What Does Burning Oil Mean?

You may have heard the term burning oil in regards to a car that is not running correctly.  Maybe your car is burning oil and you don’t even know it.

Stop reading this right now, go to your car, and check your dip stick in your engine.  Is your oil full or closer to low?

If it is close to low, you may be burning oil.

A car in great condition will hold onto the oil almost fully between oil changes.  When the levels get low, it can be extremely unsafe for your car.  Part of the engine may break down and the engine could possibly seize up.

Older cars often burn oil just because of a lifetime of wear and tear.  Its not a big deal unless you find yourself having to top off your tank fairly often.  What is too often?  Well if you have to add over a quart of oil between each oil change, then you may need some serious repair.

What causes a car to burn oil?

If there is no smoke in the exhaust:

  • The PVC system may not be working correctly
  • The engine may have a mechanical problem
  • Engine valves seals might possibly be worn down
  • Seals in the engine or gaskets may be worn

Coolant appears brown and foamy?

  • Possibly a blown head gaskey
  • Cylinder head may be cracked
  • Water could be leaking into the water cooler

There are oil puddles dripping under the car?

  • Engine gaskets/seals may be worn or damaged
  • The oil filter might need to be tightened
  • The PVC system might night be working properly

There is smoke in the exhaust?

  • The PVC system might not be working properly
  • Engine piston rings could be worn
  • Engine valve seals may be worn
  • The engine may have mechanical problems

If you are handy with your car, some of these issues could be checked and fixed rather easily.  Tightening the oil filter or replacing the oil cooler could be done without too much hassle.  Replacing the head gasket is an expensive ordeal that requires the entire engine being taken apart and rebuilt for a $7 part.

How to prevent oil from burning

You basically need to keep your car in tip top shape.  Get your car a regular oil change and the engine parts will run well for a much longer time.