Is thicker oil better for engines that burn oil?

Thicker Oil: A Solution for Engines That Burn Oil?

In the world of automotive maintenance, one common issue that many drivers face is an engine that burns oil. This problem can lead to a variety of complications, including decreased fuel efficiency, reduced engine performance, and increased emissions. As a result, car owners often find themselves searching for solutions to mitigate this issue and keep their engines running smoothly.

One potential remedy that has been widely debated is the use of thicker oil in engines that burn oil. The theory behind this approach is that a thicker oil will create a stronger barrier between the engine’s moving parts, reducing oil consumption and preventing excessive burning. However, before delving into the effectiveness of this solution, it is important to understand a few key terms.

Firstly, what exactly does it mean for an engine to “burn oil”? When an engine burns oil, it refers to the process of oil being consumed within the combustion chamber, resulting in the emission of blue or grayish smoke from the exhaust. This can occur due to various reasons, such as worn piston rings, valve seals, or even a faulty PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) system.

Now, let’s explore the concept of thicker oil. The viscosity of an oil determines its thickness or resistance to flow. It is measured using a numerical grading system, with higher numbers indicating thicker oil. For instance, a common viscosity grade is 10W-30, where the “10W” represents the oil’s flow characteristics in cold temperatures, and the “30” represents its flow characteristics at normal operating temperatures.

Proponents of using thicker oil in engines that burn oil argue that it can help reduce oil consumption by providing a more substantial barrier between the engine’s components. Thicker oil is believed to fill the gaps between worn piston rings and cylinder walls more effectively, preventing oil from entering the combustion chamber and being burned. Additionally, it is thought to provide better lubrication, reducing friction and wear on engine parts.

However, it is crucial to note that using thicker oil is not a guaranteed fix for engines that burn oil. In fact, it may lead to other complications. Thicker oil can increase resistance within the engine, potentially affecting fuel efficiency and overall performance. It may also strain the oil pump, leading to inadequate lubrication and potential damage to engine components.

To determine the best course of action, it is advisable to consult with a trusted mechanic or follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. They can provide expert advice based on the specific make and model of the vehicle, taking into account factors such as climate, driving conditions, and the severity of oil consumption.

In conclusion, while the idea of using thicker oil to address oil-burning engines may seem appealing, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. The effectiveness of this approach depends on various factors, and it is essential to consider the potential drawbacks. Seeking professional guidance and adhering to manufacturer recommendations will ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your engine.

– Automotive Maintenance and Repair Association (AMRA)
– Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)
– Car and Driver Magazine