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I have a 2004 Pontiac Grand Am SE1. I just changed the oil a few days ago. After taking off the bolt from the oil pan, I was watching it run out and it was very thin and I thought that was weird until i saw was floating in the top of the oil and it was a yellow color. I also noticed after I drained the used oil back in the container that the jug was only half full. OMG the oil in my car was 2 qts low! then I put the jug up to my nose and smelled gas. Then when I went to take out the dipstick to check my oil i smell gas on the end of my dipstick. I have a lot of white smoke coming out of the exhaust out of the back end. mileage is 173000. I bought the car 3 years ago used and it was a lemon i had to do a lot of work to, to get it to run right. Car misfired and I had to replace all of the spark plugs and wires. changed the oil and the tranny fluid & filter (which was black). changed the air filter (it was black too). changed one of the 02 sensors, replaced the back window regulator and the motor, had to seal all around the front windshield with permatex because it was leaking into the car when it rained, had to replace the gear shift knob, had to replace the thermostat and the fans only turn on when the a/c is on. LOL. I think I should have sued the dealership for more money or they should have just gave me the car for free. LOL. Also last summer it got so hot there were several times when all of the coolant would disappear out of the reservoir and I would have to refill it after it overheated. oh i forgot, i just noticed the tranny pan is leaking by a couple of the bolts. are we having fun yet??I put a scanner on it and I am not getting any codes. I bought it when it had 152000 on it. Also will it pass an emissions text with gas in the oil?

what do you suggest? I fix my own car.

First, I always seem to put more oil in than I drain from the engine when I do an oil change. There is oil absorbed in the oil filter that never comes out, and there is oil that sticks to the drain pan that has to be wiped up or left there. Don’t think too much about that.

Some blow-by (gas leaking past the cylinders) is normal, but it sounds like you might have more than normal, which might mean it’s time to rebuild the engine, or at least have new piston rings installed, but before you do that, you might consider sending a used oil sample to a lab to have it analyzed. There are many companies that do used oil analysis. One of them can be found here.

What color is the smoke coming out of the tailpipe? Is it black or white? That can give an indication to what is causing the smoke. The fact that you have a coolant leak isn’t a good indicator. It might be time to let this car go.

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It is very possible that a defective fuel pressure regulator is causing the problem of unburned gasoline getting into the crankcase.

However, what I would suggest that you focus on first is the apparent multiple instances of overheating. Modern engines do not take well to overheating on even one occasion, so multiple instances of overheating–along with disappearing coolant–make me wonder about severe internal engine damage, including cylinder walls that have been scored, and possibly even warped cylinder head(s).

I would suggest beginning with a compression test, and if that reveals what I suspect is a very “tired” engine in its last few months of life, then you will have to decide whether to put any significant money into repairing it.

If the oil got to be 2 qt low you need to check the oil level more often.
My car uses no noticeable amount of oil, but I still check the level every 1000 miles.
Now that you know it uses oil you should be checking it every time you buy gas until you get an idea of how much oil it consumes.
The smell you say is gas might just be normal combustion products, not raw gas.
There is a subtle difference in smell.
The yellow stuff floating on the oil could be from moisture due to short trips, a clogged PCV system or a leaking head gasket.
Next time you buy a used car have it checked out by a mechanic before purchase.

Was the engine two quarts low on oil? Even with a full crankcase, I get less than the 3.8 quarts that my engine holds when I drain my oil. Maybe it was a quart low, or a quart and a half low, but draining less oil than you put in seems like a normal occurrence to me, so I’d adjust that estimate of how low the engine was on oil.

I know this is not a big part of this issue, so forgive me for obsessing about this one point, and feel free to ignore it if it agitates you.

…but I agree the OP should be checking the oil more often if he only notices the engine is low on oil when he does an oil change.

Please explain more about what 'was floating in the top of the oil and it was a yellow color". How much was there?

Some other liquid? If it was, then it might be antifreeze, meaning you have a bad head gasket.

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With the mileage stated, I would do a compression test and leak down test to get a better feel for the condition of your engine . The possibility of a leaking cylinder head gasket is pretty high in light of the information provided . The other test I would highly recommend would be to pressure test the cooling system . These simple tests will give you a good idea of overall engine condition .


yeah well i wish i could let it go but then i wouldnt have a car at all. my sister bought me this car after i had an accident and totaled my previous car. the smoke coming out the back end is white and has been white for the last 3 years.

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If this has two fans, the second one will only turn on with the A/C. I would be concerned if the first one is never turning on; that might be one reason for the overheating.
Please do get the tests done others have mentioned.

I have no idea what it was . I had one other person smell the container that has the oil from the oil change in it and he also said he smelled gas and then when i took out the dipstick and smelled the end of it it smells like gas too. I thought I was imagining things but then I had him smell it too and he smelled the same thing. I was also smelling gas fumes while i was driving last night. One of my other freinds suggested it could be the fuel injectors having a problem and that it needed new o rings.

…and/or you have a defective fuel pressure regulator, as I suggested earlier.

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What engine do you have?

2004 Pontiac grand am SE1 3.4 L 6 cylinder

I’m sorry to hear things are that bad, but I’m going to be honest here, and I’m going to try not to be rude or brutal.

If you’ve been driving this car in that kind of condition for three years, you shouldn’t be surprised at all to smell gasoline in the oil, and there is no quick fix. You are going to need a new engine (well, not necessarily “new,” but at least an engine rebuild or a used engine, new to you). The best case scenario is that you might only need a new head gasket, and a job like that will cost you at least $900, if you’re lucky. You’ve been on borrowed time for three years with this car, and I congratulate you on keeping it running this long. That’s quite an accomplishment.

If you’re going to keep driving this car in this condition, you should make a contingency plan for what to do when it finally dies. I recommend you keep a cell phone handy (even if it’s a cheap prepaid cell phone), and maybe invest in a mountain bike and some warm clothes. You can install tire studs on knobby bicycle tires for winter riding if you have to.

It might make you feel better to know I find myself in a similar situation, but not as dire. I drive an old high mileage vehicle that has depreciated to its salvage value, but I’ve finally decided not to sink any more money into it. I’m going to drive it until it dies and then use alternative means of transportation until I can afford a new car. I recommend you consider doing the same when the time comes.


white smoke is actually water in the form of steam if you have white smoke (steam) coming out of your tailpipe it means water is getting into the cylinders and is being heated into steam when combustion takes place.

i think the only way that gasoline could be getting into the oil is through the cylinders by getting past the rings.

Besides the gas slipping past the piston rings, there’s a path via the pcv system for gas in the intake manifold to get into the crankcase. The problem w/this theory is, there shouldn’t be much gas in that part of the intake manifold, and even if there was, the PCV valve should restrict the flow to prevent it from happening. And it should vent most of any gas vapor that gets into the crankcase back into the engine. But maybe you got two problems, the PCV system isn’t working, and maybe an injector is leaking a little. Try replacing the PCV valve, that’s a cheap fix. Might be worth a try anyway. It’s good that you fix your own car, but there’s no shame to asking a shop to help do the diagnosis first. Then you fix what the tell you is broken. I think that’s the best route for you.

Please edit your post and remove the profanity. This is a family friendly forum

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well then,

that escalated quickly…

right lol and where would this water be coming from? the only thing in my recovery tank and radiator is 50/50 antifreeze lol