2007 Toyota Camry Oil Consumption recall then oil overfilled and car smoking

I’m sorry for the long story but it has to be told so you knew where I am coming from. I have put the question first but the story tells what Toyota is trying to pull. Everything I read on line tells me that overfilling an oil tank can lead to valve stem seal damage (the problem they want to charge me $2,000 to fix) or other problems. That it’s just as bad or worse than driving with no oil. I’m looking to see if anyone here has ever had this issue or can tell me from a mechanical view if I’m way off base. I have a feeling I’m going to have to take Toyota to court to get my car back in order. It was bad enough my water pump blew a month before I found out about the oil burning recall, which I also read that the water pump can be damaged from burning oil. I honestly don’t know where to turn…can anyone tell me what kind of damage can be done to a car driving with an overfilled tank for 3 and a half weeks and possibly with the cap loose or off for that entire time?

I have a 2007 Toyota Camry, 4 cylinder…I brought the car in for the oil consumption test…they filled my oil and sealed it, told me I needed two new spark plugs…my son drove the car off the lot and it stalled 3 times, he brought it back. They told him we needed a new ignition coil, I told them not to touch it I’ll have my mechanic look at it, and what a coincidence that it all of a sudden had that problem. They brought the car back into their shop and 15 minutes later, the car was running fine!! Okay, so I do the allotted driving, bring the car back and it fails the oil consumption test, they keep it to do the repair. They repair the pistons and the piston rings (still trying to charge me for the spark plugs that could have been damaged from me burning oil for so long but that’s besides the fact). The said they are only allowed to fix what toyota says for the recall and that is the piston and piston rings. I drive my car for 3 weeks…it starts to blow blue smoke…My mechanic doesn’t even look under the hood he sees by the tailpipe that there is oil there. Tells me Toyota didn’t fix it. Oh before I bring it back to Toyota, my son is driving it and it sounds like crap so he stops and opens the hood to find the oil cap is not on the tank. WHAT!!!
Bring it to Toyota…the mechanic has it for 5 minutes calls me back and asks, in a very concerned voice, if I filled the oil since it was there and have I been driving with the oil cap off. I say no to both because I hadn’t talked to my son yet. The oil tank was overfilled by the Toyota service department and the cap either left on loosely or not at all. All of a sudden the fact that it was driven with an overfilled tank and the cap off isn’t a big deal because they did it!!!1
So they tell me it’s my valve seals and it will be $2,000+ to fix it. I’m like hell no!!! Another coincidence??? I called Toyota corporate and start an official case against the dealership…they send it to the GM. The GM says he wants me to drive the car another 1,000 miles…I don’t know why but I tell them it’s blowing a lot of smoke and making funny noise…I don’t feel safe. They have me bring the car back in for them to check…(I don’t trust them but I bring it in) So they call me all nicely and say yes the oil was overfilled, so they drained it for me (REALLY!!!) they at first can’t hear the noise, then hear the noise and say it’s the oil pump but they checked everything and the oil pump is fine. They then tell me they still can’t see the blue smoke so they keep it overnight…call me the next day, see the blue smoke and tell me they are doing the oil consumption test again, I have to drive it for another 1,000 miles. I told them they overfilled the oil which could cause engine problems, let alone the valve stem seal damage they are telling me needs to be fixed. Mind you it wasn’t until the last day that they finally saw the smoke but quoted me valve stem seal damage (without ever looking at the valve stem seals). When I asked about all this they said that driving with the overfilled oil for that short amount of time couldn’t cause any damage let alone the valve stem seals.

THANK YOU for any help or guidance.

The post is full of a lot of misunderstandings, and that’s making it difficult to sort out the real problem. But before I try, how many miles does this car have on it? Has the maintenance been kept up to date?

Firstly, overfilling the oil does not cause damage to the valve stem seals. The valve stem seals only prevent the oil running back down to the oil pan from getting drawn into the cylinders, nothing more. They have no idea what the level of the oil is. However, high mileage can cause oil burning via the valve stem seals. They’re rubber, and they wear out over time. There is no way to inspect the valve stem seals. If an engine is burning oil during deceleration, and/or blows blue smoke out the tailpipe upon startup (especially in the morning), the seals are the first and foremost suspect. What actually happens is that on deceleration the high cylinder vacuum pulls oil past worn stem seals and burns it, and when parked overnight the oil drips past the valve stem seals and onto the back of the valves, and into the cylinder where a valve is open. It them burns off when you start the car in the morning.

Overfilling the oil can, however, cause other more serious damage. If the oil is too high, the crankshaft can aerate it (whip it into a frappe) and the pump no longer be able to keep a pressurized fluid stream in the critical bearings, resulting in damage to the crankshaft, rod, and/or cam bearings. That usually results in loud knocking sounds… and the damage is serious. It could lead to engine seizure.

The oil has no connection to the water pump. They’re entirely separate systems.

I don’t understand why you brought the car in for an “oil consumption test”. The definitive way to determine if you’re consumption is too high is to monitor the oil level as you put miles on the car. If you’re consuming more than one quart every 1,000 miles, you need to have the engine looked at. My wild guess here is that you never check your oil level, and that could be a REAL problem. Allowing the oil to run low can kill an engine prematurely. Is my guess correct?

Allow me to conclude with a few suggestions.
First, stop going back and forth between the dealer and your mechanic. That’ll drive everybody nuts, and frankly, it sounds like the dealership is giving you pathetic service. Stick with your mechanic.
Second, ask your mechanic to do a good evaluation of the engine and provide a written report. You might use that for recourse against the dealer if necessary, but I wouldn’t go back there.

Frankly, this sounds like it might be an engine worn out prematurely due to lack of oil monitoring, possibly exacerbated by the oil having been overfilled and subsequent bearing damage having occurred.

I agree essentially with what mountainbike has stated, but I want to add these thoughts:

The vehicle in question is–at a minimum–8 years old, with an unknown maintenance regimen and an unknown number of odometer miles. Since nothing lasts forever, I would be very glad if I received very expensive engine repairs on an 8 year old car that is…long out of warranty.

Can the OP supply the missing information, namely, how many odometer miles the car has accumulated, and the specific maintenance that it has received over–at least–the last 3 years?

Please don’t give us a meaningless statement, such as “the car has been well-maintained”.
Instead, please tell us exactly what maintenance the car has received over the past 3 years, with mention of the dates and odometer mileage of each maintenance.

Overfilling the crankcase – what OP calls the “oil tank” – can indeed damage the engine. But the damage wouldn’t usually be the valve stem seals. As posted above, more likely it would be crankshaft bearings in the lower engine, or the variable valve timing mechanism in the upper engine. If any damage was done by that. Often overfilling doesn’t cause any engine damage at all if the car isn’t driven hard and/or a lot of miles overfilled.

Perhaps the noise you are hearing is coming from one of those, not the valve stem seals. Ask them to use a mechanic’s stethoscope to isolate where the noise is coming from. In any event, replacing the valve stem seals is unlikely to eliminate the noise. VS seals on the fritz, the symptoms tend to be blue smoke from the exhaust, mostly immediately after start up, and some extra oil consumption. Not noise usually, except perhaps a little clicking at start up.

OP, I understand this is a pretty frustrating experience for you. You’d think a dealership shop would be able to fill the crankcase with the correct amount of oil and remember to put the oil cap back on. Failing the replace the oil cap could cause problems if left off long enough, as much of the oil will eventually escape the engine through the open hole. Complete loss of oil, that could certainly cause some engine noises. But from what you say, that didn’t happen, you caught it in time.

One question for clarification: You say the dealership over-filled the crankcase. But how much was it overfilled? 1/2 quart? 1 quart? 4 quarts?

You should complete the oil consumption test, if it fails again the dealer can get approval from Toyota to replace the short block. If the vehicle is smoking walk to the rear of the car and show your service advisor the smoke, you shouldn’t have to drive it if the vehicle is smoking.

Find out who has been adding oil to the engine, it is unlikely the technician that replaced the pistons overfilled the engine.

There’s a lot of murkiness in your complaint but I will say this. Overfilling the engine oil will not damage valve seals. Whoever is stating that is seriously misguided.

Overfilling the oil CAN cause (regarding the valve seals) some smoking and oil consumption due to oil pooling around the valve guide bosses.
Overfilling can also force oil into the intake tract (which can cause smoking) and a worse case scenario would be hydro-locking the engine with the worST case being engine damage due to hydro-locking. Hydro-locking will cause the engine to stop immediately and that does not appear to be the case here.

Overfilling can cause engine noises such as rattles and pre-ignition rattles also if oil is forced into the combustion chambers.

Smoking can also be caused by issues with any piston and ring replacement. That can be a very touchy area to get into as it is very easy for things to go wrong and it’s doubtful that Toyota is paying someone to mike cylinders and so on. It’s probably a hone and slap them in.

If this recall pays for only pistons and rings then they are correct about Toyota not paying for anything else. That would mean no cylinder head work, valve seal replacement, spark plugs, etc.

That leaves both the mechanic and the car owner between a rock and a hard place.

OP’s car has the 2AZ-FE engine

A trouble-prone engine, in all its incarnations

From 2002-2006, it was notorious for pulling the threads for the head bolts. The factory solution was to either install time-serts or replace the entire block, depending on the location and number of pulled threads

From 2007 on, the thread problem was apparently fixed, to be replaced with sky-high engine oil consumption, due to rings. I’ve talked about this before, and mentioned the TSB(s)

I would assume OP’s engine was consuming oil, because it’s a POS design

There are some engines that fail in large part due to poor design, not the driver’s poor maintenance

I’m going to make a very general comment, and it’s not meant to be a blanket statement

Toyota’s V6 engines tend to be more reliable than the 4-cylinder engines

All I can say is that my own 2AZ-FE engine in my 2005 with 230,000 miles has been the exact opposite of db’s descriptions. It’s run flawlessly since day one, still runs beautifully, is not an oil-burner, and gives me zero trouble. It does currently need a valvecover gasket, I noticed some oil on the outside of two of my plugs the last time I did a change and there is some very minor seepage at the edge of the valvecover, but on a 10 year old engine with 230K on it that’s not indicative of an engine problem. On this engine the spark plug tube seals are part of the valve cover gasket.

Do not think for one moment that because you have this engine you have a POS. You clearly have problems, but I suspect the source(s) is/are not weaknesses in the engine design. As I mentioned earlier, I’m guessing that engine oil has not been monitored as it should have been. And there may have been a serious oil-change error at the dealer’s.

The engine in my2007 Corolla has yet to need any oil for topping up. The level has stayed right up between oil changes at 5000 miles.

I agree that some prior Toyota engines consumed oil because of a poorly designed ring.

Technically this is not a recall, it is not filled with the NHTSA as a recall. Toyota calls it a Customer Support Program/Warranty Enhancement. There are 1,919,000 vehicles covered by the program.

Vehicles involved range from 2007-2013 Toyota and 2007 -2015 Scion.

Camry years are 2007-2009. Camry Hybrid years are 2007-2011. Corolla years are 2009-2013.

The pistons and piston rings have been revised.

From a mechanic’s point of view:

There is absolutely no connection between water pump failure and oil consumption.

There is no connection between valve seal wear/damage and possibly overfilling the oil.

If the car were both overfilled with oil and the oil cap left off you would have noticed in 3 miles, not 3 weeks later. The car would have started smoking and smelling immediately. Something happened that someone doesn’t know about or isn’t telling.

Your mechanic has no business saying what was or wasn’t fixed simply by looking at the tailpipe and not opening the hood.

I take it your car had an oil consumption issue before you brought it in for the piston and ring campaign. If the pistons and rings were replaced and the car still burns oil it probably needs valve seals and/or guides, and that’s on your dime.

I think the OP is badly misinterpreting some things or they’re accepting as Gospel utter BS. Where the OP has “read” this stuff I have no idea but perusing BS needs to stop.

There’s not only the valve seal failure due to too much oil claim but the bit about a water pump failing due to oil consumption.

An oil filler cap left loose or missing will not cause an engine problem as long as the oil level remains fine.

I wonder if there’s a correlation between the inferior pistons/rings and irregular oil change intervals.
The question I have is if pistons/rings are the cause of oil consumption then why is every applicable engine not plagued with the oil burning problem?

The thing with pattern failures, is that not every purchaser of the product will be affected

I don’t like that everybody so far seems to be convinced OP did a terrible job as far as changing oil, maintaining a proper level, etc., goes

Just because OP didn’t say “I take excellent car of my car. I change my oil every 3000 miles or 6 months, and I never let the oil drop below full” does not mean the opposite must be true


With regard to the leaking water pump, driving without coolant due to a leak can distort cylinder walls and make piston replacement a futile act. Confessing to driving with a failing water pump will not support your case.

“I don’t like that everybody so far seems to be convinced OP did a terrible job as far as changing oil, maintaining a proper level, etc., goes”

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I am not “convinced” that the OP is at fault via lax maintenance. However, it is a possibility. My position is that because of missing information (and, of course misinformation), it isn’t really possible to come to a conclusion about the situation.

At this point, I doubt if the OP is going to supply the odometer mileage and maintenance information that I requested, but…if she did, we would have a much clearer picture of possible cause and effect.

I openly and honestly asked the OP if my conclusion was correct. My reading of the post suggested that the OP isn’t knowledgeable about car maintenance, and a complete read of the post suggested to me that may be a factor here. I’d still like to know the answer, because it is relevant.

I personally don’t like the assumption being made that the OP’s engine is
"a POS design", “A trouble-prone engine, in all its incarnations”.
Statements that put fear in the owner’s mind without contributing to a solution are not, IMHO nice.


If I was buying a used Camry, where the choice was the 2AZ-FE engine or a V6, I’d go for the V6. Heck, I already made that choice, a few years back, when I was buying a used Camry. If somebody was asking me for advice for buying a used Toyota, I’d recommend to avoid that particular engine, regardless of model year or what chassis it was installed in. After all, the Camry wasn’t the only car to get it.

In spite of the fact that the Toyota V6s aren’t all that fuel efficient, I felt the risk(s) with the 2AZ-FE were too great, both with the early and late versions.

Every manufacturer has engines where the mechanics and car guys can say “they really . . . the pooch this time”

“Statements that put fear in the owner’s mind without contributing to a solution are not, IMHO nice.”

I’m not the only one that made such statements


Fair enough, db, but the OP wasn’t asking for advice on what to buy. The OP owns a car that’s having problems and is asking for help. Telling him/her that their car is a piece of crap (which, in fact, based on my experience it is not) does nothing but create worry and a sense of helplessness.

If you don’t like a particular car, any car, that’s fine, but when an owner of one is seeking help is not the time to denigrate the car.


Another poster mentioned that driving around with a failing water pump and no coolant is not going to help their case

It’s one thing to have a leaky water pump

It’s quite another to have no coolant

As far as I know, OP did not say the water pump was leaking so badly, and for so long, that they had no more coolant in the system

It’s quite a leap to assume and/or imply that OP neglected the water pump for so long, that the system is completely empty

That was the other post I was referring to, the one that serves no purpose other than to instill fear. Fear that OP has “no case” and won’t get further help from the manufacturer or the dealer. That’s how I read it, for what it’s worth

“when an owner . . . is seeking help is not the time to denigrate the car.”

I’m not perfect . . . FAR from it

At least I’m willing to admit I act like a jerk at times

There are plenty of others on this website who wouldn’t admit such a thing. Maybe not even to themselves . . . ?

But there have been . . . and still are . . . plenty of other regulars on this forum who criticize(d) an OP’s choice of car

Maybe not this particular OP, and maybe not this particular discussion, but it’s happened plenty of times

I’m guilty, that’s for sure, but I’m in good company :smirk:

Not meaning you, but there are plenty who fit the bill

I’m not mentioning names, because it can serve no purpose

By the way, I did not say OP’s car was crap. I was talking about the engine. Big difference


From what I read inn the OP’s first account is not an issue with overfilling or a issue with the water pump. I think he is having issues with the dealer and those are aggravated by not checking the oil himself.

losagain, you need to check the oil level yourself because you now don’t know if the dealer is telling the truth and how much it was overfilled, if it was overfilled.

But the big issue I suspect is that either the mechanic did not install the new pistons and rings properly, did not hone the cylinders or you did not break in the new rigs properly. You probably weren’t given break in instructions. Most new engines do not require any special break in, but a re-ringed engine does require a break in procedure.

Check the oil level and make sure it is correct. The take the car out to a road that has little or no traffic. Accelerate from 30 to 60 as fast as you can without the car shifting down. If your car does not shift into its highest gear until 40 or 45, then start from there and accelerate an additional 20 mph in the highest gear. Repeat 10 times and see if the oil burning stops.

BTW, if the engine was overfilled enough to affect the valve stem seals, the engine could not be started. That was total BS where ever you got that information. Also, the lubrication system and the cooling system are totally separate, unless you either blow a gasket or crack the block or head.

The Toyota engine is fundamentally a good engine. A lot of manufacturers had issues with their rings during this time frame. I suspect they were using Chinese suppliers and the Chinese weren’t up to par yet o their quality ad metallurgy.