Hyundai 2.4 Oil Consumption – Causes and Solutions

Austin Parsons

Meet Austin

Austin holds a technical writing degree and has 5 years of experience working as a Technical Product Specialist at BMW. He is an avid car enthusiast who is constantly watching F1, consuming automotive content, racing on his simulator, and working on his Toyota’s and BMW’s. Austin’s technical writing skills, extensive automotive knowledge, and hands-on experience make him an excellent resource for our readers.

The Hyundai 2.4 engine is a temperamental one that has had its fair share of issues over the years. One of the most commonly reported problems with the 2.4L GDI Theta II engine is excessive oil consumption. 

There is quite a bit of speculation as to the root cause of excessive Hyundai 2.4 oil consumption, but most Hyundai mechanics agree that it is caused by the engine’s direct injection system which causes carbon buildup to accumulate in the piston oil control rings. This prevents the rings from being able to clear enough oil from the engine’s cylinder walls, allowing it to burn off in the combustion chamber. 

This issue affects both Hyundai and Kia vehicles that use the 2.4 Theta II GDI. However, excessive oil consumption is common in the majority of Hyundai’s direct-injected engines. The most troublesome engines include the Hyundai 2.0L GDI, and 1.6L Gamma GDI. In fact, the issue became so apparent that the NHTSA had to step in and investigate the oil consumption issue, along with a host of other issues with the Theta II.

While we have already written an article about the 4 Most Common Hyundai 2.4 Engine Problems, this guide will discuss the Hyundai 2.4 oil consumption issue in more detail.


Affected Models

The following vehicles have all been named in a class action lawsuit involving excessive 2.4 Theta II oil consumption issues: 

  • Hyundai Grandeur/Azera (2011–2019)
  • Hyundai Santa Fe (2012–2020)
  • Hyundai Sonata (2009–2019)
  • Hyundai Tucson (TL) (2015–2020)
  • Kia Cadenza (2011–2019)
  • Kia KX7 (2016–2021)
  • Kia Optima (2010–2019)
  • Kia Sportage (2010–2021)
  • Kia Sorento (UM) (2014–2020)

Hyundai 2.4 Theta Oil Consumption Symptoms

The most common symptom of excessive 2.4 Theta GDI oil consumption is an illuminated engine oil level or oil pressure light caused by low engine oil. In many cases, owners of affected vehicles aren’t aware that their engine is burning an excessive amount of oil until their low engine oil light comes on. At this point, it is possible that engine damage has already occurred due to a lack of lubrication. 

The tricky aspect of this problem is that there aren’t a ton of warning signs that excessive oil consumption is occurring until it is too late. However, some other common warning signs of low engine oil. These include a pronounced oil burning smell inside the cabin, engine overheating, poor performance, or an audible knocking sound coming from under the hood. 

Unfortunately, low engine oil can exacerbate other common problems with the 2.4 Theta engine. To read more, take a look at our Common Hyundai 2.4 Engine Problems Guide. For that reason, it is extremely important to check your oil frequently if you own one of the affected Hyundai or Kia vehicles. 

Causes of Excessive Oil Use

The primary cause of excessive oil consumption in the Hyundai 2.4 Theta engine is the design of the engine’s gasoline direct injection system. It allows for excessive carbon buildup on the intake valves to fall and collect in the engine’s piston rings. 

On the 2.4 Theta, carbon buildup can flake off and fall into the piston area. The particles can get trapped in the piston rings which makes them very inefficient at clearing oil from the cylinder walls. The excess oil on the cylinder walls then goes into the combustion chamber, burning off with the air and fuel. 

This problem has led to some extreme cases of Hyundai/Kia owners having to add 3 quarts of oil every 1,000 miles or more. Hyundai and Kia consider any more than 1 quart every 1,000 miles to be excessive in their literature. 

Bad PCV Valve

Outside of the design of the 2.4 Theta’s direct injection system, a clogged or failing PCV valve is another frequently cited cause of excessive oil consumption.


If the PCV valve gets clogged or damaged, excess pressure can build up in the crankcase. This can cause oil leaks from all of the main gaskets. This is obviously an issue, as your engine will lose a significant amount of oil that way. If your 2.4 Theta’s PCV valve gets stuck open, the valve allows oil to get sucked through the PCV system. It is then routed into the intake manifold where it will then enter the combustion chambers and burn off. 

Regardless of which way your Hyundai/Kia’s PCV valve breaks, it can lead to extreme oil consumption/oil loss issues. Luckily, the valve is inexpensive and easy to replace. It is a good option if you want to try to fix your oil consumption first without jumping to extreme conclusions about the cause. Replacing the 2.4 Theta’s PCV valve has had varying levels of success for owners. Some claim that it fixed the problem entirely while others claim that it was only a temporary fix.

Fixing Oil Consumption Issues

Due to the nature of the 2.4L Theta II’s oil consumption issues, there is little that you can actually do to repair the issue it has begun. This has to do with the fact that the problem stems from the engine’s design itself. It isn’t caused by a single problem part or component. With that being said, there are some steps that you can take to limit the risk of complete engine failure from excessive oil consumption.

1) Frequent Oil Checks and Lower Oil Change Intervals

While the first part of this section won’t prevent the Hyundai 2.4 oil consumption problems from happening, it will give you a bit more of a heads-up that the problem is occurring. While checking your oil frequently is good practice, many people neglect to do it. It is even more important to check your frequently with a 2.4L Theta engine due to its laundry list of problems that revolve around low engine oil.

Due to the fact that the Hyundai 2.4 can develop oil consumption issues at any point, it is a good idea to check your oil every 1,000 miles or once a month. This will ensure that worst case, your engine will still have a functional amount of oil in it before you realize that there is a problem. You may want to check more frequently than that if you have a high-mileage engine, as these problems are more common after the 70,000-mile mark.

Some 2.4 Theta owners also recommend changing your oil more frequently than the owner’s manual recommends. The manual states that oil changes on the Theta II GDI should be done every 7,500 miles or 12 months. Nearly everyone agrees that is too long to wait. Most owners will change their oil around the 4,500-5,000 mark. This will help ensure that the oil in the engine is still providing ample lubrication to the engine’s components. 

2) Replace the PCV Valve

As we mentioned above, a faulty or damaged Hyundai 2.4 PCV valve can be a potential cause of oil consumption problems. With that being said, it is not a guaranteed fix. Most people that have performed a PCV valve replacement claim that it was indeed a short-term solution. In most cases, the issue resurfaced later in the engine’s life. 

While it might not be a guaranteed fix, it is still worth a try. Replacing the PCV valve only costs around $10 and 20 minutes of your time. The only tools required for the job include a set of pliers, a 21mm socket with a corresponding socket wrench, and a flathead screwdriver. The job mainly includes removing the engine cover, pulling off the PCV piping, unscrewing the old PCV valve, screwing the new one in, and reinstalling the hose. Here is a demonstration of the process:

Ultimately, for such a small price and minuscule time commitment, it is worth giving a 2.4 Theta PCV valve replacement a try. If this doesn’t work or the problem returns, you’ll likely need to bring your vehicle in for an inspection.

Hyundai Extended Warranty/Manufacturer Help

Hyundai 2.4 Theta Extended Warranty Information:

Due to a number of issues with the 2.4L and 2.0L Theta II GDI, Hyundai was forced to extend the warranty of multiple vehicle with the engine. A number of vehicles with the engines had their powertrain warranty extended from 10 years/100,000 miles to 10 years/120,000 miles if it met certain criteria. This extended powertrain warranty was mainly directed at 2.4L Theta owners that experienced signs of engine damage from contaminated oil.

As a result, 2.4L Theta engines that demonstrated oil consumption issues alone do not qualify for the extended warranty. That is unless the vehicle had the Knock Sensor Detection System (KSDS) software update performed at the dealer, the vehicle displayed a DTC P1326 engine code, or the vehicle showed signs of rod bearing wear. However, sometimes the oil consumption issue could lead to these problems.

When most owners have gone to a certified repair facility to have the issue diagnosed, they have been told that the dealer must first conduct an oil consumption test before performing a repair. This consists of the dealer filling the oil and sealing the oil cap for 1,000 miles. If the engine consumed more than 1 quart in that 1,000 miles, Hyundai would perform additional steps. Their procedure is outlined in the document below:

2.4 Excess Oil Consumption KIA TSB:

Ultimately, Hyundai has done everything that they can to sweep the issue under the rug without taking accountability for the problem. Only under very specific circumstances will they actually replace an engine under warranty.

Hyundai Class Action Lawsuit

Hyundai 2.4 Oil Consumption Class Action Lawsuit information:

2.4 Oil Consumption Settlement Agreement:

Throughout the 2.4L Hyundai Theta’s build cycle, it has been the subject of a number of class-action lawsuits. A class action suit was filed citing that the 2.4 Theta II GDI, in addition to a number of other Hyundai engine series including Nu, Gamma, Lambda, and Kappa engines, are prone to excessive oil consumption due to design defects. 

This is separate from the class action opened in August of 2022 involving the tendency to accumulate contaminates in the engine’s oil, leading to prematurely worn engine parts, oil starvation, and even complete engine seizure in some cases.

The class action lawsuit is aimed at anyone who owns a Hyundai or Kia vehicle that experienced excessive oil consumption. This includes all of the 2.4L Theta-powered cars listed above. The class action claims that Hyundai has been aware of the excessive Hyundai 2.4 oil consumption problems on these engines for a while now and has refused to remedy the issue. This comes after Hyundai and Kia issued a number of technical service bulletins about the issue and repair procedure but failed to issue a recall. 

While the Hyundai 2.4 oil consumption class action lawsuit began before the engine failure lawsuit, Hyundai has already settled a $210 million NHTSA agreement regarding the oil contamination lawsuit. The Hyundai oil contamination lawsuit continues, awaiting a ruling.  


Does Hyundai have oil consumption issues?

Yes, multiple Hyundai engines have excessive oil consumption issues. The Hyundai direct injection engines suffer the most. These engines include the 2.4 Theta II GDI, 2.0 Theta Turbo GDI, and other direct-injected Nu, Gamma, and Kappa engines.

What is the best oil to use in the 2.4L Theta inline-4?

5W30 fully synthetic oil is the best oil to use in the 2.4 Theta II GDI. The thicker film of 5W30 is less likely to cause rod-bearing issues down the line.

Does every 2.4 Theta GDI engine have oil consumption problems?

No, not all 2.4 Theta GDI engines have oil consumption issues. In fact, there are plenty of high-mileage Hyundai 2.4’s on the road that have never consumed excess oil. The problem is hit or miss, unfortunately, but it is always good to stay informed.

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  1. Are the replacement 2.4 motors for the Tucson’s going to fail as well? Has anything been changed in the 2.4 replacement motors so it doesn’t build carbon around the rings again?

    1. Hi Rick,

      Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem as if Hyundai has made any physical adjustments to the engine to ensure that the issue won’t happen again after an engine replacement. They did introduce a new software update in September of 2022 to “enhance safety and detection of potential engine failure,” but that mostly applied to the separate connecting rod bearing issue with the Theta. There are a number of Hyundai owners that have received a replacement engine covered, at least partially by Hyundai, only for that engine to experience the same issue and require a replacement with no assistance from Hyundai. It is a really unfortunate situation overall and Hyundai is not doing a good job of handling the situation at all. If your vehicle was affected, I’d urge you to take a look into the class action lawsuit concerning the issue:


  2. I own a 2017 hyundai sonata , that has a bad oil consumption, I put 5 quarter of oil in 3000 miles, right now it has 166000 +/- miles, change pcv value it worked for short time

  3. I have bought three Hyundai Tucson’s since 2017
    I bought the first one brand new it lasted a year and a half the engine blew
    They fixed it but I traded it in for another Hyundai Tucson 2017….. That lasted a year the engine blew
    Again they fixed it put in another engine I had that for a year and a half and the engine blew 😡 they fix that one this year in May put in another new engine ….I still don’t trust it!!!
    I’m thinking about trading it in and getting something totally different but I think I should be compensated for three SUVs in a 5-year span
    I’m just grateful that the engines didn’t blow when I had my three year old grandson with me!!!

  4. I own a 2016 Sonata Sport with the 2.4. Bought with 14k miles on it, now has 165,000 miles on it.

    I had to do the variable intake timing repair new cover n seals for $108 in parts installed myself to save on outrageuos labor fees. This popped up at around 115k miles during cold weather months.

    Even at low mileage the exhaust pipes were covered in black soot indicator of oil consumption. If you own this car check oil level every three days religously. Change oil with high quality oil every 6k min at 5k if do lots stop n go driving.

    Changed plugs at 105k, now have changed em three more times in 60k additional mileage. If high mileage and see a running rich warning than means most likely a plug is fouling with oil n 2 cylinder is closest to oil fill. Also installed new coils at 105k. Anyways, last night just prior to hitting 165k the 2 cylinder misfiring due to oil build up on plug, grabbed set plugs changed out n cleared engine code. Running ok again, most likely some carbon in oil ring on that piston. See no visible gasket leaks. Going out to do borescope to assess. Past two years I went from one quart every 2000 miles to one quart every week.

    Engine nearing its end of life nursing it hope to get to April timeframe. Key is stay atop oil to prevent low oil damage. As last attempt to extend life and to free up carbon on rings may do a additive cleaning where one adds additive idle 15 mins drain n flush oil side, have heard some had success getting oil ring clear of carbon debris which gets into ring due partially to low compression rings used on these pistons. Gdi gives great mpg at sacrifice of gas keeping valves free of carbon buildup. All mfgs went this path due to crazy emission demands. If you buy new car look for added port side injection!

    Suspect I may get few more months out of engine it runs smooth but the oil fouling plug2 means im fighting downhill battle.

  5. I’m a tech for high end European vehicles but, I have a family member who has a Santa Fe with high oil consumption.
    On the vehicles I work on, we perform carbon cleanings on the intake valves. I remove the intake plenum, rotate the engine by hand to close the valves, and then use a machine to blast walnut shells into the port to remove the buildup.
    Not knowing these vehicles as well but, seeing similar issues on other cars. Could this cleaning process be performed on the Santa Fe to help alleviate some of the consumption issue?

    1. Hi Chris,

      Walnut blasting is certainly one way that you can lessen oil consumption in the short term, but in all likelihood, it wont do much in the long term unless you planned on walnut blasting frequently. Also, if the piston rings have already been clogged by carbon debris, walnut blasting wouldn’t do any good after the fact. However, if you started walnut blasting the engine early in the vehicle’s life and continued to do it regularly, it would likely help oil consumption like you said.

  6. Will using Resoline anti smoke additive help the oil consumption on the 2.4 GDI Theda engine? Seams to burn less oil???

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