Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

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

asked by on

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!

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!
  • Home
  • Questions
  • Should I get the piston rings replaced or just swap the entire engine?

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: Engine knocking noise, smoke, exhaust smoke

Hello. There are several possibilities for the engine knock. It could be caused by a busted piston, broken valve, or something internal in the engine. The smoke may be due to an internal damage on the engine block and/or oil...

Q: Where is the camshaft on a 2003 Toyota Celica located

Hi there. It's very hard to articulate the location of the camshaft position sensor for this engine without illustrations which is something we can't post here, however, it's located on the right hand side of the engine (driver side) near...

Q: Engine and low trac lights come on

Hello. There are several things that could cause the Check Engine Light to come on after getting the spark plugs replaced by the dealership. If the Check Engine Light never turned off after the original repair was completed,...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
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...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.