Smoke coming from tailpipe

my car recently has had smoke coming out of the tail pipe. The car has 170,000 miles on it already and I was wondering if it is worth putting money into or if I should trade it in. Everything else works fine on the car. Seems to be blue mixed with white smoke and we looked online and believe it to be a valve problem that is letting oil into or out of a valve.

Blue smoke is a pretty good indicator that the car is burning oil, but then that should not really be surprising with 170k on the odometer. White smoke is usually an indication of coolant/water getting into the combustion chambers, and that could have a few possible causes–none of them good.

If the car is merely burning oil, I would suggest that you monitor its oil consumption very frequently, and add oil as soon as it is down by 1/2 qt. NEVER allow the dipstick to fall 1 qt or more below the full mark. Surely it is not worth the expense to repair whatever is leading to oil consumption (worn piston rings, worn valve guide seals) on a car that is at least 14 years old. As a result, you should just keep a close eye on the oil level and continue to drive.

However, if there is indeed white smoke, you need to have this investigated. Once again, the car is not worth the repairs (head gasket replacement, cylinder head replacement, new engine block) involved with a situation of coolant/water getting into the cylinders, but at least you should know what is going on so that you can make a decision as to whether you want to junk the car now or later. A compression test and a cylinder leak-down test would give you some idea of what you are dealing with, and that should be helpful in your decision-making process.

Monitor your oil and coolant levels as well as your temp gages. If everyhing continues to run well, your coolant level stays up, and you top off your oil level when necessary, you’ll probably get many more years out of it.

The engine’s internal condition could be assessed with a compression test, but since it’s running well I think the best thing to do is just “read” the condition of the sparkplugs when you change them during scheduled maintenance. You can learn a lot about what’s happening in the cylinders by reading the sparkplugs.

As long as no other problems develop and the oil level os kept up, engines can go for years and years burning oil. Lots of them do.

I noticed that my car(this morning) also has some sort of smoke coming out. I already freak out as i did the tail pipe replacement last 2weeks ago. I’ll follow your advice in here and hopefully that will not create bigger problem