Q: Should I get the piston rings replaced or just swap the entire engine?

asked by on July 28, 2016

My car has been burning about a quart of oil every week and a half or so recently. I took out and checked the spark plugs and there is some oil on two of the plugs up the rings. My plugs are burning a bit hot as well. Im almost positive its the rings and not stem seals reason being there is little to no smoke coming out the tail pipe and im losing such a large amount of oil. So should I get my engine repaired or just replace it? About how much would it be to do either of them? Whats cheaper? Whats more reliable? Or is it worth just getting rid of the car? Thanks.
My car has a manual transmission.

First off, if it isn’t smoking, it probably isn’t burning all that oil. A quart a week is four quarts a month and about 1000-2000 miles. That’s a lot of oil. It is most likely a combination of leaking oil and burning it. To be able to advise you on the best course of action for your car, I would need to see it in person. There simply isn’t a substitution for seeing it in person in a circumstance such as this.

For informational purposes I will address a few items...

If it were burning that much oil, I would expect to see quite a bit of smoke out the tail pipe. It is possible it begins burning the oil on a steady freeway drive and you are unable to see it because the smoke dissipates quickly. Let’s say it is burning the oil; Most likely a motor with 100,000 miles or so from a wrecking yard would be the most cost effective repair in this case. Re-ringing has two disadvantages; one, it takes more labor so more money is spent; two, it introduces a lot of opportunity for human error.

Even then, compare what that estimate is to a similar car that you can purchase. Can you afford something that cost more? Is it better than what you have if you were to fix the car you have now. All this depends on the condition of the car you have now.

As it is, I am not yet convinced it is burning all the oil. My instincts tells me you maybe able to fix a leak or two and get the oil consumption to a manageable level. My own car uses a quart every oil change. This is normal. My car has 235,000 miles on it and I drive it every day.

I recommend booking an appointment with a qualified technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to diagnose your oil consumption and figure out the best path for you.

Good luck!

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