When climbing prolonged uphills (not necessarily stiff), the engine starts burning a lot of oil and the power drops significantly.

I've noticed that if I make the climb on high RPM (~5k) this problem rarely happens, while on lower RPM (~3k) it happens every time.

What could be the cause of this? The model's Alfa Romeo 146 '97 with a 1.6 T.Spark 16V engine

EDIT: Besides the performance drop when this occurs, i also notice white smoke coming out of the exhaust.

  • What do prolonged uphills actually mean? Do you happen to live in a mountainous area? Also: what if you select the gear giving ~5k RPM at your preferred speed, and slow down so that RPMs drop to ~3k and the speed goes down?
    – juhist
    Sep 8, 2017 at 17:33
  • I'm actually talking about uphills in a couple of highways. These uphills, while not stiff, span for quite a few kilometers (20 to 50 km long). Last time it happened i was on the third gear at 4k RPM after a 10 min climb. If i slow down at the same gear, the problem still happens
    – Mitsosp
    Sep 8, 2017 at 17:40
  • Actually, i remember shifting down to a lower gear when it happened.
    – Mitsosp
    Sep 8, 2017 at 17:48

1 Answer 1


This forum post: https://www.ericthecarguy.com/kunena/8-Service-and-Repair-Questions-Answered-Here/31108-blue-smoke-coming-from-tailpipes-when-wot-floored#31413

...indicates that the problem might be in the bottom end, probably in your piston rings. In practice, this means that you have to replace at least the piston rings or perhaps the entire bottom end of the engine, if you want to get rid of the problem. You can of course delay the inevitable and continue driving the car.

Are you sure the smoke is white? Usually oil burning would mean the smoke is blue.

Also, now would be a good time to perform a compression test on the engine!

  • Yes, and it confused me for the same reason. It burnt 2lt of oil in a single uphill and the smoke was pure white.
    – Mitsosp
    Sep 8, 2017 at 17:42
  • If the piston rings where problematic, wouldn't it always burn oil? In my case, it only happens on long uphills
    – Mitsosp
    Sep 8, 2017 at 17:51
  • 1
    @Mitsosp Not necessarily, the increased cylinder pressure can increase oil consumption, as explained in the link.
    – juhist
    Sep 8, 2017 at 17:53
  • I'm quite confused, the link describes a problem that happens on high RPM while mine happens at low RPM
    – Mitsosp
    Sep 8, 2017 at 18:00
  • I think the factor is cylinder pressure, meaning the accelerator is floored. But let's see if somebody comes up with a better answer than mine!
    – juhist
    Sep 8, 2017 at 18:03

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