I have a 2007 Toyota Camry with 110,000 miles that is burning oil too fast. A farm mechanic told me I should put thicker oil in it- straight SAE 30. It is a 4 cyl, 2.4 L Automatic. I had a oil and filter change less than 2 months ago, have driven maybe 2,000 miles. The oil is below the first dot. The manufacturer says to put 5W 20 oil in. I live in central North Carolina, so below freezing temperatures aren’t an issue. Last oil and filter change, they checked for leaks and they said it was clean underneath with none. Also, is it possible the car is burning the oil fast because I live in a warmer climate and I’m using the thinner oil? Is it ok to put the thicker straight SAE 30 oil in it? If yes, can I add it to what’s already there (5w 20)? Thanks!
Here’s your problem.
Toyota is well aware of the problem and their solution is updated pistons and rings.
DO NOT use 30 weight.
If you can’t afford the “permanent” fix, continue to use 5W20, topping off as needed.
@renee2010 If you read the owner’s manual you will find somewhere that oil consumption of 1 quart per 1000 miles should be considered “normal”. The thinner oils definitely promote more oil consumption. We have a 2007 Corolla which originally was to use 5W30 oil according to the manual. Later a Toyota bulletin said that 5W20 or 0W20 synthetic was OK. So, go figure! The car was properly broken in and uses no oil between changes, even with 5W20.
Car manufacturers are under extreme pressure to meet the government mandated miles per gallon standards. One way to do that is by using thinner oils. So we have nearly all newer cars using these oils. Last year I rented a Toyota Matrix which had its manual say that 1 quart per 750 miles !! was “normal”. Dealers want to get rid of 5W30 oils in bulk and put 5W20 or 0W20 in all cars in order to save space. I get this stuff all the time from my dealer.
Don’t listen to your “farm mechanic”. Straight 30 oil is too thick on a cold morning, even in North Carolina! It will cause excessive wear on the valve train when starting up and may even keep the hydraulic valve mechanism from functioning porperly. Car and tractor engines are very different.
The best oil for your car would be a 0W30 synthetic, if you want to use a slightly thicker oil to cut oil consumption. That gives you a thin oil for startup to lube the valve gear quickly and it provides a heavier weight for highway driving to keep oil usage under control. Keep in mind that any oil starting with a “0” is either full or part synthetic and costs more. The first number on an oil label is the start-up viscosity at 0 degrees C. The other number is the viscosity at 100 deg C operating temperature. Those extra few dollars are small potatoes compared with the price of a new engine.
By the way, some oil consumption does not harm your engine.
Some background info: did you buy the car new? Proper break-in is very important. How fast do you drive? In any case 1 quart per 2000 miles is no problem. Check your oil every second tankfull of gas. Just stay away from your farm mechanic and his advice.
There is nothing that states a car should go from oil change to oil change without needing to add any oil. This is an expectation many people have for their cars, but it isn’t true for all cars. Toyota will say something like adding a quart of oil every 1000 miles is OK. Some brands of oil burn off faster than others.
I’m not sure if your car needs a full quart of oil or 1/2 quart to bring the level up to full. Either way, just buy a couple of bottles of 5W-20 oil at Walmart and add as needed. In the future try using a different brand of oil.
But, don’t switch to a straight 30W oil as the farm mechanic suggests. It might be ok for an old tractor, but it isn’t good for your car.
Check your oil every couple of weeks, add when needed, and drive on. I don’t think you really have any problem to be concerned about. Have the PCV valve check or replaced (easy and inexpensive) as a clogged PCV will increase oil consumption. When you notice a good sized puff of blue smoke when you pull away from a stoplight then you have a problem.
Yikes. Like You Db4690, That’s Why I Look For TSBs Prior To Car Purchase. Consumer Reports Surveys And Other Sources Often Don’t Reflect Information Of This Importance.
Agree with sticking with the recommended oil and do not use 30HD, that is for tractors and lawn mowers. However, 10w30 might solve the problem that you don’t really have, but don’t go any heavier than that.
@csa Likewise; At one time I thought about buying a 1997 Ford Taurus. I googled the TSBs and there were 151!!!, not all serious, but it told me Ford was building “do it yourself” kits, and the dealers were poorly prepared to look after the car!. That same year there were only 4 TSBs for the Lexus 400, none of them serious.
@commonsenseanswer unfortunately this TSB didn’t exist when the owners bought their vehicles.
@Docnick, There You Go ! That’s What I’m Talking About.
Among Other Things, I Search TSBs And Talk To Technicians Who Work On The Things To Find Anything To Look Out For.
It’s good to know before the money changes hands.
Also, You Can’t Just Look At The Number Of TSBs. The TSB Referred To Above Is Not Found In My Normal Source And Some Companies “Flood” Their TSB Files With Tons Of General Information TSBulletins That Don’t Even Apply To Problems.
One must actually take the time to comb through.
Thanks everyone. Is the “High Milage” oil worth the extra cost? Why is synthetic better? Docnick- I bought the car used in 2010 with 80K miles on it, pre-certified from a Toyota dealer. It had one previous owner and I think it was a rental company. I drive the speed limit- maybe 5 miles above.
@renee2010 don’t waste your money on high mileage oil. Continue to use good quality normal 5w20. Unless your owner’s manual calls for synthetic, don’t spend the extra money. My brother has a 2008 Highlander, and it requires conventional oil.
110K and it burns a quart every 2000 miles?? I don’t see any problem, sounds like normal oil consumption to me…If it really bothers you, switch to 10/30 oil, especially during the summer months…
10W30 hasn’t been the norm for some time now.
They still sell it…There was a time when there were just 3 weights of motor oil… 20, 30 and 10w-30. Yes, you COULD buy #10 and #40 but those were uncommon and seldom used in passenger cars…Today, it takes a huge warehouse to house all the products labeled as “Motor Oil”…
@Caddyman of course they still sell it. Some of my older cars require 10W30.
My point is is that 10W30 hasn’t been the “norm” for several years now. As technology “improves” car manufacturers have been calling for thinner oil.
I didn’t mean to imply that older engine designs don’t need 10w30. In fact, I think several of the older engine designs wouldn’t tolerate 5w20 or 0w20.
@renee2010 Those first 80K miles were probably not gentle miles. It sounds like a lease car with a 3 year lease. Those drivers do the absolute minimum maintenance. So it’s entirely possible that the engine was subject to rapid wear during those miles. Toyotas have a life expectancy of well over 300,000 miles so the dealer would have no problem “certifying” the car.
Synthetic oil differs from regular mineral oil in that the refining process results in all the same size molecules. This gives the oil much more stability; it stays fluid at very low temperatures and it also does not thin out as much at high temperatures. Think about it as comparing butter (mineral oil) with cooking oil (synthetic oil). They cost more to refine, but are essential in high performance cars with turbochargers, where high heat buildup fries regular oils.
High mileage oils normally are oils with some additives in them for use in very old cars. They cut oil consumption, but I would not recommend them for your vehicle, as it may interfere with the proper operation of the valve gear. There are also “Extended Drain” oils, with higher amounts of the normal additives, which allow a longer time between oil changes. Mobil1 has an extended drain oil. It is quite expensive and since you are adding 1 quart per 2000 miles, you many not get the full benefit from it.
As others have pointed out, a 5W30 regular mineral oil will work where you live. A 0W30 synthetic will be ideal, but more expensive. The higher price of an oil does not indicate you can change it less often. Our two cars get synthetic oil (because we have severe winters), but we still change every 5000 miles.
Hope this gives you more info to work with.
For pitys sake,dont worry about a little oil in 1500-2000 miles,chances are when you top it off it will stay full till the next oil change,in my former bosses fleet(this was when Caterpillar was trying to make a “universal” oil ,the Macks would use a gallon of oil almost immediately after an oil change,after topping off they were pretty much good for the next 200 or so hours) problem solved when we went to “Mobil” oil. the truck I drove oft times needed no oil added between changes[250-300 hrs] so you can even try a different brand that has less volatile componets in its chemistry-Kevin
I agree with those that point out that 1 quart every 2,000 miles is well within acceptable limits. I’ll add that IMHO it does not justify doing the work prescribed in the TSB. Understand that because a TSB of this type is issued does not mean that every car of that model will have the problem described. It means that for those cars that DO have the problem, that’s the solution.
I commend you for monitoring yuor oil level. If it does drop below 1 qt every 1,000 miles, you have your reason. If it does not, you should get many more years of service withuot major work.
And use only the oil recommended in the owner’s manual.
Car sounds just fine to me and a quart every 2000 miles is jus fine. I wouldn’t switch to synthetic after 110000 miles. Stick with a quality 5W30 oil and that motor will outlive the rest of the vehicle.