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Q: My car is rapidly burning oil

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Every 800-1000 miles I have to add up to 3.5 quarts of oil. I want to know if this problem can be fixed. I know I am approaching 200,000 miles but I'm not in a position to get a new car right now so I'd like to fix the problem if possible. There is no visible oil leaking but when I opened the oil cap to add oil this last time it was smoking a lot and the little oil on the dip stick was very dark. I just had my oil changed 2 months ago and two weeks ago 3 more quarts were put in. Can this be fixed? How long can I continue putting oil in when it's low before the car stops working?

Thank you for your help. I really appreciate it.

My car has 195450 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: What you've described suggests that you...

What you've described suggests that your car's motor may be burning oil. This is generally caused by worn out piston rings allowing the oil to pass by the pistons up into the combustion chamber where it is ignited with the fuel and burned. When this happens, you will rapidly lose oil which causes critical parts to suffer as a result of not being properly lubricated. The dark color of the oil is not generally a bad thing as it usually means the oil is doing it's job; however, in this case, it may be further evidence that the oil is being burned. I would suggest having an expert technician, such as one from YourMechanic, take a look at your car to properly diagnose what may be causing your low oil level problem.

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