A variety of factors can affect engine oil consumption, from the engine model to particular driving patterns, and even prior maintenance history. Excessive oil consumption, however, can also be a clear sign that there are deeper problems involving the engine. For auto mechanics, finding the source of high oil consumption may need a little more elbow grease than usual, but there are few helpful things to keep in mind before you start.
If you’re interested in taking the next step in your automotive career, read on to find out what you should know about the common culprits behind high engine oil consumption.
1. Auto Mechanics Know that Damage or Wear Can Lead to External Oil Leaks
One of the most common sources of high oil consumption is an external oil leak. External leaks can be caused by worn or crushed gaskets, seals, or damaged parts, and can typically be identified by a small pool of oil left beneath a parked car.
In order to locate the source of a leak, first inspect the PCV valve and connecting hoses—a stuck valve or leaking hose may be allowing oil out of the crankcase. If you can’t find the source, check for darkened wet spots around the engine and follow it to the highest point. Common sources of origin include oil pans, valve covers, engine seals, or a faulty drain plug.
2. Recommending Quality Engine Oil Is Important After Auto Mechanic School
Many customers may assume that engine oil can be used the same way no matter what car they drive. As students in auto mechanic school know, however, the wrong type of oil can actually cause significant issues inside the engine.
The primary purpose of engine oil is to keep the different internal components lubricated while the engine runs. Different engines require different viscosity, and the wrong type of oil may not be able to adequately lubricate the engine, which causes it to consume more oil to function properly. In order to avoid excessive oil consumption, it’s important to let customers know the recommended engine oil that’s right for their specific car.
3. Check for Malfunctioning Piston Rings Using Skills from Your Auto Mechanic Courses
Although you may not be able to see the problem clearly from the outside, there are still a few telltale signs of an internal oil leak that’s leading to a spike in consumption.
Like many other parts of a vehicle, piston rings can wear down over time, and worn or damaged rings can lead to oil passing into the combustion chamber. As the oil continues to leak, the engine will consume more in an attempt to replace the volume it’s lost, leading to a higher consumption until the rings are fixed or replaced.
4. An Engine’s Age May Lead to Higher Rates of Oil Consumption
Generally, engine performance is at its peak in the first five years. This means that it will need a lesser amount of oil because all of its components are still new. As students in auto mechanic courses know, natural wear and general use can break down a variety of different components inside the engine over a period of time, and it will use more oil to compensate for the lower performance.
Simply put, the older an engine gets, the higher the chance it will consume more oil to stay running properly. While there’s no easily affordable and direct fix for this, you can still recommend frequent maintenance to your customers to help offset the higher rate of oil consumption.
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