Would those "Engine Overhall" pellets I've seen advertised help stave off an engine rebuild?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jul 01, 1998

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 1988 Plymouth Voyager with an oil-gulping 3.0-liter V6 engine. The old
gal has 135,000 miles on her, and runs pretty well, except for all the blue
smoke. I've been told by one mechanic that I need my valve guide seals replaced
and my cylinders relined to stop all the oil burning and leaking.
I've also seen an ad for a product called Engine Overhaul. It consists of
pellets and a mysterious liquid that claims to "help restore fit of worn parts,"
and "renews seal of valves and rings." Is this for real? Would this stuff be an
acceptable alternative? -- Sharyn

RAY: I think I've also seen this stuff sold as a hair restorer, Sharyn. In drug
stores, it's sold under the name Forehead Overhaul.

TOM: It may provide some short-term decrease in oil burning, but it's not an
acceptable long-term alternative. So if you're planning to keep this car more
than, say, six weeks, I'd get it fixed properly. The pellets are only for when
you've got nothing else to lose or a sale to an in-law is imminent. And you're
not there yet.

RAY: The good news is that new valve guide seals may be enough. In my
experience, most of the oil burning in these engines is caused by the valve
guide seals. And replacing them is much cheaper than having the whole engine
(rings and cylinders) redone, as your mechanic recommends. So I'd start with
valve guide seals for a few hundred bucks and see how much better it gets. You
may be surprised. It may improve enough to keep you going until the transmission

TOM: And if that doesn't cut down your oil burning significantly, you can always
toss in some pellets then. And let me know if you see any hair growing on the
hood. Good luck, Sharyn.

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