Oil/Additive Suggestions


#1

I have a 2001 Chevrolet Metro with 105k miles. It’s a 1.3l with a 3spd automatic transmission. The car has recently begun to smoke a little on start up, but doesn’t seem to be consuming any oil yet. The smoking is worse the longer the car sits without being driven.



I used 5w30 Castrol Syntec Blend for about the first 90k miles, but have switched to 5w30 Mobil 1. The oil is changed every 5k miles. My family has had several Metros over the years, and this one is the first to smoke like this after less than about 175k miles. I’ve been told by several mechanics that the likely cause is worn valve guides in the head.



Does anyone have any suggestions on a different oil or additive that may help or reduce this? Would a heavier oil be beneficial? I am capable of replacing the head myself, but have no desire at all to do so. I can live with a little smoking if that’s what I have to do. I’d really like to get more years out of this car because I’ve babied it since day one.


#2

Don’t use a heavier oil. All this does is starve vital engine components at start-up.

You might want to try one of the high mileage oils such as Valvoline Max Life on the next oil change, and see if this reduces the smoking at start-up. If it does, then you know there’s a problem with the valve guide seals and not with the valve guides themselves. Which are much cheaper to replace.

Tester


#3

My first thought was just the seals, but I was told to be prepared for the guides. It’s going to be a total pain to do either. I tried Restore oil additive with no discernible change. I’ll try a high mileage oil for the next oil change this week. What are the differences between a regular and a high mileage?


#4

The high mileage oils have additives that cause the seals to swell thereby preventing oil leakage.

Restore engine treatment is for when the rings and cylinders don’t seat properly. It does nothing for engine seals.

Tester


#5

Ah, I’ll try the high mileage oil then. Thanks.


#6

The difference is the additive package they put in the oil. Modern oils have their own additives. There is no reason to add more.

High mileage oil makes the seals swell a little to close up small leaks. I think it also reduces the amount of oil burned.

I used to have a Honda Civic with 180,000 miles on it. One time I noticed that the oil level was dropping a little between oil changes. It wasn’t leaking, so I figured it was burning a little oil (probably less than 1/2 quart per 3,000 miles). When I switched to Pensoil high mileage oil it stopped burning oil. There was just as much oil after 3,000 miles as there was when it put it in.

One last note. In my opinion you are wasting your money on synthetic oil. This car was not made for synthetic oil, so there is no apparent benefit. I think you should switch to high mileage oil (which is conventional oil with different additives) and change it every 3,000 miles. It might just fix your problem (if you are lucky) and save you money.


#7

Get rid of the synthetic and try 15W40 which is usually for trucks. You shouldn’t care too much about a 2001 Metro. The engine was designed to be trouble free for 60,000 miles under good conditions. Also, see what weight oil is recommended for your car in the owner’s manual.


#8

The car has recently begun to smoke a little on start up, but doesn’t seem to be consuming any oil yet. The smoking is worse the longer the car sits without being driven.

What color is that smoke?  Frankly I suspect you don't have a problem.  Most any car will smoke a little at start up in winter.  White smoke means condensation in the exhaust system which is normal.  

I would expect you to notice some oil usage if you were using enough to cause smoke.   If the smoke is blue, then that is oil and the smoke is going away as the car warms up because the converter is consuming it.  Too much there and it will mean a new converter, but if you are not noticing oil usage, then it is not likely oil burning.

#9

Get rid of the synthetic and try 15W40 which is usually for trucks

If the OP lives in the Northern states…that is NOT a good idea. At 0 degrees 15w is like a paste…it could easily DESTROY an engine.


#10

My sentments exactly, Whitey!


#11

I am not saying this will cure your problem but I have had great luck with a former car by using Lucas oil treatment. Each oil change I squeezed a big glob in and my car never burned, dripped, consumed, smoked ,etc


#12

The car has recently begun to smoke a little on start up,
but doesn’t seem to be consuming any oil yet. The smoking
is worse the longer the car sits without being driven.

As others have noted, it’s likely the valve stem seals. However, if it doesn’t bother you, leave it alone and you’ll get many more miles from the engine.

I do agree with the idea of trying ‘high mileage’ oil.

Then at some point in the future if the smoke begins to bother you and you assume you only have a year or so left from the car, throw in some thicker oil. The concerns raised here about thicker oil are valid, but when a car is on its last legs, if it gets you through the last year, who cares.


#13

I guess I should add that I’m a college student. Not caring about the car’s longevity is a luxury I can’t afford.


#14

I have not had any oil related problems with any of my cars over the last 45 years and I have never used an oil additive.

I really love additives. They sell them, 95 % of their customers don’t have any problems (would not have had the problems anyway) and they make lots of money. I guess as long as it is cheap enough most people don’t mind paying money for something they they likely know they don’t really need.


#15

So it smokes a little on start-up… What’s the problem??? It’s the valve stem seals, a VERY common problem. It hurts NOTHING. Don’t worry about it! It’s not a mechanical issue and it’s not worth repairing…