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Q: car burning oil

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"hi my toyota avensis blew an exhaust valve on cyclinder 4 had it repaired now my car is burning alot of oil should the mechanic who carried out repair have checked piston rings as the car has been smoking alot since i received the car back.And is the mechanic duty bound to return my car in decent working order as the car is not running right from me getting it back.

My car has 50000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

To begin, the Avensis is not sold in the United States. So if you live elsewhere, the laws and procedures in Europe for example, may be very different than they are here. But of course, fixing the car itself is no different no matter what country you are in.

I have a question for you to begin. Of course, you won’t be able to answer it in this forum. Does your 2003 Avensis really have 50,000 miles? The typical car of this year would easily push 200,000. This detail is very important to the answering of your question.

It is well known that replacing the head gasket on a vehicle with this many miles is a risk to creating oil consumption past the rings, but a vehicle with 50,000 miles would be of little risk to such a problem. The other variable here is the age of the car. Predicting what would happen on an older vehicle with low miles is not possible. Personally I wouldn’t think twice about it and would not expect it to create an oil consumption problem past the rings.

The only responsibility I would place on the mechanic in this situation would be having a conversation with you about fixing a car with 200,000 miles before the repair began. The risk of burning oil past the rings should be explained. None of us would expect a problem with the rings on a car with 50,000 miles. In fact, I would suspect many other things first. Your car came into the shop unable to be driven, the mechanic returned it to a condition that allowed it to run.

The question is, did the mechanic make a mistake in the repair, or was there another underlying condition that could not be tested for because the car was not in running order when it showed up in his shop?

I can’t answer this question without inspecting the car myself. At the least the mechanic should determine exactly what is burning out the tail pipe. If they made a mistake, then they should correct it. Many times, especially with high mileage vehicles, fixing the car will simply reveal other problems that we can’t know about until the car is running again. This is likely what happened here.

The short answer is no, the mechanic is not responsible for repairing the burning oil if the rings are the culprit. Especially if it only has 50,000 miles. He did repair the valve and the car ran again. I would question how you know the piston rings are responsible for the burning oil. The more likely cause of burning oil in this case is a valve seal. Either way, it is always best to begin with a conversation with the mechanic. He should definitely take the time to figure out what is going on. If it’s a mistake on his part, then yes, he should take care of the problem. But there is no way to know if there were underlying problems before the repair began.

Due to the complicated and subjective nature of auto repair, it is very difficult to prove a mechanic liable. If he doesn’t satisfy you in this situation, it is just best to move on to another mechanic that you trust. If you live in the US, I would suggest seeking help from a qualified mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic. They can pinpoint the issue with your oil consumption and address it as necessary.

Good luck.

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