Discolored oil

My CV is a taxi w/292k on and I change the oil 2x per month. I check it daily. Since the last change the color has changed from amber to toast and I’ve added 3 additional quarts of oil. There’s also a "tick, tick tick " under the Hood.

There are no obvious leaks under the cab and I’m not billowing smoke from exhaust pipes.

What can This mean and what can I do to mitigate the inevitable.

99% of this cab is factory original including engine /transmission.

Also, I’m looking for a possible replacement that has the same durability and pretty low maintenance, relatively speaking.


A taxi with 292,000 miles? That’s probably equal to a family car with 600,000 miles.

I’d start by picking up a Consumer Reports at eth local bookstore. That’ll give you every make and model available and good information on each.

My understanding is that Crown Vics go 500K to 600K miles in taxi service. Check your coolant to see if it is going down or if there are signs of oil in it.

Wow, great idea to check coolant. I hadn’t considered that, living in the NW as I do, thanks.

A well maintained Crown Victoria with “only” 292,000 miles should not go Tick Tick, but since it does and uses 3 quarts per month, I am assuming it has had a rough life with little care. The color of the oil is not that important; the oil in my Nissan turns dark after 1000 miles, yet the engine is in near new condition.

You need to take this car to a good mechanic who knows engines (not a tire or muffler shop) and have a compression check done, as well as having the valves and tappets checked out. If most of the oil is going past the valve guide seals, you may not see a lot of blue smoke form the exhaust, but your catalytic converter will be burning it and will soon plug up! The compression test will tell you if the engine needs valve guide and seals, piston rings, or a complete overhaul.

I would budget at least $1500-$2000 if you want this engine to be brought back to normal.

Crown Victorias are very good cars and will last a very long time with the right amount of care. If you are looking for a “low maintenance” taxi, they don’t exist. Every car and taxi needs maintenance, and if not done, it will starting acting like yours at 292,000 miles.

Well maintained taxis can easily get to 1 million miles without an engine overhaul. Contrary to what mountainbike states, taxi service is not that severe, and involves few warmups (a major cause of engine wear) per 1000 miles, and aside from the idling the service is not too severe. Car manufacturers call it severe service because they don’t know how the car might be abused. Taxis have a different warranty as well in most cases.

Prior to being a cab it was a police car so I have no idea how well it was txted before '08 when I bought it. I’ve tried to be scrupulous with maintenance. I’ve had the same mechanic for ten years but it might be time for a second opinion.
Thank you

At the moment, I own 3 Crown Vics…Two of them are former police cars…Nothing lasts forever and 350K miles is about the upper limit without extensive repairs. You can buy another retired P71 at auction much cheaper than rebuilding your very tired taxi…I’m just guessing, but the 4.6L overhead cam design uses a roller chain(s) drive system with several chain tensioners and guides. Here may lie the source of your noise and discolored oil…But like I said, you might be better off entering “P71 Crown Victoria” into e-Bays search window…In the cab business, the only thing that matters is cost per mile, but you already know that…

Have a Ford expert check the noise before you make a decision…

I’m thinkin along those lines myself; I just hate to throw it out! At any rate I’ll check it out. Thanks for your info.
Will check in later; past my bedtime, later!

Police cars spend a lot of time idling. This puts wear on the engine that’s not reflected by the odometer.

Go with a used Grand Marquis. They don’t cost a lot & most have been driven gently by older owners.

Thanks for the additional info; police cars idle far more than taxis and are often driven very fast, even going from one donut shop to the next one! If the engine is the only problem, I would fix it properly and spend the money. Police cars are normally well maintained at least, and have a lot of heavy duty equipment.

Checking the coolant regularly, as suggested, is something that should be second nature to you. Do that at least once a week or every second tankful. When I was in sales, I drove a great deal, and constantly checked everything, so as not to be stranded in remote areas.

There are a few grand Marquis in the fleet that seem to wear well. Thanks for all the useful info. Very helpful.

One of the limo companies our company uses is this company out of NH called Flight Line. They have these huge vans (not sure of the make). The guy was telling me the one he was driving had 850k miles on it. And they had a couple more in the fleet with over 900k miles…all original engines and transmissions.

Just an update; we changed coolant and have twice changed oil using Lucas treatment. The oil degradation is much improved and only used 1.5 qts additional oil.
I’m also using motorsilk? engine tx; anyone familiar with that product?

Police cars are some of the most abused vehicles around. Very hard driving under rough conditions. (can you say “I’m in pursuit?”) 300k on one is a lot of miles!