When drivers notice excessive oil consumption, white or gray exhaust smoke, poor acceleration, and/or overall loss of power or poor engine performance, they may be seeing signs of worn piston rings. These hoop-shaped pieces of metal fit around the circumference of each piston, providing a seal between the piston and the cylinder wall that allows the piston to capture all the energy of the expanding gases generated in the engine.
Because piston rings wear down over time, it is important to bring the first signs of worn or damaged rings to the attention of the auto technician. By running a compression test, the technician can detect the presence of a leak and the need for repair. Worn piston rings allow engine oil to enter the combustion chamber, where it is burned, thereby reducing its supply.
TIP: Typically, and generally speaking, black smoke indicates excess fuel consumption while oil burning is usually a bluish grey smoke.
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