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Why is there steam coming from my oil dip stick?

The car does have a blown head gasket that has been temporarily sealed using a quick fix solution from autozone and the car has not been overheating since. I plan to get the gasket replaced once i save up enough money.

When i check the oil (which is a healthy blackish brown color by the way) I see a small amount of steam coming from the hole of the dipstick. This only happens right after i've been driving for a while.

I also have a really fast oil leak.. like it will go from full to low in a week, or maybe even less.

What could this steam mean?

2 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Steam is caused by burning coolant/antifreeze.

    An easy tip:

    Black smoke = burning fuel

    Blue smoke = buring oil

    White Smoke = burning coolant

    What happens is that when your car is driven, your coolant goes all throgh your block and back up through the heads to the thermostat and then back to the radiator. When it is transferring in the block, it is trickeling over to your cylinders and getting down to where your oil is to mix to get that chocolate milkish color. If you have been driving this car with the gasket blown, I would check the heads and block to be sure they aren't cracked. Water in oil is extremely bad for the bearings. I would get that oil out of there fast. And about your oil leak, it is probably mixing with your coolant as well if you don't see it dripping on the ground. Check your radiator and coolant and overflow tank if you have one. If it's still green, you are good. If not green, pretty bad. I would get that flushed out of there and replace the head gasket and check the heads and block for cracks and warpage around the same time. This really isn't the best of things for a car. It is really bad.

    So the steam means coolant is being burned. Which is caused by getting into your cylinders. I would get these problems checked out before your motor is a complete lose. Hopefully your cylinder wall(s) don't have a crack. It's always a possibily the block could be cracked especially since the car was driven while the coolant was with the oil. Man, hopefully you solve this. Best of luck!

    Source(s): Chevy Performance Race Builder - 18 years old.
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  • 1 decade ago

    Does the water level get low along with the oil? When you say blackish brown is it a dark brown or a brownish black? If it's more on the brownish side, coupled with the fact that you're seeing steam AND you know the head gasket is blown then you're probably getting water into your oil - WHICH IS EXTREMELY BAD.

    The head gasket is one of the dividers which seperates oil passages from water passages so if it's not doing it's jog, you probably have those two passage ways mixing their contents.

    If there was a lot of water in the oil, the oil would look a nasty yellow color (like a yellow baby number two).

    If you're driving around with a blown head gasket and seeing steam it sounds like things are starting to get worse, just my two cents. The longer you go, the larger the probibility that the head is warped/cracked, which is going to cost you more than just replacing the gasket.

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