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MG MGA - Self healing?

I was away this weekeng in the 'A', 150 miles each way. When I arrived at the destination the oil level had gone from Max to min on the dip stick. I topped up the oil, but when I got home it was still at max. Could the car have healed itself?
Nigel Munford

Nigel, if the car is on a slope in any way, it can make quite e difference to the level of oil on the dipstick. It could be that you used the same amount of oil in each direction. Say, for instance, that the car consumed half a pint of oil each way, but because of the way the car was parked at your destination it looked like you had used a pint, you would have over-filled it by half a pint. Your return journey would then use half a pint, which would bring the oil level back to the Max mark at your level parking place. 300 miles to the pint is not brilliant, but sounds about normal for your average MGA!
Lindsay Sampford


Have you only been using the car for short journeys? If so you can get water in the oil from condensation and as a combustion product. Getting the engine properly hot will boil the water off. So, after the first long journey the oil goes down as you lose the water and then no further loss.

Malcolm Asquith

Also, of course, it depends how soon after stopping you measure your oil level.
Geoff E

The car has only been used for fairly short journeys,50/60 round trip so that is probably the reason.
Also, I have an oil cooler, and wondered if the oil level settles in there, and there is an air pocket until it is really hot.
Nigel Munford

There would have to be a lot of water in your oil to make a difference on your dipstick. If you had any amount of water in your oil you would see "mayonaise" when you removed the filler cap. I hope you haven't got an air pocket in your cooler, that would do serious things to your bearings! I still think you weren't on the level when you checked the oil, I've been caught out like that myself. How much oil did you put in?
Lindsay Sampford

As we all know, MGAs tend to "mark" their spot whenever parked. Perhaps after "marking" new territory on your trip, it recognized it's own territory when returning home and didn't feel the need to "mark" it's own place again. I have noticed that my car sometimes uses more oil than at other times. Explanation? Who cares? It's like a private lottery, sometimes you win and sometimes you loose. (Oil, that is.)
Ed Bell

I didn't really register how much oil, probably half a pint.
Nigel Munford

That's not too bad Nigel, about what I would expect from mine. Try parking your car on a slight incline and then re-check your oil level and I think you will see a significant difference. I think this is the reason why our cars seem to use more oil sometimes and less others; Ed's "sometimes you win and sometimes you loose" effect.
I notice Ed uses the word "loose" rather than "lose", maybe our cars are just incontinent!
Lindsay Sampford

Sorry, sometimes my fingers do not obey my mind. Maybe I was thinking that the UK spelling was different than the US spelling.
Ed Bell

This thread was discussed between 18/09/2011 and 19/09/2011

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