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Why Is My Car Burning Oil?

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Having trouble keeping your car’s oil level optimal?

Sometimes higher mileage cars can start having issues maintaining a sealed system. Oil is circulated throughout your car’s entire engine. If you want to know more about what oil is doing in your engine, check out our previous post HERE. When I say, “sealed system”, I’m referring to the way your engine is a completely sealed off system with a lot of oil running through it. All of that oil is constantly recycled, so when some of it burns off, that can cause some issues.

So why is it happening?

If you’ve noticed your oil levels dropping, it’s likely due to a leak somewhere in your engine. Often people refer to an engine that is losing oil as “burning oil” because the oil will leak onto one of the many very hot components causing a burning smell. Sometimes the burning smell could come from the exhaust depending on where the leak is occurring. If the smell is coming from the exhaust, the problem could be a lack of compression allowing excess oil to enter the combustion chamber. Another cause could be the failure of some different parts in your engine, such as damaged cylinder head valve guides or a worn PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) that causes pressure to build up and blow out some seals within the engine.

What should you do?

Although it may not seem like much damage is occurring, this is a problem that causes much more serious and expensive issues if left unattended. Many people seem to write this problem off, and simply add more oil every once in a while, accepting the fact that their engine “just leaks a little”. This is extremely poor engine maintenance practice, so please don’t let this be you! If your car is burning oil your engine is trying to tell you something is seriously wrong, and you need to get it checked out as soon as you can!

FIXD Research Team

At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.

We’re here to help you simplify car care and save, so this post may contain affiliate links to help you do just that. If you click on a link and take action, we may earn a commission. However, the analysis and opinions expressed are our own.

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About the Author

FIXD Research Team

FIXD Research Team

At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.

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