Readers reply to oil top-up controversy

UPDATE: Thank you to all our readers for their awesome response. We've since updated the article with more reader comments.

CAPE TOWN - Some car engines, as Wheels24 reported on July 1 2015, require an oil top-up every month - mainly Audis, BMWs and Subarus - according to a survey of nearly 500 000 vehicle owners by Consumer Reports magazine.

So Wheels24 asked its readers for their experiences... and most who responded reported similar problems.

Consumer Reports focused on 2010-14 models and called on automakers to make repairs under powertrain warranties or to extend the warranties.


We asked our readers whether they thought their vehicle's engine-oil consumption excessive. Here's what they had to say - and Wheels24 will welcome replies from the automakers.

Louis - Hi Wheels24. Brilliant article, thank you.  I own an Audi Q5 2.0T (2011) which needs oil between service intervals.  I have been complaining about this since I received the vehicle and one of the dealers performed independent test, but each time they come back saying it is within reasonable oil consumption usage (I need to add one litre of engine oil every 3000 to 4000 km).

My Q5 is now out of motor plan and I love this car so much since it is the perfect family vehicle for me (except then for the excessive engine oil consumption).  This car is a pleasure to drive as it so comfortable to handle with good performance, it has got the best ever sound system, good ergonomics, etc.

So, my plan is not to sell it soon and I even bought a few litres of engine oil from Audi to do my own top ups.

Therefore, in your article, how will this affect me as an owner of this Q5?  Is there something else I can do?

READ: 'Thirsty 30': New cars burn too much oil

Martin: I own two Toyotas.
2001 Toyota 1300 Tazz (128000km) – never topped-up oil between services.
2005 Toyota 160 GSX Corolla (229000km) – never used top-up oil between services.

Frans Van Der Merwe: I drive a 2012 Mahindra XUV 500 (56500 km) and never had to do a top-up between services.

Steven Theobald: I am a proud owner of one of those 'thirsty' cars. Currently driving a 2010 Q5 that requires me to purchase three quarts for every two tanks filled up.

Shaheen Rasool: 2009 Audi Q5 2.0 T Quattro – Have to fill a litre every 2000kms. I drive the car normally, let the turbo cool down before switching it off. Owned a Golf 5 GTI before this and that used a normal amount of oil, at least a 500ml between services which was acceptable.

Johann: I have seen many reports on Google of excessive oil consumption by the Audi 2.0T engine, especially in the Q5. Question is: Why does this affect the Audi models, but not VW's, e.g Golf GTI? They use essentially the same engine, GTI drivers probably give it lots of stick.

The report did not show the Golf GTI...I am planning to buy one???


Herman Ndungwane: I have a 2006  Audi A4 2 L executive. I took this vehicle to Audi more than three times for them to check if there is any oil leakage but in all cases thy said nothing but this car consumes a lot of oil.

Walter Kohlhofer: My 2007 Volvo XC 70 also uses excessive oil. I need an additional three or four litres every 10000km.

However, I believe that with most of the cars on the list it has to do with emission control issues. They have fancy traps to remove the fumes from the sump vents, and these need to be cleaned/ replaced at service intervals to maintain correct pressures. Perhaps this may contribute to the problem.

Shannon - I previously owned a 2010 Audi Q5 2.0T, S-tronic, between 28 000km and 39 000km used nine to ten litres of oil. Insane.

Danie - I drive a 2001 Toyota Highlander (180 000km). No oil consumption in town driving, one litre per 100km in open road driving at 120km/h.

Jurie - I bought a 2015 Suzuki swift 1.4 auto and already add 500ml at 5000km.  I was informed by Suzuki that this is normal as this is a "wet sleeve engine"!


Jonathan Hiam - I drive a 2009 A4 2.0T (155kW). Oil consumption is a known issue on these engines.

I've had three associates who've had their car's rear-ends redone. Audi has performed an oil-usage test on them and replaced pistons and rings at a cost of about R35 000.

These vehicles are in Freeway Plan (FWP) though I bought mine out of plan. Even though Audi has acknowledged that this is a problem and has performed the recalls, if your car is out of plan they want nothing to do with you.

My vehicle currently uses as much as one litre every 500km. Audi refuses to cover the costs of the repair so I will just drive a "respectable modern German flagship" around with plumes of smoke coming out of the rear.

I hope every road user sees the smoke and never buys an Audi in their lifetime.

Clifton Palm - I drive a 2010 A4 1.8T. I bought the car new and I started topping-up with oil after the 75 000km service. I use anything from two to three litres between services. The car now has 145 000km.

Ron Beuke - I own a 2014 Audi A3 with 29 000km and have not filled one drop of oil. I also own a 2012 VW Touareg with 60 000km and also never needed any top-ups between services.

Do you believe your car's engine-oil consumption excessive? Tell us about it in an email, remembering to include the brand, model and year of manufacture.

Ivor Williams - I drive a  2010 Volvo S80 turbo charged T6 and never it never needs an oil top-up between services, which are 20 000 kms! I also drive it hard.

Kenneth Kwape – I used to put five litres of oil in two weeks in my 2010 Audi (110 000km).

Nelson Ncube  - I drive an 2010 Audi A4 and I top-up with one litre of oil every month.


Martin Kruger - I drive a 2010 A4 Audi (1.8t) and in-line with the report however mine is not the 2.0T. I use close to one litre of the most expensive oil (5W 40) once a month as that is the only one you are allowed to use. It's an additional R110 a month just for oil.

I actually thought there was serious fault with my car!

Typhoon - I drive a Peugeot 207 GT at 112 000km and I have to top-up every month. Peugeot says this should not happen but it's is fact happening to my car.

Jan - My 2014 Toyota RAV4 2.2 diesel needed 900ml of oil between service 15 000km and 30 000km. Mini Cooper S 2011 - 3.5 litres needed for top-up from 0km - 70 000km. Very old 2004 RunX Rsi 0km - 210 000km - 0ml top-up of oil.

Conrad Smith - I believe my vehicle uses too much oil. I drive a 2011 VW Passat TSi DSG (1.8L petrol turbo). For example, after my 60,000km service, I have had to top it up three times to my current mileage of 67 000km. Basically every 2500km! Each time I put 0.5 litres of oil into the car.

The vehicle has been extensively tested by VW and I have spoken to the service manager and also to some of the mechanics. The feedback is that this is "normal". It is within factory spec and similar engines across the VW/Audi range does the same thing apparently.

It is strange to me though and it means I must stock-up on probably about three to four litres of oil to keep it topped up between services.

I would like to have feedback from other owners of the 1.8Tsi engine on what they have experienced on their cars.

Christo de Clerk - Honda Accord 2010 model. Uses 500ml between services since new. Now 135 000km on the odometre.


According to Consumer Reports: "According to data from Consumer Reports’ 2014 Annual Auto Survey of owners of 498 900 vehicles (from 2010 to 2014 model years), these 30 models have much higher rates of oil consumption overall than the average for their model years."

Read Consumer Reports' survey below: Is your car affected? Tell us!

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