How to Tell if Your Car is Burning Oil


Here are three ways to tell if your car is burning oil:


  • Monitor the Car’s Oil Level — One way to tell if your car is burning oil is to observe the vehicle’s oil level. If it seems to be declining at a faster-than-normal rate, you may have a problem.
  • Note if There Is a Burning Smell — Another telltale sign is the smell that burning oil emits. When the oil heats up after coming in contact with hot components, it gives off a distinct burning odor.
  • Look for Bluish Smoke Coming From the Tailpipe — Yet another symptom of a car burning oil is bluish smoke drifting from the exhaust while the engine is running. This can become especially apparent when you accelerate or decelerate.



The first step to fixing this problem is to identify what’s causing the oil leak. External oil leaks can be caused by wear and tear in any of these components:

  • Oil filter
  • Oil pan 
  • Cooler line
  • Filler cap 
  • Drain plug


With an internal oil leak, the problem could be triggered by worn piston rings, valve stem oil seals, a malfunctioning PCV system, or even a blown head gasket. In any case, a service technician will be able to tell you what’s causing the leak and provide the necessary repairs.

If your car is burning oil, it’s essential to deal with the issue promptly. In the meantime be sure to check your oil frequently and keep it topped off to the manufacturer’s suggested level. The longer you wait to address an issue, the more likely it becomes that you’ll be left with engine damage that lands you with a hefty repair bill.


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