times and get 5 different readings, anywhere from 1/4 to 1 qt high.

I’ll have to depend on the “low oil” light. But be nice if I knew exactly what level it would indicate…

Engine low oil level warning light
This light illuminates when the engine oil level decreases to the lower limit.
If the engine low oil level warning light illuminates while driving, park the vehicle in a safe and level location, and then check the engine oil level.


I had trouble reading the dipstick on my Dakota and drilled two small 1/16th inch holes…one at the quart low mark and one at the full mark. Instead of getting false readings…now if the hole is filled with oil…it is at least that full.


Yosemite, these are false high readings. There is lots of oil on the stick above the lines, enough to fill any small holes.

But that is a possibility…

“There is lots of oil on the stick above the lines, enough to fill any small holes.”

I don’t think so if you pull, wipe and then take the reading.

many dip sticks are just prone to giving false readings.

When you putt the stick and it has to follow up a tube with a curve or two…it wipes oil from the inside wall of the dipstick tube. Then you get the false reading.
Try checking it in the morning, or after the engine has sat for at least an hour.


Yes, that is the problem with the Subaru opposed 4, the tube has curves in it, and the stick picks up oil from the tube as you pull it out. Not possible to get a clean reading. I have tried waiting overnight, no help.

And I’ve tried taking 5 readings, cleaning the stick off each time, hoping that it will get cleaner with the repeated readings, but no luck here either.