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Dodge Journey Eating Oil

My 2009 Dodge Journey is great for the first 2,500 miles after each oil change, then the oil just seems to vanish. The dealership has been tracking this for a couple of cycles… the oil level is fine when they check it every 500 miles, but somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000 miles about 2 quarts disappear. No apparent leaks or puddles. So… now the Dodge dealer is saying they want to tear down the motor to “find out what’s wrong,” but they can’t even tell me what they’re looking for. I am not thrilled with the idea of them going on a fishing expedition and risk messing something else up (even though they will cover the cost). Can someone at least give me some ideas on specifically what they should be looking for?
Also, they are not fessing-up if they have seen the same problem in other vehicles, but it’s hard to imagine they randomly got permission to do this. Any known issues out there?

They are probably going to re-ring your engine, or perhaps install new valve stem seals and a head job. They probably performed a leak-down test and dry / wet compression and they know what the issue is (maybe there’s a TSB on this issue for this motor, too). Either way, count yourself super lucky and let them have at it, while you drive their loaner. Lots of folks write in to this forum about oil consumption for cars under warranty, and very few dealers do anything about it - calling a qt. per 1000 miles or more “normal”. I’d bring a plate of brownies when you drop the car off and then go buy a powerball ticket.

WOW - they are going to tear the motor down and not charge you? I agree with the “super lucky” comment above!

I would LOVE to have a dealer tear down my motor for free and fix anything that they find wrong. Mind you, my car is a 1998, but still… :slight_smile:

They’ll do this under warranty? What is the question? You have something messed up. If they mess up the repair even worse, they will be obligated to fix it under continued warranty coverage, even if the factory warranty period expires. Let them do it.

As far as why it is happening, they obviously don’t know, and need to get to internal engine parts to find out. I suspect an internal part failure, like a fracture or separation causing a periodic massive oil consumption. Broken cylinder rings can do this, especially when the breaks line up, creating free path for oil to get burned. A teardown is the only way to find and fix it.

If the oil’s fine for 2500 miles, then starts to disappear after this mileage mark, I’d suggest it was the oil at fault, not the motor. It’s not like a switch gets flipped at 2500 miles and the motor starts doing something different to the oil at this point. Sounds like cheap oil that’s getting used up to me. Would you know what brand and weight of oil that’s being used?

If the dealer is willing to rebuild your engine under warranty, then go for it. If not, I’d suggest trying a different brand of oil. Try a full-synthetic or a different brand in the thickest weight recommended for your engine.

I agree with @oblivion. It sounds like they are using oil that’s too thin for your engine. What does your owner’s manual recommend?

Cheapest, Easiest Things First, And Then Work Up From There.

What else has the dealer done, in terms of diagnosis, besides checking/monitoring oil level every 500 miles ?


This can happen if you do a lot of short trip driving. It happens more in cold temps. You never get the car warmed up so it is always running rich and washing down the cylinder walls with gas whick winds up in the crankcase. The gas keeps the level up on your dipstick so you don;t thing you are burning any oil. When ypur oil is thimmed enough with gas ot then seems to burn it all at once.
Be glad they are going to fix it in any case and if you do all short trips, take it out for a 25 mile ride once a week.
If your Journey has the 2.4, they frequently burn some oil from new.

I do think that different brands “agree” better with some motors. My 5.7L ‘hemi’ will use:

-1 quart in 5K miles with Mobil-1
-½ quart in 5K miles with Valvoline ‘Synpower’
-Apparently no usage with Amsoil, as it doesn’t seem to have gone down a drop and is due for a change. The oil still looks and smells fairly clean, especially for winter oil.

This is with the recommended 5W-20 that’s required for the cylinder deactivation to work properly. The engine is never ‘babied’, but is allowed to warm up before any spirited driving, and driven pretty gently for the most part until it does warm up when the outside temps are very cold.

My old car uses significantly more oil between changes with conventional oil than synthetic as well. As you might be able to tell, I use nothing but synthetic these days.

How is the gas mileage on your Journey? The reason I ask is that I wonder if there is a problem with a fuel injector or the air filter is partially plugged up or there is an exhaust restriction that would be enough to cause the engine to run too rich but not enough to trip the check engine light. It almost sounds to me like too much gasoline is slipping past the piston rings and diluting the oil. This would explain why the oil consumption doesn’t start until 2500 miles. I suppose it could be bad rings, but then I would think that the oil consumption would be uniform over 5000 miles. I would rather the dealer check these possibilities before tearing down the engine. Perhaps a vacuum reading might be in order.

Thanks for all of the advice and ideas. Yes – the dealer suspected the oil at first (had been getting changes done at Valvoline), but they’ve been doing them for a year and a half and the problem is still the same. Driving conditions to not seem to play in – warm, cold, long, short. Gas mileage is fine and consistent. Sounds like I’ll be letting them go ahead with this…

A wise choice.
You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.

No leaks and oil consumption usually points to a piston ring problem which can be caused by extended oil change intervals, running the oil chronically low, etc, etc.
One would think that a compression and leakdown test would be done before they tear into a motor on a blind fishing expeditions.

As to their footing the bill, I suggest you get this in writing on a stone tablet. The engine may come apart and THEN they may inform you that it’s due to neglect so this is on your dime.

Chrysler also filed bankruptcy in the spring of 2009. From around a certain date in that period the BR filing likely relieved them of all responsibility for recalls, warranties, and veiled threats for any vehicle purchased prior to that date.