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Old 06-12-2013, 08:27 PM
 
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I have a 2011 Chevy Malibu with 51,000 miles on it that starting losing about a quart of oil every 5000 miles after the first 20,000 miles. When I get the oil changed the mechanics say they don't see any oil leaks. Is losing that amount of oil unusual or is it nothing to worry about? The car otherwise runs fine.
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Old 06-12-2013, 08:57 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
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It is unusual, but as long as it stays that way and you don't have to add any between changes not a big deal. If not leaking, that most common cause with low mileage like that is valve stem seals, which often causes a puff of ble smoke out the back when you first start it in the morning. If it's the 4 cylinder and you do a lot of high speed driving, it could just be a small loss through the rings. If you are using the recommended 5W-30 oil, in the old days it could help to go slightly heavier, with 10W30 in winter and 5W-40 in summer. With the modern engines, though, it can be risky to go thicker due to many very small passages.
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Old 06-12-2013, 08:58 PM
 
Location: Prosper
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I wouldn't worry about it too much if there's no sign of leaking. 1 qt for 5k miles is fairly common actually. Mercedes cars are notorious for losing a quart or two between oil changes.
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Old 06-12-2013, 09:00 PM
 
Location: Planet Eaarth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kanhawk View Post
I have a 2011 Chevy Malibu with 51,000 miles on it that starting losing about a quart of oil every 5000 miles after the first 20,000 miles. When I get the oil changed the mechanics say they don't see any oil leaks. Is losing that amount of oil unusual or is it nothing to worry about? The car otherwise runs fine.
Broken or stuck piston ring will leak enough oil to do this. The oil loss starts after about 2,000 miles then gets worse due to thinning of the oil over running time.

To find where your oil is going have a mechanic run a complete compression check on each cylinder to find the weak cylinder . Do this ASAP or you risk a blown engine if that stuck ring grabs a cylinder wall.

Good luck.
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Old 06-12-2013, 09:04 PM
 
Location: Great Plains
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I would monitor the oil use and keep a 5,000 mile change interval. It seems odd on an engine with fairly low mileage.
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Old 06-12-2013, 09:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kanhawk View Post
I have a 2011 Chevy Malibu with 51,000 miles on it that starting losing about a quart of oil every 5000 miles after the first 20,000 miles. When I get the oil changed the mechanics say they don't see any oil leaks. Is losing that amount of oil unusual or is it nothing to worry about? The car otherwise runs fine.
A quart every 5,000 miles is nothing. Some engines are designed to use more than that.
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Old 06-12-2013, 09:36 PM
 
Location: Planet Eaarth
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Originally Posted by GarageLogic View Post
A quart every 5,000 miles is nothing. Some engines are designed to use more than that.
This is very true. The engine in my 93 Suburban (127,00 mi now) has always used a quart every 3,000 mi. so I change at 3,000mi to keep the oil viscosity as close to fresh as possible.

I stopped worring about the oil loss after I had an engine compression test run (all good) in 1995.
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Old 06-12-2013, 11:44 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis
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I wouldn't worry about it, but don't forget to check the oil regularly to monitor the situation. If it's stable now after 30,000 miles, I'll bet it won't get much worse for a long, long time. But it's still best to keep an eye on it from now on.
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Old 06-13-2013, 05:36 AM
 
Location: Walton County, GA
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I wouldnt be too worried about it, but I would keep an eye on it to make sure it doesnt get worse. It's a relatively new and low mileage engine and despite what others may say, its not "designed" to burn oil. In fact, most modern engines are designed with such strict and tight tolerances, oil burning should be at a minimum. There will always be some oil consumption due to the nature of a 4 stroke gasoline combustion engine, but a quart at 5000 miles on a newer is a little excessive. My 2001 Silverado only burns 1/4 to1/2 quart every 6000 miles and I have over 170,000 on it.
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Old 06-13-2013, 07:23 AM
 
Location: Connecticut
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If this were a 2001 Malibu, I would say yes, that is normal. However, a 2011 shouldn't but any oil. Have a mechanic do a compression test. If it is losing oil now it will get worse to the point where you need a major repair. That will probably happen right after the warrany expires and you get stuck with a $8000 bill for a new engine.

Take it to a dealer, explain to them that it shouldnt lose any oil. Tell them to find the leak or do a compression test, but you want it it fixed under warranty. (if you are still under warranty)
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