I have an ' Dodge Aries When I pull out...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | May 01, 1994

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have an '86 Dodge Aries. When I pull out the dipstick to check the oil, it's got yellowish, foamy stuff on it. Someone said there might be water in the oil. So I had the oil changed and there wasn't any water in it. And I still get the foam. What is it?

RAY: It's water, Russ. The reason you don't see any water in the oil is because it's all mixed up in there. That's why it looks like the top of a root-beer float when you pull out the dipstick.

TOM: This could be serious or it could be nothing. The big question is are you losing any coolant? Because if you are, you could have a cracked head---like my brother---and that would be awful.

RAY: But if you're not losing coolant, then it's nothing to worry about. You're just not driving the car enough. There's always a little bit of water condensing inside the engine, and normally, that water is vaporized and removed by the crankcase ventilation system.

TOM: But if you don't get the the engine hot enough, it can't vaporize all of the water. So in order for the crankcase ventilation system to work properly, you really have to take the car out and do some sustained, high speed driving.

RAY: And since you drive an '86 Aries, we understand why your driving is rarely high-speed or sustained. But that's what you need to do, Russ. So if you have the courage, take it on the highway for half an hour once in a while and everything will be fine.

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