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2013 Chevrolet Equinox 2.4 Oil Consumption

In the last 1000 to 1500 miles the Equinox has used possibly up to 1/2 quart of oil. Current mileage is 29500 miles and the next oil change is due at 30k miles. Evidently this is not an uncommon occurrence with the Direct Injection 2.4 Ecotec starting with the 2010 model year. I added 1/2 qt. and will track the level until the next oil change.

The oil is changed every 5k miles with 29% to 35% oil life remaining according to the OLM. No noticeable oil usage between oil changes up to 28.5k miles. The last oil change was with Quaker State Semi-Synthetic, prior oil changes used Penzoil Semi-Synthetic or Full Synthetic.

Most trips are 11 to 13 miles or more. This last weekend I drove it 650 miles for a college visit. I haven’t notice any changes in driveability or performance.

The 2.4 does not have a PCV valve. There is a vent hose from the intake manifold to the air intake between the MAF and the throttle body. I was considering a Seafoam treatment for the intake to clean the valves. I’m not sure whether to add the Seafoam directly to the intake manifold through the vent hose or adding it to the air intake to be pulled into the manifold through the throttle body. Either method will keep the MAF out of harms way. I’ve used the Seafoam treatment on my older vehicles with no issues, but I am a little nervous doing it on a newer vehicle. I will use Seafoam spray or CRC GDI Intake Cleaner (if available).

I will go back to Penzoil for the next oil change and closely monitor the oil level. Any suggestions or thoughts would be appreciated.

Ed B.

Well, 1 quart oil usage per 2-3K miles isn’t out of the ordinary at all, esp w/newer cars running lower viscosity oils. My Corolla uses about 1 quart per 4-5K, but I use non-synthetic traditional viscosity oil (10-30). Most manufacturers for newer cars say normal oil usage is one quart per 500-1,000 miles or more. So you are doing much better than that. I suggest you do nothing other than monitor the oil usage to see if it is changing.

It’s best to use the exact oil specification recommended by the manufacture, and once you decide on a brand of oil, to stick with that same oil for the life of the car. Changing brands can cause problems as the additives are sometime not compatible.

Unless you have reason to suspect there’s a problem w/the valves, suggest to forget about the intake cleaner. With no symptoms, routine intake cleaning is not needed, esp in a newer car like a 2013.

I’d be sure that whatever oil you are using has the “dexos” symbol on the bottle, otherwise it may not be approved for use in your engine.

Oil consumption in the range of a quart every 2000 miles is normal and no cause for concern.

As already said and repeated, this is perfectly normal oil usage even for a new engine. Just be sure you always use the correct oil, change it at least as often as the manual recommends, and continue to monitor its level, for which I commend you.

I strongly urge you not to use Seafoam. Additives on engines that are operating perfectly normally are never a good idea IMHO.

Lots of systems no longer have PCV valves. PCV vales were intended to prevent backfires from igniting volatile crankcase fumes while still allowing the crankcase vapors to be drawn back into the engine and burned. In the old days of carburetors, rich operation, much more blowby being common, and much less control of the critical engine parameters PCV valves were needed, but on today’s engines the likelihood of a backfire igniting unburned fuel in the crankcase vapors is pretty much nonexistent.

Lots of good comments already.

I’d use only oil as listed in your manual, which for some strange reason, recommends Synthetic Blend. Stick with one brand name.

here is from your manual:
11.12: Use only engine oil licensed to the dexos1 specfication, or equivalent, of the proper SAE viscosity grade. ACDelco dexos1 Synthetic Blend is recommended.

10.8: Use licensed engine oils with the dexos1® approved certification mark. SAE 5W-30 is the best viscosity grade for the vehicle. Do not use other viscosity grade oils such as SAE 10W-30, 10W-40, or 20W-50. Cold Temperature Operation: In an area of extreme cold, where the temperature falls below −29°C (−20° F), an SAE 0W-30 oil may be used.

So far I have used Dexos-1 approved 5w-30 oil for oil changes, I will heed the good advice to pick one brand and stick with it.

I am more concerned with the sudden onset of oil consumption rather than the amount being used. There was no noticeable drop in oil level between changes up to the last oil change at 25k miles.

I was considering the Seafoam treatment to prevent carbon build up on the valve stems. If I may quote OK4550, he can explain it better.

"My understanding is that some Direct Injection engines are developing a few problems with deposits on the stems of the intake valves and right underneath the valve head as the injector spray no longer hits that area. This could be especially true on engines that use a little bit of oil and can even be true on non-DI engines. If a problem like this is suspected one can try running a cleaner through an intake manifold vacuum port but you could get this done anywhere for much less than 400 dollars.

With the engine fully warmed up, idling, and in gear note how it idles. Heavy deposits on intake stems often cause a disruption in airflow around the valve head and this may come across as a subtle engine miss, stumble, etc. If it idles smooth then I wouldn’t even worry about it."

Based on the advice given, I will hold off on the intake cleaning for now and just monitor the oil consumption. Any thoughts on what could cause a sudden increase in oil consumption?


Ed B.

" Any thoughts on what could cause a sudden increase in oil consumption?"

Loss of ring tension is one.

Ed, I Realize You’re Car Savvy And I’m Not Trying To Insult Your Intelligence, But Since I Don’t Know What Type Of Surface You Park On, Or If You’ve Been Underneath The Vehicle Lately…

Any chance of a leak, especially one that develops when the car is running? I know that when cars aren’t parked on clean pavement, a leak can go unnoticed until somebody’s under the car, looking up. Is it dry on the bottom side?


Cold weather with short trips can increase oil consumption. Even though we don’t have carburetors that dump an overly rich fuel mixture in the engine when the choke was on, the fuel/air mixture is richer when the engine is started cold. Also, a different brand of oil may tend to burn off more quickly. I just noticed this morning that my 2011 Sienna was about 1 pint low in 5000 miles. It has about 65000 on the odometer. With the 0W-20 oil, I don’t think I have a problem, even though I have never noticed it down a pint before. I keep a,quart of oil of the right type for both of our vehicles. I just top up the oil and drive on.
I have a lawnmower that uses,oil, so before each mowing session, I top up the oil and mow away. I’ve been using oil for three years–oil is cheaper than a new mower.

CSA, don’t worry about insulting my intelligence I have teenagers to do that. I looked underneath and didn’t see any wet spots in the driveway on Sunday. I will find some cardboard to put on the driveway. There is some oil/grease on the undercarriage from an ATF leak fixed earlier this year. I will clean off the undercarriage tonight and will check for new leakage. Thank you for the suggestion.

Triedaq, it was a brutal winter this year by Jersey standards. I noticed the Oil Life Monitor (OLM) was dropping faster than usual with the colder temps.

Ed B.

“I noticed the Oil Life Monitor (OLM) was dropping faster than usual with the colder temps.”

I’ve noticed that, too, this lousy winter. The problem seems to be made a bit worse by my wife and daughter, who almost can’t drive without activating remote start, before venturing outdoors. I can’t really fault them. I’m getting tired of these 6 month winters!


My Sienna sat outdoors in our brutal Indiana weather for the first time. The previous four winters it was garaged. However, I had half the garage floor replaced last fall and I still haven’t cleaned it up.

Most manufacturers for newer cars say normal oil usage is one quart per 500-1,000 miles or more.

What manufacturer has the audacity to claim that anything close to 500 miles per quart is normal?

Changing brands can cause problems as the additives are sometime not compatible.

Where is the evidence to support this?

My Sienna manual says there is no problem as long as the vehicle doesn’t use more than a quart every 600 miles.
Motor oils are supposed to be compatible with each other if the companies want to sell oil to the government. I switched brands all the time when I changed my own oil and had no problems. On my 1971 Maverick with a 250 cubic inch 6 cylinder engine, I used a quart every 1000 miles with Sunoco 10W-40. I bought 10W-40 Valvoline on sale and would get 1250-1500 miles to a quart of oil. This was my experience, although it was a sample of size 1.

My Sienna manual says there is no problem as long as the vehicle doesn’t use more than a quart every 600 miles.

Doesn’t it call the 600 mile figure a maximum, requiring dealer service if exceeded? It doesn’t describe it as normal, does it?

According to the Owner’s Manual for my Matrix one quart per 600 miles is the threshold where Toyota would do engine repair or replacement under warranty.
No mention of what’s “normal”.

I decided to change the Equinox’s oil at 4600 miles with the OLM at 34%. The oil was black and thinner than expected. For comparison, I checked the oil in my 2010 Cobalt with the non-DI 2.2 Ecotec, at 5500 miles the oil is still clean with the OLM at 35%.

I replaced the Quaker State Syn-Blend 5w-30 with Castrol Magnatec Syn-Blend. I will track the oil level to see if the Castrol holds up a little better. I may go back to a 4k change interval. The Direct Injection Ecotec seems a bit harder on oil.

Ed B.

Cold weather and remote starts put both water and gasoline in the crankcase. The gasoline dilutes the oil causing a little oil burning. You would normally not notice this because the oil level wouldn’t drop before the next oil change but you then took a 650 mile trip and burned off the water and gas in the crankcase.

My Sienna manual says the same as thing @circuitsmith. I have only topped off the oil with a pint once which would be about a quart every 10,000 miles. I don’t know what normal oil consumption is. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, Consumer Reports would list the miles per quart of oil after break in. I do remember that CR’s test of the 1960 Valiant listed the oil consumption as,1 quart per 450 miles. This Valiant had the slant 6 engine that was supposed to be a great engine. The 1954 Buick my dad purchased in 1955 and I bought from him in 1963 used a,quart every 2000 miles. We changed the oil at this point. This was the rate of oil consumption even when the car had 160,000 miles on the odometer and had never had the head or pan off the engine. Those old nail head Buick V8s were great engines in my opinion. Back in those days, 1 quart per 1000 miles was considered normal. I know I would be unhappy today if my Sienna consumed a quart of oil every 600 miles.

Just a quick update. At the 1k mark after the oil change, no noticeable oil consumption and no leaks.