Common Reasons Behind Excessive Oil Consumption

Reasons for excessive oil consumption

Engine oil, also called motor oil, plays an integral role in maintaining a car’s performance. Its purpose is to keep all the moving engine parts adequately lubricated, preventing damaging friction. Normally, a vehicle can be driven for around 5,000 to 15,000 km without the need for an engine oil change. However, if an engine starts running low on motor oil more frequently, it should ring a bell.

There can be various reasons for excessive oil consumption, which can have damaging effects. Therefore, it is important to identify them to promptly address the issue. Let’s learn more about the most common symptoms and reasons for excessive engine oil loss.

Signs of Excessive Oil Consumption

If you don’t know how to diagnose excessive engine oil consumption, check for the following signs:

Exhaust Smoke Colour

coloured exhaust smoke is a common sign of oil consumption
Coloured smoke from the exhaust is a prominent sign of oil consumption issues

Blue or grey smoke is one of the common excessive oil consumption symptoms. It indicates that engine oil has made its way into the combustion chamber and is burning away. This can be caused by issues such as leaking or worn piston rings, or damaged cylinder walls.

Low Engine Compression 

Excessive oil consumption is one of the symptoms of low engine compression or low cylinder compression is another symptom of excessive oil consumption. It occurs when the cylinders fail to compress enough air, resulting in misfiring or other engine performance issues. 

A compression test can help diagnose this issue by inspecting the condition of components, such as valves, cylinders and piston rings. Optimal compression is over 100 psi per cylinder, with a variation between the highest and lowest readings not exceeding 10%.

Burning Oil Smell

Quality degradation or low levels of motor oil is also among the potential causes of a burning smell in a car. If there is a pungent burning oil smell, it can be due to oil leaks. When oil drips onto hot engine parts, it burns and causes an unpleasant odour.

Check Engine Light

check engine light is a sign of excessive oil consumption
The check engine oil may be an indication of insufficient oil levels

The check engine oil may be an indication of insufficient oil levels

The degrading engine performance due to contaminated oil or insufficient oil flow throughout the car engine can also be a potential reason for the check engine light. If the check engine light is on, get the car immediately inspected by a certified auto technician to identify the problem. The causes of the check engine light turning on shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Carbon Building Up in the Engine

High carbon formation is another sign of excessive oil consumption. It occurs when the residues of oil start building up on the spark plugs or the bottom of the engine valves. One of the most common reasons for carbon buildup is the oil which rapidly burns away instead of flowing properly through the system.

Common Reasons for Excessive Oil Consumption

After discussing the symptoms, we’ll explore some of the most common causes of excessive oil consumption.

Deteriorating Quality of Engine Oil

The motor oil should be according to the specification and viscosity indicated in a car’s manual. Not using the right type of car engine oil is one of the most common causes of high oil consumption. 

Moreover, if the oil isn’t changed after the recommended period, it begins to degrade gradually. It may lose its viscosity and accumulate dirt and debris as it ages. This not only impacts its quality but also causes it to burn more rapidly. 

Since poor-quality oil can no longer keep the components adequately lubricated, the engine will start consuming more oil. 

Worn Piston Rings

worn piston rings are among common reasons for excessive oil consumption
Worn or damaged piston rings result in higher engine oil consumption

Worn or damaged piston rings result in higher engine oil consumption

Piston rings play a vital role in sealing the gap between the piston and cylinder wall. However, when worn or damaged, they can cause higher oil consumption in engines. This occurs as engine oil slowly passes through the damaged rings to enter the internal combustion chamber. The result is the burning of the oil and carbon deposits accumulate on the piston rings.

As discussed, damaged piston rings also cause blue or white-coloured exhaust smoke. It is an indication of a critical issue that decreases engine performance and leads to poor acceleration. Therefore, repairing or changing worn piston rings is how to fix excessive oil consumption immediately and effectively to prevent further engine damage.

Damaged Engine Seals or Gaskets

Seals and gaskets can experience wear and tear due to exposure to high temperatures and hot fluids. This can cause oil leakages, leading to a frequent loss of oil while driving. To prevent potential damage, engine oil has to be refilled again and again. 

Since broken gaskets and cracked seals are among the most common reasons for engine oil leaks, it is usually advised not to delay fixing such issues. Keeping the gaskets and seals in optimal condition prevents recurring oil change costs and enhances the lifespan of the engine.

Ageing Car Engine

old engine is prone to high oil consumption
An ageing car engine is more prone to oil leaks

An ageing car engine is more prone to oil leaks

The problem of excessive motor oil consumption is more common in older engines. It is because deteriorating engine parts are more prone to oil leaks. However, routine inspection and maintenance of car engine parts can help reduce the amount of oil lost. Keeping a vehicle maintained is also one of the effective ways to increase its fuel efficiency.

This was everything about common reasons for excessive oil consumption and their solutions. Timely and proper diagnosis of such engine problems is also crucial to determine whether to replace or repair the car engine.

When buying a used car in the UAE, have its engine carefully inspected to ensure it doesn’t have any major mechanical issues before closing the deal.

To keep learning more about important auto parts and repairs, stay connected with the dubizzle car blog.


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