What is causing my car's engine to burn oil? What to do?

When you put oil in your car, you expect the levels to remain the same until the next change, but that’s not always the case. Some oil levels may drop unexpectedly. You should find out why the oil levels are dropping unexpectedly.

In this article, we touch on why your oil levels might be dropping and whether it’s a normal circumstance happening with all vehicles. What to do when your car has excessive oil consumption? 

Wearing gaskets and seals are the most frequent reason cars burn a lot of oils. This can also happen due to blocked crankcase ventilation, which results in high pressure inside the engine. The oil will slip through the piston rings and into the combustion chamber.

Below is a list that explains the main causes of excessive oil consumption in car engines.

Índice de Contenido
  1. 6 Excessive Oil Consumption & Burning Reasons
    1. 1. Wearn Gaskets and Seals
    2. 2. Congested crankcase ventilation
    3. 3. Bad or wrong oil quality
    4. 4. Piston Rings that are defective
    5. 5. High oil pressure
    6. 6. An old, worn-out engine
  2. Does Burning Oil Have to Be Normal?
  3. How to Reduce Excessive Oil Use

6 Excessive Oil Consumption & Burning Reasons

1. Wearn Gaskets and Seals

Car Oil Leak

Leakage of oil could occur if the crankshaft seals have worn out or are damaged. This defect can cause oil to leak every time the car is driven, so you will need to refill the levels.

It is important to replace gaskets immediately if you find that seals are worn. This can often be done at a very low cost and saves you money later. Failure to install gaskets can lead to oil leakage. This is usually easy to spot if oil remains under the car.

2. Congested crankcase ventilation

Pcv Valve

If the crankcase ventilation is blocked or the valve PCV becomes clogged it can lead to overpressure within the crankcase, which causes oil pressure in the motor. The sealings will allow the oil to escape from the motor.

Locate the crankcase ventilation valves and locate the PCV valve to fix the problem. Make sure that the air is moving freely from the engine. It is common for the crankcase ventilation to have multiple hoses that go to the engine. Therefore, it is crucial to inspect all of them.

RELATED: 7 Signs That Your PCV Valve Is Not Working

3. Bad or wrong oil quality

Car Motor Oil

A well-running engine requires the use of the best oil. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when choosing what oil to use.

You should also change your oil frequently. Oil that is too old or dirty will not be able to lubricate metal parts inside your motor. Excessive friction will cause your engine to use more oil. 

To check the oil's color, you can inspect it. The oil should have a yellow tint or be tan. If the oil is darkened or black, your engine may not be ready for an oil change. The oil in your diesel engine will turn dark immediately after it is changed. You can change your oil in 20 minutes with an oil filter and drain pan. 

4. Piston Rings that are defective

Piston Rings

Oil can seep into an internal combustion chamber if the piston rings are damaged or worn. Oil can start burning and carbon deposits may form around the piston rings.

Oil levels will begin to fall. The only way to fix this is to change the piston rings. 

READ ALSO: The 4 Signs that a Bad Piston Ring Is Bad

5. High oil pressure

The engine can become flooded by excess oil when the pressure is high. It is possible for the oil to ignite if it falls into the cylinders.

You need to identify the cause of high oil pressure in order to solve it. This could either be due to a problem with your central computer, or because you have used too much oil in the previous service. 

6. An old, worn-out engine

During the first five years of an engine’s life, nothing major should go wrong. During these early years, oil shouldn’t be consumed excessively and you shouldn’t have to worry much about burning. 

As the mileage increases, gaskets and seals begin to wear and become less effective. Engines that have small leakages can run into problems and will require more oil. Additionally, an older engine might have bigger tolerances that permit oil to flow through spots that don’t exist with newer models. 

Does Burning Oil Have to Be Normal?

Automobile owners often discuss oil burning, though manufacturers are reluctant to provide details. What might seem like a common problem for one engine may not be so with another. 

BMW, for example, informs motorists that certain engines may not be suitable. Use about 1 quart oil within one thousand miles. GM also states that the normal consumption of gasoline is less than a quart per 1,000 miles provided that it is properly maintained. 

If your engine is using more than a quart of oil between the oil changes, it’s definitely something that should be looked at. 

How to Reduce Excessive Oil Use

Most of these causes can be avoided by simply maintaining your vehicle and being aware of any potential problems. It is also important to ensure that you use the correct oil type for your vehicle. Check the owner’s manual to make sure you have the right viscosity.

You should immediately repair any visible leaks if you find them. In many cases, replacing a gasket or seal won’t cost you a lot and can save you a lot of trouble. 

You might consider upgrading to a newer engine before your engine problems get worse. The benefits of upgrading to a new engine will become apparent when the costs are compared. It’s best to sell your vehicle while it is still worth something, especially if you want to use the money as a down payment on something newer.

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