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Oil consumption

I have a new 2001 Buick LaCrosse with about 10,000 miles now on it. Since it was new, it has been using oil. At 4,500 miles it was down about one-quarter quart. Their remedy was to overfill it by about half a quart when they changed the oil. Since then it has gone down about 3/4 of a quart. What should my course of action be?

"I have a new 2001 Buick LaCrosse . . . " I doubt it.

Many manufacturers consider oil consumption of one quart, or less, per 1000 miles to be “normal.”

I’d monitor the oil consumption and see if it changes.

And I’d read the warranty very, very carefully. Every little fine-printed word of it.

Document EVERYTHING. You may need it.

I take it you mean 2010 or 2011 Buick LaCrosse? Either way, no course of action is needed other than to make sure nobody overfills your crankcase again. There is no reason for this. Keep an eye on your oil level and don’t allow it to get to the point of grossly low on oil. It sounds as though your rate of consumption is low enough that this shouldn’t be a problem. If you check your owner’s manual, it will probably tell you what an acceptable rate of consumption is, and you should fall well within the guidelines of normal. Many manufacturers say that it is acceptable for a car to use up to a quart every 750 to 1000 miles, particularly the ones that use 5W20 or 0W20 oil. Lighter oils make for better fuel economy (which is why they started using them, to help meet CAFE standards), but engines will burn through it quicker than heavier weights. Good job on monitoring your oil level. Most people don’t realize they are low until the oil pressure light and seized engine bring it to their attention. But, no, you did not get a “lemon” nor do you have any kind of case against GM.

I assume by new Buick, you meant 2011 and not 2001.

From your opening post, it looks like you’ve used 3/4 of a quart in 5500 miles. That’s a quart every 7300 miles. You are very far from having anything to worry about.

It’s not unusual to lose a quarter of a quart of oil between oil changes. Not even to lose a half quart.
I assume you mean that you have 2010 LaCrosse, not a 2001 (yes, they made them back then), but either way, even a half-quart of oil lost between changes is nothing to worry about. Just keep the oil full by checking the level every other time you fill the gas tank. If the oil level is less each time, you do have a problem.

Don’t overfill the oil or let anyone else overfill the oil. “Their” remedy, whoever they are, is unnecessary and wrong. But I doubt they did any damage by overfilling the oil half a quart.
A healthy engine needs to have oil added between oil changes. Not a lot, but certainly some. You should check and add oil if needed, say, every second time you fill the gas tank.

“A healthy engine needs to have oil added between oil changes.”


My 1997 Acrua 2.2 CL (a glorified Accord Coupe) has never needed any oil between 5,000 mile oil changes.

Current mileage 103K. No leaks. No oil consumption.


Please explain.

Oops. I meant a new 2011 Buick LaCrosse. “Their remedy” refers to the Buick dealership where I bought the vehicle new.

Do you think I should be concerned about my catalytic converter with this amount of oil being used?

No. That rate of consumption will not damage the catalytic converter. A quart every 500 miles might, but not the tiny amount you are using.

Actually, kizwiki, Buick introduced the LaCrosse for the 2005 model year as the replacement for the Century and Regal. On an unrelated note, the LaCrosse is also sold in Canada under the name Allure for an interesting reason relating to Canadian slang.

That amount of oil consumption is very little, especially for winter driving. I wouldn’t worry about it. Just keep it full. It may actually use less as it ages. 10,000 miles is barely broken in.

First, be certain that you are checking the oil while the car is on level ground. Also, give the oil time to drain back into the oil pan. I check my oil weekly in the morning before I have started the engine. Finally, if you use no more than a quart of oil every 4000 miles, quit worrying. The owern’s manual with my 2011 Toyota Sienna says one quart in 600 miles is acceptable. Fortunately, I don’t have to add oil between changes, but one quarter of a quart in 4500 miles is not a problem. The 2 cycle lawnmower we had back in the 1950s used more oil than your Buick–we mixed a half pint (one fourth of a quart) of 30 weight oil to a gallon of gas.

As a teenager I worked part time in a ‘Service Station’ at a time when 1000 miles was the recommended interval for oil changes and lube jobs. Some of our customers vehicles would use up to half a quart of oil in a frighteningly short distance, 1-300 miles and then the level would stabilize. We just thought that the engine was finding its own running level. Over filling was an absolute no-no with my boss but I forget what his reasoning was.

Engines NEED to burn a little oil…That’s the only way the top compression rings get lubricated…It’s NORMAL and desirable for an engine to burn a little oil.

A healthy engine needs to have oil added between oil changes.

I concur…WHY?

I haven’t owned a vehicle in the past 20+ years that needed to add any oil between the 3k or 5k mile oil changes…even when those vehicles had 300k miles on them. My 90 pathfinder started to burn a little oil at startup when it reached about 275k miles…but not enough to drop the oil for me to add between changes…(MAYBE 1/4 quart needed to be added).

I agree…engines do burn a little oil…The question is HOW much oil. While the OP’s experience is considered well within norms…Non of the vehicles I’ve owned since 84 ever burned even close to that much.

At this point I wouldn’t worry about 1/4 of a quart per 4500 miles. Some oil consumption is to be expected but if the engine is in tip-top shape then any consumption should be neglibible and difficult to even determine.

From the sound of it you’re putting some miles on the car. If most of this mileage is highway use then I don’t see a problem with what is apparently a 4500-5000 mile oil change regimen. However, if that 4500ish miles is being put on there a couple of miles at a time with repeated trips and/or idling in traffic a lot, etc. then you should consider backing that regimen up to about 3000 or 3500 mile intervals.

The latter type of driving can create problems that will become worse with time and eventually that engine could be chewing through far more oil than it’s supposed to.

If any of my cars (I’ve owned 70 or 80 of them) didn’t burn a quart every 3000 miles or so, I start thinking there is something wrong with them…My daughters 2004 Corolla does not seem to burn a drop…Hey, we are talking mass-produced disposable consumer products here…

If any of my cars (I’ve owned 70 or 80 of them) didn’t burn a quart every 3000 miles or so,

You should start considering buying better made vehicle. 1 quart every 3k miles…and you consider that GOOD??? And how many of those 70-80 cars have you kept past the 300k mile mark??

You don’t mention the engine, so it’s hard to say if this is normal or not. Some engines do just burn more oil than others.
A quarter quart of oil over 4,500 miles is not alarming. Between oil changes, many engines require some addition of oil.
The last thing you wanted to do was the “remedy” of adding a extra half quart of oil. It may explain the more rapid oil loss that you believe you are now experiencing. Might, but not necessarily. It could be that the genuises that came up with that idea also put in the wrong oil.
Go somewhere else and establish that the recommended oil is being used, and re-establish how much oil you are actually losing. Also make sure you are following the owner manual’s recommended oil change cycle.

But understand that some oil loss is normal between change. The important thing is to establish whether or not oil loss continues to increase.
Meanwhile, do keep the recommended oil type and brand in the car and check and refill the oil as needed (to exactly Full and no more) between changes. The oil loss will not harm the engine, but running the engine with the oil level too low or too high will damage the engine.