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2012 Volvo XC70 Wagon Burning oil

We bought a new 2012 Volvo XC 70 wagon. It only has 6,000 miles on it and the Check oil light has gone on three times. Each time it has required approximately one quart (which the dealer claims is “within specs” for this engine). I believe it satisfies the lemon law criteria in PA since it has been back to the shop three times in less than a year. Should I insist on a replacement or is this “normal” wear for this car. Thanks!

See the “Honda burning oil at 45,000 miles” thread…

Sounds like your oil consumption is a quart every 2000 miles. ALL manufacturers consider that to be normal oil consumption…

Its not lemon law, becasue its not a saftey issue. Also I am sure no attemt at a repair has been made, and “everything is normal” is probably on every one of your recepts from the dealer.

As caddy said this is going to be with in “normal” limits for a cars warranty, so you will be out of luck there. Keep documenting the issue with the dealership in case it gets worse, this way you have a strong paper trail.

“Its not lemon law, becasue its not a saftey issue.”

An automotive repair issue does not have to be something that is, strictly speaking, safety-related in order to be covered under the terms of a Lemon Law statute.

The statute in my state specifies (more or less–I am paraphrasing) that the defect has to be one that materially affects the safety or driveability of the vehicle. So, for example, a car with a rough idle that could not be corrected would be covered under my state’s Lemon Law. I know someone who was successful with a Lemon Law claim on his Chrysler, due to a persistent very rough idle condition that the dealership could not correct after 3 attempts.

My friend–with my help–filed a Lemon Law claim against Toyota because of the weird electrical problems that he began experiencing right after the dealer installed a genuine Toyota Remote Start system on his two month-old car. That was also covered under the terms of the Lemon Law in NJ, although it was clearly not a safety issue.

All of that being said, something that clearly falls within factory service manual definitions of “normal”–such as consuming 1 qt of oil every 2k miles–will not be covered under any Lemon Law with which I am familiar.

Some motors burn a bit more oil when they are new. Did you have the oil changed at 6000 miles? If it was changed, perhaps the oil use between 6K and 12K miles will be less.

It would seem you are not real happy with the Volvo if you feel it is a lemon. Selling it now is going to be a financial mess. But, I don’t feel Volvo’s are good cars once the warranty period is past due to frequent and expensive repairs. Also, I had a couple of Volvo V70’s that just ate up brakes, and brake jobs were expensive on them. If you tend to be “heavy footed” on the gas and brakes don’t expect to get much beyond 20K miles before you need brakes. For some reason the rears wore down very fast on my Volvos.

You might want to consider selling it or trading it just about the time the warranty is up.

I am trying to be polite but, do not use the engine light to check your oil level. Look at the oil level each time you fillup until you understand how quickly your car uses oil. And still check the level every other fill. You have to do this otherwise you are not being a wise person.

Thanks everyone for your input. The dealership has been cooperative with each service and the car remains under the service warranty. All factory service and oil changes have been completed for free. The dealer told my wife that they did change the engine settings which should resolve the issue. Perhaps they changed the idle setting? I’ll wait to see if the warning light returns.

If the engine is burning a quart of oil every 2k miles, I fail to see how “changing the settings” is going to stop it from burning oil at exactly the same rate as before…and I’d be interested to hear what engine “settings” they changed, since the engine is controlled entirely by a computer chip with the programming permanently burned into it…

In other words, they did nothing whatsoever.

They’re just waiting for you to go away, because you don’t have any claim. As VDC said, 1 qt per 2k miles is considered acceptable usage by the automakers.

You could try switching to a higher viscosity oil. That’s pretty much the only thing that will help.

I’d also be upset to find I’d paid $30-$40K for a new car and it burned oil at a rate of 1quart/2000 miles, but as others have said most manufacturers now claim that’s within normal operation. I bought a new Buick Regal in '77 that used oil from day 1, I haven’t bought a GM product since. My '88 Ford Escort Pony had between 250-300K miles before it ever started lowering the oil on the dipstick. I have three other Fords with between 100K and 200K miles that use half a quart to a quart between 5K mile changes. I also suspect part of the reason they claim oil usage as being normal on newer cars now days is because many manufacturers have gone to 10-15K mile oil change intervals so they claim oil usage is normal on account of people neglecting to change oil every 3-5K miles which probably increases engine wear.

We brought it back for “routine maintenance” , the oil was low 2 quarts, and now they are rebuilding the engine with new pistons and piston rings. They are stating that “some 2012 Volvo XC’s are having this problem”. They are saying that the engine will be continued to be covered under the factory warranty. Should I be okay with that??? Should I claim the car is a lemon and ask for a new replacement??

They are trying to work with you. Give them some slack. If this doesn’t solve the problem or creates more problems, then explore lemon law relief. BTW, I don’t know about PA, but in MD, a car can be returned for any reason. I had a Taurus with AC problems and the dealer just missed providing me a new car by replacing the AC compressor.

A higher viscocity oil isn’t going to help with the oil consumption. And if you use a higher viscocity oil other than what the manufacturer recommends you can pretty much kiss your warranty goodbye.


Your dealer seems to be working with you. Had I been the dealer, I would have had you run the car to at least 10,000 miles to see what happens. Maybe the piston rings are slow to seat. I know that when Buick introduced its new V-8 engine in the Super and Roadmaster line back in 1953, there were some customer complaints about oil consumption. It turned out that the rings seated slowly before the engines dried up. Buick made a running change in the piston rings during the 1953 model year to correct the slow break-in problem. Perhaps your Volvo engine has the same problem.
I am rather surprised that the dealer would rebuild this engine rather than install a new short block.

Use exactly the oil recommended in the owners manual. The dealer’s changing the oil anyway, so they’ll get it right.

You must now check your oil at every fillup to document the oil use. NEVER let it get 2 quarts low again. Does it have a diptstick, or does have some electronic readout?

Thanks again for all input. I picked up the car and it is running smoothly. It has new pistons and seals. They asked to see it in 1,000 miles to check the engine and the oil. They have been doing all oil changes/additions. There is an electronic alert which is apparently very sensitive (lights up when the car is one quart low).

“There is an electronic alert which is apparently very sensitive (lights up when the car is one quart low).”

If that is the case, then why was the crankcase two quarts low when you brought the car in for routine maintenance? Were you ignoring that electronic alert, or did you distrust it, or…?

You can have every type of warning device that was ever invented, but if the driver ignores them, nothing good will result.

Is there a dipstick? If so, I’d check it every fillup for the next 5,000 miles.

A quart every 2000 miles is NOTHING…If they rebuilt the engine (that’s a big if) they are just milking Volvo for warranty work to support their service department… Hopefully you will be the winner as this game is played out…