We have a Dodge 2008 Grand Caravan. 47K miles. It has been showing the oil indicator light. We top off the oil then the light comes on a week or two later. We have taken it to the dealer and the dealer says that Dodge has noted that it is acceptable that cars under 50k may require a quart of oil every 1000 miles and when they get over 50K to require oil every 750 miles. They have us currently doing an “Oil Study”. This is when we hit 1000 miles they will do an oil change (another $30) and measure the amount of oil.
Does this sound right? Our dealer saying that oil loss at such a low milage is common?
I am worried that there is a bigger systemic problem and since I am out of warranty that I may have to pony up a pretty penny to fix this when it seems that Dodge may know about the problem.
I wanted to post this here to see if anyone could offer advice or has heard similar things?
How much oil is it using?
Thanks for the reply
Looks about 1 qt every 1000 miles. Tough to say. It has just started. We only noticed it since the last oil change Jiffy Lube said we were low and then after about 1500 miles the light came on, we got scared and took it to the dealer, they said yes we were low and then proceeded to give the above speal, yes cars can lose oil, etc, etc…
Please describe the oil light that is coming on at times. Is it a low oil pressure light, or is it a low oil level light?
How often are you now checking the oil level?
I’ve never had a car that consumed 1 quart per 1000 miles, but that is usually considered acceptable.
Many car makers consider a quart per thousand miles “normal” but I do not agree with that premise.
Most oil cosumption problems (assuing it’s not leaking) can be traced to valve seals and/or piston rings.
Your van is essentialy 3.5 years old and the mileage is comparatively low for the age.
If I assume you bought this van brand new and there is no shaky prior owner history it’s possible for piston rings to sludge or coke up and lead to oil use problems if the oil has not been changed regularly enough.
Any history of overheating episodes or chronic running hotter than normal (idling in traffic jams, etc.) incidents can prod this process along.
The first step in an oil cosumption complaint should be a compression and/or leakdown test but even this is not 100% definitive. There is no test at all for valve seals.
Not knowing exactly what that oil light means, you need to be checking it frequently right now, say once a week, until you learn how fast you are using oil. On some cars the light doesn’t come on until you are dangerously low, on others it might be a ‘one quart low’ indicator. What does your owners’ manual say the light means?
No one’s talking about the elephant in the room here, which is that Joe has his oil changed at Jiffy Lube.
It’s entirely possible that they’re under-filling the oil. I recommend switching to a good local mechanic to do your oil changes rather than the cheap chain stores staffed by people who don’t know much, if anything, about cars.
Assuming it really is consuming oil, as ok4450 said, even though manufacturers claim this is a “normal” amount of oil useage, I strongly disagree. Of the 4 cars I have right now, none burn oil, and my cars range from 1991 to 2007, and from 50,000 miles to 225,000. If any of them started using a quart every 1,000 miles it would be a definite indication that something had gone wrong.
Thanks for the reply.
While the dealer is leaning towards the juffy lube theory… the total story is this
Mid Jan had jiffy lube change oil, they noticed it was low
Beginning Feb went to dealer because light came on, they topped off the oil and said nothing could be done since Jiffy Lube did the poil change
Late Feb went in and said light was on, Please perform an oil change, and thus the above discussion started.
So the oil was low end of Jan, beg Feb and Mid Feb. Dealer topped of Mid Feb and End Feb.
We did buy the car barnd new. There are several recalls that we have had done, radiator cap, hoses and such.
The dealer notes state that it is the oil pressure light, and that there was no oil on the dipstick.
They changed the oil and said that this is now the first stpe in an Oil Study.
The mileage at the oil change in question and the mileage at the occasions of the oil being indicated low subsequent to that would be of great help in judging the severity of the problem… If the oil is changed at 5,000 mile intervals and 2 quarts are needed between changes it would be my opinion that there is no problem.
Last summer I rented a Toyota Matrix, one of the better vehicles, and the manual stated that ?ne quart of oil every 750!!! miles was acceptable`!!!. Th reason for this is the 5W20 regular and 0W20 synthetic oils that are specified for this vehicles, mostly to meet the CAFE fuel efficiency standards. In other words, a Matrix, like my Corolla, will not consume any measurable amount of oil in 4000 miles if 5W30 is put in the crankcase.
My question is, with all that 5W20 available, did they put that in your Dodge, and if so 1 quart per 1000 miles in your vehicle is entirely acceptable. A dealer will do NOTHING if your vehilce consumes 1 quart per 1000 miles; the manufacturer will call it
By now you will know better than to get your oil changed at Jiff Lube.
P.S. Our Nissan with 130,000 miles on it consumes 0.5 quarts between oil changes at 3500 miles.
We really can’t help until you get us some numbers. ‘topped off’ can mean 1/4 quart, 2 quarts, who knows? Do you have any idea how much oil they had to add?
The story is still incomplete about any history of overheating, oil change regularity, and how much and how often the engine oil has been run low.
It sounds like the OP never raises the hood to check the oil level and is relying on faith alone to keep the oil level acceptable between changes.
The oil light thing could use some definition also. A Low Oil lamp is not the same thing as an oil pressure lamp. The former may be nothing to worry about; the latter can be fatal to an engine. If it was a red light then the engine has some serious issues.
Whose to say that at some point the oil was not 3 or 4 quarts down. Seeing as how piston rings are lubricated by splash a chronic low oil level can have an affect on the rings.
Like shadowfax, if any of my cars or my family members cars use a quart in a 1000 miles then it’s got a problem and thankfully none of them do or ever have. As an example, even my youngest son’s Camaro (totalled out by a Crown Vic and ending the car’s life) used zero oil between 3500 mile oil changes and that was with 300k miles on it.
There’s a simple reason why car makers consider it normal. If they start replacing engines under warranty to cure this the cost is going to be beyond astronomical and the process will never stop.
Every car that rolls of the assembly line has a budgeted amount for warranty repairs and this amount is very small; probably in the 3 digits or very very low 4 digits at most. It doesn’t take much to chew that per car amount up anyway without figuring in a major unit such as an engine.
Poster has indicated that they “top off the oil” and a week or two later the oil pressure light comes on. That would indicate burning or leaking a lot more than a quart per thousand. Either that or an oil pressure problem.
When you “top off the oil”, how much does it take?
I don’t know how much was topped off. I don’t notice a leak and the dealer did not notice a leak (I did ask them to look for one) and I don’t see any smoke coming out of the tailpipe which would indicate burning oil.
As for regularity I am pretty regular in changing my oil. I even during one vacation took time out of my vacation to sit and get my oil changed.
I will on occassion go to Jiffy Libe to get my oil changed, that is due to I really can’t wait for my car to get done at the dealers for just an oil change. But most of my oil changes have been done at the dealer. Most not all.
I would like to thank you all for all of the replies they are great.
I guess I am more miffed at the idea of this relatively low mileage engine going thru alot of oil per month. Every car that I had this problem with (in my youth) was an indication of a leak of sorts or that the car was on its was to the junk heap.
Can a remedy be putting synthetic in the car? Stop going to Jiffy Lube?
Again thanks all!
It is a shame that so many car owners must learn the basics of maintenance the hard way. Maybe self-service gasoline is not as economical as it appears.
Please answer the question about the oil light.
Was it a yellow low oil level light?
Was it a red low oil pressure light? If it was a red light, then the engine is now toast and there is no point to talk about what kind of oil to use or where to have it changed.
How many miles do you drive between oil changes?
We need this number to get an idea of how you service your vehicle.
Just search Jiffy Lube on this site (or google, for that matter) to see the horror stories that explain why you should switch shops whether they caused this or not.
If you don’t have oil on the ground under the car in the morning, then you don’t have an oil leak. You’re burning oil because it’s leaking past the parts that are supposed to form a seal that prevents it from leaking past. Because of that, switching to synthetic will not help and in fact will likely worsen the problem because of the structure of synthetic oil.
I’m with you - an engine this young should not be burning that much oil. Period. I don’t care what the dealer or the manual says. We don’t drive Model-T’s anymore. I’ve always viewed the “oh yeah it’s totally normal to burn oil faster than a Yugo” claim to be a simple legal butt-covering maneuver by the manufacturers, aimed at preventing you from making them fix their shoddily-assembled engine.
Unfortunately, it’s a pretty good butt-covering maneuver. Your tactic is going to have to be “Gee, I had no idea that Chrysler considered it to be totally normal to have such a leaky oil system that I’d shoot that much oil down the tailpipe. I guess if that’s the quality that you’re comfortable with, I won’t ever be comfortable buying another Chrysler product, and neither will my friends, or the people on the automotive forums on the internet. Sure is a shame, 'cause I thought you guys were interested in making quality products.”