Car using oil

2000 Volvo V40, 165K, is using almost 1 quart of oil every 2000 miles. This is a recent development. There are no oil leaks under the car and no evidence of oil from the head gasket (though it’s hard to visually inspect all around the engine). Should I worry? Is the car getting too old? Any idea on the cause/solution?

If it is only using 1 quart per 2000 miles, I would not worry. If you start working on a 10 year old Volvo expenses can add rapidly. If the Volvo was NEW, your dealer would tell you that such consumption is normal.

I would just check the oil regularly and add the right kind (viscosity) of oil as needed.

Even though this is a recent development, that is not a high rate of oil consumption.
In fact, if you owned a brand-new Volvo and you complained to the dealership about this rate of oil consumption, you would be told that it falls within “normal limits” for a new car–or something to that effect.

My suggestion is to first check the PCV valve to make sure that it is still moving freely. A gummed up PCV can increase oil consumption and can cause other, much more serious, engine problems. The cost of a new PCV valve–even for a Volvo–is probably $5 or less.

Also, you might want to start using oil made for high-mileage cars. Personally I wouldn’t do this, but you might want to consider it.

If I were you, I would simply get into the habit of checking the dipstick every week or so, just in case the rate of consumption suddenly increases. Never let the crankcase fall more than 1 qt below the full mark.

For reasons that I have never understood, sometimes the brand of oil may make a difference even though the viscosity is the same. I had a Ford Maverick and had been using Sunoco 10W-30 and was adding a quart every 1200 miles. At that time, I believed that one should stick with a particular brand. However, I found Valvoline on sale for 49 cents a quart at that time, and couldn’t resist. With the Valvoline 10W-30 the oil consumption rate improved to 1 quart every 1500 miles.
I wouldn’t worry about a quart in 2000 miles. My first car used a quart every 200 miles.

Don’t worry just check your oil level every few fill ups.

The sudden onset does suggest something like the PCV system dysfunction …as was suggested. There can also be transitional consumption issue when switching from one oil chemistry to another. It doesn’t happen often, but can occur. It’s when you hear of someone using a new oil and they stop using it due to consumption. They never hang with it long enough to figure out it was a transient event. While normally this is a geezer reaction (NEVER AGAIN!!!), anyone can fall into this lack of investigatory laziness. The odds/likelihood of true wear/damage occurring is this short a time frame are slim.

Consider using Auto-Rx to assure that ring packs are clear (

When valve seals fail, the oil consumption will go up and continue to go up over time. but this rate of consumption is not high, and there are lots of folks driving around who would envy it.

Ok, thanks for everyone’s advice… I suppose I’ve been lucky, but most cars that I’ve owned have used small amounts of oil. This car, at 100K miles, used essentially no oil between oil changes.