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A collection of helpful articles based on reader submissions
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Below is a collection of Jim Grant's Tech Tips sorted by Vehicle Make. These Tech Tips were answers to questions submitted to Jim by users over the course of many years.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email us.



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  Jim Grant's Tech Tips

'01 Chevy Suburban, Oil Consumption

Q: I purchased an ‘01 Chevy Suburban. My Owner's Manual says the change oil light will come on between 3,000-10,000 miles. However, my Check Engine Oil Level is coming on around 4,500 miles. My dealership is running an oil consumption test but they say that these engines use a quart of oil every 3,000-4,000 miles. They are putting in 6.5 quarts (the manual says 6). My engine is now 2.5 quarts low and I only drive on the highway.

A: A Suburban is a big vehicle, big as in heavy. The engine that moves that vehicle works hard. Not to mention that it’s not the most aerodynamic block on the road, it’s a truck. Hard work does put a greater demand on the oil that lubricates the engine. Using a quart of oil in 3 to 4k miles is not an issue in my view. Engine oil consumption is generally caused by 2 reasons; 1. worn engine parts or, 2. contaminated engine oil. If the engine is worn you’ll likely see oil consumption start from the beginning. The level will start dropping from 300 to 1k miles. Oil consumption, due to contamination, occurs due to the operating environment of the engine. My suggestion is not to relay on the low oil level warning light. Have the engine oil and filter changed and check the level on the oil dip stick. Each week be sure to check the oil level and record it to mileage traveled. If the oil level behaves itself for the first 2 to 3k miles and then starts dropping it would indicate that oil contamination is occurring. To confirm this diagnosis you would have an engine oil sample taken at that time for analysis. We've used this procedure to tailor oil change intervals to the working environment of the engine of some of our fleet customers. In either case a little of your time under the hood could provide insightful information regarding your oil consumption concerns.


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