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Q: If you have to add oil all the time and there is no oil puddle left on the ground but the dealer suggests an oil pan gasket leak h

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A friend of my wife's is selling their vw bug and her husband says that the only issue they know about is that it needs an oil pan gasket replaced. He said the dealer would like them to bring it in so they can fix it. He told my wife that it doesn't leave an oil spot and he doesn't know where it goes but you need to add oil every once in a while...he keeps it topped off. Can it be just a gasket or does this sound more complicated and expensive (like rings or something)?

His car has 116000 miles.
His car has an automatic transmission.

Hi there:

On any engine that has issues with loose or damaged internal components, such as valve guides or piston rings, going through oil frequently is commonplace. If the oil pan gasket is leaking, it may be burning on exhaust before it hits the ground. The best way to diagnose this is to check the tail pipe. If there is visible smoke coming from the tail pipe during acceleration, the issue is with the piston rings. If it’s during deceleration, the issue is with valve guides. If it’s smoking all the time, it could be that fixing the oil pan gasket will solve the problem. If you’d like assistance in diagnosing this issue, a YourMechanic certified technician can be dispatched to your location to perform an Oil/Fluid Leak Inspection on your vehicle.

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