Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Oil is leaking in SUV, but source can't be found

asked by on

My car has approx. 58,000 miles and the following missing-oil problem only started yesterday. When I had the oil changed, they told me that my SUV was four quarts low on oil. It normally holds six quarts, so they added Mobil 1 synthetic oil and filled it. Yesterday I had to pull over and check the oil level because the check engine light had come on. But nothing showed on the dipstick. I was close enough to an auto store to walk and purchased six quarts of oil. It took four quarts before anything showed on the dipstick. I’m trying to figure out where the oil is going. There are no oil drips on the floor of my garage and there is no smoke when I’m driving the vehicle. I even had a friend drive behind me to make sure. The coolant is a green color and the oil isn’t light brown or frothy. It is the color that it should be. I’m diligent in getting my oil changed every 6,000 miles using synthetic oil. I’ve done two oil changes in between the previous one and yesterday. No problems there. I removed a spark plug to see if it was covered in soot or oil, but it’s not. It looked just like it should. Can you give insight as to where the oil is going?

A: Hello. You should start by checking the oil...

Hello. You should start by checking the oil only when the vehicle has sat for about an hour to see if more shows up. If it does then you have a clog in the return holes in the engine.

If it is legitimately losing that much oil then you either have a leak in the intake causing it to draw in oil, or most of the time it is caused by bad valve stem guides. These can leak a lot of oil into the engine and allow it to burn off without any smoke due to the fact that the catalytic converter gets so hot.

I'd consider YourMechanic if you decide to get this fixed, a certified mechanic can come to your home or office to diagnose your oil leak firsthand and repair this.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Need to know if my alternator is bad.

Hey there, thank you for asking about your 2005 Chevrolet Silverado 1500. Disconnecting the battery while the vehicle is running can damage the Powertrain Control Module (aka, vehicle "brain" or "engine computer") or other electrical components due to voltage excursions...

Q: Smoke and possible oil leak after having oil serviced

Hi there. Since you drive the vehicle so little it can still be residual oil. It can take some time for it to burn off, especially if it pools up when it is spilled. If there is no oil left...

Q: Engine steam and antifreeze leak - 1976 Mercedes Benz 450SL

Hello. This sounds like the water pump, radiator, radiator hoses, or even one of the heater hoses, have started to leak. It is also possible that the gasket to the thermostat could have a leak as well. It doesn’t sound...

Related articles

How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.