Oil consumption/Marital dispute

My car has suddenly started consuming oil- lots of it and it is not leaking. My husband, who know enough about cars that he doesnt want me to take it to the mechanic, says it will cost about 5000.00 to fix it. Is there any cause that is not that expensive to repair? He also said it is not the head gasket because it would be jumping- well it does jump- just not all the time and of course never when he drives it.

I need to add something- I meant my husband thinks and said he “knows enough about cars that he knows what is wrong”

jumping? You can easily have a blown head gasket without jumping (and since he didn’t know that, I can’t say for certain what he means by jumping anyway).

If you’re consuming oil and it isn’t leaking, it’s either getting burned (probably a ring job) or it’s dumping into the coolant (head gasket).

Go look at your coolant reservoir- - the plastic bottle that is connected to the radiator cap by a long narrow hose. Look inside. It should be green or yellow (or sometimes orange, depending on the vehicle). It should not be foamy, bubbly, brown, or look like chocolate milk. If it’s any of those 4 you have oil in your coolant and need a new head gasket. If it’s not, then you’re most likely burning oil.

As for the cost, it depends on what kind of car you’re talking about and how expensive your mechanic is. A ring job or a head gasket replacement on a Bentley is going to cost a whole lot more than the same job on an '87 Civic.

What Model-Year Is The T & C And About How Many Miles On It ?

How much oil (quarts / miles) is “lots of it” ?

This is a long shot, but I’d check not only the PCV valve, but the PCV system as well (tubing) to be sure that old crank case can breathe properly. It’s an easy check and most PCV valves are easy and inexpensive to replace if necessary.

They have been known to freeze during the winter and cause problems like what you’re describing (sudden) and can also stick or get gummed up any time of year.

A bad head gasket wouldn’t necessarily lead to the car “jumping”. There are several ways for a head gasket to fail.

Right now the important thing is to not let the van get low on oil. Keep putting oil in and don’t let it get down more than a quart low.


will definitely go do that when I get off work. He has a tire business- sales service- brakes, AC etc and I think works on his 68 camaro some, but i have never seen him take apart an engine. It is a 2007 town and country mini van and it was using no oil between changes until April and then about 2000 miles after an oil change the oil light came on and I pulled over at a gas station put 1 quart in it and then went back to where I had the oil changed- they said there was no leak- plus no oil in carport. Anyway, the oil will last about 2000 miles then disappear. I check every week (I drive about 500 miles a week) it will be fine and then gone. The malfunction light is on and at low speeds 30-40 it drives like I am pumping the gas pedal. Husband wants to dump it without taking to mechanic and get another one- I dont want a mini van but need one for about another year until youngest gets out of the car seat so would love to fix this and drive a little more but causing major marital tiffs

Thanks- It is a 2007 with 88000. I have a long commute to work and put over 500 miles a week on it. It seems to keep oil for about 1000 miles and then it disappears. Literally I check it every weekend and it will be fine and then it will be gone. Had plenty of oil last week then Sunday the oil light came on. I keep a couple of quarts in the car now. I am putting about 4 quarts in it between oil changes.

It is very unlikely that the oil remains at the full mark for hundreds of miles and then suddenly drops several quarts quickly. If you check the oil every fill up and pay close attention to the level dropping you might have a better sense of the severity of the problem. You should never let it get 2 quarts low. Have your husband check the crank case vent system. And continue to get the oil changed at regular (3,000 mi) intervals.

will do. Yeah- i havent been checking every fill up just usually on sat or sun so I will do that also

That is a very sudden change - from using no oil to suddenly using enough to cause an oil light after only 2000 miles. An oil change shouldn’t damage anything enough to cause a drop in oil without a corresponding visible leak, but then again oil change greasemonkeys can find exceedingly creative ways to damage things they shouldn’t have even been touching.

I think it’s silly to dump it, at least until you know what’s causing the problem. It could be something cheap, like the PCV valve CSA suggested. It’d be crazy to buy a car to avoid paying for a $10 part.

When you say the malfunction light is on, do you mean the oil light, or is the check engine light on as well? If the check engine light is on, drive it by the nearest Autozone and have them read the codes. That’s very likely to tell us what’s wrong with the car.

btw, I just thought of something. Did the oil change place put the PCV system back together? I know a lot of them will take it apart and show you the valve, claiming it’s all crapped out and you “just gotta get a new one or you’re screwed.” Maybe they took yours apart and then got distracted and forgot to show it to you, and then forgot to put it back together.

my friend took the car for the oil change that started all this - doing me a favor before we went to the beach- I have accused her of screwing up my car. If I knew a mechanic I would take the thing right away, but I dont. The light that comes on is unfamiliar to me so when I first saw it I looked in manual and it just said malfunction indicator. You dont know how happy I will be if it is a PCV valve. I sooooo dont want it to be a 5000 problem but even then I think I would rather pay that than get another car.

That’s the check engine light. Take it to autozone and tell us what the codes are.

well crap my toyotas always had a check engine light and it said it was a check engine. Will do- though it is not on at this moment.

So after 12 posts we know it’s a 2007 with 88K miles and it burns a quart of oil every 1000 miles (or so) and the driver checks the oil when the oil light comes on…

That’s ok. It will store the code(s) that made the light come on even if the light is no longer on.

It doesn’t cost $5000 to have someone do a compression test on the engine. Actually, even easier, with about 10 minutes and a vacuum gauge anyone who knows how to use one can tell you whether or not to suspect a head gasket or bad rings or such. Not having the engine evaluated makes no sense whatsoever.

Not having the engine evaluated makes no sense whatsoever.

Oh, maybe it does make sense. Her husband won’t have any problems buying her birthday, Christmas or aniversary presents. On each occasion, he can give her a case of motor oil. A case of 10W-30 is a great all-occasion gift.

Either your husband is not that mechanically literate or he’s blowing the problems off because he simply doesn’t want to be bothered.
He is also incorrect about a head gasket problem; maybe, maybe not.

This should be an easy diagnosis (cigroller is dead-on correct) and you should keep in mind that running the oil level down is damaging the engine. If it requires checking the oil level once a day then so be it. That’s much easier than sitting on the roadside after a catastrophic bang and awaiting the tow truck.

Diagnosing this is basic automotive. And continuing to drive it undiagnosed caould cost you an engine.

But I’d really like to hear more from him before commenting on his comments. If he really does know something about cars, I have to wonder why he’s not looked into this, and if he does not I’d like to make some suggestions to him. My gut tells me there’s more to the story than is included in the post.

Guess what- you all were correct. I think he just wanted to get a different vehicle. But he did take it. Replaced the PCV valve and the ECM module is bad. Thanks for giving me info!