1999 camry oil consumption

I was using about half a quart of oil about every 3 to 4 weeks and someone told me the valve cover gasket was leaking some. Never noticed anything on the ground. Anyway, I had the gasket replaced and I’m still using the same amount. Been about 3 weeks since I had the gasket replaced. Anyone have any ideas what might be going on and is there anything I can do to slow this down without spending a lot of money. Thanks, Stephen

How many miles does the car have on it?
How many miles do you drive before having to add oil?

Valvecover gaskets will often begin to seep oil when they get old, but the oil behind them is not under pressure, it’s simply collecting a bit in some valleys that are in its path to the return paths, through which it runs back to the oil pan. Well-worn engines can create some minimal pressure under the valvecover by allowing old-age blowby, which is the compression and combustion pressures in the cylinders bypassing the piston rings some due to wear, faster than it can be relieved through the possibly clogged up PCV valve. But that alone is not a serious problem until it gets severe.

In short, seepage past old valvecover gaskets is not a serious problem. Unless the oil is running down onto the exhaust manifold and burning there.

In addition, your amount of usage might be normal, which is why I asked how many miles between quarts and how many miles the car has on it.

A compression check is always a good idea to assess the condition of an old engine, but first answer the questions.

First, thanks for responding… I drive about 30 miles to work 3 days a week and it is mostly on the interstate. The car has about 180,000 miles on it

How Many Miles Does This 15 Year-Old Car Travel In 3-4 Weeks ?


I might put on about 1000 to 1100 miles a month

So, assuming then that you don’t only drive to work, you probably drive 250 miles/week. You’re probably using a quart every 750-1000 miles.

In a 16 year old car with 180,000 miles on it I’d do nothing beyond checking the PCV valve. You can do that by simply removing and shaking it. If it rattles, it’s good. You might want to spray some carb or injector cleaner through it while it’s off. The PCV valve is simply a metal chamber with a loose metal piece in it that by moving within the chamber allows minimal passage of gasses from the intake to the space under the valve cover while allowing fairly free flow in the opposite direction. It allows the engine to reingest crankcase fumes while not allowing a backfire to travel back and ignite the fumes under the valvecover.

You can check the compression, but you’ll need to accept the fact that it might be low and prepared to decide whether to accept it or spend the bucks to rebuild or replace it. If it’s otherwise serviceable for you, I’d be inclined to let it be. I know this will spawn some disagreement, as many here prefer a totally healthy engine, and that’s okay. But for me… I’d stop at the PCV valve. It’s a decision you’ll have to make based on your own priorities.

Thanks a bunch mountain, I had not checked the pvc and will do. cheap fix it is not working properly. But the problem probably is really just an engine that is getting old. But you no what, this is a toy and I keep the oil changed regularly ( every 2500-3000 miles ) so if my only problem with this daily driver is going thru alittle oil monthly so be it. I will drive her till she croaks and get another camry

I wholeheartedly agree. It will probably be many years before it croaks. Contrary to popular belief, burning oil does not cause an engine to die… not keeping oil in it is what causes it to die. Excess oil burning can cause premature failure of the catalytic converter and/or the upstream oxygen sensor due to coating the surfaces with carbon, but how long that takes varies with the car.

Thanks for posting back. Happy motoring.

If not leaking, you have to consider that at some point the rings will become worn and the engine will begin to consume more oil than before. For some cars it happens at 100K and others after multiple 100K miles. Eventually though, all engines wear.

“I was using about half a quart of oil about every 3 to 4 weeks”
“I might put on about 1000 to 1100 miles a month”
“The car has about 180,000 miles on it”

I don’t see a problem here.

Just keep adding oil and drive on! At 180,000 miles the car does not owe you a lot and oil is cheap.

Consuming 1 qt of oil every 750-1,000 miles with a 16 year old/high mileage car is not something to be concerned about.

How would the OP feel if he owned a nearly-new Audi that consumed 1 qt of oil every 600 miles, and Audi of America told him that this was…“acceptable and normal”?


It’s a quart every 1500-2200 miles, based on the OP’s information.

Whether it is 1 qt per 750-1k miles or 1 qt every 1,500-2k miles, the stated rate of oil consumption would be considered normal in even a fairly new car.

When we factor in the high odometer mileage and the age of the vehicle, I can’t figure out why the OP thinks that this rate of consumption is a cause for concern.

Concur w/above posts, unless oil is dripping on the ground where the car is parked overnight, OP should make sure the pcv valve is in good shape and otherwise, besides the routine maintenance, just check the dipstick frequently. 16 years and 180 K, the car is is doing pretty good I’d say.