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Drive-E engine using a quart of oil every 1000 miles; I'm 2.5 hrs from the closest dealer

6030 Views 103 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  MyVolvoS60
The title says it all really. In 2017, I bought a 15.5 V60 with 32k miles. When I lived in a big city that had several dealers, I had the dealer replace the spark plugs under warranty right away. Aside from the spark plugs and door latch recall, the car has been trouble-free. I have changed the oil using synthetic ACEA A5/B5 oil and genuine Volvo oil filters every 8k miles or so. The car only gets premium fuel. Everything has been done by the book. Now, at 85k miles, I am going through at least a quart of oil every 1000 miles.

I moved to a different state, work from home and don't log many miles now, but that may change next year. I can keep the oil filled up, but with this rate of consumption, it's only a matter of time before it fouls the catalytic converter.

How much good will, if any, could a 3-time Volvo owner such as myself expect from Volvo NA on this? How am I supposed to get them involved when the closest dealer is 2.5 hrs away. I don't have time to drive 5 hrs on a regular basis for the dealer to monitor my oil consumption. Would Volvo NA ever work with a 3rd party shop on something like this?

Has anyone had success reducing consumption by replacing the breather box (Volvo PN 31430923)?

Has anyone paid out of pocket for just new piston rings at an independent shop?
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I've found on my 2012 6 cylinder T6 that changing the oil more often slowed it down. I went from 7500 to 5k and only use 2 qts between changes when that last 2500 miles would use almost 3. Perhaps lucas oil stabilizer would help slow it down as well.

I did the math. I buy 5 quart jugs of Castrol off Amazon for $20/each. At current rate of consumption, driving 50k miles would burn $100 worth of oil. I'd need to drive another 300k to break even with the cost of making my engine not burn oil, and with 216k already, why?

As for the cat, I wouldn't panic. How many universal cats can you buy for the cost of a new engine? Probably 4 or 5. Mine hasn't gone out, even with all the miles.

If it REALLY bothers you, maybe find an engine out of a totaled 2017 - that year got updated pistons. Pay an indy to drop it in. You'll probably come out for less than you would paying Volvo to fix the engine you have. Not sure how many hours an engine R&R is, but it's certainly less than 19 hours.
A few words on ethics: Would the dealer disclose the oil consumption to you? Don't feel bad about not disclosing it to them. My Toyota is at the end of it's tenure under my care. I've spent $8,700 since December 2019 trying desperately to make it reliable enough, but within the last month, it's sprung a coolant leak, transmission fluid leak, power steering leak, needs struts and sway bar links, plus an issue with inconsistent braking action that may or may not be a master cylinder. Estimated cost $2,000 or more. This doesn't touch on the weak blower motor, broken power door cable, or other minor things. The dealership offered me $700 on trade, so it's looking like a private sale for me. It does run and drive fine, but at 271k miles, I'll simply disclose that it's not the right vehicle for someone on a fixed income.

Carvana and CarMax both offer great warranties that would cover this type of thing. If a prospective buyer does his/her due diligence, they will find out these years suffer from oil consumption issues, and they'd be inclined to purchase MaxCare or Carvana's equivalent. Volvo wouldn't foot the bill, but the buyer wouldn't have to either.

Weigh and measure the cost of a new (or new to you) vehicle and how long it would take to pay it off vs $3500 for that 2017 engine installed, and how much more use you'll be able to get out of the car going that route. Of course you may have the work done and some illegal blindsides you at 50mph the following week. YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS.
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This whole discussion on moral dilemma and or not disclosing known issues is quite a sad state of affairs. The "they're not going to be honest either" justification isn't an excuse to be an asshole to someone else by selling off a known issue car.
Well, what else do you do? Do you go in and say "I have a car that burns oil and it's $5,000 to fix it." The dealer says "Okay, we'll only give you $8,000 then", and then they sell it for full price without fixing.

My 271,000 mile Toyota Sienna has a litany of problems, but actually doesn't burn oil. I'm going to sell it privately and get something else, as cost of repairs will be another $2,000 on top of the $8,700 I've already spend since Dec 2019. I intended to trade it off a dealer so they can send it to auction where people know what they're up for, but I got an offer of $700. The van's worth $9,000, so I'll price it at $5500 and I'll probably get $4500. That's a hell of a lot better than $700 for me, and whoever buys it gets a van for a knockdown price with a few issues they can fix themselves, pay a shop an exorbitant price, or simply ignore.

"This world is rough, and if a man's gonna make it he's gotta be tough" - Johnny Cash (A boy named Sue)
I totally agree with you. "When in sales, integrity is a gray area." It seems that "buyer beware" covers any lack of disclosure or deceit. This is why I'd never be a good salesman (or defense attorney as noted above). Objective truth is something that can be agreed upon far more often than subjective concealment.

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I have been told I'd be a great car salesman. But I refuse simply based on the fact that it's hard to keep your soul in the car business. Every GM 3.6 liter equipped vehicle would sit on the lot because I'd never push anyone towards one.
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I'm talking about personal integrity, in response to catfish's posts, in light of the fact that corporations are out to look for their bottom line.
What can I say? I'm a terrible person. ?‍♂ Which is probably why I live alone, haven't gotten a date since 2017, and just sit at home at 1am listening to Cigarette Daydream on an hour loop while reading people's arguments about ethics on the internet when I need to be up for work in 6 hours. All I can do is observe the world around me and make inferences based upon what I see.

1. Car salesmen would eat their own children to get a sale. There hasn't been one yet who's earned my trust. They make insulting offers on your trade and to you directly in my case. To a certain salesman I'll call "Bob", yes, I can afford a $50,000 2018 XC90 inscription when I routinely make $1000 in a weekend driving for rideshare, plus my day job and investment property income. No need to look down your nose at me and treat me like a child.
2. My Volvo has been a world's better car than my Toyota, so I'd rather my next vehicle be anything but a Toyota; for better or worse.
3. When you trade in a car, it will change hands at least 3 times, so every guy has to make a buck.
4. There are no deals right now to be had because there are no cars to buy. Supply and demand dictate that you'll be overpaying for anything you do manage to find.
5. Without as many cars to sell, dealers are struggling too, so they have to make higher profit per vehicle to stay alive.
6. Oil consumption isn't catastrophic failure, unless you fail to keep it topped up. Vanos pumps on BMWs, timing chains on GM 3.6 engines, head gaskets on Northstar engines, computer problems on Nissans and FCA products are far more debilitating. The list of failures that will actually keep the car from running goes on and on and on and on. A 5 quart jug of castrol is $20 on Amazon, so with a fill up every 330 miles (roughly) that's a little over $1 extra per fill up for the oil @1 quart every thousand miles. That is by FAR the cheapest failure of any mentioned above.
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My 2012 S80 3.2 was under CPO and was lasting about ~3500miles before the low oil warning come up. First time at 49k miles then pretty much consistent low oil warning halfway through the service interval. I would have to top it off with ~1quart of oil. When I went to complain they ran the oil consumption and said it was in spec and it had to use ~1quart per 1000miles to be considered a problem. They switched to a longer dipstick, reprogrammed the computer, and increased the oil amount needed for oil changes. Now at 76k miles I had to put in 2.5qts to get to the top of the dipstick line when the light came on. I still like the car and will just top off the oil. Maybe I'll shorten the oil change interval. Probably won't go back to Volvo though. Search through these forums and you'll see a lot of oil consumption threads.
I work in parts and let me promise you one thing: There is not one solitary single vehicle out there that doesn't have problems.

Volvo's oil consumption is annoying, sure. But it's literally the cheapest engine problem to have. My 2012 XC60 started eating oil out of nowhere at about 155k immediately after the PCV trap was replaced. I still have the car, and it has 216,000 miles currently. The total cost for the oil it's consumed has maybe been $65. Maybe. I buy 5 quart jugs of Castrol full synthetic from Amazon for $20. At a quart every 2k, $100 of oil lasts about 50k miles. 3.5 V6 Fords have water pumps that are driven by the timing chain. It requires removing one of the cylinder heads to replace the water pump. 3.6 V6 GM products have a litany of issues, but most common are timing chain wear. Nissans have weak CVT transmissions that barely make it 80k miles before failing at $2,500 each + labor. Don't get me going on Fiat-Chrysler-Jeep-RAM vehicles. Electrical nightmares, always down for some module. Keep adding oil, buddy. Your Volvo will do you right and just may save your life one day.
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Three things come to mind here:

1. Sticker Shock - $5,000 to replace rings. Most people never plan for a "large expense" on a newer car.

2. Bank Busting Sticker Shock - $12,000 - On Occasion the Engine Fails.

Of course, you could probably source out a rebuilt engine from a JunkYard for cheaper and have some Indie Shop drop it in. Not sure how well that'll go. @Tech @p.rico or others might have something to say. I'm guessing nothing pleasant about going that route.

3. Continue dumping oil - Not sure how much the Castrol 0w 30 costs.The cheapest of the options. Of course, this doesn't resolve the issue of the gunked up pistons and rings not cleaning. Problem will most definitely worsen over time, but at what point it becomes intolerable is subjective. Engine might fail prematurely or it could go 100,000 thousand or more miles just chewing oil.

I had a beater 1999 Toyota Corolla I used as a kick around. Original owner. Piece of sh*t started burning oil few years after ownership and got worse. Known Piston Ring Issue Toyota never stood behind. Car lasted 22 years before I offloaded, but at that point it chewed through 2 Liters every 200 miles and put out black soot. Had been probably doing that for 6-7 years.

I guess if someone's oil burner can last long enough to placate, then there's really not a problem.

Assuming they keep the car and don't offload it on CarMax, Carvana, etc.
If #2 happens, then you'd just have to deal with it however necessary. Either by replacing the engine with a junkyard one that may or may not burn oil too, or buying another vehicle and defaulting on the failed one and make it the bank's problem - though your credit will take a hit for a couple years, you're not carrying a huge balance to your next car and you financed it before your credit took the dip. Unless it was paid off, then just trade it in for the $500 or whatever they give you and get something else.

I chose #3. I have the older SI6 engine, so considering that:
  • these are different powerplants that share a common issue, mine hasn't failed yet but in theory could tomorrow. Not sure what a ring job costs on a 3.0 I6.
  • the mileage of my vehicle greatly impacting trade in value, despite it being in excellent condition
  • the fact that I love the car
  • the fact that this has been the best car I've ever had by a large margin from an all around standpoint
  • despite all that, it's still just a car and must be thought about in a logical manner

I'll just add a quart when needed. No matter how nice it may be, the car's value doesn't justify pouring thousands of dollars into an issue a few dollars at a time can solve for another couple thousand miles. I'd have to drive the thing another half million miles to come even within the ballpark of breaking even. If the engine fails, I'll evaluate my options at that time and make a decision. It may make it to 300k miles and beyond, it may not. But trading it in for $2500 now would mean missing out on getting far more value out of it as a great running (still tons of power) car for potentially several more years. If it fails in a week and that trade offer drops to $500, that's a gamble I'm willing to make.
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