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2008 Chevrolet Suburban engine problems: excessive oil consumption

Excessive Oil Consumption

2008 Chevrolet Suburban (Page 1 of 2)

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Chevrolet dealer.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
81,700 miles
Total Complaints:
35 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (23 reports)
  2. replace engine. stop afm production (5 reports)
  3. replace pistons and rings (3 reports)
  4. replace engine (1 reports)
  5. replace oil pressure sensor (1 reports)
  6. replaced engine (1 reports)
2008 Chevrolet Suburban engine problems

engine problem

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2008 Chevrolet Suburban Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #35

Apr 102017

Suburban LTZ 5.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles


We bought this 2008 LTZ used in April 2017. Wish I would have done some better researched and would have ran as fast and as far as I could from the 2007-2009 5.3L with AFM. What a disgrace of a company not to back their product on an issue that is pretty much happening to 100% of these vehicles. Love the vehicle inside and out so decided to replace the engine and have the AFM shut down. Runs great now, just out $5000 for something that should have been covered by Chevy. We also have a 2002 Suburban with the 5.3L with 250000+ miles and still runs like a dream. Buyer beware on the 2007-2009!

- Jim S., Wichita, KS, US

problem #34

Dec 222016

Suburban LS 5.3L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,000 miles

Noticed that my suburban was using more oil. I would drive 20 miles to work. The suburban would sit for around 8 hours and when I got in to start the vehicle a big smoke cloud would come out of my suburban. Not sure of what the problem or the solution is but started looking online to see possible remedies. It seems to be using more oil especially when I drive on the interstate.

- anthonyoh, Troy, OH, US

problem #33

Oct 102016

Suburban LTZ

  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,000 miles

We are the last in a group of friends that all had 2008 Suburbans to still own ours. ALL had engines burning oil and electrical problems from the start (locks replaced 2 times, other weird electrical things etc...) Often times the problem "could not be reproduced"...but now told we need to have the engine replaced for the tune of $6500... Chevy... the 2008 line that came off the Janesville plant were ALL lemons! EVERYONE I know who had a 2008 has had the EXACT same problems with their electrical and their engines! Paid extra for the warm washer fluid only to have to have that recalled and reimbursed less than it cost. Unfortunatley the problems do not occur in close enough succession to fall under my state Lemon law. Didn't expect to have to replace a car now, but I have to. My 1998 Suburban lasted far longer without ANY issues other than normal upkeep.

- heidiwi, Green Bay, WI, US

problem #32

Sep 032016

Suburban LTZ 5.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,689 miles


I do my oil change regularly as recommended using SAE Valvoline MaxLife “DEXOS” Synthetic Blend 5w30. I used FRAM Extra Guard PH10600 oil filter.

I found significant oil consumption of about almost 3 quarts. Anybody had the same problem?

- jackr, St Petersburg, FL, US

problem #31

Feb 052016

Suburban Z71 5.3L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

This is our 3rd Suburban. We have purchased all 3 Suburbans used. The first one was a1994 that had 30,000 miles on the vehicle when we purchased the car from a Chevy Dealer. We put 250,000 miles on this car before we sold it. It was getting old and needed more work than the value of the Suburban. We had no major problems with this Suburban, just normal stuff - brakes, tires, oil changes, a muffler change, and what-not.

We purchased our 2nd 2002 Suburban with 75,000 miles from a private owner. We put 230,000 miles on this Suburban. The transmission ultimately failed and we reached the point where it wasn't worth putting more money into the vehicle.

We then purchased our 3rd 2008 Suburban with 57,000 miles from a Chevy dealer. We started to notice that the Suburban was starting to burn oil around 75,000 or 80,000 miles. It kept getting worse. That is our mechanic suggested changing the valve cover, oil pan gasket, and AFM relief valve. The oil consumption did get better losing one quart per 3,000 miles. Before the fix, I was putting at least 3 quarts of oil every 3000 miles between oil changes. Now the next problem - the oil pressure took a nose dive. Again, we reviewed the problem with our mechanic. This time our mechanic suggested after doing some research on this year suburban with a 5.3L engine that we are going to keep putting bandages on a much bigger problem with the AFM (Active Fuel Management) on this vehicle. Our money may be better spent putting a new engine in the Suburban rather than continually spend money fixing all these issues created by the AFM on this engine.

I then starting doing my own research online. I quickly realized that this is a major problem on GM 5.3L engines with AFM. I quickly read 100 posts on nothing but problems with ridiculous oil consumption, valves knocking, AFM relief valves, valve covers, spark plugs, pistons, cylinder walls, and the list goes on. The end result is many owners changing out engines with no help from GM. GM has decided to stick their head in the sand and blame the problem on poor maintenance rather than a major design flaw.

I have always heard that the GM engine in Suburbans and trucks would be the last thing to fail. The vehicle may be falling apart, but the engine keeps running. That was my experience with my first two Suburbans. Now, it seems, that the engine is the first point of failure with less than 100,000 miles. That is pretty sad. As a loyal Suburban owner for 20 years, I am disappointed and mad with GM. I did read a few posts where GM did chip in 50% toward fixing the problem - that does not seem to be the norm. Those are rare cases based on posts that I have read. I did speak with GM this morning and got a case number. I was told that my local mechanic cannot be referenced and that I would have to bring the Suburban to a dealer for evaluation. My warranty has expired and I am not very hopeful that I will get much assistance, just more bandages to fix a much bigger problem.

The whole thing is really disheartening. Why do companies today ignore problems and drive customers away. It just seems like many companies do not put the customer first. This will be my last GM product and I will share my experience with a lot of people. Hopefully other people will share their stories. I think that GM is making some really bad long term decisions by not supporting the customer. Unfortunately, they are going to lose a lot of customers before they figure it out.

- Tom S., Madison, CT, US

problem #30

Jan 012015

Suburban LTZ 5.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

When you talk to Chevy they continue to stand by their statement "Oil Consumption is normal". How can you say 1 to 2 quarts of oil between oil changes is normal.

- vito3, Canonsburg, PA, US

problem #29

Apr 102015

Suburban LS 5.3L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,693 miles


From what I can gather, the 5.3 L V8 engines in a lot of Suburbans over many years all have this problem of 2-3 quarts of oil being consumed between oil changes. This is not normal. I've never had any car do that before in 30 years of owning cars. GM needs to address this issue.

- Jim M., Wilmington, NC, US

problem #28

Sep 082015

Suburban LT3 5.3L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

I am considerably disappointed in GM over this one. With less than 100,000 miles on the engine, a major engine issue such as this needs to be covered under warranty. I am being told by the dealer that we are looking at over $8,000 to replace the engine.

- Joe B., Cary, NC, US

problem #27

May 232015

Suburban LT-Z71 Vortex V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

click to see larger images

excessive oil consumption

On 5/23, my engine light came on... again! (It came on weeks ago and I took it to Bill Crispin Chevy on 5/4, found out that it was an emissions issue, paid $280 and got my vehicle back.) Weeks before, I'd taken it in for my scheduled oil change and they told me that I didn't need it changed and to come back when my vehicle read "50% oil life." Since my engine light is on, I immediately check my oil life which reads "54% oil life." I called Bill Crispin's service dept. to explain what I was experiencing and the service tech told me to get it in and they could possibly check on Tuesday. I took it home, but I heard a faint knocking noise under the hood. I had it towed to Bill Crispin because I didn't know if I should drive it.

I call to check on vehicle and the service tech, Shelly, explains that I was 4 quarts of oil low! HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN & WOULDN'T SERVICE CATCH THAT WHEN THEY SERVICE THE TRUCK?! When I asked her that question, she said "I don't know." Her suggestion then was to change the oil and monitor every 1000 miles. I was told that it could be the pistons and rings, but I need to perform the "oil consumption test" before anything else is done.

My warranty company reveals that this is a common problem with Chevy vehicles and agrees that we should perform the oil consumption test then move on from there.

- bakariwooten, Belleville, MI, US

problem #26

Jan 012010

Suburban LTZ 5.3L V8 Sfi

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

At approximately 40,000 to 50,000 miles started to notice my oil consumption rising. Even though several oil changes were performed at a couple different Chevy dealers, they never mentioned this was a known problem. But I also use the Jiffy Lube's and two independant shops in Tulsa, so don't have a good paper trail of the ever growing oil usage.

At about 80,000 miles it was up to a quart every 1,000 miles, so I started researching the problem knowing something just couldn't be right. That's when I found many other owners with the same problem and discovered the two GM recommended fixes.

One fix is fairly cheap since it can be done from the top of the engine, so when I finally had some more extensive service work done the new valve cover or whatever it is call was installed.

The fix for the bottom of the engine is very expensive so figured I would wait until I had to do other repairs in the same area since the labor involved is nearly a days worth. That day finally came a few months ago.

Both GM Service Bulletin fixes implemented, end of problem, right??? Wishful thinking.

Still consumes a quart every 2,000 miles or less. While I make sure to do the recommended maintenance and oil changes regularly, sometimes I forget how often this needs to get checked. On a family vacation last week from OK to FL, checked oil on way back and was down 3+ quarts even though I was only 4,000 past my last oil change. Maybe highway driving consumes more, as I certainly am going the speed limit or sometimes a bit faster when the roads not congested, as I want to minimize the 14 hour drive each way as much as I can.

Since this engine shuts down 4 cylinders when cruising to minimize gas consumption, I wonder if this oil issue contributed to the failure of two of the rods & pushers that shut down in that system, which have also required replacement at about $1,000 each. I have never heard of any other modern car needing this repair.

This is an engine design flaw that GM should have fixed. Instead, I cant imagine how much other owners have spent repairing or making repairs when they had no idea their oil was low or out when they were still getting oil changes at the recommended mileages. GM should be fixing this. And since it is now a high mileage vehicle, my mechanic says the synthetic oils are much better, but I'm tired of paying $8-$11 a quart when I'm having to add more every couple of weeks. I guess my oil is always fairly new because if I don't replenish often it runs out! Thank goodness this engine holds more volume of oil than many V8's because otherwise I might need to add a quart at every gas refill.

- hwwarpwmscfnp, Tulsa, OK, US

problem #25

Aug 122014

Suburban LT 5.3L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles


I have a 2008 Suburban 1500. My truck is burning almost 3 quarts every 3000 miles. I need to take it in this week is there anything I should know ahead of time so they don't try to pull a fast one over on me? Truck has 95k on it right now. Thanks

- Robert A., Whippany, NJ, US

problem #24

Jan 142014

Suburban LS V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,954 miles

After all of this excessive oil consumption now I have to replace the oil pressure sensor?? It seems like all of these problems are related and I don't feel like I should have to pay all this money to fix another problem related to engine oil problems. So ready to dump this vehicle!!!!

- Karen B., Finksburg, MD, US

problem #23

Dec 302013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

Sounds like a common problem that GM won't ever confess based on on the posting here but just wanted to add my 2 cents. Burning 1 qt of oil every 1800 miles. I can deal with adding oil, but what is going to happen to this engine?

- Chris H., Belton, TX, US

problem #22

Jan 152014

Suburban LTZ 5.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,565 miles

purchased my 2008 suburban back in march of 2013 from a used car dealer, fortunately without factory warranty I never noticed the problem as I regularly had the oil changed every 5000 km, it was only when I switched to synthetic that it arose due to the extended time between oil changes. I find this very alarming that gm offers an engine that is suppose to save fuel by cutting down 4 cylinders, for which it does very well ,600 km + per tank even towing a travel trailer,but on the other hand drinks oil like a pig,1 quart every 2500-4000 km, does this not defeat the purpose of energy efficient vehicles, by today's standards. new technology is great but gm did not do its homework on this one. and to offer no assistance to owners of these vehicles, who paid a pretty premium for this product , even a legitimate solution to the problem. I love

the vehicle ,its the ultimate family vehicle, I only wish it was a dodge.

- roadrunnerv65, St Albert, Alberta, canada

problem #21

Dec 172013

Suburban LS V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,406 miles

Vehicle was in 3500 miles ago and engine light is on again!!! I was furious at this point because they had just repaired pistons and rings which was supposed to fix the problem. I was told my oil hadn't been changed in 5,000 miles and this was my fault. I had an argument with service manager I couldn't believe they replaced pistons and rings and never changed the oil!! I had been bringing the vehicle in every 1,000 miles for oil consumption when they decided there was a problem so why would I change the oil???? Although, they had been topping off the oil every 1,000 miles there should have been plenty of oil in the engine!!! Very skeptical at this point that vehicle is fixed and if money was no issue we would definitely get rid of this vehicle.

- Karen B., Finksburg, MD, US

problem #20

Apr 302014

Suburban XI 5.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,670 miles

No solution or help from the manufacturer /excessive oil consumption

- stimatze, Montrose, CO, US

problem #19

Jan 272014

Suburban LTZ 5.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles

As with many others with the 5.3L AFM engine, mine is burning 1 qt every 800 miles or so. Spark plugs gummed up with oil, running rough and even a smell of burnt oil. Obviously this engine has been burning oil for a long time, but previous owners didn't care. Since I just purchased this vehicle used and it is out of warranty (based on time, not mileage) Chevrolet's response to assistance fixing or replacing the engine is "don't care, not our problem". They wouldn't even bother to tell me if my particular engine had undergone any previous warranty work to fix this problem. So I get to replace the engine on my own dime ... for $6,000.

- moto_123, Madison, WI, US

problem #18

Jan 242014

Suburban LTS

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

Like many others here, my 2008 Suburban started burning a tremendous amount of oil. Seems like I was continuously adding oil. Raised the issue with the dealer, who indicated it was a common problem but probably not worth the expense of fixing if I could keep checking the oil. This advice was also based on the fact that all my maintenance has been performed at this dealer, so they know the vehicle well.

The last week in January was very busy and saw me driving about 100 miles a day. On Thursday, about 30 miles from home, the check engine and traction control lights starting blinking. I was eventually able to get the car home. When I brought it to the dealer, they said the oil was dry (I had checked it the previous weekend), a lifter had broken, and a piston head was scored. The cost of work to fix would exceed the cost of a new engine. I now have a new engine, the cost of which was not in my budget.

This experience reflects what others have reported. Given that this is a design flaw, Chevrolet should be covering at least part of this fix. Enough to make me go back to my Ford Expedition.

- Don D., Washington, DC, US

problem #17

Dec 272013

Suburban LTZ 5.3L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

At 35,000 miles engine oil alarm came in. Checked and found 3 quarts low. Continued to monitor and found oil consumption to be erratic, from a quart in 500 miles to 2000 miles, lived with it. Changed plugs after getting a check engine code for misfire. Plugs loaded up with oil on 1 and 4 cylinders. Added a module to turn off the AFM and that didn't help oil consumption. Engine sometimes will blow a huge cloud of blue smoke on startup but not often. At 92,000 miles engine oil pressure was erratic. Dealer replaced sensor. Started oil consumption test. AFM manifold was pulled to change sensor. Oil consumption completely stopped for 3,000 miles then started up again. Cloud of smoke intermittently. Doesn't seem like pistons or rings to me since it is intermittent. Checked PCV hose and it was clean. Dealers act like this is the first one that they have seen do this! Almost out of warranty, and it runs good, so I guess just keep adding oil!

- rickyj64, Ovid, MI, US

problem #16

Mar 252013

Suburban LS 5.3lV8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

problem began a year ago. baffel placed. did not work needed new lifter and plugs. did not fix. needed new oil sensor. now still consuming oil will have an oil consumption test. the real fix is new pistons and rings. GM just seems to be dicking poeple around instead of fixing problem.

- jcoyne, Maineville, OH, US

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