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Q: Car burning a lot of oil

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Car is burning a lot of oil. The oil light came on so I put 2 quarts in... then the light came back on and the dipstick says the oil is at normal levels.. is my engine damaged...

My car has 164013 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Hello. Your vehicle is equipped with an oil...

Hello. Your vehicle is equipped with an oil level sensor and an oil pressure sensor. The light will come one from either sensor. If the engine is making a rattling noise, then I would worry about problems such as: the oil pump, oil sludge in the engine, or internal engine damage. I would run the engine for 5 minutes, turn it off, and check the oil level right after. If the oil level is low, then you likely have a sludge problem and need your engine flushed and need more frequent oil changes. Otherwise, with a noise and proper oil level, I would suspect engine or other damage.

Common problems with these engines are: PCV systems (which recycle excessive oil pressure), oil leaks at the rear main seal, and problems with the oil stand gasket. I have serviced many of these engines and recommend a visual inspection for oil leaks and the PCV system. Then a scan tool and vacuum test on the dipstick tube.

With BMW recommending 10,000-15,000 mile oil changes, your oil will likely burn. I would still recommend an oil change at 5,000 miles at the maximum. These engines are typically strong and will burn a little bit of oil between oil changes (a few quarts). The engine takes 6.9 quarts and is expected to burn about a quart about every 1-2 thousand miles.

Just to verify everything in person, one of our qualified technicians here at YourMechanic can come to your home or office to diagnose your oil issue and make the necessary repairs for you.

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