How to measure your car's oil consumption

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Ever wondered where all that engine oil goes?  A healthy car burns a small amount of oil over time, but excessive oil consumption can be a sign of trouble.  Monitoring your oil usage is an important part of routine car maintenance.  In this article, we'll explore how to tell how much oil your car is consuming and what to watch for if your oil seems to be disappearing too quickly.

Signs Your Car Might Be Burning Oil

  • Blue Exhaust Smoke:  This is a classic sign of oil burning in the engine. If you notice a bluish tint to your exhaust fumes, especially after starting the car or accelerating, it's a good idea to check your oil level.
  • Frequent Top-Ups:  If you find yourself topping up your oil more often than usual, it could be a sign of increased oil consumption.  Keep track of how much oil you're adding and how often.

Calculating Your Oil Consumption Rate

Here's a simple method to estimate your car's oil consumption:

  1. Fill Up:  Head to the gas station and fill your tank completely.  This will serve as our starting point.
  2. Mileage Reset:  Note your car's mileage and reset the trip meter, or record the current mileage for reference.
  3. Drive As Usual:  Go about your regular driving routine. Aim to cover at least a decent distance, ideally over 100 kilometers (or 60 miles).
  4. Refuel Again:  Return to the gas station and fill your tank all the way up again, using the same pump or brand of gas if possible. Note the mileage and the amount of oil you add this time.

The Math:  Now it's time for some simple division.  Divide the total distance driven (from step 3) by the amount of oil added during the second refill (step 4).  The result will be your oil consumption rate, typically expressed in kilometers or miles per liter of oil.

For Example:  If you drove 500 kilometers and added 1 liter of oil during the second refill, your car is consuming oil at a rate of 500 km/liter.

Keep in Mind:  This is a basic estimate.  Several factors can influence oil consumption, so consult your car's owner's manual for specific guidelines.  Generally, a slight amount of oil consumption is normal, but excessive burning (often exceeding 1 liter per 1,000 kilometers) could indicate an underlying engine issue.

What to Do About Excessive Oil Consumption

If you suspect your car is burning an excessive amount of oil, don't ignore it.  Consult a mechanic to diagnose the cause.  Potential culprits can include worn piston rings, valve seals, or leaks.  Early detection and repair can save you money in the long run by preventing engine damage.

By monitoring your oil consumption regularly, you can stay on top of your car's health and avoid costly repairs down the road.  Remember, routine maintenance is key to keeping your vehicle running smoothly and safely.

Keeping an Eye on Gas Prices While You're At It

Keeping your car running smoothly also means keeping an eye on gas prices.  Fluctuations in petrol costs can significantly impact your budget.  If you're looking for a convenient way to monitor petrol prices, consider using the Motorist App.  This app allows you to track petrol prices for various stations and brands, the Motorist App may have functionalities in Singapore and Malaysia). 

Remember, a well-maintained car with a full tank at a fair price is a happy driver's recipe for a smooth journey.

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Download the Motorist App now. Designed by drivers for drivers, this all-in-one app lets you receive the latest traffic updates, gives you access to live traffic cameras, and helps you manage vehicle related matters.

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