Why is my car burning oil?

Why is my car burning oil?

If you've followed along with our blog or any knowledge of cars, you know how important oil is. Oil is vital to the proper functioning of your engine. Oil lubricates several parts of the engine to prevent damage and keep it running smoothly. With such an important role, of course, you want to ensure that your oil is at its proper levels. So, why is your car burning oil?

We first want to state that it's normal for cars to burn a slight amount of oil as part of engine operation. Losing a quart of oil per 1,000 to 2,000 miles (depending on the vehicle) is par for the course. It's also just as important to know the signs of burning oil and why. Bluish-white smoke coming from your car's tailpipe is a classic sign your engine is burning oil. The smell of burning oil is strong and would become noticeable if it occurred.  

Now that we covered the how its time to examine the why. It's first important to check for leaks, which may determine if the loss of oil is internal or external. If you have a visible oil leak, it's recommended to take your vehicle to a trusted mechanic who can find the source of the leak. If you're losing oil with no leak, that means it is an internal issue of a more severe nature that could be from a few different sources.  

As previously stated, if you're burning oil, it's probably due to wear and tear from internal parts. So, let's take a deeper look at what factors to inspect first. We'll start with the positive crankcase ventilation (PCV Valve). This critical part gets rid of the harmful gases that are created during combustion. The PCV takes the extra gas back to the combustion chamber to get burned an additional time before leaving via the exhaust. When the PCV becomes clogged, instead of removing these gases through the exhaust, oil gets sucked into the engine, burning the oil. The valve seal is another part worth noting. The valve stem seal is supposed to balance lubrication and oil consumption. When this part becomes too worn, it fails to perform this duty leaking oil into the engine cylinders and combustion chamber. Piston rings can be overlooked but form a seal against cylinder walls to prevent gasses from escaping and maintain proper compression. Once worn, oil can enter the combustion chamber, leaving you with low oil!

Unfortunately, burning oil can be a sign of significant issues. With the engine as the heart of your car, internal issues are always worth keeping an eye on. If you have any concerns or problems with your oil, call a trusted shop like Ferber's Automotive and Body, where we can get right to the root of the issue!