Smoke plume

I have a '98 Camry that appears to have a valve guide leaking some drops of oil onto the piston overnight; first thing in the morning, it gives me a puff of smoke and the rest of the day, it’s fine. The car has 120,000 miles on it and my question is, is it worth to repair for about 2k or replace the car? Everything else is real good.

I had this with a Chevy 305 V6 at 200,000 miles or so. A small puff of smoke at startup. I never bothered to fix it since it did not interfere with the operation, or affected gas mileage.

The car was sold at 280,000 miles and the kid who bought it never fixed it either. At this time it probably has 400,000 miles on it.

If you need to go for a smog test, warm up the engine well, and don’t let it sit for a long time before you do the test.

Happy motoring!

I had the same problem with a 84 S-15…started when it was 3 years old…when I sold it 4 years later it still had it. Unless it gets real bad I woulnd’t worry about it.

I agree with Doc. It isn’t worth worrying about. There are those among us who may feel otherwise, some with concern about the possible effect on the cat converter, but I’m not one.

I’m going to follow your advice about warming up the engine real good before going for a smog test. That was my only concern at this time. It’s not really using any oil to speak of, so it will reamin as is.

I have a 97 camry and this seems to be common for this model. Bought it new and its done this for years. Forgetaboutit.

I say don’t worry, be happy as well. I will add that valve guide seals are easy to replace in some engines where they are accessible and you don?t have to pull the heads. The valves can be held up by rope or air and the seals pulled from above. You might want to check it out on a Toy board if someone here does not know.

Thanks for all the tips. I went to a local company that rebuilds engines and he suggested changing my oil from synthetic (5-30) to regular 40 weight. And don’t spend amy money fixing what isn’t really broken for a car of this age and mileage.

I would strongly recommend against a straight 40 oil for a number of reasons. Gasoline engines are constantly started and stopped. The first number of your oil designation is the start viscosity; the second the warm operating viscosity. So 5W30 is just right for most of the US. Using straight 40 for cold starts will cause excessive engine wear unless you live in Miami or Hawaii. Engines that use a straight 40 are those that are started warm, and then run a long time; locomotives, electric generators, marine diesel, etc.

If you live in Florida or Southern California, you could go to a 15W40 mineral oil without causing excessive wear. These oils are realively cheap and have a diesel high bearing pressure rating as well.

Try some high-mileage oil or add some engine stop leak to your oil. This will soften up those old seals, and make them swell. It may just stop the oil seepage. Better than a $2K fix for a minor problem.

Also, I agree to avoid the straight weight oils. Multi-viscosity oils are better for daily drivers just as Docnick described.

Thanks for your input on straight 40 oil. I live in central California where we don’t have cold winters(normally) but we do have hot summers. I’ll look for 15W40. But mineral oil, what’s that? What about 15W40 synthetic? Is that what you mean? Also, how well does stop leak perform? Hell, I’ll try it anyway.
Thanks, again.

I looked over the posts and I have to say that the color of the smoke could matter. If it is bluish, then all the posts are right on the subject. If it’s white, there’s nothing wrong unless you get it when the engine has warmed up. If it’s black smoke, there’s too much fuel on start-up and it’s probably not worth worrying about unless you notice a big black spot in the snow behind the car.

In astro pilot’s case, it would be a big black spot on a white sand dune behind the car.

Although there’s no sand dunes nearby, there’s no chance of snow, either. The majority of the suggestions are worth a lot of money, at this point. I’m just going to change the oil and add some “stop leak”. It can’t hurt !

Mineral oil is the standard stuff that comes out of the ground and is refined (dino oil). It comes in all grades or viscosities, from 0W20 to 20W50. The grade inducates the thickness. When we lived in Malaysia, a tropical country, all cars there used 20W50 dino oil.

Synthetic oil, as the name implies has custom made, uniform size and shape molecules. That makes it so slippery. It’s like comparing spaghetti with mixed shaped noodles! In your case, synthetic oil is not really necessary; It is used for extremely low and extremely high temperatures; Death Valley, Alaska North Slope. It also comes in a wide range of grades or viscosities, but the range is wider, such as 5W50, which makes is great as a year round oil. It also cost 3-4 times as much as good mineral oil.

The 15W40 dino is the favorate grade of oil for heavy duty trucks in normal and hot weather. It also comes in synthetic of course.

In terms of the oil consumption, the seal additive (engine stop leak) is worth a try, but don’t ads any more than indicated on the can. Too much seal swelling can cause other problems.

Hope that gives you some options.

The smoke color depends on the outside temperature. If it’s warm, the smoke is a light blue color, when it’s cold, the water vapor (white) will make it a milky light blue color. Black usually indicate a very rich fuel mixture (leaking injector?), while white on a warm day is the scariest; it indicated a coolant leak.

We assume OP’s smoke puff is mostly blueish grey, indcating some oil leakdown only.