GMC Denali oil problem

The oil on the stick in my husband’s GMC Denali 6.2L with 17000 miles would not touch the stick when he checked it this morning. He uses synthetic oil and changes the oil religiously every 5000 miles. There are 4500 miles on the last oil change. He has seen no sign of oil leaks on the driveway where it is parked daily. This is his first GMC vehicle and, needless to say, he’s not very happy right now. He made a service appointment but would like to have the benefit of the vast knowledge of this group on this problem before taking it in. Thanks.

Please do not start the engine until you can verify there is oil in the crankcase. I can only hope you have been checking the oil every other fill up, if this is the first time the oil was checked since the last oil change you are asking for trouble. The engine may have burned oil or the tech may have not put in enough oil in at the last change.

Make sure the tube for the dip stick did not get dislodged. If it is in place, start adding a quart at a time until you can see oil on the dip stick.

Running an engine that low on oil can cause damage that will not be covered under warranty.


They will add oil to the engine or he can do this himself. If the oil level is significantly low he can request an oil consumption test, he will have to pay for an oil change then return after a certain number of miles for inspection.

what year is it?

I would not start the engine until I’ve added enough of the correct grade oil to bring it up to the ‘full’ mark. Note the amount for when it goes to the dealer. If the oil hasn’t been checked between changes, that’s a real problem.

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If this is a 2021 Denali and you show up at the dealer with no oil showing on the dipstick your warranty will be voided. Not checking the oil regularly and adding when needed is neglecting maintenance.

Have your husband read his owners manual, specifically how often it recommends checking the oil. If he is not doing that and the engine runs dry, that new engine will be on his dime, not GM’s.


Pg 339 of the 2020 manual says to check the oil every 400 miles. Did he?


from what I am reading GM considers burning 1 quart per every 2k miles normal. so 4500 miles would be a little over 2 quarts low and be normal per GM.


2021-purchased new 6 months ago

17k miles in six months?

In view of what are obviously highway miles, I respectfully suggest that he switch to the oil change regimen specified by GM, which is surely more than every 5k miles. That type of driving is very “easy” on the engine, and the oil change interval doesn’t need to be every 5k miles on a modern engine with synthetic oil when it is used for mostly highway driving.

However, he does need to check the dipstick at least once each week, and make sure that it doesn’t fall below the “add” mark. Be sure to use ONLY the correct-spec Dexos-approved synthetic. Replenishing the low oil when he has lost 1/2 qt would be even better.

With the engine cold take a swipe in the tailpipe with a rag or paper towel.
(I do it with a finger, but I set a bad example)
If what you get is oily soot (not dry soot) that confirms it’s burning oil.
What’s worse is deposits on the area immediately surrounding the tailpipe.
Decades ago I learned to do this check when buying a used car (I’ve never bought new.)

Need to clarify. Someone needs to check oil level. He can have a tech check oil level. Maybe OP is busy.

Please tell us when the oil was last checked before now.

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