What is a vent oil separator?

As your vehicle burns fuel and creates exhaust, the gases it produces have to go somewhere. If not properly ventilated, gases could pass into the engine’s crankcase, which essentially holds the engine’s parts together. That, in turn, can create pressure that can blow seals, gaskets, or other parts.
That’s where a functioning ventilation system comes in. One component of that is a positive crankcase ventilation valve. The other is a vent oil separator hose, which collects oil droplets that have been separated from the gases created so that oil doesn’t enter the combustion chamber. This is where the gases will be ignited and eventually pass through your car’s muffler and out the tailpipe.
MORE: How to make your car last longer

How to replace a vent oil separator

Here’s what to expect when a mechanic replaces your vent oil separator:
  • Confirm the problem with the vent oil separator
  • Remove the intake and vent oil separator
  • Install the new intake and vent oil separator and reattach the hoses
  • Check for leaks in the new system for leaks with engine running
  • Test drive the vehicle to ensure the new parts are in working order

How do I know if I need to replace my vent oil separator?

If you notice these warning signs with your vehicle, it may be time to replace your vent oil separator:
  • You’ve found oil in the PCV valve
  • Your car seems to be using too much oil
  • Your check engine light is on and your engine seems to be struggling while it runs
  • You notice the exhaust is emitting white or blue smoke
  • Dirt, moisture, and oil are accumulating under your oil cap
If you’re unsure or need a second opinion, it’s best to have your mechanic take a look.

How important is replacing a vent oil separator?

Replacing a vent oil separator is pretty important! If left unaddressed, a faulty or clogged vent oil separator hose could lead to damage to your vehicle’s engine or an oil leak.
Sometimes, a vent oil separator will become clogged, which can lead to a build-up of pressure and increase the risk of blowing a seal on your crankcase. Other times, it could have too much oil, causing the engine to misfire. Winter weather can be hard on a vent oil separator, too.
MORE: How to do summer car maintenance

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