Is Your Audi Burning Oil Too Fast? (+ How to Fix It!)
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Is Your Audi Burning Oil Too Fast? (Here’s How to Fix It!)

Like you, I’ve spent countless hours enjoying the smooth ride of Audis.

However, just like any vehicle, Audis come with their share of concerns.

One such concern many of us face is related to oil consumption.

So, what if your Audi seems to be burning oil a bit too quickly?

Should you be worried? Is it a common issue?

In this article, we’ll explore what oil consumption is normal, what’s not, and most importantly, what you can do about it.

Let’s get started!

What is the normal oil consumption for an Audi?

First, it’s crucial to remember that all cars, not just Audis, consume oil to some degree. It’s a completely natural part of the combustion process.

However, the rate at which a car consumes oil can vary based on various factors, including the vehicle’s design, age, and how it’s driven.

According to the Audi owner’s manual, an oil consumption of up to 0.5 quart every 600 miles (0.5 liter per 1,000 km) is considered normal.

Normal Audi oil consumption according to owner's manual

So, if your Audi is at or below this oil consumption rate, don’t worry. It’s considered normal due to the engine’s design.

However, if you find yourself needing to add oil much more frequently than the specified rate, then it might be an indication of a deeper issue.

How do you fix your Audi burning oil too fast?

If your Audi is burning oil too fast, here’s what you should do:

Step 1: Determine if your car burns oil or leaks oil

Before concluding that your Audi is burning oil excessively, you must distinguish between two main reasons for oil loss: burning and leaking.

Here is how to determine if your Audi burns oil or leaks oil:

  1. Visual inspection for leaks: Begin by parking your Audi on a clean surface, preferably on a white sheet or large piece of cardboard. Let it sit for a few hours, and then move the car to inspect the ground.

    If you notice dark spots or stains, there’s a possibility that your Audi has an oil leak. Common areas for leaks include the oil pan, valve cover gaskets, and oil cooler seals. Who knows, maybe your problem can be solved with a simple gasket replacement!
Visual inspection for oil leaks on an Audi
  1. Monitor exhaust smoke: Start your car and let it run for a while. Pay close attention to the exhaust. Blue-tinted smoke is an indicator of oil burning. If you only notice this blue smoke during start-up, it could be related to valve seals. However, if it’s consistent during your drive, piston rings might be the culprits.
  2. Oil smell inside the car: Sometimes, you might not see the leak, but you can smell it, especially when the oil drips onto the hot parts of the engine or exhaust. If you’re getting a strong oil scent inside your car, it’s a sign that you might have an external oil leak that’s burning off.
  3. Check oil levels regularly: Using the dipstick, monitor your oil levels. If the level drops significantly between your regular oil change intervals, you might be dealing with an oil consumption issue. For me, checking the oil every other time I fill up the gas has been immensely helpful.

Identifying what is causing the oil loss is a vital first step in addressing the issue.

In the next steps, we’ll dive deeper into solutions, so hang tight!

Step 2: Try using a high-quality synthetic motor oil

Switching to high-quality synthetic motor oil can sometimes be all you need when it comes to resolving oil consumption issues.

Just as you’d choose a high-quality fuel for better longevity of your Audi, the choice of engine oil is equally important.

When it comes to choosing the right synthetic oil for your Audi, it’s always beneficial to opt for a brand with a solid reputation in engine protection.

Based on extensive research and personal experience, Liqui Moly Premium 5W-40 Synthetic Motor Oil is a top recommendation.

Not only is it designed to meet the demands of high-performance engines like those in Audis, but countless Audi enthusiasts and professionals also vouch for its quality.

Another highly recommended product is the Lucas Oil Heavy Duty Oil Stabilizer. It’s an oil additive that seals worn cylinders, eliminates dry starts, and therefore helps to reduce oil consumption!

Step 3: Replace worn-out or damaged parts

There comes a time in every car’s life when certain components begin to wear out or show signs of damage.

And some of these worn-out or damaged parts can cause increased oil consumption!

Here are some signs indicating which parts might need replacement:

  • Excessive blue smoke: As we discussed earlier, if your exhaust is spewing blue smoke, especially while driving, it could be a sign of worn piston rings or valve seals.
  • Oil spots under the car: If you frequently notice oil patches where your car is parked, it might point to a failing gasket or seal.
  • Sudden increased oil consumption: A sudden increase in oil consumption can indicate issues like a malfunctioning PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) system.
  • Noisy engine: Strange sounds, like knocking or ticking from the engine, can hint at potential internal wear that needs attention.

If you suspect that a part is worn out or damaged, it’s always best to consult with a trusted mechanic or Audi service center.

8 Reasons why your Audi burns too much oil

Understanding the potential causes behind your Audi’s excessive oil consumption can help you find solutions.

Here are the most common reasons why your Audi burns too much oil:

1. Worn piston rings

  • Explanation: The piston rings in your engine create a sealed environment that separates the combustible air and fuel from the engine oil. These rings wear out over time due to the natural wear and tear from the movement of the pistons.
  • Impact on oil consumption: When these rings are worn, they allow oil from the oil pan to seep into the combustion chamber. Once there, the oil burns along with the air-fuel mixture, leading to increased oil consumption.

    This not only reduces the amount of oil in your engine but also leads to blue-tinted smoke in your exhaust, indicating oil burning.
An engine piston with worn-out rings

2. Faulty PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) system

  • Explanation: The PCV system plays a critical role in relieving the engine of unwanted gases or “blow-by” that escape from the combustion chamber into the crankcase. These gases are then rerouted back to the combustion chamber to be burned off.
  • Impact on oil consumption: A malfunctioning PCV system can cause these gases to carry fine oil mist along with them back into the combustion chamber. Over time, this can result in significant oil loss. Moreover, a faulty PCV valve can also lead to other issues like a buildup of sludge in the engine.
Audi TDI engine exposed

3. Worn valve seals

  • Explanation: Valve seals act as barriers to keep the engine oil from above the valve from dripping into the combustion chamber below. As with many other parts, they can wear out over time.
  • Impact on oil consumption: When these seals wear out or get damaged, they allow the oil to seep into the combustion chamber. This oil is then burned during combustion, leading to excessive oil consumption and, once again, the presence of blue smoke in the exhaust. Generally, a telltale sign of worn valve seals is blue smoke right after a cold start.

4. Leaky oil gaskets or seals

  • Explanation: If you spot oil patches beneath your parked car or smell burnt oil during drives, you likely have leaky gaskets or seals.
  • Common leak points: Common culprits include the valve cover gasket, oil pan gasket, and front and rear main seals. Once identified, replace these faulty parts with genuine ones to ensure optimal sealing and prevent future leaks.
Underside of a car with leaking oil droplets

5. Using incorrect or low-quality oil

Incorrect or sub-par oil might not lubricate the engine parts effectively, leading to increased friction and wear.

Such oils may also break down faster under high temperatures, losing their protective properties.

This can result in accelerated engine wear, reduced performance, and, yes, increased oil consumption.

6. Break-in period

Every car has what’s known as a ‘break-in’ period – the initial phase when the engine parts are “settling in.”

During the break-in period of the first 3,000 miles (5,000 km), it’s natural for an Audi to consume oil at a slightly higher rate. This is even mentioned in the owner’s manual:

Audi owner's manual indicating the higher oil consumption is normal during the first 3,000 miles

This is primarily because the engine components, especially the piston rings, are yet to form a perfect seal.

As you drive more and cross this initial phase, oil consumption rates should normalize.

7. Damaged cylinder walls

Cylinder walls can get damaged due to various reasons – overheating, poor lubrication, or the presence of contaminants in the oil.

Scratches on these walls can disrupt the sealing capabilities of the pistons.

If you suspect damaged cylinder walls, it’s best to consult a mechanic. They can conduct a compression test to confirm the issue.

Depending on the extent of the damage, solutions can range from honing the cylinder walls to more comprehensive engine repairs or replacements.

Audi A4 in the workshop with its hood open

8. Design issues in certain models or engine types

Historically, certain Audi models or specific engine types have had design-related issues that might lead to heightened oil consumption.

These are not because of external factors but inherent flaws in the design or manufacturing processes.

Audi faced a class-action lawsuit due to excessive oil consumption in some of their models. The lawsuit highlighted potential design flaws leading to increased oil usage.

If you own an Audi and are unsure about its history related to a lawsuit, it’s worthwhile to research if your model was affected:

Audi oil consumption lawsuit: An Overview

In 2012, a class-action lawsuit titled Asghari v. Volkswagen Group of America Inc. was filed, which alleged that specific 2009-2011 Audi vehicles consume abnormally high amounts of oil.

In September 2014, Audi and Volkswagen agreed to a class-action settlement.

This class-action settlement encompasses all purchasers and lessees, both in the United States and Puerto Rico, of specific Audi models equipped with a factory-installed 2.0 liter TFSI engine bearing Audi’s internal engine code CAEB (“CAEB engine”).

The affected vehicles include:

  • 2009 model year Audi A4
  • 2010 model year Audi A4 or A5
  • 2011 model year Audi A4, A5, or Q5

The settlement included the following benefits for eligible individuals:

  • Reimbursement: For specific service adjustments done by an authorized Audi dealer prior to Jan. 28, 2015. This included a replacement of certain engine parts and an update of the Engine Control Module software.
  • Free service adjustment: Current owners or lessees of the impacted vehicles were entitled to a free service adjustment within 18 months after Jan. 28, 2015.
  • Warranty extension: The warranty was expanded from the standard 4 years/50,000 miles to a more generous 8 years/80,000 miles. This extension was meant to cover any repairs undertaken by an authorized Audi dealer required due to excessive engine oil consumption.

Learn more: Later, another lawsuit was filed for certain 2010-2017 Audi models equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. Supposedly, they had experienced excessive oil consumption due to piston defects. You can learn more here.

Is it bad to drive a car that burns oil?

If your car consumes oil faster than usual, is it safe or advisable to continue driving it?

In general, you can continue to drive an Audi that burns excessive oil as long as the oil level stays above the minimum level, but it’s not advisable to do so.

Here’s why it’s a risk:

  • Lubrication: Oil serves as a lubricant for the various moving parts of your engine. When the oil level drops too low, these parts can wear out more rapidly due to increased friction. Over time, this can lead to serious and costly damage.
  • Harmful deposits: Burning excessive oil can lead to the buildup of harmful deposits within the engine. These can clog important areas like the catalytic converter.
  • Emission issues: Cars burning too much oil tend to emit more pollutants. This is not just bad for the environment but can also cause your car to fail an emissions test, a requirement in many regions.
  • Reduced fuel efficiency: An engine that isn’t lubricated properly due to low oil levels will have to work harder, leading to decreased fuel efficiency. This means more frequent trips to the gas station and increased costs over time.

So, if you notice your Audi is consuming oil rapidly, it’s a wise decision to address the issue immediately!

Conclusion

We’ve talked a lot about oil consumption, how much is okay, and when it uses too much.

All in all, the most important thing is to keep checking the oil level and act quickly if something seems wrong.

Always remember: A little care goes a long way.

Drive safely and enjoy your Audi!

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