Why is my car losing oil?

2013 Volvo S60
2013 Volvo S60 –Erik-Fagerwall

The dealer checked my 2013 Volvo S60 and can’t find any leaks, nor is there oil in the driveway where the car is parked, so why is my car losing oil?

Q. We purchased a 2013 Volvo S60 AWD with a turbocharged engine in 2016, and it has 133,000 miles on it. I change the oil every 7,000 miles with synthetic. However, after the last couple of oil changes, the low-oil light came on after about 4,000 to 5,000 miles. Both times it took three quarts of oil to bring it back to full. The dealer checked the car and can’t find any leaks, nor is there oil in the driveway where the car is parked. Why is my car losing oil?


A. There have been several issues with this model and its oil consumption. The oil is not leaking; instead, it’s burning during the normal combustion process. When an engine burns a lot of oil, you will see blue smoke coming out of the tailpipe. Burning one quart of oil for every 1,000 miles or so isn’t really enough to see. Synthetic oil still burns, but it is not the same blue smoke that conventional oil produces. The oil consumption is normally due to worn valve guides, which can be a costly repair. If this were my car, I would just check the oil every 1,000 miles and add as necessary.

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician. Email your car question to jpaul@aaanortheast.com.