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Jetta Losing Oil?

Q. Hi, I have a 2000 VW Jetta 4 cyl. with 24,000 miles. I have noticed that it consumes (and always has) about 1quart of oil every 3000-4000 miles. It is not leaking (parking spot is clean) and there isn't any smokey exhaust. I took it to the dealer, and they insisted that 1quart/4K miles is well within Volkswagen specs and not anything to worry about.

The dealer had performed an oil change at 20K miles, and when I brought it in at 24K miles to show them the oil loss, they simply said it was normal, then they added 1 quart. of oil and offered to do an oil consumption test. The process for this test is I come in after 1000 miles, and they check the level. If the oil level is below the minimum mark, they measure how much oil it takes to bring the oil level back into the good range.

My questions are...
  1. How is this oil consumption test any different from what we just went through with the 20K oil change and the oil level check at 24K?
  2. Is this amount of oil consumption normal?
  3. Am I making a big deal out of nothing?
  4. Is it likely to get worse as the car gets older?
  5. Is this dealership jerking me around because they don't want to have to perform the repair?


A. I love these kinds of questions. Sometimes it amazes me what a Service Advisor or Service Manager will tell a customer. In the 30 years I have been in this business I have been everything from a lube boy to a Service Manager and nowhere have I seen a "spec" for oil consumption. If he says "it's well within specs" have him show you the written spec. If by some strange chance he does show you, send me a copy because I want to see it as well. And if a quart every 4,000 miles is "well within specs", what is the maximum? A quart every 3,000 miles? Two quarts every 4,000 miles? The very statement is it's own proof of absurdity.

No engine is sealed 100% from oil. piston rings do have gaps, but in a brand new engine, consumption should be so minute as to be unmeasurable. I have actually seen a GM factory rep tell a customer consuming a quart of oil every 1,000 miles was normal.

To answer your questions:
  1. It is more accurate and it will serve as documentation of the consumption.
  2. In my expert opinion, no.
  3. Definitely not.
  4. It may not get worse, but it sure isn't going to get better.
  5. I can't say what the dealers motives are, but it seems to me they are trying to either cover up the problem, or save themselves a lot of warranty work that they will not be able to recover from Volkswagen.

Personally, I think there is a problem with the valve seals. You would not notice any smoke from burning a quart of oil every 4,000 miles.

Keep me posted as to what happens, I'm sure everyone will be interested in it. I know I will.

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