Do modern Cars require adding Oil on long trips?

A thread over in IMHO got me to thinking. I’ve never taken a long 2000 mile road trip in a modern car. My car in college needed a quart about every 1200 miles. I drove out to California a couple summers and to the East coast another summer. We always traveled with a few cans of oil in the trunk. That car wasn’t worn out. It was a 78 Ford Granada and I was taking those cross country trips in 83 and 84. Since then I’ve taken shorter trips. Maybe 500 miles at a time and haven’t noticed the oil levels dropping.

What about new Cars? Say I had a 2011 with 30k miles on it. Would it be normal to add a quart of oil on a 1500 mile trip?

I’m not sure what oil consumption to expect with a modern car.

It all depends on how well the car has been maintained well or not. A well-maintained 2001 with 200K miles won’t go through any oil at all in 2,000 miles, while an extremely poorly-maintained 2011 with 30K miles might need a quart every fillup.

It’s good to check the oil level at every fillup until you have a good feel for how much oil a car burns through.

I don’t think there is anything you can do to a modern car that would cause it to burn oil at any appreciable rate short of extreme abuse at the 30k mark. That would mean there is something wrong with the engine because it is either leaking or burning oil and neither are good.

You wouldn’t need to add oil on any normal 2000 mile trip with a modern car that has 30K miles on it unless something is seriously wrong. You shouldn’t need to add oil at all between oil changes even for modern vehicles with much greater mileage than that. If you had the oil changed just before the trip, it should be fine. Feel free to check the oil level at any time during the trip but you shouldn’t need to add any at all. I drive roughly 2000 miles a month and never have to add any oil even though I do check the levels regularly and have it changed at the proper intervals.

My 2006 - currently at 265,000 km, I add about 100ml of oil per 1000km currently

Up to about 160,000km or more, it never burned a drop between oil changes…

Same with my Van. I’ve never had to add oil between oil changes. I have 57,000 miles on it.

But, I’ve never taken a 1500 mile, three day road trip in that van either. That’s a lot of continuous miles.

I make a point to check the oil at the first of each month. Or before I take any highway trips.

Continuous miles are actually easier on your vehicle as a whole than lots of small trips. A 2000 mile road trip will generally be mostly highway miles which are among the easiest of all on everything. A properly operating vehicle won’t go through oil any faster pm a per mile basis than it would otherwise just because you are driving a lot in a short time. Your brakes, starter and battery will get less wear through a long trip than it would for a lot of equivalent short ones.

You can run a modern vehicle for many thousands of miles at a continuous stretch if you want to without any negative effect. The limiting factor is your ability to keep driving, not the vehicle’s.

It varies and you should at least bring a quart and check.

FWIW, most carmakers say that the threshold for “acceptable” oil consumption (i.e. where they’ll fix it under warranty) is somewhere around 1qt/1000-1500 miles or so. I certainly wouldn’t be very happy with a new car that did that in this day and age, but apparently there are still some newer cars where for whatever reason they use oil and will keep working just fine so long as you keep them topped off.

I mostly agree, although there is a school of thought that drastically deviating from the break-in recommendations can lead to higher oil consumption in a fairly short time frame. I don’t know if there’s really a whole lot of evidence for it, though.

It’s true that highway miles are easier on the engine than stop-and-go ones BUT highway miles usually do result in higher oil consumption. Running at high RPM’s continuously means higher manifold vacuum which makes it easier for oil to get pulled past the rings or valve stems. This is especially true if you’re in a hilly area where you’re using a lot of engine braking.

If anything, modern engines consume less oil when new than engines used to back in the day. Emissions requirements mean that cylinders are better finished before the car is sold, and I think that piston to cylinder gaps are smaller. Cars these days also don’t have the relatively involved break in requirements and procedures that cars used to have decades ago.

In a new car, I expect it to not burn oil. It just should not happen.

Its easier knocking down 2000 miles in one trip for your car than doing 1000 trips in 2 miles steps. It’s still 2000 miles, but the wear and tear on your car is much lower on the long trip per mile.

My 2009 Opel Corsa with 220.000 km (130.000 miles) does not require any Oil top ups between its oil changes every 30.000+ km.
My wife’s Toyota Yaris year 2000, does not require a top up either between oil changes.

I use synthetic in my Mitsubishi SUV, since the car was new it uses about 1 qt per 3,000 miles. Has never gotten any worse or better than I can tell. I change oil between 7,000 and 8,000 miles. Presently has 125,000 miles.

The theory of how much oil a car should use and the actual use could be different. Very different and that could be expensive if you run an engine with a low oil level.

You have to put gas in the car about every 300-500 miles. I suggest taking a couple of minutes and checking the oil (and brake fluid, coolant levels, etc) every second gas stop.

And don’t forget to check tire pressures at least once a month and the spare tire every 6 months.

I have a 1999 Toyota Camry with 208,000 miles on it, and I add one quart every 3000 miles, and change the oil every 5,000 miles. I still get 30mpg on it.

If the motor is so bad that it burns significant amounts of oil, you will be burning a lot more fuel TOO.
(eg the oil is being lost in a failed cylinder … that is wasting fuel, its consuming petroleum eg ‘gas’, for no output power. But there’s all sorts of scenarios.
Ok, its not all oil burners… Some motors have a weakness of the valve guide seals that mean the oil can go directly to the exhaust via the exhaust valve stems, which has no influence on power… but soon the valves will be damaged … so back to economics of repair the problem vs not repairing the problem ? )
… It will be economically sensible to drive a vehicle which does not require top ups between oil changes… (which could be to repair the current motor, or repair the current vehicle by changing motor, or repair your budget by changing vehicle )

That’s not necessarily true. If it’s the oil control rings and not the compression rings that are causing the problem, the engine can burn a downright silly amount of oil without really affecting compression and therefore power and fuel mileage in any noticeable way. In my (unfortunately all too extensive) experience with oil burning cars, that seems to be the most common situation.

From a strictly economic point of view it almost never makes sense to fix an oil burning car or replace it solely because of the oil consumption. Engine overhauls are expensive and oil is cheap. Plenty of oil burners will keep running for many more thousands of miles if you just keep them topped off. Driving an oil burner is pretty aggravating, but until you really get down to the “fill it up with oil and check the gas” endgame it’s going to be cheaper to just keep feeding it.

I have not had to add oil between oil changes on my last two cars before the 200,000 mile mark on the engine. If the car is older, it may be losing oil simply because the seals are worn and cracked and they need replacing. I start looking for that issue when the car reaches the six year mark. When I do see it, I get them all replaced and don’t worry about it for another few years.

Has the car ever overheated? Do you change the oil filter when you change the oil? If the car has overheated or you don’t change the filter whenever you change the oil (which doesn’t have to be until 5,000 miles, no matter what the Jiffy Lube “experts” say), you might experience significant oil burning.

When that happens, get it fixed rather than pollute the air we all breathe. Even if it is cheaper to ignore it. Well, cheaper until the cops pull you over for it anyway.

Are you really running at higher RPM’s on the highway, though? Generally speaking, my 2014 Corolla S pulls about 2500 RPM’s at 65mph, which is basically the same RPM level I’m running at 45mph due to being in a lower gear than on the highway (my car has a 7-speed CVT tranny if that matters). I’ve always been under the assumption that the steady, even speeds of highway driving were a lot less hard on your engine and transmission than stop and go driving.

Is that not correct?

Manifold vacuum is not higher at highway speeds unless you are decelerating with the throttle plate closed and engine rpms high.

I have a non-maintained 1997 car, and it never needs oil.

FoisGras, in general you are correct. Perhaps his car is missing it’s top gear?