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Why Is My New(er) Car Burning So Much Oil?

Updated: May 9, 2023

So you bought a new (or even new to you car) and feel like you're now out of the woods for costly repairs, right? Maybe... The fact is, even brand-new cars require maintenance--- sometimes more than you might imagine. One aspect of your car’s operation that is often overlooked, is the Oil. In a perfect world, all of us would get our Oil Changed according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule, but for most of us we assume that if you Car is less than 10 years old and/or has less than 100,000 miles on it, the Oil is fine ( believe us, it's not). Or even worse, you might wait until your Oil Light comes on as a reminder to Change Your Oil --- a horrible idea, by the way. A Check Oil Light is actually more an indication of a major Oil Pressure issue inside your Engine, rather than a Reminder to Change Your Oil.

A surprising number of newer car models Burn a lot more Oil than they really should—and unless you’re extremely proactive, it can be difficult to notice Oil Burning until it becomes a serious problem. So even if you’re driving a new(ish) car, here’s what you need to know about Oil Consumption.

Oil Burn

Every Car Engine burns through some amount of Oil during regular operation, no matter where you live. And because Car Engines are complex and must operate under extreme conditions, especially here in Albuquerque, there are a lot of ways Oil can get into the combustion chamber and burn off. Worn valves and pistons, old piston rings, aging seals, or a dirty PCV valve can allow small amounts of Oil into the engine, and it’s not unusual for The Subaru Guys to see a car down by a quart or more even when it comes in for a Scheduled Oil Change.

Something to consider are the demands for more fuel efficient vehicles by the EPA, C.A.R.B. and other regulating bodies —including newer model Subaru, Toyota, Lexus and Honda vehicles—Burn Oil much faster and may begin to run dangerously Low on Oil even before the next Scheduled Maintenance. Modern engines are being designed with greater tolerances to reduce friction and increase efficiency. Its is interesting to note that a savings in fuel cost may be at a greater cost in engine oil (some priced at over $10 per quart). This is never highlighted in television car commercials!

Other reasons why? Well, some New Engines use a lower-viscosity Oil instead of the old-school 10W30 Oil, and thinner Oil slips through seals much more easily. Subaru has experimented in special coatings in the combustion chamber that have failed prematurely. Other Engines simply age faster than others, meaning your 5-year old Car might run far less efficiently than you’d expect.

Detecting Oil Burn

Oil is essential to your Engine’s health. If your Engine is burning Oil faster than expected, it can lead to a host of extremely expensive problems. But unlike an Oil Leak, which provides obvious evidence in the driveway or parking lot, Oil Burn isn’t always easy to detect. If you wait too long—and if your Low Oil Level Light ever comes on, you should stop driving the car and call The Subaru Guys right away—it means you’ve been driving for a while with dangerously Low Oil Levels, and wearing your Engine down faster than necessary.

You might be asking yourself, so if Oil Burn such a big deal, won't I know if my car is burning Oil? Not necessarily. Older cars used to cough out blue-tinged, Oily Smoke when they Burned Oil, but modern-day Catalytic Converters do a great job of preventing that. The result? Your car could be Burning Oil and you won’t know until your Check Oil Light comes on—which like we talked about earlier, only happens when things get dire.

So how to defend yourself against an Oil-hungry Car?

Here are 3 proactive ideas:

1. Check Your Oil Frequently

Check your oil often—at least every 1,000 miles driven. If you don’t know how to check your car’s oil, ask The Subaru Guys, we'd be happy to help—it isn’t difficult and can be done in a few minutes. In fact, nearly every owners manual suggests checking oil level at every fuel stop! Take a photo of the dipstick, and when you check again, compare the current oil level to the photo. If it’s close to the same, you’re okay. If it’s obviously lower, you either have a leak or you’re burning oil. Top off your oil (don’t over-fill) and get your car checked out ASAP by the ASE Certified Team at Reincarnation Inc.

2. Digital Inspections

Using our Digital Inspection process, we pride ourselves on having excellent Communication with customers, sending photos and videos of broken parts and Repairs, including texting, emailing and calling to keep you in the loop and well-informed about the status of your Vehicle while in our care. With our state-of-the-art Digital Diagnostic tools we can come up with an Estimate for the Service needed to help you budget for how and when to spend money on your trusty Import Vehicle. Our team even records the oil level before draining the pan in order to gauge the consumption. Is the corner Zippy Lube providing this important information to you?

3. Get Set Up On A Regular Maintenance Schedule

Often oil issues are due to worn gaskets and seals. Getting regular tune-ups at Reincarnation Inc. can help to avoid more problems down the road. Be sure to talk to our ASE Certified team about your Oil issues, and see if a simple schedule of preventative maintenance can solve the problem. Regular Oil Changes are a fast and affordable way to keep your car on the road safely.

If you need an Oil Change in Albuquerque, visit Reincarnation Inc. The Subaru Guys.

We offer numerous Auto Services including Oil Changes for Import Cars, Trucks and SUVs.

Give our award-winning team a call at 505-933-9293 to request an appointment for our next Oil Change in Albuquerque and the surrounding area.

Or book a reservation for your next Oil Change online:


The Subaru Guys

Reincarnation Inc.

The Subaru Guys

1300 2nd St. NW

Albuquerque NM 87102


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