Oil use . . . what's your "normal"?

What do you consider acceptable oil use in a daily driver? One quart per 1000 miles as was suggested in another post? No use at all? Just curious, but my feeling is that a quart per 1000 miles is a bit high. Rocketman

I would call that an upper limit, not normal. Most of my vehicles have used no oil between changes, 3000-5000 miles.

IMHO the quart per 1000 miles is a manufacturers of CYA. I do NOT believe in that…never have…never will.

Our last 6 vehicles never burned one drop of oil between oil changes…even when those vehicles had well over 300k miles on them…My Pathfinder has over 340k miles now…and it still doesn’t burn any oil.

It depends on the vehicle and the mileage.

My '05 tC with 107,000 miles uses about 1/2 quart every 5,000 miles.
My old '89 Toyota pickup when it had 338,000 miles on it used a qt about every 1,000-1,500 miles.

I have a friend with a 1995 Corolla with about 250,000 miles that uses a qt perhaps every 700-1,000 miles (I’m told).

I’d consider all of these “normal” and acceptable.

One quart of oil per 1,000 miles is considered as normal consumption by most auto manufacturers. Afterall, they’re the one’s who manufactuer the engines, and if that’s the spec they adhere to, what are you going to do?


1qt every 1,000 miles would concern me. Normal varies by car. Most of the cars I’ve had used a quart or less per 5,000 miles. All my cars are now on the 5W oil and I’m surprised that this light weight oil is not needing more top off’s between oil changes.

All oils are not the same, some burn off faster than others. I had a car that normally used just a smidge of oil and needed 3 quarts in 5,000 miles. I used a different brand the next oil change and the car was back to its normal smidge between changes.

If a car uses more than 2 quarts every 5,000 I’d start to wonder what’s going on. First I’d try a different brand of oil. Then I’d be on the look out for drips and puffs of blue smoke on start up and other signs of oil getting into the combustion chamber and exiting via the tailpipe.

On my 2003 Mustang GT with about 90k miles on the clock : not a drop
On my 1995 Bronco with about 198k miles on it : about 1/2 quart every 2500-3000 miles.
On the 1974 Triumph TR6 with 80k miles : it leaks about 1 quart every 3 monthes just sitting there. And about a quart every 1000 miles of driving.

I consider a quart per 1000 miles way high and abnormal. My current Lincoln Mark at around 245k miles uses a barely noticeable amount between the 3500 miles oil change intervals; about 2 tablespoons maybe?

My youngest son has 2 cars (a Lincoln Aviator and an 88 Camaro) and the Lincoln at 61k miles uses zero oil between changes and even the 300k miles Camaro uses so little that it is hard to determine even how much is being used.

Same for other family members’ vehicles. Probably the worst offender is my oldest son’s Camaro. It uses about half a quart between changes and it has close to a quarter of a million miles on it. Most of that oil useage is from a weepy rear main seal.

If I owned a new or nearly new car that was sucking oil at a quart per 1000 I would not be happy with it no matter what the car makers say is normal. Even my old Mercury Sable I used to have with 420k miles on it was only going through a quart per 600 miles and that was from crank seal leaks rather than burning it.

As they say, it depends on the car. A straight 6 Jaguar was designed to burn 1 quart every 700 miles. Many Volkswagens will consume oil.

My 2007 Toyota consumes no oil (can’t add any between changes), while my 1994 Nissan Sentra with 125,000 miles uses 1/2 quart every 3000 miles.

After two years of apparently trying to meet my maker, in 1964, my 1953 Chevrolet used a quart every 30 miles, with no visible smoke from exhaust. I routinely ran it over 60 in second on gravel roads. Had to take off the fan blade; air cleaner, and turn the distributor to maximum rpm at idle which made it into a totally different car, but the scoop/trough lube system didn’t work any better. I parked it when drafted, came home next fall, and put in a rebuilt motor and transmission, drove it from the Midwest to Fort Lewis, drove it another two years total, gave it to my brother and he drove it another year.

My current car, 2002 Sienna, 152,000 miles, uses half a quart perhaps every 3,000 - 5,000 miles, just as it did when it was new. I do not loose sleep over it. Best car I ever owned, except the stupid TRW car alarm.

The worse but acceptable to me was my wife’s 1996 Honda Civic, 1 quart every 800-900 miles. She did not check it so I found myself adding a quart+ occasionally.

The balance of my vehicles all run 150k-225k never consumed a quart every 3-5k. Honestly I think it is more bad luck to get a burner unless some other explicit reason(eg neglect).

For me, no more than 1 qt between changes (in other words, 1 qt every 3,500-4,000 miles) is the maximum consumption that I would consider to be acceptable. Luckily, my present car ('02 Subaru Outback 6-cylinder with ~92k on the clock) uses no oil between changes.

By contrast, my best friend’s '08 RAV-4 with less than 14k on the clock currently appears to use about 1/2 qt every 4k. This seems to be a slightly reduced consumption rate, since it was previously using 1/2 qt every 3 k.

But, since we are in the beginning stages of a Lemon Law claim on his car for reasons other than oil consumption, he may not have the car much longer. I have not spoken about this issue in this forum previously, but I may spill the beans on Toyota once we know for sure where we are going with this issue. Since I am a Certified Paralegal, I am handling the dirty details for him. All I can say is–Look out Toyota! I have never lost yet, and I don’t intend to lose on this issue with his car. Anyway, I am disappointed by the relatively high rate of oil consumption on his car, even if it does fall within the “normal” limits specified by Toyota and other manufacturers.

But, since I did live through the excruciating experience of owning a '74 Volvo that burned 1 qt every 600 miles despite excellent maintenance, virtually anything would seem good by comparison.