My car is burning oil, now what?

  • Feb 15, 2017
  • Resources & Tips

Whether you drive a 1972 Dodge Dart, a Volvo station wagon or a brand new Chevrolet minivan, engine oil consumption is a problem nobody wants but can happen to any vehicle.

Most new engines today use less than half a quart of oil in 3,000 to 5,000 miles. But as the miles accumulate, wear and oil consumption naturally increase.

The reason oil burns is that it escapes from where it is supposed to be, often leaking out and touching the hot components on the engine. The amount of smoke you notice is in proportion to how much oil is burning. Blue smoke in the exhaust is a classic sign that an engine is burning too much oil. Of course, you don’t want to wait for the oil level to get too low to realize you have an issue.

According to AA1Car, oil consumption depends primarily on two things: the valve guides and piston rings. If the valve guides are worn, or if there’s too much clearance between the valve stems and guides, or if the valve guide seals are worn, cracked, missing, broken or improperly installed, the engine will suck oil down the guides and into the cylinders. The engine may still have good compression but will use a lot of oil.

Burning oil can lead to serious issues, including engine failure. If you notice a problem with your vehicle, get it checked right away before the problem worsens.

From tune-ups to transmissions, brake repairs to electrical troubleshooting, we service it all. Because some of our mechanics have decades of experience, we’re just as adept with older and classic vehicles as we are with today’s computer-diagnosed modern models.