Why Is My Truck Burning Oil? (9 Reasons Why)

If you know anything about cars, you know they need oil to lubricate various engine parts. However, this oil can get in the wrong places of the truck’s engine, creating a burning-like smell.

If your truck is burning oil, you probably want to know what caused it. We did some research, and here is what we discovered about why this happens!

Why Is My Truck Burning Oil?

Trucks burn oil because there is a leak somewhere in the engine, so the leaking oil gets burned on the engine’s surface or in the combustion chamber. Faulty parts that can cause this include the valve seal, piston rings, and a loose oil filler cap. Plus, infrequent oil changes can lead to burning oil.

Are you curious to find out more reasons why your truck burns oil? We made a list of possible reasons below, so read on!

1. Faulty Valve Seals

Valve seals are a crucial part of every engine because they keep oil from entering the combustion chamber, but a faulty valve seal can make your truck burn oil.

However, the oil will start to leak past the valve seal if you have a worn-out valve seal.

Leaking oil will get burned off, but eventually, the oil can pool in the truck’s cylinder head and then slowly enter the combustion chamber.

Once you start your truck, your truck will smell like burning oil because the oil that entered the combustion chamber will start to burn.

2. A Stuck PCV Valve

If you have a stuck PCV valve, it is likely a good reason why your truck has been burning oil.

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Usually, the “crankcase” part of your truck’s engine (oil galley, crankshaft, oil pan, etc.) will get pressurized by the piston’s blow-by when your engine runs.

So, your crankcase ventilation system will recirculate the oil/air vapor pressure as a one-way valve into the intake tract to relieve pressure.

If this crankcase ventilation system gets clogged, the gaskets can get blown out because the blow-by will sit in the crankcase and keep pressure in.

3. Oil In Your Turbocharger

If you have a turbocharged truck, oil entering your turbocharger is a common reason why your truck burns oil.

Naturally, turbochargers require oil to lubricate the turbocharger’s turbine bearings within the unit.

Also, some seals keep the oil from leaking beyond the bearings and into the hot side (your exhaust side) or the cold side (your compressor side).

Whatever side the oil leaks from, the turbocharger will burn fuel, and it can eventually lead to a failing turbocharger.

4. Damaged Piston Rings

If you have piston rings that are worn out or broken, they could be why your truck is burning oil.

Usually, piston rings work as compression rings to let the piston compress the mixture of fuel and air without blow-by or leaks.

Additionally, oil control rings scrape the cylinder walls to remove lubricating oil to keep oil from entering the combustion chamber.

If these parts of the piston rings get worn out, oil can enter various parts of the engine, such as the combustion chamber, that makes your truck burn oil.

5. Loose Oil Filler Cap

Loose Oil Filler Cap

Your engine will have an oil filler cap that covers the opening, and engine oil can flow onto the engine and then burn if the oil filler cap is worn-out or loose.

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6. Very High Oil Pressure

Fluid will excessively flow through the engine if your truck has high oil pressure, and this oil can fall onto the cylinders and burn up the oil.

If you want to fix this, you have to figure out what is causing your truck to have high oil pressure.

Normally, high oil pressure can be from the central computer that has defects, or you may have put too much oil in your engine the last time you changed your oil.

7. Wrong Oil Or Low-Quality Oil

You have to change your oil after driving a certain number of miles, but some trucks may require very frequent oil changes because they are using low-quality oil.

That said, this is because the oil will be used a lot faster than usual, making it seem like your truck burns oil faster than normal.

Additionally, using the wrong type of oil for your truck can make it seem like your truck burns oil quickly.

Typically, you can check your truck’s manual to see what type of oil is recommended for your truck.

8. Infrequent Oil Changes

One of the most important aspects of owning a truck is ensuring regular oil changes because infrequent oil changes can make your truck burn oil.

If your truck’s oil is dirty and old, the oil will not be able to lubricate the motor’s metal components.

As such, there will be more friction in your truck’s engine that makes your truck consume more oil, creating a burning-like smell.

Usually, you can find out if your engine needs an oil change by checking the color of the engine oil, which should be yellow or tan.

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If your engine oil is dark brown or black, it means that you did not change your engine’s oil on time.

9. An Old Engine

In the first five years of owning your truck, you will likely not have any engine problems, given that you take care of it properly.

However, your engine will eventually experience some wear the more miles you get out of your truck, especially since components like gaskets and seals will deteriorate.

Eventually, your truck’s engine will have various small leaks that will make your truck’s engine use more oil, causing your truck to burn more oil.

Normally, this means that you will have to either repair your engine or replace your engine with a newer one.

To know more, you can also read our posts on why your truck is blowing white smoke, why your truck is blowing blue smoke, and why your truck shakes at high speeds.


Generally, trucks burn oil because there is a leak in the engine, causing oil to get burned over the hotter parts of the engine.

Lastly, not changing your engine’s oil properly or using the wrong type of oil can cause your truck to burn more oil.

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