Disappearing Oil

I own a 1999 VW Passat with around 58K miles. Twice the oil light has come on in the last 6 months and was 2 1/2-3 quarts low. I just had compression checked-ok, a search for leaks-none to be found. I was told the turbo could be ‘drinking’ the oil…any thoughts?

Here is a link to a Jetta TDI discussion with a similar problem.


I suggest that you that get into the habit of checking the oil on a regular basis, running it that low is not good for the engine. If you are waiting for the oil pressure light to come on to check, it’s too late. I don’t know if a Passat has a low oil level light. The only car I’ve ever seen a low oil level light is my 93 Caprice.

Ed B.

With the age of the car (10 years), I’d suspect the oil seals in the turbo. The easiest way to check for turbo seal leakage is to pull a tube apart from between the turbo and intercooler and look for an oil trail. If the turbo is leaking oil on that side, it pools up in the bottom of the intercooler. If it is leaking on the exhaust side, the exhaust looks smoky, and smells like burnt oil. But, if the leak is small enough, the catalytic converter can help mask the problem.