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

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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.

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