If your car is burning engine oil, it’s important to take action and find a solution. This article will discuss the causes and symptoms of excessive engine oil consumption and possible fixes. We’ll also discuss the cost of repairing this issue, so you can be prepared if it happens to you.
A few key symptoms may indicate your car is burning oil. One symptom is excessive engine oil consumption. Another symptom is blue or gray exhaust smoke from your car’s tailpipe. If you notice either of these symptoms, you must take your car to a mechanic.
Table of Contents
What is Excessive Oil Consumption?
Excessive engine oil consumption is defined as the excessive use of engine oil. This typically means two things, either oil is leaking or it is burning. Excessive oil consumption can lead to several problems, including but not limited to decreased fuel efficiency, increased emissions, and engine damage.
There are many reasons why excessive engine oil consumption may occur. We will discuss some common causes in this article later. Addressing excessive engine oil consumption as soon as possible is important to avoid more serious problems. If you believe your vehicle is consuming too much oil, consult with a qualified mechanic for diagnosis.
What are the Major Reasons Behind Excessive Oil Consumption?
As mentioned, there are two major reasons behind excessive consumption of oil. Let us discuss both of these possibilities here:
1. Oil is Leaking:
One of the most common reasons for your car to consume more oil than necessary is leaks. If there are holes or cracks in your vehicle’s engine, the oil will steadily seep out from these areas and cause the levels and oil pressure to drop significantly over time. You’ll need to take your car to a mechanic and have them fix any leaks as soon as possible.
2. Burning Oil:
Another possibility is that your car is simply burning through oil too quickly. This could be due to worn piston rings, valves, or other engine components that aren’t working properly. In this case, you’ll likely see blue smoke from your exhaust pipe, indicating that oil is being burned along with fuel. Again, you’ll need to take your car to a mechanic.
What is the Difference Between External Oil Burning and Internal Oil Burning?
The main difference between external oil burning and internal oil burning is described below:
1. External Engine Oil Burning:
External oil burning is usually caused by a problem with the car’s seals or gaskets, which can allow oil to leak out. This can be a major problem because it can lead to decreased performance, fuel economy, and environmental damage.
2. Internal Engine Oil Burning:
On the other hand, internal oil-burning occurs when oil is burned along with fuel in the engine. An internal oil leak can happen for a number of reasons, such as when the engine is running too hot or when the oil isn’t being changed often enough. This can lead to decreased performance and fuel economy, as well as increased emissions.
Why Internal Oil Burning Issues are More Critical?
Internal oil burning is a more critical issue compared to external oil burning for a few reasons.
- The first reason is that when the oil burns inside the engine, it can cause serious damage to the engine internals. Plus, it can disrupt the entire engine cycle.
- The second reason is that internally leaking engine oil can easily mix with the fuel and air mixture inside the cylinders. This will lead to the production of harmful exhaust gases.
- The third reason is that oil burning can also result in the formation of deposits on the valves and piston rings. These deposits can further damage the engine internals.
Hence, if your oil level is decreasing but you don’t see any leaks, it’s most likely that the oil is burning inside the engine. This is a serious issue, and you should get your car checked by a mechanic as soon as possible.
What are the Signs of Car Burning Oil?
If your car is burning oil, you’ll likely see one or more of the following symptoms:
- Check Engine Light
- Low Engine Oil Level
- Engine Misfires
- Oil on Spark Plugs
- Engine Oil Light
- Blue Smoke From Exhaust
- Pungent Smell
Let us explain these symptoms a bit:
1. Check Engine Light:
The check engine light is one of the first signs that something is wrong with your car. This light will come on if there are any problems with the engine, and it’s a good idea to take your car to a mechanic as soon as possible.
In this particular case, the light is usually triggered by sensors that detect increased levels of hydrocarbons in the exhaust gas. Hydrocarbons are one of the main components of engine oil, so when oil is burned, it increases the hydrocarbon levels in the exhaust. If the sensor detects an increase outside the normal range, it will trigger the check engine light.
2. No Oil Leak But Low Oil Level:
If you don’t see any oil leaks but notice that the oil level is low, it’s most likely because the oil is being burned. As we mentioned, this can be caused by several different things, such as worn piston rings or valves.
When oil is burned, it decreases the oil level and causes the oil to become dirty. This can be seen as a black, sooty substance on the dipstick or inside the oil filler cap.
If you notice either of these things, it’s a good idea to take your car to a mechanic and have them check for any internal problems.
3. Engine Misfires:
Another symptom of oil burning is engine misfires. The main reason why internal engine oil burning can cause engine misfires is that it can lead to a build-up of deposits on the spark plugs.
When these deposits accumulate, they can interfere with the spark plug’s ability to create a proper electrical connection with the engine’s ignition system. This can cause the engine to misfire. Oil-burning can also cause deposits to build up on the valves, ultimately leading to misfires.
4. Oil on Spark Plugs:
If you notice that the spark plugs are covered in oil, it’s a pretty good indication that the engine is burning oil. The reason why oil can get on the spark plugs is that when the oil burns inside the engine, it leaves behind a sooty residue. This residue can make its way to the spark plugs and cause them to malfunction. Plus, engine oil can also reach the spark plug area under the engine cylinder head in the case of external oil leaks.
5. Engine Oil Light:
Another symptom of car burning oil is the engine oil light. This light comes on when there is not enough oil pressure in the engine. The main reason why this happens is that when the engine burns oil, it decreases the level of oil in the system.
This can cause the oil pump to not have enough suction to pull the oil from the oil pan. As a result, there is insufficient oil pressure, and the engine oil light comes on.
6. Blue Smoke From Exhaust:
If you see blue smoke from the exhaust, it’s a good indication that the engine is burning oil. The blue color is caused by the oil-burning at a higher temperature than gasoline. There are a few reasons why burning oil emits blue smoke.
One possibility is that the oil is leaking into the combustion chamber and being burned along with the fuel. This can happen if the piston rings or valves are worn or damaged, allowing oil to leak past them and into the cylinder.
Another possibility is that the oil is simply being burned in the engine as normal, and the blue smoke is coming from incomplete combustion. This can happen if the engine is running too rich or something is wrong with the ignition system. Either way, blue smoke from the exhaust indicates something is wrong and should be investigated further.
7. Pungent Smell:
If you notice a pungent burning smell coming from the exhaust, it’s likely due to the engine burning oil. The main reason why burning engine oil produces a pungent odor is that it contains high levels of sulfur. When sulfur is burned, it releases sulfur dioxide.
This gas has a strong, pungent odor that can be easily detected, even in small amounts. In addition to the sulfur content, engine oil also contains other materials such as metals and hydrocarbons. When these materials are burned, they can also produce unpleasant smells.
Why Causes Your Car to Burn Oil?
There are a few different reasons why your car might be burning oil. Let us see these causes one by one:
1. Dirty Engine Oil:
One of the main reasons for oil-burning is dirty engine oil. When the oil gets old, it can become filled with all sorts of contaminants such as dirt, dust, and metal particles. These contaminants can cause the oil to break down and lose its ability to lubricate the engine properly. As a result, the engine will wear down and eventually start burning oil.
2. Overfilled Oil:
If the engine oil is overfilled, it can cause the oil to get into the combustion chamber and be burned along with the fuel. This will obviously lead to an increase in oil consumption and can eventually damage the engine.
3. Wrong Engine Oil:
If the oil’s viscosity is too low or too high, it can cause the engine to burn oil. The viscosity of the oil is very important because it determines how well the oil can lubricate the engine. If the viscosity is too low, the oil will not be able to lubricate the engine properly and will start to break down.
4. Clogged PCV Valve:
The PCV valve is responsible for regulating the pressure in the crankcase. It does this by allowing air to flow into the engine while at the same time preventing oil and other fluids from leaking out.
A clogged PCV valve can cause the engine to burn oil because it prevents the proper ventilation of the engine. When the engine is not adequately ventilated, the oil can become heated and start to break down.
The burning of engine oil can also occur if the PCV valve is sticking open. This allows too much oil to be drawn into the combustion chamber, where it can be burned along with the fuel.
5. Worn Piston Rings:
Worn piston rings are one of the most common causes of oil burning in engines. The piston rings are responsible for sealing the combustion chamber and keeping the oil in the crankcase. If the piston rings are worn, they can become damaged and allow oil to leak into the combustion chamber.
Once the oil gets into the combustion chamber, it can be burned along with the fuel. This will obviously lead to an increase in oil consumption and can eventually damage the engine.
6. Distorted Cylinder Walls:
One of the most common causes of engine oil burning is the distortion of the cylinder walls. When the cylinder walls are distorted, it can cause a gap to form between the piston and the wall. This gap will prevent the perfect sealing of the combustion chamber.
As the vacuum created by the combustion process pulls on the piston, oil can be drawn into the chamber through this gap. Once in the chamber, the oil will burn along with the gasoline, leading to increased oil consumption and engine damage.
7. Blown Head Gasket:
A blown head gasket is one of the most common causes of engine oil burning. This happens because a blown head gasket causes a loss of compression in the engine. This loss of compression may lead to the oil being forced up into the combustion chamber. Once in the chamber, the oil will be burned along with the gasoline, leading to increased oil consumption and engine damage.
8. Bent Connecting Rods:
Bent connecting rods can cause the engine to burn oil for two reasons. First, the bent connecting rod can cause a gap to form between the piston and the cylinder wall. This gap will allow oil to be drawn into the combustion chamber, where it can be burned along with the fuel.
Second, the bent connecting rod can also cause the piston to strike the cylinder head. This can damage the oil seals and allow oil to leak into the combustion chamber. Once in the chamber, the oil will be burned along with the fuel.
9. Cooling System Failure:
A car’s cooling system helps regulate the engine’s temperature and prevents it from overheating. If the cooling system fails, the engine may overheat, and the oil may start to break down. This can lead to the oil burning off and causing damage to the engine.
How to Avoid the Problem of Motor Oil Burning?
By following simple tips, you can avoid the problem of motor oil burning in your car.
1. Frequent Oil Change:
One of the best ways to avoid the problem of motor oil burning is to change it frequently. You should change your motor oil every 3,000 miles or according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. This will ensure that your engine always has fresh oil and will help prevent the build-up of deposits and sludge.
2. Avoid Overheating:
Another way to avoid the problem of motor oil burning is to prevent overheating your engine. You should never allow your engine to overheat, as this can cause the oil to break down and burn. If you notice that your engine is running hot, you should pull over and let it cool down before continuing your journey.
3. Use Correct Oil:
Another way to avoid the problem of motor oil burning is to use the correct oil for your car. You should always consult your owner’s manual to determine which oil is best for your car. Using the wrong oil can cause deposits and sludge to build up in your engine, eventually leading to the oil burning off.
4. Replace Defective Components:
If you have any defective components in your engine, you should replace them as soon as possible. Worn or damaged parts can cause oil to leak into the combustion chamber and start burning. By replacing these parts, you can help to prevent the problem of motor oil burning.
These are some tips that can help you avoid the problem of motor oil burning. By following these tips, you can help to keep your engine running smoothly and prevent costly repairs.
How Much Does it Cost to Solve Burning Oil Problem?
The cost of repairing the problem of motor oil burning can vary depending on the cause. If you have a simple oil leak, you may only need to pay for a new gasket or seal. However, if you have a more serious problem, such as a distorted cylinder or deformed connecting rods, you may need to pay for major repairs. The cost of these repairs can vary depending on the severity of the problem.
For replacing a gasket, you are looking at a cost of $1,000 to $2,000. For replacing an oil seal, you are looking at a cost of $750 to $900. If you need to replace a cylinder, the cost can range from $500 to $1000. And finally, if you need to replace connecting rods, the cost can be upwards of $2000. These are some approximate costs for repairing the problem of motor oil burning.
Burning engine oil can pose a serious safety hazard to you and your vehicle. Additionally, the burning oil can produce toxic fumes that can be harmful to your health if inhaled. If you must dispose of used engine oil, be sure to do so safely and properly to avoid any potential hazards. Burning oil in a car can be caused by many different things. Some of the most common causes include bent connecting rods, damaged pistons, and cooling system failure.
By following some simple tips, you can avoid the problem of motor oil burning. However, if you have a problem, the cost of repairs can vary depending on the cause. If you are experiencing this problem, you should take your car to a mechanic and have it diagnosed as soon as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
What to do if your car is burning oil?
If your car is burning oil, the best thing you can do is to take it to a mechanic and have them check it out. If they find that the problem is with the engine, they will be able to fix it and prevent any further damage. However, if the problem is with the oil itself, you may need to replace it. Either way, it is best to take your car to a mechanic as soon as possible so that they can diagnose and fix the problem.
What does burning oil smell like?
Burning engine oil smells like burning plastic. It is an acrid, foul smell that can cause headaches and nausea. If you notice this smell coming from your car, it is important to have it checked out by a mechanic as soon as possible. Burning engine oil can indicate a serious problem with your car’s engine and should not be ignored.
How often should you check the engine oil level in your car?
It is generally advisable to check the engine oil level in your car at least once a month. However, if you frequently drive long distances, it is a good idea to check the oil level more often. If the oil level is low, add more oil as needed.
Is there any special engine oil for car burning oil?
Yes, there are special engine oils designed for car engines that burn oil. These oils typically have a higher viscosity than regular engine oils, which helps to prevent oil burning and leaking. In addition, these oils often contain additives that help to reduce wear and tear on engine parts, which can also help to extend the life of your car’s engine.
Is it bad to drive a car that burns oil?
If your car is burning oil regularly, it is likely that there is an issue with the engine that should be addressed. However, if you only burn oil occasionally and the car otherwise runs well, it may not be as big of a problem.
Driving a car that burns oil can negatively impact your fuel economy and produce harmful emissions. It is also worth noting that if your car requires frequent oil top-ups, it can indicate more serious engine problems.
How long can you drive a car burning oil?
You can drive a car burning oil for as long as you have enough oil to lubricate the engine’s critical parts. Depending upon the severity of the issue, it could mean a few miles to a few hundred miles at best. However, burning oil will eventually cause engine damage, so it is not recommended to do this for an extended period. If you must drive a car burning oil, check the oil level frequently and top off as needed.
Can you add any additives to avoid the burning of engine oil?
Yes, some additives can help reduce engine oil burning. These additives can help improve the lubricity and viscosity of the oil, which can help improve its ability to flow and protect engine parts. Some additives can also help improve the oil’s thermal stability, which can help prevent it from breaking down at high temperatures.