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Oil Consumption in VWs


In early times, if you died from the usual problems in Germany they said you died from "Consumption". A good German doctor could see many different causes of death and label it "Death By Consumption."

These days with such modern manufacturing process you would think our German friends across the pond would have figured out that to die of "consumption" today would be a bad thing. Like taking a step back in time.

All the pomp and party about VW's new cars had me fooled. But no longer. I too work on VW's in my shop and would like to ask VW why it takes a master mechanic on average 6 times longer to repair a simple problem on any VW. Why should VW always encode repair information so that you need to speak German and have the secret codes with decoder ring to diagnose something as simple as a horn electrical circuit?

"Sorry sir, your bill is 300.00 American dollars because it took us all week to decipher the horn problem." Automan is not kidding. Seriously, oil problems on a new car can be troublesome. Here are some tips to avoid trouble, try them and see if your oil problems disappear.

On any new car do not put synthetic oil in. It is true some engines come from the factory with "synthetic oil" but it is special break-in oil. Run the recommended weight oil non-synthetic for the first 10,000 miles, usually the thin 5w-30. After 10k miles the rings and pistons have worn themselves in well enough. Using synth oil can be problematic for wearing in a new engine and can result in rings not wearing fast enough, resulting in higher than expected oil consumption.

Also do not be hard on a new engine for the first 10,000 miles, full throttle should be avoided, except in short bursts to get on the ramp of the expressway. Avoid the need to impress your passengers with your gas pedal. Tolerances in new engines are tight and internal scoring of delicate parts can occur if heated too quickly.

Once the engine is worn in after 10,000 miles it is very very important that a real good quality oil be used. I preffer Castrol or Pennzoil, Mobil 1 for synthetics. Along with the correct weight. I know I am going against what most manufacturers recommend but hey, I work on these things every day. Regular engines I run a minimum 10-30 oil for regular use. Heavy duty use or in very hot climates I go to 20-50.

There are a few exceptions here for very expensive European cars, high output Lincoln Mark 8 engines, the new Honda engines, some can REQUIRE very thin, (5-w20) oil, so be wary of jumping on the thicker oil bandwagon if you have a car that lists a very very thin oil. Some of the above listed exceptions can blow the oil filter off or shear the oil pump driveshaft by using thicker than required oil.

Other notes ... Be careful in the winter months because 20-50 can be too thick, and I usually only go to 20-50 on higher mileage engines.

Turbo or supercharged engines -- minimum 20-50 regular oil. 15-50 Mobil 1 synthetic preferred.

Diesel engines regardless of turbo or supercharged: Shell rotella 15-40 or a straight weight 30 or 40 weight oil. Good to check your owner's manual for severe usage recommendations. Diesel engines can be tricky especially with the oil they should use. Most diesel guys are very religious about the weight, brand and specifications of the oil they use. Diesels are in a class all their own.

If the factory says use 5-30 in a diesel I can 100% guarantee oil consumption problems. In diesels I would recommend the heavy duty use for thicker oil. Hey, it's only your engine. I always opt for "engine conserving" instead of "energy conserving" any day of the week. You know how much energy it takes to make a new engine?

Lastly, stay away from magic additives. 99% are snake oil. Most cause problems and unless you have an older high mileage engine +100,000 miles I do not recommend using anything but clean oil and filter every 3000 miles. Using synthetic oils because of their notably higher cost can go towards 4500 miles between changes.

And lastly any diesel engine will dirty the oil black very quickly. This is normal. Try what I have recommended and I think you will turn your oil consumption around for the better. Lastly don't be afraid to get your hands dirty. It is a good idea to check your dipstick, antifreeze level and washer fluid, and tire pressure once every 2 weeks. But hey you guys insist on going to the self serve island to save 2 cents so you can grab a drink and bolt, and then whine about checking your oil.

I always liked full service, but I guess he is retired and out of business now.

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