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Less oil burned when very low? (1996 Jeep V8)


Dealer lets me take a Jeep home to take it to my mechanic early the next day. First time I looked at it, it coughed a bit of blue smoke, then cleared up. There’s 141K on the car. Called around, the general consensus seems to be possible valve guides.

In checking it out last night noticed it was very low on oil. I added a quart and drove it around for awhile. Didn’t think to check for any emissions plus I was driving around by myself.

This morning I had my wife start it while I stood behind to check for the first-thing smoke. It was there, but also would give a bit of smoke when revved up.

A single bit of smoke first thing on startup doesn’t seem that bad, but every time I accelerate is a concern. Plus, does that make sense? Very little smoking when level is low? Should I be suspicious?

How low is ‘very low’? And constant smoking is cause for concern, yes.

It was still registering on the dipstick, but just a little, say 1/4 inch. It was about the same distance below the lowest line. I wish I would’ve checked it before, when I first saw it, but it was late in the day, didn’t have anything to wipe it off with, my wife was with me (who LOVES doing all that car stuff)…

Sounds like it was 2 quarts low - I’d walk away from it.

Forgot to mention, when I first looked at it, it had only been at the dealer a day or two, hadn’t been detailed. Pretty dirty inside, previous owner stuff, but also the oil cap wasn’t on the valve cover.

This is pure conjecture, but I could imagine that getting lost a lot easier if you’re having to put oil in it frequently, you know?

Unless you have budgeted for an engine rebuild or replacement, I would walk away from this deal.

It probably isn’t smoking as much when low because there isn’t enough oil pressure or oil volume to feed oil to the starving valve train, so less leaks past the valve guides. As others have said, I’d walk away from this deal.