If you’re anything like us – that is, people with a soft spot for older cars – you might have noticed your older motors are a lot thirstier for oil than modern cars are. But where does it all go?

Oil doesn’t dry up, like water. So how come you’ve got to top it up? Let’s talk motor oil – the unsung hero under the bonnet…

Motor oil plays a crucial role in keeping your engine running smoothly. It lubricates and cools moving parts by reducing friction and carrying away heat, ensuring everything can move around freely. If fuel is the food, then engine oil is like the blood of your vehicle; it’s only a worry when you’re losing it!

But how does it get lost?


Oil does in fact dry up – or rather, burn off as vapour. Over time, engine oil naturally depletes due to the high temperatures and intense pressures inside your engine. As the oil circulates in the heat, it gradually breaks down, loses viscosity – and can burn off away from the engine. This happens more in older cars; as engines age, components wear out, causing oil to bypass seals or piston rings more readily, leading to increased oil consumption. Older cars can have less effective cooling too, making the oil temperature higher for longer.


The way you drive can impact oil consumption. Stop-and-go city driving or frequent short trips may not allow the engine to reach its optimal temperature, leading to increased oil consumption.


Of course, leaks are a possibility – but not always huge ones as you’d expect. Imperceptible mini-leaks can be caused by the constant vibration of your engine. Wear and tear can cause gaskets and seals to degrade, resulting in tiny oil leaks that contribute to a gradual drop in oil levels over time.

If you notice a sudden or significant drop in oil levels, it might be a sign of an underlying issue, a significant leak or damage to the oil sump. It’s always best to consult a professional local car mechanic to identify and address any potential problems.


Engine oil serves as a protective barrier for your engine and makes it run more efficiently. Making sure you have a proper oil level is vital to prevent engine damage, and it’s an easy fix. A low oil level can rob the engine of the necessary lubrication it needs to work properly, leading to increased friction and heat. Over time, this can cause accelerated wear on engine components – potentially resulting in expensive repairs or total engine failure!

Prevention is the only cure. So make sure you regularly check your oil level, or get your car serviced regularly. MOTs aren’t enough; they don’t cover anything beyond safety, so running and reliability don’t get checked at all.

Monitoring your oil levels regularly and topping up when necessary can help keep your engine running at its best, make it more efficient to run, save you a hefty repair bill – or even a trip to the scrapyard.


Engine oil levels giving you worries? Get down to Master Tech Autos and book your car in for a checkup and car service.

Call 023 8061 1161 or contact us to book your car in for a service and essential winter maintenance.

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