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My 2006 Mazda3 is burning oil like crazy. Is it possible the supplier for the valve stems seals during that time were faulty? Is there a way to check if the valve stem seals are in need of replacement without ripping the engine apart? Or possibly a bad PCV valve that is malfunctioning, but does not show up on a recall? – Joe

The Mazda3 and 6 models with the 2.3-litre engine from 2004 to 2007 have an elevated frequency of motors that consume oil, especially those equipped with a manual transmission. Valve stem seals, however, were not a common issue.

The easiest fix deals with the PCV valve and breather hose located underneath the intake manifold. These two items may form a blockage, restricting the system and re-directing engine oil into the intake system, where it is ultimately burnt by the combustion process.

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Piston rings are also questionable, as one or more of the oil control rings may have seized – which will permit moderate amounts of oil to slip past them, again putting unwanted oil into the combustion chamber to be inadvertently burnt.

Regardless of the root cause, the fallout is substantial as the excessive burning oil will cause the catalytic converter to plug and fail. Additionally, engines that are continually operated with insufficient oil levels will starve bearings, causing the motor to fail in an untimely matter. Have your PCV checked out and repaired, potentially slowing down the oil burning to a tolerable level. I do, however, suspect you will be shopping for a used motor soon.

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail globedrive@globeandmail.com, placing "Lou's Garage" in the subject area.

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