2007 Toyota Camry Leaks All of its Oil

Last night while driving about a 1/2 mile from my house, my A/C light started blinking, the air got hot, and it smelled terrible like a burning engine. I immediately turned the A/C off and rolled down the windows. I waited a minute and then turned the A/C back on - the air was cold. I turned it back off and pulled into the driveway since I was now home.

I get out of the car. The air smells like terrible and some smoke is coming out of the hood. We open the hood and see that there are “wet” spots in different areas under the hood. Then we notice all the oil, about 2-3 cups, that has leaked onto the driveway in a matter of 10 minutes. There is also a trail of oil on the street leading up the driveway. We checked the oil and the dipstick has very little oil on it.

Any ideas?

DO NOT start the engine!

Running an engine until the crankcase is dry–or even almost dry–is sure to cause damage to bearings, cylinder walls, valves, and virtually every other lubricated part of the engine. Whether it is actually damaged depends to a great extent on how long the engine was run in this condition. A minute or two is probably surviveable, more than a few minutes is not promising in terms of the prognosis.

If the engine is started in an attempt to drive it to a mechanic’s shop, you will likely be putting the final bullet through its head, so to speak. Have the car towed to a reputable mechanic (that does not include the likes of Midas, Meineke, Monro, Sears, AAMCO, or any other chain operation) to determine how much damage might have been done to the engine.

Among other things, the mechanic should be able to determine how the engine lost “all of its oil”. This could be very helpful if the car had recently been serviced, as the last place to service the car might have erred with the oil drain plug or the oil filter. And, of course, the mechanic should be able to tell you what parts might need to be replaced, and how much it will cost.

If you are very lucky, it is possible that major engine damage has been averted. However, based on your description, I don’t think that this is likely.

Good luck with the outcome!

Agree with advice to NOT start and run the car. Even if you put oil in it first is sounds like the oil is being blown out under pressure. Too big a risk you’d run out of oil before you get to a repair shop.

Did you just have the car serviced? An oil change for instance? This could be a bad oil filter, or improperly installed oil filter. An oil line could have ruptured or a fitting worked loose somewhere in the engine. A mechanic can likely trace the leak and figure this out and do so without risking more damage to the motor.

Hopefully the bad smells was just oil contacting the hot exhaust manifolds and not your bearings and internal motor parts burning up.

How recently was the car last serviced; oil change, etc.? Any filler cap missing?

As far as I’m concerned, you had better start worrying about engine longevity. Any time an engine is run out of oil or extremely low on oil some damage will occur.
Problems may develop at that time, 6 months later, or even a few years later but they’re usually present to one degree or the other.

Last week I had the battery replaced as well as brake pads and a tire rotation. I haven’t had an oil change or service in 4-5 months.

Refill with oil, start the engine, and find out where the oil is coming from…Major leaks like this are easy to find. Most likely cause: Oil filter was double-gasketed and those unsupported gaskets blew out…So watch around the oil filter when you start the engine. To cure your problem, remove the oil filter, remove the extra gasket, make sure the remaining gasket is in place on the filter and reinstall it. Check for leaks.

Which engine???

If it’s the V6…then it could be the filter. This doesn’t use a canister filter like most cars. All you do is replace the paper-element…HOWEVER…the filter comes with two gaskets that should be replaced when the filter is replaced. Not difficult to do, but if someone is in a hurry they may skip this part. If they do then those gaskets could fail over time.

It is a V6 on the SE model.

Refill with oil…start engine and look for leaks. Check around the filter. The filter is located under the engine passenger side. You’re leaking a LOT of oil. Filter is my first guess.

If you didn’t get an “oil” light and there is still some oil in the engine, then you didn’t damage it yet. If you fill it up and start it to look for the leak, it won’t hurt it, just don’t try to drive it anywhere as you could loose too much oil at any time and then the engine would be ruined.

I tend to agree with the others who say the filter, but there are a couple of other possibilities. The oil pressure sending unit could have failed or a front or rear crank shaft seal could have popped out of place.

Since this is a fairly new vehicle and the oil is leaking at a fast rate, finding the leak should be easy. You can probably see the trail without starting the engine.

These cars have an issue with an oil line rupturing. Check out:


If you didn’t get an “oil” light and there is still some oil in the engine

DON’T assume that. Friends car oil light came on about .2 seconds before the engine seized.

The oil light will be turned off by very low oil pressure; say around 5 PSI or so.
Five PSI may open the oil pressure switch and turn out the light but it won’t do much for shielding crankshaft journals and bearings as compression pressures of a couple thousand PSI will squish that thin oil film right out the sides.

He still had some oil on his dipstick (“very little”) and the oil light didn’t come on.

See my comment above. If he still had some oil on his dipstick, however little and no oil light, you can’t assume that he had low oil pressure.

And you meant 5psi to turn the light on didn’t you? Or are we thinking of different lights?

In regards to the oil pressure light, not oil level, these usually open at around 5-8 PSI, which means the light goes out at extremely low pressures.
Pressure that low is not good on the engine.

There may have been a small amount on the dipstick but that is with the engine off. Once running there will be none on the dipstick because much of what remains will be in suspension and the pump may be sucking oil and air, which may produce enough pressure to kill the light but not enough to protect the motor.

ok I have the came problem here. My wife calls me and tell me she is at the top of the road and the cars is starting to smoke. 30 seconds later she is in the driveway and the oil is in the street and in my driveway. I open the hood and it is all over the place. Looks like the oil hit the belts and was thgrown all over the side of the engine. No oil light came on and it is empty. I put some oil in and tried to see the leak but no luck. Guess I will need to get it towed to the dealer. Any thoughts?

First, it is best to start a new post than to try to ‘hijack’ an older one. Second, if it is under warranty, let the dealer find it. My only guess is that either a gasket blew out, an external oil line fractured, an oil gallery plug blew out, or a casting cracked adjacent to an oil line.

It’s the vvt-i oil exterior oil line. Toyota started recall campaign around Nov 1. This issue is all over the net.

Explanation is here: http://sites.google.com/site/toyotav6oillinescandal/

Well, at least we now have an explanation for the difference in reliability ratings for V-6 Toyotas, vs the 4-cylinder models. For a few years, Consumer Reports has given a much lower reliability rating for the V-6 Camry.