Good advice but no mention of the FILTER

I noticed the latest column and thought it was good advice. A Burning Theory About Burning through Oil - Car Talk

One of my friends has a real oil leaker so never bothers to change his oil. The oil always looks pretty clean when he pulls the stick which makes sense as he is dumping oil in as fast as it can leak out. Anyway, he neglected the filter for a year or more, figuring it wasn’t a big deal since he was always adding so much oil. Anyway, he lost oil pressure one day and wasn’t exactly sure why. It ended up being that the filter was so incredibly plugged that it wasn’t allowing enough oil to pass.

In a case like this, the oil probably doesn’t need to be changed but the filter sure does. It is the rear main seal. The truck has A LOT of miles so he figures if the transmission has to come off, he might as well get a new engine at the same time. It is also a pretty good beater so he is on the fence about just not spending more money on it and selling as it sits. This is one you don’t want to follow on the highway, especially if you hit a hill. It seems like the oil just pours out the back onto the hot exhaust whenever he climbs a hill.

Now he just changes the filter every 4-5 months and keeps adding oil.


Maybe more often than he needs to.
I would figure out how long it took to clog and divide by 2 or 3. :smile:

Put me on the list of people who don’t want this polluting vehicle on the road.


Didn’t the filter have a bypass valve?

I wondered the same thing. Either way, he changed the oil and the filter and the problem was gone. I wonder if the valve plugged or malfunctioned. It would sometimes lose oil pressure and sometimes not. He put Seafoam in it right before the change and the pressure seemed better as well. Once the new filter was on, the problem was completely gone.

I saw something similar once before. It was an oil burner of a Chrysler minivan with a cloud of blue smoke that followed it. It was a friend’s dads car and he borrowed it one time. I helped him change the oil on this one and the oil filter felt like a lead weight when we removed it. His dad thought that since it was burning oil, changes were not required. He had the same deal where it would lose oil pressure because of this.

In that case the engine was just worn out from the neglect and the fact it was probably pretty crappy from the start. He did find that he pretty much had to run a thicker weight of oil to keep pressure so the engine was toast and you couldn’t just blame it on a filter. He just needed it until he graduated college and got a good job. I am pretty sure he convinced his dad to get rid of it as it was not worth the effort to fix. He was also in the Air Force ROTC program and the base inspectors didn’t like the condition of the car and told him it might not be allowed on bases in the future as well. I guess they have more stringent requirements than most states.