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Valve Seals?


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I am beginning to think the smoke I get from my car could be valve seals. I am currently using 1 litre of oil every 2500 - 3000 miles which although not ideal is manageable. The reason I sometimes think my issue is fuel related is because my fuel consumption is pretty bad and can show as little as 15mpg if I reset the trip and do a short local run.

I have posted 2 videos of my car yesterday on a cold start. The outside temperature was around 9C. In the first video my brother revs it upto 3500RPM and in the second upto 4000RPM. Keep in mind the colder weather is yet to come so you can imagine what it will look like in a months time.

Any advice or insight is as always highly appreciated.



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Well there's your oil...

Blue/Grey Smoke:

Blue/grey exhaust smoke is an indication of oil burning in the combustion chamber. These are possible symptoms and causes:

Valve Seals: Leaking valve seals will cause blue/grey smoke at start-up because oil leaks past the seals into the cylinder after the engine shut down.

Valve Guides: Excessive clearance between the valve stem and the valve guide allows oil to leak past the gap into the cylinder.

Piston Rings: Worn or damaged piston rings will cause blow-by resulting in blue/grey smoke.

Worn Cylinder Walls:

Worn cylinder walls cause blow-by resulting in blue/grey smoke.

PCV System:

A stuck closed PCV valve will cause excessive crankcase pressure resulting in blue/grey smoke.

White/Grey Smoke:

White exhaust smoke is an indication that coolant is burning in the combustion chamber. These are possible causes:

Cylinder Head:

A crack in the cylinder head (around the coolant jacket) will cause coolant to enter the combustion chamber.

Engine Block:

A crack in the deck of an engine block near the coolant jacket will cause coolant to enter the combustion chamber.

Head Gasket:

A damaged or blown head gasket will cause coolant to enter the combustion chamber resulting in white/grey smoke coming from the tailpipe

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Wow, thank you for taking the time out and giving me such a detailed reply. I dont think it is coolant related because my coolant hasnt budged in the last 10 months and is still nice and blue.

Also the oil looks nice and dark and isnt milky. I checked the PCV a few months ago and when I shaked it it was rattling and it didnt have any oil in it or in the pipe that leads off from it.

Also a compression test was done which showed 3 cyclinders at around 180 and 1 lower at 150 which I thought was again not perfect but still decent compression for a 10 year old engine.

So the question is, is it worth sorting this out or do I pull away with a 'Stars in there eyes' cloud until the weather warms up again.


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The car looks in good condition so I would fix it, if only to save the planet,,, :laughing:

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id spend a fiver on a bottle of wynns engine oil stop leak

ive never been a great fan of bottles of miricale additive as they either don't work or have temporary effects.

but I do try them from time to time .

I have had results with stopping crankshaft oil seal leaks etc with this stuff as it rejuivinates the rubber or whatever.

it may or may not work and might give a clue if it is your valve seals.

just another note

not always true but a good rule of thumb

valve seals / guide issues oil usually runs down the valve when motor switched off so on restart you get a lot of smoke then it burns off and clears abit

piston issues may seem more smoke under a higher engine load ( max weight pulling up an incline as opposed to cruising at 60mph) and as you say pulling away from the lights gives you the big puffs and you have a 16.6 % difference in one of your cylinders compression a makes me sway towards piston/ring/ cylinder issues.

valve seats and hg can cause the cause the deviation too though.

hg have different symptoms you don't always get cross contamination of water and oil it can be between oil gallery and cylinder or as stated above a crack.

how were your spark plugs?

was there a hot and cold compression check done / any difference?

is there any access to remove inlet manifold to see if possible to view fresh oil run down any valves?

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Boboo thank you for your reply. Looks like its going to be bad news on my car. Oh well it could always be worse.


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I don't think that the smoke was that bad. It was very light grey, so it was probably mainly water. You should have seen my old Golf, it looked like a forest fire it it had not been started for a couple of days.

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Hi Mo,

I looked at the videos and the smoke looked excessive, until the camera was panned following the smoke trail. The smoke dissipated quickly after that.

Was it cold and the car fully warmed up? The smoke colour showed grey on my laptop screen, which means condensation and normal.

Do the test with a hot engine with the cooling fans kicking in. Record and upload.

If oil was burning, you get a bit of blue smoke and a lot more on over run and when the throttle re-applied immediately.

We have been through of the options earlier this year.

I have to say that I too would be worried if I was getting 15mpg. That means your range is barely over 180 miles per tank!!!

I am not an expert, but I wonder if the temperature control sensors and warm up system are not working properly?

The oil consumption is very bad too. I would have the valve seats repaired. When the head comes off the mechanic will be able to make a decisive call.


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Hey Conrad how are you mate?

I normally average 25 mpg and get between 290 - 320 miles on a full tank but that is all local driving. I do think it is running rich because as soon as the car gets upto normal temp the smoke is reduced by 75%. I still get bits when stuck in traffic or accelerating hard. When I took the video the car had just been started and the temperature was about 9C. Also as soon as it gets to temp the idle becomes rough especially when the radiator fan kicks in.

My mechanic wont touch the valve seals but regardless of all these issues it still starts first key and gets me where I am going so I guess I have to agree with my Dad when it comes to Toyota reliability.


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Hi Mo I am fine.

Yesterday I was driving and my car had a lot of steam when warmed up and sitting in traffic.

My range has dropped too. I am down to 360 miles at 52 litres of mainly town driving.

The cold weather does not help. I even used the air-con to demist the interior, not forgetting the fog and running with all the lights.

Off subject.

I have not heard from Waqar lately. Will send him a message.

Sky telephone and broadband is down. I think I was partially affected but every was back with 30 minutes. This was late Tuesday night. It is still down for some right customers right now.


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