Oil consumption on new cars

Oil consumption on new cars

Some new cars require oil every three to four tanks of gas

Getty Images

Oil consumption on new cars is often higher than you might expect. (Getty Images)

Q: When I performed my first oil change on my new 2011 Subaru, the oil level was so low, there was no reading on the dipstick. I didn’t think I’d have to check the oil before the first change. Subaru Canada says it’s normal, but is adding one or two litres of oil between changes really normal?—Paul Gauthier, Rosthern, Sask.

A: Many automakers say an oil consumption of one litre per 2,000 km or more under warranty is normal. That works out to adding a litre of oil with every third or fourth tank of fuel, which, in our view is not what most people expect with a new vehicle. If the issue persists and you want to take action, you’ll need a third-party mechanic to perform an oil consumption monitoring test. If the dealer won’t pay, an independent mechanic could undertake the repair and testify if you elect to sue Subaru. It might be worth pursuing because you could be looking at $3,000 or more to replace your piston rings.