How to Stop Your Engine From Burning Oil

Updated February 21, 2017

Burning oil in a vehicle typically means you have oil leaking into your piston chambers. Burning oil is characterised by low oil levels and smoke coming out of the tailpipe at start-up or during operation. Regardless of the reason, the issue demands attention. Ideally, consult a mechanic to correct the problem; however, several options exist that help stop or minimise the problem that you can perform in a matter of minutes.

Change your oil every 3,000 miles or less using a synthetic or high-mileage oil.

Remove the drain plug using a ratchet. Catch all dripping oil in an approved container. While the oil is draining, break the filter loose using an oil filter wrench and turning it approximately one-quarter to a full turn, catching any dripping oil in the bucket.

Replace the oil filter. Once the oil is fully drained out of the vehicle, place a new oil filter onto the engine. Make sure to wipe some fresh oil onto the gasket, otherwise the gasket may become damaged during installation. Turn it to hand tight and then a quarter turn farther by hand.

Replace the oil plug. Torque the oil plug to your vehicle specifications. If you are in doubt of the vehicle specifications, tighten the bolt to hand tight and then one and a quarter turns more using the ratchet. Do not over-tighten the bolt.

Fill the engine with a synthetic or high-mileage oil and one canister of an oil stop leak additive. Gunk Stop Smoking is an additive geared at lubricating your seals while cleaning out the valves for reduced smoking. Fill the oil level to factory specifications and remember, if it calls for five quarts of oil, subtract the amount of additive you placed in the engine from the five quarts before adding the oil.

Start your engine and check for leaks around the filter and drain plug. With any additive, it will take some time before any smoking that was occurring stops. Do not be surprised if the smoking continues for several days.

Add a bottle of fuel injector cleaner to your gas tank at the next fill-up. Restore USA provides a fuel injector cleaner specifically geared at lubricating and cleaning the injectors and valves during operation. These additives work best when used once every month or two.

Take your car to a mechanic for fuel injection cleaning. Professionals use a two or three-step system that shoots a concentrated cleaner directly into the injectors and an additive to clear the fuel lines. This process cleans your injectors more thoroughly and should be done about once every 20,000 miles.

Spray Gumout or other carburettor cleaner into your carburettor (if your engine is not fuel-injected). Remove the air-cleaner assembly to gain access directly to your carburettor. Most air cleaners just screw into the carburettor with the hold-down bolt. After you remove the air filter screws, simply lift out the assembly. While the vehicle is running, spray a steady stream of carburettor cleaner into the carburettor. You may need someone revving the engine, as carburettor cleaner can stall out your vehicle.


When working with any engine fluids or additives, take caution with handling. The fluids may be corrosive. If you get any on your skin or in your eyes, consult the safety labels on the products for care and emergency contact information. Wear protective clothing to prevent injury.

Things You'll Need

  • Fuel injector cleaner
  • Carburettor cleaner
  • Oil stop leak
  • Synthetic or high-mileage oil
  • Oil filter
  • Oil filter wrench
  • Ratchet
  • Oil bucket
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