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Best oil for a thirsty car

I am currently borrowing my inlaws’ 2003 Buick Regal which has 120k miles. My mother-in-law doesn’t drive anymore, so it was just sitting. When I took possession of it, it was 2 quarts low on oil. I topped it off. A week and a half (and about 1000 miles) later, it was about a quart low. There might be a drip or two in my parking space and I don’t see or smell any signs of burning oil in my exhaust. My father recommended a high viscosity oil (so it doesn’t drip as readily), but the cap where you put the oil in says to use only 5W30. Winter here is not severe. We might get a few flakes of snow, but no severe winter temperatures. What oil should I be using?

Note: I’m trying not to pour too much into repairs of this car since I will hopefully be buying a new car in about 6 months.


Your mother-in-law either did not change oil often enough and caused premature wear or the engine was abused in some other way, maybe by sludging up from nothing but short trip driving.

In any case you can add some crankcase purge to try to losen up the rings or do nothing and just use 15W40 oil that truckers use.

Oil is cheap and since you are buying a new car soon, just keep it topped up. Take the car out for a fast highway drive for about 50 miles and see what that does to the oil level.

A quart of oil in a thousand miles is not considered excessive, especially in a car with 120 thousand miles on it.

Don’t pour a lot of money into repairing this, just pour a quart of oil into every 1000 miles.

Change the oil and filter, use 10W-30 High Mileage and see how it does. A quart every 1000 miles no big deal… When it’s a quart every 400 miles, THEN you can try 20W-50…

Some new cars use quart every 1000 miles and car makers state this the verge of abnormal.

Oil is beyond cheap in cases or walmart store brand. Just top every fillup or every other and don’t worry.

People really get worked up about oil. A slight pain to top/check agree but not really worth worrying about.

You would do well to get the oil changed and use the recommended 5W30 or 10W30 oil. The engine might continue to run reliably for another 100,000 miles if maintenance is kept up.

Use the oil the vehicle manufacturer recommends. Using a heavier weight oil just accelerates engine wear.


First thing is I’d get the oil and filter changed. Fresh oil might not burn off as fast.

Then I’d just monitor the oil level frequently for a month or so and see how often you need to top off the oil. I’d stick with 5W-30 for this oil change. You can buy the cheapest 5W-30 oil you can find for topping off and just keep a quart in the trunk with a clean up rag.

It could be the oil currently in the car is old and diluted with water. Your driving it may just be burning off excessive moisture. Best to get that old oil out of there, start with fresh oil and then evaluate your oil usage.