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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My 2016 Mazda 3 is at 71k miles, so I figured I'd replace the spark plugs. When I pulled them out, one looked like this:
277953


There was oil on the bottom threads but the top was clean. At first I thought valve cover gasket, but now I'm thinking the piston rings might be shot. The strange thing is that I am not experiencing any of the other symptoms of worn piston rings. I'm 3k miles into my last oil change and the oil level is pretty much the same. My performance is fine. There is no excessive smoke coming out the back and the idle is smooth. What exactly happened here?

277954


This is what they all looked like.
 

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My 2016 Mazda 3 is at 71k miles, so I figured I'd replace the spark plugs. When I pulled them out, one looked like this:
View attachment 277953

There was oil on the bottom threads but the top was clean. At first I thought valve cover gasket, but now I'm thinking the piston rings might be shot. The strange thing is that I am not experiencing any of the other symptoms of worn piston rings. I'm 3k miles into my last oil change and the oil level is pretty much the same. My performance is fine. There is no excessive smoke coming out the back and the idle is smooth. What exactly happened here?

View attachment 277954

This is what they all looked like.
Likely just the plug seal w/ the valve cover gasket. I just did 2 other makes(a Chevy & a MINI) of fewer miles clocked. The former had bad plug symptoms that were smoothened back after the gasket & plug refresh.

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