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・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Wheel is hard to turn

The power steering pump may not be working properly and not producing any pressure. The pump would need to be checked for proper pressures using a tester gauge set. If the pump is producing enough pressure then the steering gear...

Q: Battery light illuminates at 70 mph and turns off once vehicle speed dips below 60 mph.

Make a note of what rpm the engine is doing when you are at that speed causing the light to come on. With the car stopped in park, see if you can rev the engine up to that speed and...

Q: Fumes from breather - 1995 Acura Integra

There will always be some kind of fumes coming out of the breather, but they should be invisible. If you can see smoke coming out of the breather, something is wrong. Excessive smoke out of the breather can be a...

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...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...