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Modern cars, trucks, and SUVs still require oil to keep the engine running its best. Some vehicles are guilty of burning oil at high rates, but what is a normal amount? There are some industry averages for typical oil consumption, but don’t wait too long to investigate. If it hasn’t been that long since your last oil change and you need more oil, something could be amiss. There is an easy way to check if you need oil, don’t worry!

Is your car burning oil, or does it need an oil change?

If you car is burning oil, take it to a mechanic shop like this
Cars drive by a Jiffy Lube business | Getty Images/Bob Riha, Jr.

Most drivers know how to check oil levels in the engine, regardless of excess burning oil. Simply pull up the dipstick and check the levels; this can show you if the oil is low or even if it might be burning at too high of a temperature. If you are between oil changes, some people will add a quart of oil to keep things running smoothly.

If you take a vehicle to a mechanic and no leak is found, where did that oil go? Often, this can mean the car, truck, or SUV is burning oil too fast for one reason or another. If you don’t need an oil change yet and something is amock, you could be burning oil.

Bell Performance suggests that if you have to check your oil repeatedly to ensure everything is working correctly, it probably isn’t working properly. If the car were burning oil at the correct rate, it would run to the date and mileage suggested at your last oil change.

Is your car burning oil too fast?

Engine oil for an oil change
Mobil Super motor oil bottles | Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Most automakers and mechanics used to suggest that owners change the oil every 7,500 miles, give or take a few miles. Newer cars tend to use less oil, so that is sometimes a higher threshold simply because modern engines are more efficient. The average vehicle burns around a quart of oil every 3,000 miles. That’s a pretty safe estimate. Even every 1,000 miles is pretty standard. If you notice your car is burning more than a quart of oil every 1,000 miles, something is probably wrong.

You really should not burn much oil every mile. If you are burning oil normally, it would be something like 0.00033 quarts of oil for each mile driven. Older engines definitely burn more oil, and so do high-performance engines. Cars also tend to burn more oil as they age. The information about how much oil your vehicle needs is in the owner’s manual or even online, depending on how new it is.

You don’t need to be an expert on oil changes to monitor how your vehicle is doing on oil. You can check the dipstick for levels if you smell burning oil or if something feels off. Most modern cars are capable of monitoring oil levels and will let you know if something strange is going on under the hood. Some don’t even have an oil dipstick anymore, but that information should be in the owner’s manual, which can often be found online in digital form today.

How to check for excess burning oil


The 2023 Chevy Silverado Duramax Might Be Burning Oil

If you are worried about oil consumption in your vehicles, there are a few things you can do to check. The video above has some important steps, like letting the engine cool down and ensuring the vehicle is level. If you know enough to find the engine oil dipstick under the hood, you can pull it out and check the levels.

If that is above your pay grade, you can always ask a friend or go into where you get your oil changed. Checking the oil levels is a pretty quick process, and if something is really wrong, it can save your engine. You definitely want to keep up with regular oil changes to keep your car running at its best. This can help extend the life of your engine and uncover issues before they escalate.