Oil consumtion

I bought a second hand 1999 Focus estate (1.6) and for the first year I never topped up the oil level once: engine had done about 40K and I do about 6K per year.
Ever since I have had to regularly top up the oil. Every couple of thousand miles the level goes down to lower than half way between the max and min levels on the dipstick and the vehicle needs about half a litre more oil.
Why would the oil consumption suddenly rise and is this a normal level of consumption? No evidence of any leaks etc. Any ideas?
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Mike. The two leading causes are worn piston rings or a worn seal/gasket. In your case, I'd expect it to be more the latter possibility. In any event, it doesn't seem like you have too much of a problem.
Rob
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"Mike2" wrote ...

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Thanks for that. Do you mean the cylinder head gasket?
The thing that surpised me was the sudden change from never needing to be topped up to needing regular topping up of oil.
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What is your usual standard of driving- lots of short slow trips or what? It sounds to me like you have got sticky rings and the oil is coming up the bores and being burnt.
Tim..
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My driving pattern didn't really change before the sudden increase in oil consumption.
I do do a lot of short trips in town with speed restrictions and lots of junctions: about 4.5 miles to work, 4.5 miles back each day and sometimes shorter journeys in between. Now and again I do a motorway trip of 80 - 150 miles or more and back again but these are not very often at all.
What exactly is a 'sticky ring', what causes it and can it be cured or is it nothing really to worry about?
Thanks.
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Sticky rings - the piston rings- they can stick in their grooves which affects their ability to hold oil down in the sump- hence you get oil being burnt.
It can, sometimes be caused by short trips and slow running, as well as poor running-in technique, especially with new diesels.
Before you do anything else, I would fill up with some good quality high detergent branded petrol (not supermarket, though this is debateable!), have the oil and filter changed using the correct 5w-30 oil and then give it an italian tune up. With the engine at proper running temperature make regular use of full revs and full throttle through the gears- without labouring it.
Check your oil level regularly afterwards. If oil consumption is not improved (it should be close to zero) then you have a more serious problem, which ought to be investigated.
If the engine is not reaching full temperature (gauge pointing to 12 o clock) this needs to be corrected first- new thermostat.
Tim..
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Tim (Remove NOSPAM. wrote:

Ah, the "Italian tune-up". Haven't heard that expression for a while. Yes, it works!
Ron
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