If you have a newer car you may be surprised to hear that oil consumption in these cars is a known concern. Cars sometimes come in to us for service with symptoms such as a burning oil smell, white smoke coming from the tailpipe, or a knock sound from the engine. These cars sometimes have oil levels so low, the oil does not even register on the dipstick. In fact, two of the makes of cars we work on - Subaru (2011-2015) and Mini Cooper (2007-2013) have known oil consumption issues.
Cars will usually let you know if there is a problem with your oil level or oil pressure before the afore-mentioned symptoms happen by displaying a warning light. It looks like an oil can and sometimes is on along with the check engine light. Neglecting oil changes or letting the levels dip for too long can be catastrophic (knocking engine). Oil provides lubrication for all the moving parts in your engine and also absorbs the heat these parts create.
Let's say you ignore all low oil warning symptoms and run your engine dry? How long will it keep running? Road & Track posted a video by Jason Fenske of Engineering Explained where he runs a single cylinder engine with oil and without. How bad does the engine without oil run? Check out this dynamic video below and others that Jason creates on his YouTube channel Engineering Explained
PLEASE, DO NOT TRY THIS ON YOUR OWN CAR