Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Blue smoke while climbing hills

1997 Hyundai Lantra LS 1.8 5-speed.

I live in a really flat area, but we’re surrounded by hills and mountains. Whenever I have to go into the mountains I start to get blue smoke from the exhaust after a few minutes of climbing. The longer or steeper the hill, the more smoke I get.

Obviously I’m burning oil, but I’m not sure what would cause the problem only when the engine is being taxed.

YOU answered your own question. The engine is being taxed. I’m guessing it uses some oil on the flat, and much more when you have to flog it harder. It is showing signs of wearing out.

It’s burning oil all the time, just not as much while driving on flat terrain. You don’t see it because the catalytic converter burns it up.

The harder you work the engine, the more oil it burns.

If you can actually see blue smoke you’re burning quite a bit of oil.

How many miles on this car?

There are a couple of places where the oil comes from:

-Worn oil control and/or piston rings. A compression test should show this very easily.
-Intake and exhaust valve stem seals. Can’t really see this without tear down of the head.
-PCV system. Replace the PCV valve, and change the engine oil, and this should lessen.
-Old worn out engine oil. Gets turned into oil mist under high heat conditions, and turns into blow by and sucked up by the PCV system. Just change your oil.

So, start off with an oil change, change the PCV valve, and get a compression test done to see how the engine is in that regards.


Also check the passages in the whole PCV system for clogging.

It does have 205K KM, so it’s getting up there. It’s due for an oil change, so I’ll have the garage take a look at the compression, too, while I’m there.

You have a 14 year old car with 205,000 miles. I think you have done very well with your Elantra. It has the right to have a drink of oil every now and then.

I think that’s 127K miles (205K km).
I’d had many cars pass that with no oil consumption.

I have the exact same problem only my car, Ford Fusion only has 40,000 miles on it. Is this something else and worse because there isn’t that much miles on the car?

@Shelbygirl, did you buy this car new?

Early oil burning could be due to lack of oil changes or improper break-in.

Shelbygirl, are you sure the blue smoke is coming out of the tailpipe? If you just see it in your rear view mirror, it could be coming from other places. You may want to have someone follow you while you drive up hill to check. An oil leak from various places (or even just sloppy filling) can drip on something hot like the catalytic converter or the exhaust manifold and a couple of tiny drops can make a lot of smoke. A leak or spill will be easier to take care of.

If it really is coming specifically from the tail pipe then you are probably burning oil which would be quite unusual. You might want to take it to the dealer and press them for a warranty repair. Even though it is out of warranty by a few thousand miles, a new engine should not burn oil unless it was seriously abused in some way.