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2007 Toyota RAV4 4cyl oil consumption

We have an '07 RAV4 with100k+ miles that is going through about a quart of oil every couple of hundred miles. I don’t see any smoke and I don’t see any evidence of a leak or fouling of antifreeze. But it’s going somewhere.

I’m still investigating the cause, but meanwhile, does anyone have any thoughts or experience on upping the oil viscosity? Recommended grade is 5W20, but I’m thinking 10W30 may slow things down at least a little.

Comments welcomed!


If there is no evidence of leaking it is going out the tail pipe. It is being partially burned in the engine, the unburned portion landing on your converter. Check your tail pipe to see if there is black soot on it, sure sign of oil burning. Have you checked your plugs to see if there is evidence of fouling? You can adding Restore or any of the other miracle cures in a can to see if they help.

Thanks, Steve. Plugs were okay last I checked, but I need to recheck. Good point about the tailpipe. On my to-do list for later today. And I’ll also get a can of Restore.

Note that the 2007 Camry was one of the WORST for oil consumption. Odds are that you have the same exact engine with the same exact problems.

Toyota makes a great car overall but there are exceptions. I have a buddy who owned a 2007 Camry and it was drinking oil by time he traded it in on a new car.

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Another vote for trying “Restore Engine Treatment”. I would not use thicker oil, though.

Or is it a stuck rings situation - the kind of thing Marvel Mystery Oil in the gas - maybe oil, too - has been said to help.

Definitely research this problem as it is well known. I am not sure if it is a wear issue or a rings sticking issue but know it is common.

Marvel Mystery Oil is a pretty cheap and harmless thing. It is basically kerosene so will slowly clean deposits from your engine. Put some in the oil as well but be aware that it has many volatile components so your level will drop even faster as it burns off. I know people who have had excellent results with reducing oil consumption on previously neglected engines and those who haven’t really seen any difference. The good news is that this is harmless and will not cause additional harm. You have nothing to lose besides the cost of the stuff (it isn’t expensive) and you might help improve the situation.

I honestly think I would do my best to keep the oil level up as it should run as long as it isn’t run low. Start looking for a deal on a new or used car and jump when you find one you like. In the meantime it should keep on running. I would personally be looking for a different car.

Has it ever overheated or run low on engine oil? If so I expect you are looking at an engine overhaul or replacement. If not, then check for black smoke out the tailpipe only after first starting the engine, esp after it had been sitting 30 minutes after running before. If you see that, good chance it’s valve stem seals, relatively inexpensive to replace. If no black smoke at start-up, the piston rings are not doing their job. Probably worth a shot at trying the various ring-unsticking techniques but I expect the problem is they and the bores are worn, and nothing will fix that except new rings and refurbished cylinder bores. Does the engine seem a little underpowered, less power now than before? If so, worn rings the most likely culprit. One time the rings on my lawnmower wore out. Most people would have just junked the lawnmower, but I replaced the rings. Wow! What a difference. The engine would start with just a half-hearted single pull, and run with all the power it had new. Then the magneto failed … lol …

As posted above it is the Toyota engine problem for this gen. I believe they extended the warranty but not sure if it would help you. Look on the Camry forums for more info.
If you are out of warranty, I will go with the thicker oil and also save some money for a new engine or car.

Toyota extended the engine warranty to 10 years/150,000 miles for the oil consumption issue, that offer has expired for this vehicle.

The remedy for the coked oil control rings is to install revised pistons and rings.

This is heavy duty, he man oil consumption. Even in the old days when I had a 1947 Pontiac that used a quart every 250 miles, that much oil consumption was considered excessive.
My own inclination would be to keep adding oil and look for another vehicle. As I noted in other posts, I extended the life of my old lawnmower two seasons by switching to full synthetic 10W-30. The full synthetic cut oil consumption by 75%. I was able to purchase the full synthetic oil for $2.79 a quart at Rural King under the house brand RK label. Many farm stores sell full synthetic at a reasonable price under the Harvest King label. This may buy you time until you find another ride.

I have seen synthetic oils greatly reduce oil consumption myself. I have also seen them dissolve whatever crud is holding an old engine together and make the problem worse. If the oil has been changed on time and the level never allowed to drop too low, you might try it.

If you are willing to go up to 10W30, I would suggest Rotella T6 5W40. There are a few potential positives as well as negatives by going to this. I think they recently introduced a 5W30 in the T6 if you like staying within the 30W range which might not be a bad idea. 4 quarts of this oil is like $20-22 at Wal-Mart. I suggest buying two jugs and using one to keep the thing topped off.

The positives.

  1. I have used this in oil burning lawn mowers and saw immediate improvements in compression and overall oil burning. Some were greatly improved but not perfect while others were basically brought back from the dead and now run great. My immediate improvements mean this change happened within one mowing session. I had been trying Mobil 1 10W30 on these engines but it wasn’t helping. They would bog down in a cloud of smoke when loaded up and oil consumption was high. Some of the KOhler Commands with hydraulic lifters were clicking and clattering like mad. The Kohler Commands really came back from the dead and essentially consume no oil and have no lifter clatter anymore. I am a believer in the Command line but have had poor luck with the cheaper Courage line. Others were greatly improved but not as dramatic.
  2. Diesel oils have a lot more detergents. If you have stuck rings this might free them up and reduce the oil consumption.
  3. Oil is a tad thicker and might be less prone to burning. I am no expert on this engine. Some engines are a lot more forgiving to having thicker oil put in as the low viscosity specified by the manufacturer is more about meeting EPA CAFE standards than anything. I doubt this would harm your engine but it might be something to look into before making the jump.

The negatives

  1. All the crud from oil burning may be holding that engine together. If it is dissolved you may make this problem worse. I have seen this in push mowers that essentially had tar in them for oil. I basically had to add fresh oil and run them to partially dissolve the sludge and then repeat the process again.
  2. The additional anti-wear additives in diesel rated oil is more likely to foul emissions systems components. This is more of a problem in oil burning engines such as yours. Odds are they are already not up to snuff with this amount of oil burning.
  3. Thicker oil may cause other problems. I doubt it but it is something to consider.

I think looking for a new car is your best bet unless you are really attached to it.

Thanks, everyone. You have given me some good advice. Getting a new car right now is impractical due to the expense. But I will try some of the suggestions that you’ve posted here. Thanks again. And keep them coming.

Good luck and thanks for keeping us in the loop!

I had an 06 RAV4 with the 4 cyl. From around 60k miles to when I sold it at 150k miles I was adding a quart of oil every 1000 miles or about once a month. I did have a dealership do a oil consumption test once since this 4 cyl had some kind of recall on it. My Rav didn’t consume enough oil to warrant a rebuild.

Just make sure it stays topped off no matter what you do. It seems these run for a while as major oil burners as long as you keep it filled up. You may go through oxygen sensors and catalytic converters though which can get expensive.

Thanks again. Other than the oil consumption, it’s been a very good car. No problems at all with the oxygen sensor and catalytic converter.

I should have also mentioned that this is my son-in-alw’s car, not mine. But since we all live together, and he is not mechanically inclined, it falls to me. Yes, I am emphasizing that he needs to check the oil at least once a week – he’s not very good at remembering that. But since he can’t afford another car at this point, he better start remembering.