If you want to learn how to fix a Chevy Equinox oil consumption problem, you’ve come to the right place. It’s frustrating to need to add oil to your vehicle constantly. Sometimes it’s even risky because the engine oil warning light might turn on when it’s too late to salvage the engine.
Unusually high oil consumption is an emergency. In other words, you must deal with it immediately. Here’s our guide on how to go about it. But first.
Do All Chevy Equinox Models Consume Too Much Oil?
Not all Chevy Equinox models have a history of consuming too much oil. Only the model years 2010 to 2013 running on 2.4-Liter Ecotec engines have had the problem. The manufacturer blames a design flaw for it. Experts consider a consumption rate of 1 quart per 1,500-2,000 miles normal for later Equinox models.
The History Behind Chevy Equinox Oil Consumption
The Chevy Equinox has a reputation for consuming excessively high oil. Specifically, the 2.4-liter Ecotec engines, introduced for the 2nd gen Equinox, have received thousands of complaints.
General Motors (GM) introduced the Ecotec first as the LAF variant for the Chevy Equinoxes model years 2010 and 2011. A lot of upgrades followed. The automaker then offered the LEA variant for the Equinoxes model years from 2012 to 2017. But the company discovered a flaw in the basic design of the 2.4-liter Ecotec. The mistake could allow oil to get into the engine.
Once that happened, the oil could eventually enter the combustion chamber, which would be burnt away. That would require vehicle owners to top up the engine oil frequently. Sometimes, this abnormally heavy oil usage could lead to catastrophic engine failure. The low oil warning light could usually only turn on when it’s too late to save the engine.
Owners would also experience a variety of other problems, including engine knocking. Many also reported spark plugs burning up and jerking under acceleration, among other issues.
To resolve this problem, GM did several software updates and flashing of the engine control unit (ECU). Yet, the step needed to be improved. In early 2016, the automaker made another drastic move. Through a technical service bulletin (TSB), they acknowledged the heavy oil consumption issue on the 2.4 Ecotec engines. According to the TSB, the failure resulted from significant piston ring wear.
To make things right, GM offered to extend the warranty for owners of Equinoxes models 2010 to 2013. The warranty would cover engine-related issues for 120,000 miles (7 ½ years). Also, it would include the cost of replacing defective piston assemblies. Even with these extensions, the warranty for all these vehicle models is out.
If you have a 2010 to 2013 model, you can do little to avoid the heavy oil consumption problem. But you need to do something if you have a later model with too high oil consumption. Let’s look at how you can fix the issue.
How To Fix Your Chevy Equinox Oil Consumption Problem?
To fix your Chevy Equinox oil consumption problem, consider using a better-quality oil. You also must avoid high oil pressure and check and repair leaks on gaskets, piston rings, and other leak-prone areas. Depending on the extent of the problem, changing the engine may be the best thing to do.
Let’s discuss that in detail:
Fix #1: Consider Using a Different Oil
The type of oil you use can make all the difference. If you put the wrong oil in your Chevy Equinox, it won’t lubricate the parts adequately. That will increase the engine’s oil consumption rate.
Also, stop using the 0W-20, especially oil in warm seasons. Experts say oil is too thin and seeps through the engine too quickly. Instead, try 5W-30 or 10W-30. These oils have unique flow qualities that will slow down the excessive use or even stop it if not too bad.
You can also consider synthetic oils rather than conventional ones. The oils have different formulations and flow properties. Sometimes they can get through tighter openings better than regular oil. Suppose you have gaskets or seals that have started deteriorating. In that case, you may need synthetic oil to lubricate the engine and seal leaks.
Fix #2: Avoid High Oil Pressure
The high oil pressure will cause oil to flood through the engine. The oil will probably enter the cylinders, where it will burn up. Avoid adding too much oil during an oil change to avoid such situations.
Additionally, high pressure could result from a bad setting on your vehicle’s central computer. Check and change the settings if necessary.
Fix #3: Stop the Leaks
There are many areas where oil can disappear from. So, you must identify possible leaks and stop them. If your car has an oil leak, you may notice oil spots where you park it. You can place a piece of cardboard under the vehicle.
It will help you pinpoint the location of the leak. Common sources of leaks could be the turbo, valve stem, cylinder bore/piston rings, or intake gaskets. If you have leaky seals or gaskets, get a specialist to fix them immediately. Fixing seals and gaskets is inexpensive and can save you money in the long run.
Similarly, if you discover you have damaged piston rings, replace the rings as soon as possible. Any delays will allow oil to seep into the internal combustion chamber. Once it gets there, it will burn and cause irreversible damage.
Note: It can be challenging to know the exact location of a leak. Please seek the help of a good mechanic with up-to-date high-tech tools. The specialist will visually inspect the internals, determine the leaky part and quote a repair price.
Fix #4: Consider Replacing Your Old-Engine
Experts say the first five years of an engine’s life are the best. It’s the time when the engine will demand the least amount of oil. At this time, its components are still new and strong.
After putting many miles on the engine, various seals and gaskets deteriorate, leading to small leaks. That increases the engine’s oil consumption. If you’re dealing with an old engine, it will help to replace it with a rebuilt one. That would resolve the problem permanently.
We have discussed several ways to fix your Chevy Equinox oil consumption problem. The easiest and most cost-effective solution is to use high-quality oil. As mentioned, oils such as 5W-30 have unique formulations and flow properties. They can lessen the heavy oil usage concern.
But, if the problem is severe, you must check and replace leaky gaskets and valve seals. As stated, abnormal oil usage is an emergency. So, act now, and implement the necessary solution as soon as possible.