What Does It Mean When Your Car Burns Oil

If you are a car owner, you may have experienced situations where your car burns oil. This occurrence can be alarming and confusing, especially if you are not familiar with what it means. Burning oil is a common issue that happens when oil leaks into the engine and burns along with gasoline, leading to a range of problems. In this article, we will explore what it means when your car burns oil and what steps you can take to remedy the situation.

Symptoms of Burning Oil

Regular engine maintenance can help prevent burning oil
Regular engine maintenance can help prevent burning oil

One of the most common indications that your car is burning oil is the appearance of smoke from the exhaust pipe. This smoke is usually blue or grey and can be seen easily when the car is idling or accelerating. Another symptom is strange engine noises such as knocking or tapping. Burning oil can also cause reduced engine performance, which leads to a sluggish ride. Lastly, oil consumption is a key sign of burning oil, which means that your car will require more frequent oil changes.

It’s important to note that these symptoms may vary depending on the severity of the issue, the type of car, and the driving conditions. However, if you observe any of these symptoms, it’s important to address the issue immediately to avoid further damage to your car.

Several factors can cause your car to burn oil, including:

Worn-out Piston Rings

The piston rings are responsible for sealing the combustion chamber and preventing oil from entering the engine’s combustion process. When they wear out, they can no longer maintain a proper seal, leading to oil leaks and burning. This issue is common in older cars with high mileage.

Damaged Valve Seals

Valve seals prevent oil from leaking into the combustion chamber and keep it in the oil reservoir. When they are damaged, oil can leak into the engine and burn along with gasoline, leading to smoke from the exhaust pipe.

These two causes are the most common reasons why cars burn oil. However, other factors such as a faulty PCV valve, overfilled oil reservoir, or poor-quality oil can also lead to oil burning.

Causes of Burning Oil (continued)

Faulty PCV Valve

The Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) valve regulates the flow of gases between the crankcase and the intake manifold. When it’s faulty, it can cause pressure to build up in the engine, leading to oil leaks and burning.

Overfilled Oil Reservoir

Overfilling the oil reservoir can cause the oil to foam and lead to oil leaks and burning. This issue is common when oil changes are not done correctly, and the oil level is not checked after filling.

Poor-Quality Oil

Using low-quality oil is a recipe for disaster as it can lead to engine damage and oil leaks. Low-quality oil tends to break down faster, leading to increased friction and heat, which can cause the oil to burn along with gasoline.

It’s essential to address the underlying cause of burning oil to prevent further damage to your car. Regular engine maintenance, timely oil changes, and using high-quality oil can help prevent burning oil.

Effects of Burning Oil

Burning oil can have several negative effects on your car and the environment. Here are some of the most common consequences of burning oil:

Environmental Pollution

Burning oil releases harmful pollutants into the air, contributing to environmental pollution. The blue or grey smoke emitted from the exhaust pipe is a clear indication of burning oil.

Increased Fuel Consumption

Burning oil can cause your car to consume more fuel than usual. This is because oil burns less efficiently than gasoline, leading to reduced fuel economy.

Engine Damage

Burning oil can cause severe damage to your car’s engine. Over time, the heat generated by burning oil can cause the engine’s parts to wear out faster, leading to costly repairs.

Costly Repairs

If the issue of burning oil is not addressed promptly, it can lead to costly repairs. The longer the problem persists, the more severe the damage to your car’s engine, leading to expensive repairs.

In conclusion, if you observe any symptoms of burning oil, it’s important to take your car to a professional mechanic immediately. Addressing the issue promptly can help prevent further damage to your car and save you from expensive repairs. At Auto Oil and Fluid, we recommend regular engine maintenance, timely oil changes, and using high-quality oil to prevent burning oil.

Prevention and Remedies

While burning oil may seem like a significant issue, there are several ways to prevent or remedy the problem. Here are some steps you can take:

Regular Oil Changes

Regular oil changes are one of the most effective ways to prevent oil burning. Old and dirty oil can cause wear and tear on engine components, leading to leaks and oil burning. Most car manufacturers recommend oil changes every 5,000 to 7,500 miles, but this can vary depending on the car’s make and model.

Use of High-Quality Oil

Using high-quality oil is crucial in preventing oil burning. Poor-quality oil can break down and lose its lubrication properties, causing engine components to wear out quickly. Always use the recommended oil type and viscosity for your car and ensure it’s of good quality.

Timely Engine Maintenance

Regular engine maintenance, such as replacing worn-out parts, can prevent oil leaks and burning. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule and replace parts such as the piston rings and valve seals as needed.

Checking Oil Levels Regularly

Regularly checking your car’s oil levels can help detect oil leaks and prevent oil burning. Ensure that the oil level is within the recommended range and that there are no signs of oil leaks.

Seeking Professional Help

If you notice any of the symptoms of oil burning or suspect that your car is burning oil, it’s crucial to seek professional help. A certified mechanic can diagnose the issue and provide the best course of action.


In conclusion, burning oil is a common issue that car owners may face, and it’s essential to address it as soon as possible. Symptoms such as smoke from the exhaust pipe, strange engine noises, reduced engine performance, and oil consumption are key indications that your car is burning oil. The causes of oil burning can vary, including worn-out piston rings, damaged valve seals, faulty PCV valve, overfilled oil reservoir, or poor-quality oil. Preventive measures such as regular oil changes, using high-quality oil, timely engine maintenance, checking oil levels regularly, and seeking professional help can help avoid or remedy the situation. As a car owner, it’s crucial to stay vigilant and take the necessary steps to ensure your car’s optimal performance and longevity.

Rate this post