Poor gas milage, oil consumption, vibration, 98 Neon Sport



I just bought a 98 Neon Sport Sedan, automatic with 110,000 and have receipts the oil was always changed at 3K. It idles at 1500rpm, too fast in my oppinion. When checking gas milage, got 26, mostly highway. Used half quart of oil during 250 miles. At 70 mph tack reading is 3700rpm. I have the 150 H.P DOHC motor. Any help would be greatly appreciated!..Brian



Three suggestions to begin with:

*Get the cylinder compression checked. The high oil consumption could indicate low compression. If your cylinder compression readings are low, fixing this will be quite expensive, but is necessary. At the rate that you are burning oil, you could suddenly wind up with a fried engine if it is not corrected.

*Check the color, the smell, and the level of the transmission fluid. The high revs at 70mph could indicate transmission slippage–possibly another expensive problem to rectify.

*And, most important of all–You didn’t elaborate on the vibration issue, but I strongly recommend that you don’t drive this 10 year old car at 70 mph until the front end has been checked!

Also–unless you have invoices verifying that the timing belt was replaced (should have been at 90k IIRC??), then you have to assume that it is the original timing belt, and in terms of elapsed time it is at least 3 years overdue for this vital maintenance procedure. If that engine is of the interference design, a snapped timing belt will result in repairs that are more costly than the book value of the car.

Get this car checked out by your mechanic a.s.a.p.


You should be aware that few owners of the dohc Neon can leave it stock. It simply isn’t done. Unless you bought from a little old lady, original owner, it is quite probable that some previous owner installed the performance computer, CAI (cold air intake), UDP (underdrive pulley), and who knows what else. It doesn’t take much to make the dohc Neon into a cheap pocket rocket. Then he would normally go out to the 1/4-mile track or the Autocross for time trials.

So it may well be that your tach reading and resulting fuel economy are perfectly normal for a tuned upgraded Neon. And the oil consumption suggests premature engine wear due to an owner’s aggressive driving. Brian, your first step must be to find out what you actually have under your hood. Let us know on your next visit.