In the past, we’ve covered how vital your engine oil is. It truly is like the lifeblood of any car. But have you ever had a seemingly random warning that your engine was low on oil? How did you handle it?
Perhaps your car warns you that it’s low on oil fairly often and you’re having to top it off between oil changes. What confuses many is that there won’t be any sign of an oil leak on the ground where the car is regularly parked. Some of our customers have even reported needing to top it off and then repeat the process multiple times between each of their oil changes.
Certainly then, considering how vital the correct type of oil and the right amount of oil is, this is a dangerous problem that could lead to engine damage if it were to go uncorrected. But where is the oil going? How can you be sure that you have the right amount in the motor when you top it off and how can you fix the problem so you can stop having to worry?
Have you noticed your vehicle constantly low on oil and you don’t see any oil leaking on the ground? Are you adding more than a quarter of oil in your vehicle between oil changes and you don’t know why? Hi, I’m Nancy at Kneble’s Auto Service Center. Your vehicle may be burning oil. Now the two most common reasons vehicles burn oil are that oil passes through piston rings, therefore, burning through the tailpipe producing a blue smoke or possibly oil is leaking from dried cracked valve seals. Potential causes for both these problems are vehicles with high mileage, not maintaining your vehicle properly, or the age of the vehicle. Now piston rings help seal the combustion chamber preventing gases from escaping along with the keeping the oil out of the chamber. This allows for optimum engine power.
Now, valve seals also keep the oil from leaking into the combustion chamber. These repairs can be expensive, therefore, it may be cheaper just to add oil to maintain the proper oil level. This is the most economical option. Check out our weekly videos every Wednesday at 12:30 on different subjects such as what does the check engine light mean or is overheating my car damaging the engine. Thank you for watching and feel free to schedule an appointment on our website, or by phone, or stop in at 5473 Somers Point Road in Mays Landing. And when you call us, you can call (609) 625-3286. Thank you.
A warning light about low oil or low oil pressure is never a good sign as we’ve talked about already, but when you combine that with no noticeable leak under the vehicle that’s when we start worrying about oil being burned up inside the engine.
However, there are a few other things you can look for that will give you some indication of the source of the problem. Noticing any of the following symptoms before your car warns you that it needs oil is a great way to potentially save yourself thousands in repairs.
First, do you smell anything strange? Sometimes the oil being burnt up can be very pungent and the location where you smell it can tell you something too. Is it most noticeable behind the car or inside the car?
Second, take a look at your exhaust when the car is first started and again after revving it. Do you see a blueish colored smoke? That’s a clear indication that a substantial amount of oil is getting into the combustion chamber.
Third, if it’s running rough that may be another indication that there’s enough oil in the cylinder to foul up the spark plugs and cause a misfire.
Any of these symptoms means it’s time to make an appointment as soon as possible.
Sometimes gaskets like the ones found under your valve covers will leak and allow the oil to seep out of the engine. In some rare cases that oil drips onto the exhaust and burns up before ever reaching the ground. That causes the burning smell symptom and of course, leaves no trace on the ground itself.
Worn Piston Rings
Piston rings are precisely what they sound like. They are installed around the pistons and help to keep oil out of the combustion chamber and fuel out of the crankcase. When they wear down they start to allow little droplets of oil up into the cylinder and when that oil is burnt up it produces the blue smoke mentioned earlier.
Failed PCV Valve
The PCV or “Positive Crankcase Valve” allows some of the air in the crankcase to be recycled into the intake to improve emissions. It also keeps the correct amount of atmospheric pressure in the crankcase itself. When it fails the pressure builds too high and can force oil past seals and into the combustion chamber.
Worn Valve Guides
The valves in your motor have small circular gaskets around them that allow the valve to move freely while keeping the oil out of the combustion chamber. When those start to wear out small amounts of oil will seep past those seals and be burned up as you drive down the road.
Each of these parts provides an integral function to your engine. Whether it’s providing the proper pressure inside your engine or simply keeping oil out of the combustion chamber both are incredibly vital to keeping oil where it belongs and your engine happy and healthy.
The best solution to all of these issues is replacing whatever part is responsible for the loss of oil. It can be very difficult to pinpoint exactly which of the above-mentioned issues is causing your problem.
That’s exactly why we’re here. Call or schedule an appointment with us here at Knebles Auto at Mays Landing and not only will we find the true cause for your oil loss, but we’ll be able to fix it for you at a cost that will keep the most money in your pocket possible.