Q: Engine knock, burned a lot of oil

asked by on October 30, 2015

I was driving to see some family in another part of the state last week in my 2011 Chevrolet Equinox when I started hearing a kind of knocking noise coming from the engine. It wasn’t an extremely loud knock, it was more like a ticking sound. I pulled into the next stop and checked the oil. It needed over a quart of oil and I had the oil changed just 400 miles before. My car has 45,000 miles on it, it should not be having problems this severe! Very disappointed, is there any quick fix like changing the oil I use that could fix this problem without a big repair?

The ticking sound is caused by the valves in the engine experiencing a low oil condition, the lower the oil gets the louder the noise. This is a well-documented problem for this series where the vehicle will excessively consume oil, sometimes as much as a quart every 2,000 miles! GM states this is due to faulty piston rings, which allow the oil to slip past the oil ring and enter the combustion area where it is burned along with the fuel, resulting in a severe oil loss, with no evidence of a leak, and reduced fuel economy (oil and gas mixed together do not burn well). You can reference Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) #01-06-01-011H, which addresses the issue of excessive oil consumption. The bottom line is that the pistons and rings all need to be replaced to correct this issue. While GM has been aware of the issue for some time, as evidenced by many internal memo’s, they are often slow to fix the issue at the dealership level. Make sure you check you oil level every 1,000 miles or so until the problem is resolved or you run the risk of running your engine dry and causing severe damage. If you have a warranty, have this issue addressed as soon as possible as it will not go away without proper repair. Even if you have no warranty, I recommend going into your local dealership to see what they are able to do, be persistent.

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