Two Engine Problems That Can Cause High Oil Consumption

5 July 2016
 Categories: Automotive, Blog


Most people are aware that high oil consumption is often caused by an external leak. Yet the fact is there are plenty of other reasons your car may be guzzling oil at an unprecedented rate. If you would like to improve your basic automotive troubleshooting skills, read on. This article will present two engine problems that can lead to high oil consumption.

Out-of-Round Cylinders

The cylinders are the site of combustion in an automobile. Here gasoline and air come together and are ignited by a spark plug, causing a tiny explosion that pushes the piston down and transfers force to the car's crankshaft. Oil is an essential part of this process. It helps to ensure that the piston is able to move easily and without friction within the cylinder.

Problems in this system tend to develop as times goes on and the cylinders begin to experience greater and greater amounts of wear. This may eventually lead to cylinder chambers that are no longer perfectly round. This means that the piston does not fit as tightly as it should inside of the cylinder. Though minuscule, the extra amount of "wiggle room" in out-of-round cylinders is often enough to allow oil to escape upward into the combustion chamber.

This problem is often referred to as oil pumping. As you can imagine, this problem will lead to a car that needs more oil added on a frequent basis. Unfortunately, there isn't much that can be done to correct the problem--short of replacing the engine, that is. In some cases, however, the cause is not simply cylinder wear. An incorrectly tightened cylinder bolt head can sometimes distort the shape of the cylinder. In such cases, correcting the tension of the bolt head may be enough to solve the problem.

Build-up In The PCV Valve

The positive crankcase ventilation valve, known as the PCV for short, is used to recirculate engine gases back through the cylinder. The idea is that such gases still contain a certain percentage of hydrocarbons that can  combust to provide additional energy. The PCV valve, in other words, helps to increase the overall efficiency of your car. Not only that, but by regulating air flow, it helps to keep oil from being sucked out of the engine.

Unfortunately, both the PCV valve and the tube that leads from the crankcase to the engine tend to accumulate sludgy deposits over time. Such deposits may consist of dirty oil, water, combustion by-products, and other debris. As these unwanted substances build-up, they increase the pressure inside of the crankcase by preventing the gases from being circulated back through the engine. This pressure causes oil to leak backwards out of the engine, thus increasing the oil consumption of your car. Call a repair professional, like Dean's Auto Repair Inc, for more help.