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Smoke

I think it’s likely that a dozen years ago, when you ran the car out of oil, you did some damage to the piston rings. And there’s nothing you can add to the crankcase that’s going to fix those now.

Plus, the car is 16 years old. Even if you hadn’t had an oil “incident” in the past, simple old age and high mileage might have caused this by now.

So, don’t get down on yourself, Jesse. You got more years and miles out of this car than anyone ever expected you to. In fact, it’s probably a rarity when you see another one of these on the road.

If you want to keep this car on the road as long as possible, the most important thing you can do is the exact opposite of what you did in its early years. You now want to pay extra attention to your oil level and oil changes. Check your oil regularly, and top it up when it’s down half a quart. Also, change the oil every 3,000 miles or so, because newer, cleaner oil will burn less quickly than old, dirty oil.

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