Consumer Reports Sheds Light on Oil Consumption

Is it acceptable for a car owner to have to "top off" their vehicle with up to a quart of extra oil every month in between recommended oil changes? As Consumer Reports examines in their recent piece "Excessive oil consumption isn't normal," that question is becoming contentious between some consumers and their automakers.

In a survey that looked at 498,900 vehicles released between 2010 and 2014, Consumer Reports found some major manufacturers—such as Audi, Subaru, and BWI—had vehicles that, even while still under powertrain warranty, aggressively burned through engine oil. Their "Thirsty 30" list included many models, including:

  • BMW 5 Series (V8)
  • BMW Series 7 and 6
  • Porsche Panamera
  • Audi models A4, A5, A6
  • Subaru Forester
  • Subaru Impreza
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class (V8)
  • Chevrolet Spark
  • Volvo XC60
  • Volvo XC70

Mixed Response from Automakers

As Consumer Reports notes, the response manufacturers have given to oil consumption complaints has varied. Some companies, like Toyota and Honda, have largely made good on engine flaws and extended their powertrain warranties on models that have shown excessive oil consumption.

Other companies, however, have tried to blur the line on what is and what isn't acceptable oil loss. BMW said in an emailed statement that oil consumption is "normal," even, under some conditions, after just 750 miles. Subaru and Audi are in the midst of class-action lawsuits for their refusal to recognize oil consumption issues with their own models.

Taking Action on Your Car's Oil Consumption

The simple truth is that Consumer Reports is right: excessive oil consumption should not be a significant issue in new cars. While other companies have shown advancement in engine technology that reduces oil use, these other manufacturers are perfectly happy maintaining that the added expense and inconvenience of burning oil is just an unavoidable reality of driving.

At Norman Taylor & Associates, our experienced California lemon law attorneys have been dealing with oil consumption claims since our founding 28 years ago. We are all too aware of the "acceptable" standards some manufacturers set to protect themselves from admitting they've produced inefficient, problematic engines. Even worse, both they and their dealers are likely to cite vague reasons, like terrain, driving habits, even the weather to avoid providing a repair.

Are you facing an oil consumption issue that your automaker refuses to rectify? If so, it might be time to start exploring your legal options. Contact our team today for free consultation.

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