Why Does My Volvo Consume So Much Oil?


All cars require a consistent level of care in order to preserve their performance, reliability, and longevity. Part of ongoing vehicle care is maintaining engine oil levels and quality. Volvos are unique in the performance industry in that they offer comfort, convenience, and practicality, as well as being considered a luxury car. While Volvos are especially reliable vehicles that certainly deliver in performance and last a lifetime, they still encounter issues like every other vehicle. Oil maintenance is essential in order to keep your Volvo running properly, and if you notice that she's using too much oil, you should bring it to a Volvo specialist to diagnose the issue as soon as possible. Here's more information about what to look for and what to do when your Volvo seems to be losing oil.

What Could Be the Cause of Frequently Low Oil Levels?

Cars are complex machines that rely upon countless parts, components, nuts, bolts, and entire systems to run efficiently and optimally at all times. Among the many parts that can lead to oil leaks or excessive oil consumption are: damaged head gaskets and cylinder headsdirty or ill-placed oil filtersfaulty valve seals; and/or damaged piston rings. One or more parts could be malfunctioning at the same time, and depending on the symptoms your Volvo is exhibiting, the course of treatment will vary.

What To Look Out For

First, if you're keeping an eye on your Volvo's oil level, bravo. That's one step further than many drivers tend to go when it comes to car maintenance. The symptoms to look out for when your Volvo seems to be consuming a lot of oil are just as important as the oil level itself, and when you explain the symptoms to your Volvo specialist they'll have a better idea of what they're dealing with. Here are some of the common signs to look out for alongside low oil levels.

Engine Light or Oil Light

Your Volvo utilizes a series of different sensors and its electronic control unit to detect issues in various components of your vehicle. If it senses that your oil levels are low you might notice one or more dashboard light come on to alert you of the service it needs.

Exhaust Smoke

When oil leaks, it can take the form of burnt, black smoke coming out of the exhaust, or it can be smoke coming from the engine—usually from oil dripping on burning hot engine parts. Along with smoke, you might smell burnt oil before you even see the smoke, especially if it hasn't made its way out of the exhaust yet.


One of the telltale signs that your Volvo could be losing oil is a puddle of leaking oil below your car. Oil leaks can occur due to a number of different issues, so your reliable automotive shop will begin by tracing the leak back to its source and likely replacing the part. It could be a bad gasket or seal or cracked hoses, and you might also experience burning oil and leaking oil simultaneously.

Effects of Inefficient Oil Use

Your Volvo requires oil in order for the various components to continue to function. When oil levels are lower than required, it can cause serious engine damage. But you might begin to experience the signs of low oil before running out or encountering engine damage.

Diminished Power

Cars require a specific amount of oil at all times. If it runs low, then you might not feel the same power upon acceleration as before.

Lower Fuel Efficiency

Simply put, when your engine has to work harder it consumes more fuel. Low oil levels can put added strain on your engine, causing you to burn more gas.

How We Can Help

The Volvo experts here at Fast Lane European in San Jose, CA have up to 14 years of experience working with this specific brand of car. No matter the model or year, we can help you service or repair your Volvo and restore it back to normal. Oil maintenance is a huge part of taking care of your car, and we take service and repair seriously—as if it were our own family's. Please contact us to schedule an inspection if you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms in your Volvo.