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Uh Oh, your cars using oil

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The real fact is, all cars use oil. Oil has to travel into some places that it can't return from. Some of these being the top ring of the piston and between the valve stem and valve guide. It is simply impossible to build a properly lubricated engine that uses no oil. Now before any of you get all huffy and start yelling around about your dipsticks, let me explain. If you were to do an oil analysis on your engine oil just before it needed to be changed. You would find that the oil volume is made partly of moisture and fuel. These added ingredients take up the place of the used oil and make it appear as though none has been used.

Ok well I am sure that’s not why you are reading this article. You’re probably noticing you’re a quart or more low sometimes. Well, I have some good news and some bad news for you. Obviously as parts wear inside the engine more space develops for oil to travel in and through. This is normal engine wear, and in fact, a little extra oil is a small price to pay to keep these wearing parts nicely lubricated. Most manufacturers state that one quart every one thousand miles is still an acceptable oil loss. I think that is a little high personally as I have over 100,000 hard miles on one of my cars and it uses less then 1/4 quart every 3000 miles. We are certainly talking about a Honda here but that’s a whole different story.

What you should be worried about is if you notice a sharp increase in oil being used. I would start looking for a leak in this case. Check under the car to see if you see any oil spray. Do you notice any abnormally high amount of dirt on the firewall or even as far back as under the rear bumper? Spraying oil at highway speeds can quickly accumulate dirt, and can most of the time give you a trail to follow right to the leak. Another source of oil consumption is a hidden one, your air filter. Check your air filter for any holes or leaks in the intake system. Dirty air can VERY quickly wear out intake valve guides and rings and cause more oil to be used in a matter of months. I cringe at the thought of all the people I know who run around with their air cleaner off because they 'think' it makes their car faster, such nonsense. A tell tale sign of worn valve guides or rings is blue smoke from the exhaust. However, if you still have your factory CAT in place this may not be the case. The CAT quickly heats up and removes mostly all traces of smoke from the cars exhaust.