While gasoline is key in powering your car, oil plays an equally key role, ensuring that your engine and other internal components are capable of moving at all. Be safe and always keep an adequate supply of oil in your car. Otherwise, you may find yourself faced with sky-high repair bills when something goes wrong.

But ensuring optimal oil levels can be difficult if your vehicle happens to be burning through oil at an elevated rate. If you have noticed that you seem to be adding oil to your car more often than you should, read on. This article will outline three potential causes of this elevated consumption.


Leaks

Leaks are probably the first thing that occurs to people when faced with a mysterious drop in their oil level. Yet few people recognize the large number of places where such a leak can occur. Any or all of the following components may be involved: Oil lines

  • Valve cover gaskets
  • Oil pan gaskets
  • Crankcase drain plugs
  • Camshaft seals

Don't let such a list intimidate you too much, however. An overwhelming number of oil leaks occur where one component connects to another. Looking for signs of fresh oil at such joints is, therefore, the best way to track down a leak.

Keep in mind that the leak may be quite slow, with only a drop or two escaping at a time. If you suspect that you know where an oil leak is occurring yet can't find any evidence, try tying a strip of white or light colored cloth to the area. Start up your car and take it for a short drive, then check the cloth. If you find that it now bears an oil stain, you have likely located the source of the leak.


Bad Main Bearings

The main bearings play a vital role in an automobile as the component that allows the crankshaft to rotate. The main bearings act to keep the crankshaft in its proper location, while also spreading out the massive force which the pistons generate. The main bearings take a pretty heavy beating. Eventually, as they continue to wear down, they will begin to let oil leak past into your cylinders.

In the early stages of this problem, your piston rings may be able to prevent too much unwanted oil migration. Soon, however, the oil flow will be too much for them to stop. As this oil makes its way past the pistons into the combustion chamber, it will ignite and be burned off, causing your oil levels to steadily dwindle.

The solution to this problem often requires that your main bearings be replaced. You may also need replacement head cylinders as well. The sooner you catch the problem, the better. Be sure to have your engine checked out as soon as possible if you have been experiencing mysterious oil loss.


Low-Quality Oil

Never be tempted to fill your car with the least expensive oil you can find. This tactic will backfire on you in ways that ultimately cost you more money. Using inferior grade oil may result in an elevated oil consumption. Low quality also means that the oil will not be able to withstand the high temperatures of your engine.

Instead, such oil will burn off, leading to a dropping oil level. Not only that, but the unwanted combustion of cheap oil leads to unwanted buildup inside of your cylinders. The buildup reduces the cylinder's effectiveness as time goes on, increasing the rate at which other problems develop.

For this reason, it is important to stock your car with high-quality oil. You must also be sure that the oil is designed to work in harmony with your specific car. For more information about getting the best oil for your vehicle, please don't hesitate to contact the pros at Sam's Automotive Reconditioning Center.