How Long Can You Drive a Car That Burns Engine Oil?


One common question especially for high-mileage cars: how long can you drive a car that burns engine oil?

A car that burns engine oil can be a cause for concern, as it not only leads to increased expenses but also potentially affects the overall performance and longevity of the vehicle.

Burning engine oil occurs when oil is consumed within the engine’s combustion chamber, resulting in blue smoke emissions from the exhaust.

In this article, we will delve into the impact of burning engine oil and explore the factors that determine how long you can drive a car in this condition. Additionally, we will discuss potential solutions to address the issue effectively.

If you want to read another related article on this topic, click here.

Understanding the Impact of Burning Engine Oil


1. Engine Performance

Burning engine oil can affect your vehicle’s performance. As oil is burned, it decreases the lubrication efficiency, leading to increased friction and potential damage to engine components. This can result in reduced power, decreased fuel efficiency, and overall diminished engine performance.

2. Emissions and Environmental Impact

When engine oil burns, it produces blue smoke emissions. These emissions contribute to air pollution and have a negative environmental impact. Driving a car that burns oil not only affects your vehicle but also adds to the overall pollution levels in the environment.

3. Catalytic Converter Damage

The burning oil can also damage the catalytic converter, an essential emissions control device in your vehicle. The excess oil can contaminate the converter, leading to less effectiveness in reducing harmful emissions. This may result in the need for costly repairs or replacements.

Factors That Determine How Long You Can Drive a Car That Burns Engine Oil


1. Severity of Oil Consumption

The severity of oil consumption plays a significant role in determining how long you can drive a car that burns engine oil. If the oil consumption is minor, meaning it burns at a slow rate, you may be able to drive the vehicle for a longer period before requiring immediate action. However, if the oil consumption is excessive, driving the car for an extended period can result in severe engine damage.

2. Oil Consumption Rate

The rate at which the engine burns oil is another crucial factor. Some vehicles may experience a gradual oil burn rate, while others may burn oil at a higher rate. Monitoring the frequency at which you need to add oil and the rate of oil consumption will help in judging how long you can continue driving the car before taking action.

3. Regular Maintenance and Monitoring

Regular maintenance and monitoring of the engine oil level are vital when dealing with a car that burns oil. Consistently checking the oil level and topping it up can help mitigate potential engine damage. Ignoring oil consumption issues or neglecting maintenance can exacerbate the problem and shorten the lifespan of the engine.

If you want to see a video about how to top up the engine oil click here.

Solutions for a Car That Burns Engine Oil

1. Consult a Professional Mechanic

If you suspect that your car is burning engine oil, it is essential to consult a professional mechanic. They can perform a thorough inspection to identify the underlying cause of the oil consumption and provide recommendations for repairs or maintenance.

2. Fixing the Root Cause

The most effective way to address a car that burns oil is to identify and fix the root cause. Common causes of oil burning include worn piston rings, valve stem seals or a malfunctioning PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) system. Repairing or replacing these faulty components can help resolve the oil-burning issue.

3. Regular Oil Changes

Performing regular oil changes with the recommended oil type and viscosity can help maintain engine health. Fresh oil with proper lubricating properties can reduce friction and minimize oil consumption.

4. Use High-Quality Oil and Additives

Opt for high-quality engine oils that meet the manufacturer’s specifications. Additionally, there are specialized oil additives available that can help reduce oil consumption by improving engine sealing and reducing friction.

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