An engine may burn oil for several reasons. The culprit may be a leak in the valves or oil pan, as well as just wear and tear on an older vehicle. A strong smell, blue smoke from the tail pipe and consistently low oil levels point to engine oil burning. Oil burning emits pollutants into the air, including a nearly nauseating stench and can require plenty of cash to constantly top of the fluid.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Slightly thicker oil
- Air filter
- Compressed air
- Torque wrench
- CD 2 oil treatment
- Valve cover gasket
- Gasket adhesive
- Putty knife
Drain the engine oil and perform an oil and filter change. Fill the car with a slightly thicker oil than usual. For example, if you are draining 10-30, fill with 10-40. In the cooler months of winter, though, use a 20 or 30 weight oil. The change in thickness should avoid leaks, one of the reasons that engines burn oil.
Check the positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) for clogs and remove any build-up. The engine must breathe because it is basically a large pump. The PCV provides the engine with an outlet to exert the pressure from the engine. It is possible for the PCV to become clogged with carbon and pump it back into the engine where it burns. Thoroughly clean the area with a rag and gently use compressed air in the PCV hose to remove any build-up to stop engine oil burning.
Ensure all bolts and valves are tight and sealed. Check the front and rear engine-bearing seals, piston rings and valves in the cylinder head above the combustion chamber. Loose or damaged bolts and seals can cause leaks or allow oil to enter the combustion chamber where it will burn. Use a torque wrench to tighten the bolts, but not too tight because this may cause damage.
Add two cans of a CD 2 oil detergent found in most automotive parts stores in place of one quart of oil. If leaking is still an issue after adding thicker oil, replacing the oil will help form a tight seal. A substance in the formula works to create a seal to avoid leaks that may cause burning engine oil. Continue adding one can each time you change your oil hereafter to maintain the seal.
Replace the valve cover gasket. Remove the spark plug wires and the air filter to reach the valve covers. Follow by removing the valve cover bolts and carefully lifting the cover. The gasket may need some gentle prodding with a putty knife if it has deteriorated. Replace the valve cover gasket and secure with gasket adhesive.
Change your air filter every 12,000 miles. Sludge and carbon build-up will not allow for oil to dispense and the engine to breathe properly. Thus, oil will be forced back to the engine where it will be burnt. Change the filter every fourth oil change, at the minimum.
Tips and warnings
- Ensure you take care of your vehicle. Proper maintenance, including oil changes every 3000 miles, will help ensure optimal vehicle operation and lessen the chances of oil burning.
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