Why is my Car Burning Oil?

car burning oilWhen you’re buying a used car, there a lot of things to check over to make sure you’re getting a quality vehicle.  There are some easy things to check like how faded the paint is and if there are any rips in upholstery.  But there are some more difficult things to check as well that can tell you a lot about the car you’re thinking of purchasing.

One of the things you can look at is the condition of the tires.  Checking for odd wear patterns like a tire that is bald on the inside but has plenty of tread on the outside can indicate a poor alignment or bent suspension components that means the car has been in an accident.  Another thing to look at is the underside of the car.  If it is covered in grease and road grime it can indicate an oil leak that has been allowed to continue rather than be fixed.  This may indicate that regular maintenance was neglected on that vehicle and there may be more problems lurking under the hood.

The condition of a motor and transmission can be difficult to diagnose since any problems wouldn’t be visible from the outside.  A good test drive can often give you a good idea of the condition of both.  While you’re driving listen for knocking, ticking or tapping from the motor and make sure the transmission shifts smoothly.

The other thing to check for on an older car is if the car is burning oil.  If you own a car that is burning oil, you can often tell by regularly checking the engine oil level and notice it dropping steadily without any external leaks.  If you’re looking at buying a car, you can only check for it burning oil by watching the exhaust gas for signs of burnt oil.  If an engine is burning oil, it is most often noticeable when starting the car while the engine is cold or when quickly accelerating from a stop.  If the car is burning oil you’ll notice some blue smoke from the exhaust pipe either when starting the motor, or accelerating from a stop.

A car may be burning oil for a few different reasons.  The two most common are because it is bypassing the piston rings, or leaking past the valve seals.  Your piston rings seal the combustion gases inside your engine’s cylinder so your engine will make the maximum power, but they also seal the engine oil out of the combustion chamber.  If your engine’s piston rings are worn out from high mileage or poor maintenance they can allow small amounts of oil past to be burnt during the combustion process.  This produces the blue smoke in your exhaust during acceleration.

Engine oil also circulates around the valves in your engine’s head.  There are seals around each valve to keep the oil from leaking into the combustion chamber.  These seals can wear out from high mileage, from low oil levels or they can simply dry out and crack if your car isn’t driven often.  If your valve seals are bad they can allow oil to seep past them while your engine is off allowing the oil to pool on the piston.  When you start your car you’ll notice the same blue cloud of burnt oil from the exhaust as the pooled oil burns off the top of the piston.

If you discover your car has worn valve seals and is burning oil upon start up, you may consider the option of having your valve seals replaced.  Unfortunately this can be a very expensive maintenance item as it usually requires removal of your engine’s head and careful work done on all the valves.  The better option is to use BlueDevil Oil Stop Leak to recondition and revitalize your valve seals to stop the leak and keep your car from burning oil.

BlueDevil Oil Stop Leak

For more information about BlueDevil Oil Stop Leak, check out our product information page here: Oil Stop Leak

You can also purchase BlueDevil Oil Stop Leak at any of our partnering local auto parts stores like:

  • AutoZone
  • Advance Auto Parts
  • Bennett Auto Supply
  • CarQuest Auto parts
  • NAPA Auto Parts
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts
  • Pep Boys
  • Fast Track
  • Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts Specialists
  • S&E Quick Lube Distributer
  • DYK Automotive


Pictures Provided By:

car_burning_oil.jpg – by Stefan Redel – Licensed By ThinkStock – Original Link


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6 responses to “Why is my Car Burning Oil?

  1. I am just trying to find out… I bought the oil stop leak blue devil product, and i see on the back that it say I need to run the engine 1-2 hours to seal the leak.. but I am trying to find out do i need to let it idal for that time, do I need to be driving for that time, do I need to do both, or do it matter which 1..

    1. Antwan-

      In order for the product to seal, you will be driving the vehicle, not just letting it idle. Typically, you should start to see results after about 100-200 miles of driving.

      Thank you!


  2. Dear sir,
    I using Chevrolet spark model. But last 3 month i notice to my oil leval very low aome time and some times not any effect. My exhaust pipe not any blue smock but white small amount smock with burning oil small. So pls blue devil product help to stop burning oil problem.

    1. Anirudhsinh-

      Thank you for asking about your Chevrolet. White smoke would indicate water/coolant burning and blue smoke would indicate oil burning. If you are noticing a loss of oil, you would be a great candidate for the BlueDevil Oil Stop Leak, however, you may have multiple leaks, based on your description. We recommend taking the vehicle to a certified ASE mechanic for a proper diagnosis.

      Thank you!


  3. My RAV4 2008 burning 1quart after 250 miles, my mechanic said it’s piston problem. Can I use your product as well???

    1. Khanh-

      Thank you for asking about your Toyota Rav4. The BlueDevil Oil Stop Leak is only intended for the rubber seals/gaskets in the system. Unfortunately, we do not manufacture a product intended to stop piston leaks. A hard part repair may be your best option.

      Thank you!


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