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MG ZR ZS ZT Technical - Getting fed up now

I (Nik) hate to post these problems on here but enough is enough. Our original oil useage problem is still with us, our original rear seatbelt problem is still with us and to add another problem, the paint is starting to peel off the front bumper, oh, nearly forgot the clunking noise from the front suspension when coming out of a left hand junction.
Carnellian (dealer) were getting back to us three times now about the oil and seatbelt, the other two problems have not been reported until tomorrow. I am not happy and am going in seriously pi**ed off tomorrow.
Any advise on what I should require from my dealer, who I have always been satisfied with in the past. Two of these problems have been avoided by them for 4 months now over which time I have put 3.5 litres of oil into the thing, this is in addition to the 3 litres that they put in.
Nik & Anita

sorry to hear of your probs, have you noticed any oil on the ground which might indicate a leak? as 6.5 litres seems to be way too much to be put down to running in.

not noticed ant bad points about the paintwork on mgs - maybr it was damaged by the dealer before you picked it up and they did a chips away type bodge up?

on most zr +zs the dealers put grease on the suspension strut tops, this seems to cure creaking, mention this to your garage - they should have had a buliten from mgr


Sorry to here about you problems. I had initial paint problems, which were down to poor inspection at the factory. There will be a MGR have a set up limit for oil comsumption per mile for the K series engine but I am not sure what figure they use. If you do not get any joy with the main dealer I would approach another dealer or contact rover direct.

I am very very sorry to hear this Nik.

I know of a chap who had a v6 VW Golf. It too went though a lot of oil and no one could find the problem. Than it over night stopped.

My i ask what milage you have done and if the paint problem is stone chips or is it blisering off by its self?


I know how you feel! Check out

for the sorry tale of poor customer service from MG-Rover.

Still having problems with one touch window function which packed up again this morning and my demister is still taking a good ten minutes to clear the screen and then only seems to do the bottom half. I noticed over the weekend where the dealer has adjusted the door strike for the rear passanger door he has left to very larger screw driver marks and then attempted to touch them up, with little success other than getting blue paint everywhere :0(

I too am using oil, about 1 litre every thousand miles. Current miles 4,000.

Good luck. Take the car back and get a refund if your not happy. Sadly this is not an option for me due to my neighbour having crunshed the car six hours after I got it. Otherwise I would have done a long time ago.


With regards to excessive oil use , i was woundering whether Nik & Anita, Shrewsbury were refering to a zr160 as i also have a oil useage concern with this motor: I once had to put in about 2 liters of oil between about 1000 miles: My local dealer is monitoring it and it now uses about 2 pints in 2 thousand miles> My mileage is now 8000 so it looks like it is a extended running in problem..

My only other concern is with the passenger seat which keeps coming unclipped from its fixing.

Otherwise Great looking car : Fantastic Drive but dont talk to me about depreciation : Buy price 15100 Dealer PX offer 10000

Paul jackson

Paul, i'm having the same problem as you with the oil, 1800 miles and it was at min on the dipstick, strangely though the oil warning light never came on.
Car now done 2300 miles and haven't bothered to check again (if it seizes/ blows up do i get a refund on the car?)


Thanks for all of your support guys. to answer some of the questions,
Paul, it's a ZS180. I think that your dealer is taking the p*ss with the p'x value.
Mega, (when sensible you're an okay bloke) the mileage is now at 12,000, 2,400 as a demonstrator so I expected minor problems to have been sorted. The paint just seems to have worn away on the sharp edges.
Just to add also that our 'one touch down' doesn't work at all anymore, I forgot to mention that to the dealer today.
Climber, sorry to here your problems. I really don,t want to get rid of the car, just want the problems sorted. I won't put up with the car if they don't sort the oil out though.
Njk & Anita

Hmm....... I can't explain oil loss then. The VR6 stoped at 4500 ish. I wouldn't worry about the paint to much. There are no end of people who can put that right.

We even know of a Blue ZS that has been rear ended and may be broken. I think you MUST persue the dealer 24/7 on the engine. I know some tech guys at Halewood, i will ask if they have any ideas on what would cause this sort of oil loss.

Sorry for acting up before Xmas, it was the fact that i could see what MGR sales were becoming. I just wish they would do a few things to get more sales. (They know what).

Rob, If the engine blows, they should replace it. However, due to extremely painful experience of a similar nature, I would advise extreme caution.
Someone, I'm sure will correct me if I'm wrong, but the oil warning light could be a pressure warning light, rather than a low oil indicator. If this is the case, your engine could still run right up the the point of no return, without a light ever coming on. Then you may have a battle on your hands as I did with the Alfa 156. They tried to say the car wasn't maintained properly because it had been run with no oil. I stuck to the point that it had been serviced in accorance with Alfa's schedule and checked regularly by me. In the end, after an incredible amount of agrevation, we got the 4.5k bill split and ended up with the 900 chunk. Still not happy, but we weren't going anywhere further.


Kieren Gibson

Njk & Anita, Shrewsbury

Re my part ex price from my dealer I should be honest and say that it was against a pre registered ZT+T which was reduced from 22000 to 16900.. But as i said at the time are the dealers teling me they wont be able to sell on my ZR (5000miles) at any type of Profit ?

Paul Jackson

Kieren - did you try the citizens advise regarding the bill?
Paul - i bought my ZR160 as a pre reg for 12500 no mileage 51reg, so an 8000 mileage car would be right at 10000 - 11000 i guess.
is a Y reg or a 51 reg?


You are quite correct, the oil light is a low pressure warning. If it ever comes on you should stop your engine pretty quickly before serious damage occurs.
On the MG Montego turbo, the oil pressure light used to be part of the ignition circuit - if the light came on because the pressure was too low, it would kill the ignition. Problem is though, if the oil pressure is low enough for the light to come on, there is a very high possibiliy that damage has already been done.
Gary Boxall

I have got a MGZR160 which I brought as an ex-demo with 3K miles in December, recently it has been dying at 5,000 revs in most gears over the past week. I took my car this morning to Viking Rover(Southampton) where I was told that the car had been low on oil (no warning light) and that this was causing the problem.
Also one of the sevice personal told me the the VVC engine uses 1/2 litre of oil every 500 miles !!!!!
If this is correct why is it not in the manual? and why didn't the dealer inform me of this!!!
I use the car for business and have done 4K miles since I brought the car I didn't think it would need oil for a long time. Can anyone suggest anything (apart from shoving the car up the salesmen ar$e)!

I am deeply worried by the high oil loss on rovers. My hated 306 Gti-6 has used about 1 liter over 20,000 miles!

Do all MGRs use oil like this?

Duncan 'VVC engine uses 1/2 litre of oil every 500 miles' I think your technician (sic) is talking bllx.

My MGF 1.8i has used less than a litre in the first 6000 mls. 0.5l in first 3500 and 0.3l since then. I can't see why a vvc would be significantly different. Also can't recall oil consumption being an issue on the MGF BBS.

Can't see why the low oil level should cause the engine to die over 5k rpm unless hydraulic valve lifters were starved of oil but this would be evident throughout rev range. Have you a problem with the vvc mechanism actuating properly? There's some history there about a bolt loosening, but I'm not familiar with the story. I suggest you pose the problem on the MGF board; they have loads of experience of vvc's.


Ian Walker

My ZS (120) has used about 1/2 litre of oil from new. In that time it has covered 3400 miles. My wifes ZR 105 has not used any to speak of in its first 1700 miles.

This high useage of oil needs investigating - if your dealer cannot or will not help go elsewhere, and inform MGR of why.

snap. i tuk my mg bak bcoz of a very loud engine, tuns out i was nearly dry, used up 4pints in 5k, not gud. my warning light didnt cum on. hope it gets better 4 u nik. start shouting in the middle of the showroom it always works 4 me. PS pick a day when lots of people r lukin in the showroom.

the mechanic i spoke to re my oil useage said "well you must be thrashing it then", this was when i was running it in properly

I can't follow all this lingo

Have you clots never heard of dipsticks or given a thought 2 weekly checks? No wonder all this tsoris you are having with your cars! Best 2 raise a consumption issue b4 it wrecks the engine, at least you'll still have a car to drive around in.
my work car (Focus 1.8) has used 2 litres in 3800 miles, our ZS180 has used about a mugful in 2000 miles ALL cars burn a bit more when new.

Too many are now succered into the 'nothing ever needs checking' syndrome. However daily and weekly checks haven't changed in their concept irrespective of the badge on the front and back.

Oil levels are advised in the drivers handbook to be done on a weekly basis. There is an additional note to check more frequently if the car is driven at high speed frequently.

I am pedantic about oil and water checks on a very regualr basis, but even then tend to let tyre checks become less frequent than they should.

There are a couple of point to note which has a bearing on our cars.

1, The V6 engine traps a large volume of oil within the Vee when it is running and this takes some time to drain back to the sump. I suggest that the best time to check the oil level on the V6 has to be in the morning before starting the engine, as long as the car is on level ground. I have found with mine that even after a 10 minutes before checking the sump level I noted the level on the minimum mark. Added 0.5 litre and then subsequently checked the level some days later in a morning, only to find the level somewhat above the maximum mark!!

The V6 does seem to use more oil in the early miles of it's life, but before complaining about consumption to the dealer do double check this out with a cold morning check. Your credibility for any future complaints will be reduced if they find that the sump level is ok, and the complaint is, in their eyes, from the inadequacy of the owner to do a simple check!! No point in making life any more difficuylt for yourself is there!

The 4 cylinder K series has a well documented running in history from MGF owners since 1995. This shows that at least 10k miles is needed before the engine has reached the peak of efficiency, although this will vary from engine to engine and type of use. Another thing documented is that the VVC does tend to have a higher oil consumption because of the nature of the design parameters with the VVC actively promoting the use of higher revs and the lower gearing amplifying this. This will increase the average oil consumption higher during the same 10k mileage for sound interconnected reasons.

One area that significantly afects this 10k mileage is where owners insist on using the best quality synthetic and part synthetic oils. These are so damn good at their job that they actively prevent full and proper bedding of the rings to the bore. This results in a reduced power output (circa 5% from my expereince) and a noticeable increase in oil consumption which lasts for many, many thousands of miles more. Eventually the engine does reach the same bedded in optimum, but you will have gone through a few containers of oil before then!!

The VVC engine is also very sensitive to it's oil and has to use just 10/40 viscosity. It is also sensitive to the oil level and oil temperature and the MEMS system will monitor these aspects through direct and indirect sensing. Where it is detected that something is out of phase then the system will not allow the engine to rev and power will be curtailed. This is not a fault, but a safety system to prevent the engine from being subjected to heavy load where oil conditions are not right.

Roger Parker

Roger, would you therefore recommend that in a k-series engine the cheaper type of oil is used until the engine is bedded in (@10000miles)?


Basically I suggest that it good policy to avoid the semi and fully synthetic oils until at least 5k miles have been covered, and ideally 10k. The protection afforded by a mineral oil of the right viscosity and API/SG or SH rating will be more than adequate to protect the engine, yet allow a greater degree of controlled contact between the metal surfaces to get this ideal seal between the rings and bores. Only then keep that protected as long as possible by the use of the semi and fully synthetic oils.

The fact that these mineral oils are cheaper doesn't mean they are the same as 'cheap' oils, which is why many feel reluctant to use them. They are well above the spec needed. The only really important proviso being that the system is set to operate with 10/40 and this has to be one of the base parameters. It is interesting to note that with many of the synthetic oils you have a much wider viscosity range. Whilst I have no confirmation of this causing problems to a specific engine, I have been told from those who are involved in engine development that the use of much wider viscosity oils can 'cause problems' with the VVC mechanism. What 'cause problems' actually equates to I don't know.

Roger Parker

Gary Boxall, Auckland NZ
You are quite correct, the oil light is a low pressure warning. If it ever comes on you should stop your engine pretty quickly before serious damage occurs.
On the MG Montego turbo, the oil pressure light used to be part of the ignition circuit - if the light came on because the pressure was too low, it would kill the ignition. Problem is though, if the oil pressure is low enough for the light to come on, there is a very high possibiliy that damage has already been done.

Hmmm....I think not..The oil pressure switch on all montego turbo's was not connected in any way to the ignition system,it was connected to the fuel pump.If the oil light illuminated,it would cut power to the pump.As regards damage when light illuminates,unless there is a sudden loss of oil,no damage will occur,providing one stops the engine when it first illuminates.The oil light is to warn of low oil pressure,not no pressure,as then obviously it would be too late.. Sorry Gary........
george Mackmurdie

Last year I watched a Scimitar GTE streak off the line at the Prescott hill-climb. As he passed me I wondered what the big orange light on his dash-top signified. Then I wondered why smoke was pouring out of his front wheel arches as well as the back. Then I noticed a very large and spreading pool of oil at the start line. He must have gone several hundrd yards at full chat before he stopped. Replaced the oil filter (which had apparently blown off) and won his class on the second run.
Paul Hunt


Your observation is far from rare. I know of a Austin car which lost all its oil on a journey and drove on for a further four miles with just the remaining dregs and smears on its bearings. That same engine ran on for a further 65,000 miles faultlessly and was still running strong until MOT failure (body rust) sent this car to the breakers. Most modern production engines are well made and tolerate much abuse and neglect by drivers for many thousands of miles and still provide reliable service. Huge intervals between routine services with modern cars lull drivers into thinking NOTHING needs to be checked between those service periods. I strongly suspect that many drivers are now guilty of this ....
John McFeely

Some time back, the oil warning light would come on only round bends. This happened on a run when a very small split in the sump led to slow oil loss on my EFi Montego (damn poorly designed road humps!- since modified!). The oil light came on ONLY when I took a corner a bit sharpish! The progressive oil loss meant that the diminishing oil level would not always cover the oil pick-up return pipe in the sump. The oil being forced away from the pick-up the on tight corners. Thus without oil supply to the pump, pressure drops and the warning light would flicker on. Sorted and 30,000 miles later still runs fine!
John McFeely

In regard to the VW VR6, my dad has had 2 Ford Galaxy VR6's (both using VW's 2.8 V6). The older 12v unit always used a litre or two between 10K services right up to 90K miles when he got his new 24v one 6 months ago. That has now covered 8K miles and has used at least a litre, if not more.

Talking to a VW specialist some time ago, he said there was a known problem with the VR6 engines, and VW would specify a 15/40 oil to reduce consuption.......wheres my dad was using 5/40 fully synthetic...although when the comapny pays for oil its not so bad.
Neil Turner

I have been regulary checking the oil on my ZS180 now and after 5,000 miles it has used about 2 litres. The only thing I have noticed is that when you pull out the air filter there is a thin smear of oil on the bottom 2 mm or so. Any ideas?


Not familiar with the ZS's KV6 breather system but many engines have a breather connection to the filter housing. Have a word with your dealership - a stitch in time .....
John McFeely

I have made some comments about oil consumption on the MGOC members only BBS!

>>but many engines have a breather connection to the filter housing

Climber, if you take the top rubber hose off, you will find some oil in there, some of this finds its way to the filter and collect at the bottmm if filter housing!

mm... interesting there is indeed oil in the breather tube. Now I've been very careful to leave the car sitting in the garage overnight before checking and topping up the oil, but I wonder if the garage did it correctly when they did the levels check on the PDI. if they overfilled it then this would explain the cleanish oil sitting in the pipes and the filter. However, it could be something more serious.

I think the way to find out would be to clean the filter housing breather tube and change the filter and wait and see if it does it again.

It would appear oil from the breather is quite normal on the KV6. I will still keep an eye on it ;0)

Climber, Roger Parker put my mind at rest some time ago on the oil consumption issues, and some reassurance can be found in his comments further up in this now quite long thread!

1.. Check on regular basis!
2.. Preferably from cold
3.. On level ground

Follow those rules, levels will be maintained and the chances of overfilling reduced!


This thread was discussed between 03/02/2002 and 21/02/2002

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