Oil In Cylinders [5 Easy Solutions]

Oil in cylinders can be caused by a variety of factors like worn-out piston rings, malfunctioning pistons, faulty valve cover gaskets, broken spark plug tube seals, and a blocked PCV hose.

Keep reading this article to find out more about these problems in detail.

Oil In Cylinders [5 Easy Solutions]

We’ll discuss the most common reasons why you can find car oil in cylinders. We would not only look at the problems but also provide a guideline that you can follow if you’re facing any of these issues.

Note: You can also read how to fix Oil on top of the intake manifold problem.

1.Worn Out Piston Rings

The job of the piston rings is to seal the combustion chamber. It minimizes the wastage of oil and removes any excess oil that may get to cylinder walls. But the piston rings can get worn out with time.

Damaged piston rings won’t be able to stop engine oil from getting into the cylinders. It’ll lose its ability to seal the combustion chamber. Worn-out piston rings are a common cause for getting engine oil in cylinders.


You can use a spark plug anti-fouler to solve the problem temporarily. It ensures that the spark plug stays far from the combustion chamber so that the spark plug doesn’t get covered in oil.

You need to do a compression test of your engine to fix the problem permanently. Find out which of the piston rings have gotten damaged and replace them.

2. Malfunctioning Pistons

The piston will make rattling noises if it gets cracked due to excessive heat. It’ll also cause the problem of oil in cylinder spark plug if it goes bad. Another common symptom of a malfunctioning piston is that your engine will often misfire and you’ll notice weaker engine performance.


The first thing you should check is whether it’s possible to repair your engine. There’s a good chance you can salvage the engine if you detect the problem at an early stage.

Your piston going bad could easily lead to other parts of your engine going bad as well. You can replace the piston but you need to figure out if it makes financial sense by consulting a mechanic.

3. Faulty Valve Cover Gaskets

The valve cover is a metal part on top of the engine. The valve cover gasket is located between the valve cover and the cylinder head of the engine. This valve cover gasket acts as a seal so that oil doesn’t leak into the cylinder head.

Like most other engine parts, the valve cover gaskets will also deteriorate over time. They’ll become cracked and let engine oil in cylinders pass through. Your engine oil will be consumed very fast if you’ve faulty valve cover gaskets.


Replacing the faulty valve cover gaskets is an easy fix to the problem. Valve cover gaskets aren’t expensive. They’re also easy to replace and you can do it on your own.

Before replacing the valve cover gaskets, check if the valve cover gaskets are at the recommended torque. The leak may also happen due to that. If the torque isn’t right, fix it with a torque wrench.

If the torque of the valve cover bolts is fine, you need to change the valve cover gasket. You can change the valve cover gaskets by following these steps:

  • Cool down the engine by turning off.
  • Look at the owner’s manual and see what parts you need to remove to get to the valve cover gaskets.
  • Remove the parts such as PCV hoses and spark plugs.
  • Take off the valve cover bolts.
  • Lift the valve cover.
  • Replace the faulty valve cover gasket.
  • Tighten the bolts to the recommended torque.
  • Put everything back together.

That’s it, you’re done. Be careful when you do this and make sure you’re not dropping any nuts or bolts on the engine.

4. Broken Spark Plug Tube Seals

It’s common to find oil in cylinder spark plug if the spark plug tube seals don’t work. Engine oil accumulates at the bottom of the spark plug. The spark plug tube seal prevents the oil from entering the spark plug. But if it breaks, it won’t be able to stop the oil.

That’s why you’ll see oil when you pull the spark plug. You’re likely to see oil on the spark plug boot and on top of the spark plug as well. 


You can replace the spark plug tube seals that have gone bad with new ones. You should also change the valve cover gasket while you’re at it as it needs to be changed from time to time.

If it’s too much of a hassle for you to change your spark plug tubes, you can try an oil sealant. You can mix these solutions with engine oil to prevent oil leaks.

5. Blocked PCV Hose

The PCV valve sends unused oil back to the engine. This PCV valve is connected to the PCV hose. Oil can leak into cylinders if the PCV hose goes bad. A blocked or soggy PCV hose can cause oil leaks on the engine.


You’ll need to replace the PCV Hose if it’s the one causing the problem. You can either do it yourself or hire a mechanic to do it for you.

How To Get Oil Out Of Cylinders

You can get the oil out of the cylinder by following a few steps. Make sure your engine is cool before starting this cleaning process:

  • Take a pen that has a diameter less than your spark plugs.
  • Wrap a paper towel around the pen.
  • Remove the pen while maintaining the shape of the paper towel.
  • Pull out your spark plug so that you can access the spark plug well.
  • Slide the paper towel slowly into the spark plug well.
  • Let the paper towel soak the oil and pull it out.
  • Repeat this process as many times as you need to get the oil out.
  • Spray a little brake cleaner into the spark plug well.
  • Spray compressed air to clean any dust particles.
  • Put the spark plug back on.


Is putting oil in cylinder a good idea?

Putting a little oil on top of the cylinder is a good idea as it’ll keep the piston rings lubricated. Make sure you only add a little oil as too much oil will have a negative effect on your engine.

Why are my spark plugs wet with oil?

The most common reason why your spark plugs are soaked in oil is damaged piston rings.

What happens if oil gets into the cylinder?

The oil that gets into the cylinder will be burnt off rapidly. There’ll be carbon deposits in your spark plugs if excess oil leaks into the cylinder.

How do I know if my piston rings are bad?

Excessive oil consumption is the most common indicator of bad piston rings. You’ll also notice grey or black smoke coming from the exhaust and a reduction in the performance of your engine.


Oil in cylinders is a bad sign for your engine. Unfortunately, most of the solutions require you to change the parts of your engine. But that’s the best thing you can do to enhance the performance of the engine in the long run.

Keep the vital engine parts in check at regular intervals. We hope the tips that we shared will help you to get the leaky oil out of your cylinders. Let us know if you have any questions for us by leaving a comment below!

About John M

John contributed as a technical head at an automobile company just 2 years after his post-graduation in Automobile Engineering. He loves to lead a free life, so he left his job & started blogging. Now, he does research on every automotive problem, part & product and seeks a better solution & best products & shares his findings with his readers to help them as well as to minimize their struggle.

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