As the owner of a vehicle, you are required to spend money on maintenance of it to ensure its life is prolonged, and it is running efficiently throughout the time you own it. Sometimes, even when you have your vehicle regularly serviced, things can go wrong without warning, or if your engine is under a lot of strain, from towing caravans or trailers, problems can arise. One of the most common problems with engines that are being used at capacity is that the engine will start using, or losing oil.
There can be a number of reasons your engine will start to use oil, and unfortunately there isn’t any good news for you on a cheap fix for any of them. With that in mind, the quicker you have it checked by your local mechanic, the better it will be for you in the long run. If you notice your engine is blowing a bluish smoke, that’s a solid indicator that you are burning oil somewhere.
Reasons for your engine burning oil can include:
Worn Valve Guides
With use, like most moving engine parts, your valves slowly create wear. When your valve guides begin to wear, it allows oil to flow through gaps into the ignition chamber, where it burns up. To test whether your valve guides might be the issue, there are a few simple steps to take.
Run your engine, then turn it off and let it sit for around 15 minutes. Start your engine again and increase the engine speed. Watch your exhaust when you increase the revs, and if you notice a heavy blue colored smoke that then disappears and the exhaust remains relatively clean, the most probable cause is worn valve guides.
Valve Seal Failure
Your valve seals prevent the flow of oil into your engine, but if they fail or are worn, cracked or broken, your oil will be lapped up by your engine. Testing for valve seal failure is exactly the same as testing for worn valve guides. The result will be a heavy blue colored smoke that then disappears.
Pressurized Oil Pan
If carbon builds up in the PCV system it can clog. Generally, the PCV system acts as a breathing passage for your engine, but carbon build-up will pressurize your oil pan, forcing oil into the engine through your fuel system. To test this, remove your PCV valve with the engine running. If there is no vacuum, your system is most likely blocked with carbon.
Worn Piston Rings
Your piston rings seal your engine’s ignition chamber, and if they wear out, as is quite often in heavily used vehicles, pressure is sent back to your oil pan, creating the same end result as when carbon builds up in your PCV system. Unfortunately, unless you know a lot about the inside of an engine, this is definitely a job for the professionals, as there is a lot of work involved in replacing your piston rings.
So if you notice blue smoke coming from your vehicle, you should have your engine checked as soon as possible, as leaving these issues to get worse, can be very costly.