We have a 2000 Elantra GLS (auto) and have owned it since it had fewer than 10,000 miles on it. It now has about 130,000 miles on it. Here is a brief history: A few years after purchase we got in a minor fender bender. Nothing but aesthetic damage (as far as we know) and the hood hasn't quite fit right ever since (barely noticeable really). Shortly thereafter the car overheated which I think caused some of the rubber seals to melt because ever since then it's burned oil very slowly (about a quart every 2 or 3 months). At some point the engine also ran with almost no oil in it for a little while because we hadn't discovered the fact that the oil was burning off.
It's been 3 or 4 years since we've had any issues with the engine that wasn't minor (hoses being replaced, etc) but recently the engine has had a hard time starting. When I opened the oil compartment to put new oil in I saw a few ounces of white-yellow goo on the back of the oil cap. In my experience this means a blown head gasket or a cracked head.
Traditionally people would just replace the car in this condition, but I'm much more keen on the idea of just replacing the engine to get another 10 years out of the car. What engine replacement options do I have for this car? Are there new engines out there I can buy for it? Is there an engine I can buy that will give me more power and be fresh and new and good? Should I replace the transmission at the same time? As I stated above it is an auto. My father-in-law was all excited about us getting an Accord VTech engine but then said it wouldn't be possible since it's an automatic transmission. I don't really know why.
Also, what is the presiding wisdom on how long a car can run under these current conditions? Does a few ounces of white goo mean I have a few hours left before it will die, or do I have another 10,000 miles on it potentially? I realize there's no exact science here so guestimates work fine for me. I do think I noticed a tiny amount of goo in the same place 6 months ago or so.
When engine overheats, seals and piston rings can get damaged therefore engine oil consumption is inevitable.
The difficult starting could mean engine compression is low due to the bad head gasket and possibly piston rings. Get a compression test performed to gauge the condition of the engine.
The goo indicates presence of water/coolant in the engine oil and usually that means a bad head gasket or even worse, a cracked cylinder head. It is not possible to predict how long the engine is going to last but since you have problem with difficult starting and if the compression test indicates low compression pressure, chances are it is going to fail shortly.
A new engine would cost bomb and it is not going to be vialble. Getting a used engine would be the best option.
For VTech engines, there are automatic transmission model as well.
If you are keen on changing engine to a more powerful one, turbo charged Mitsubishi engines would be the best option available.