When you have to add 2 quarts of oil to every tank...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Feb 01, 1991

Dear Tom and Ray:

Every time I fill up the gas tank of my 1984 Chevette, I have to add two quarts of oil. This has been going on for six to eight months. No leak can be found and a new pollution control valve didn't help a bit. Any suggestions?

RAY: Yes. We suggest you flip to the "car ads" section of today's paper and start looking. This Chevette sounds like it's on its last legs.

TOM: If you're sure the oil isn't leaking OUT of the engine, it has to be leaking IN; leaking past the rings and into the cylinders where it's burned along with the gasoline. That's fine if the nameplate on your trunk lid says Toro, but it's time to send a funeral wreath if you're driving a Chevette.

RAY: Just in case you happen to be the luckiest person on the face of the earth, ask a mechanic to check the valve guides and their seals. If they're the cause of the leak, you might be able to save the car for a few hundred dollars.

TOM: But when the mechanic tells you that the rings are shot and the engine is hemorrhaging badly, be prepared to find a good junkyard engine; or if you've been looking for an excuse to get rid of this heap: this is it.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter