Burning Oil – Blue Smoke Is Coming Out Of My Exhaust Pipe

Burning Oil - Blue Smoke Is Coming Out Of My Exhaust Pipe
Burning Oil - Blue Smoke Is Coming Out Of My Exhaust Pipe

It can be a gut wrenching feeling to start your vehicle and find smoke spewing out of the exhaust pipe.

Signs of burning oil are usually accompanied by Blue Smoke from the exhaust.

For most, it leaves them feeling anxious and panicked that they will have to dip into their savings account.

First, It doesn’t take much for an engine to start burning oil. But you should know that there are many variables that can cause the engine to start burning oil. Blue smoke is a clear sign your car engine is burning oil. It also creates an awkward smell and is not good for your health to breath in. Burning oil can eventually contaminate the catalytic converter and oxygen sensor.

It also increases the risk of the engine running low on oil and losing oil pressure.

The Most Common Causes For Burning Oil Are:

Blue Smoke When Starting Engine:

Bad Valve Seals

Positive Type Valve Stem Seals
Positive Type Valve Stem Seals

If you see blue smoke coming out of exhaust after you have parked your car for a while, the probable culprit is bad Valve Seals. Worn valve guides and valves will also cause this issue. There are valve seals to prevent this oil from flowing into the engine. If these seals are worn or broken, the oil will come down into the engine, then is burnt along with the air and fuel, causing blue smoke.

Blue Smoke When Accelerating:

Stuck PCV Valve

Clogged (PCV) Valve
Clogged (PCV) Valve

If you observe blue smoke appearing in your car all the time, the PCV Valve should be the first thing you should check. The function of PCV valve is releasing the pressure (which builds up in the Oil Pan) into the Intake Manifold. The intake Manifold is linked to the Air Filter of your engine. So if the PCV Valve gets stuck, it will keep mixing the oil with air and other gases inside the engine. The combustion of this mixture will cause blue smoke.

Worn Piston Rings

Worn Piston Rings On Piston
Worn Piston Rings On Piston

The function of piston rings is to help the piston create a tight seal against the cylinder. So if the rings are worn out, oil from below will get sucked up past the rings. Also, A worn or damaged cylinder wall could do the same thing. Then the oil gets mixed with the air fuel mixture and gets burnt, causing the blue smoke.

What Can Happen If The Burning Oil Issue Is Ignored

Your car can run for a while if it’s burning oil, as long as you keep adding engine oil when it gets low. There are, however, issues that will come up.

  • The engine will run rough, because oil doesn’t burn properly in the cylinders.
  • Spark plugs will become fouled by oil, turning on the Check Engine light.
  • Excessive oil in the exhaust can cause your catalytic converter to overheat or fail.
  • Low engine oil can cause a blown or seized engine.

Other Issues That Can Cause Your Vehicle To Smoke:

Poor Maintenance

Engine Oil Sludge Buildup
Engine Oil Sludge Buildup

A vehicle’s engine and fuel system are crucial to the vehicles performance and keeping them clean requires standard regular maintenance. This can be as simple as getting regular oil changes and servicing the vehicle when the manual calls for it. Missing or prolonging oil changes beyond their recommended changing intervals can also lead to further contaminant issues.

Homemade Remedies Or Cheap Cleaners

There are a lot of bad videos and even worse advice when it comes to proper vehicle maintenance. Some examples we are referencing include using diesel fuel, kerosene, or water as an engine flush. Other examples are people using products that have seen no refinement in their chemical formula throughout the years.

Often, these cheap flush products eat away at engine gaskets and critical seals which can cause the engine to leak. Additionally, the cheap flush can break large chunks of contamination free.


Engine Oil Sludge Buildup In Oil Pan And Pickup Screen
Engine Oil Sludge Buildup In Oil Pan And Pickup Screen

Have you ever seen the oil come out of a engine during an oil change. Ever wonder why it is much darker than new oil. Oil only changes color when contamination is present in the engine. The oil mixes with the contamination and lubricates your engine with the debris mixed in. It’s not the ideal situation.

These contaminants can turn into deposits left behind in the engine and can lead to clogged PVC valves. Contamination and debris from dirty oil can end up clogging oil rings and causing piston rings to become stuck. Both issues can create blow-by which will cause the engine to start burning oil.

Engine Overheating – From Lack Of Oil

When the oil lubrication system cannot work properly, friction increases and so does the heat in the engine. This in-turn can warp metal, melt seals, and ruin gaskets. All symptoms that can cause the engine to start burning oil and smoke.


On some cars, especially those that use synthetic engine oil, the tailpipe smoke might not be as evident. A burning oil smell is still quite obvious.

Oil consumption is a normal part of engine operation. Normal oil consumption can average up to a quart per 2,000 miles.

It can leave your crankcase low on oil. If your oil consumption is much higher than normal, you might not know it until it’s too late.

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