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2012 Toyota RAV4 - increased oil consumption

NO, what I’m saying is I have my oil changed every 4500, 5000 mi. Firestone puts a reminder sticker on my window so I know when to start considering an oil change. At the time that I do an oil change, I do an inspection of all hoses, and whatever else the inspection entails. The oil light started to come on at 2800 - 3,000 mi. into the time before an oil change was due so I became a bit worried because NEVER had it done that in the entire time I have owned the car. Thus, my reason for an inquiry as to why all of a sudden this is happening. And, you are right, it does have to be pretty low for the light to start flashing at me. Thanks.

OK, but now you understand that the oil light is not a ‘check the oil, it may be low’ light. Instead, it’s a ‘pull off the road ASAP and add some oil because you’re about to kill your engine’ light. So you need to check the oil every fillup until you get a feel for how often it needs to have one quart added.


This did happen all of a sudden. You noticed it all of a sudden. Over time your oil was dropping more and more but not enough to trigger the low oil warning. As time went on and the oil consumption increased it eventually hit a tipping point, the oil was finally low enough to trip the light. By checking your oil every fill up or every other fill up you will be able to notice it and add oil as needed


replace the oil with this!

I used the same oil for my older Camry which burned up a quart a month! No leaks, 2 mechanics said the engine was solid. I think some Toyota engines just burn up oil like that. After replacing the oil it went to like 1/2 a quart every three months or so. The oil is good for 1 year, so I bough a few extra quarts to top it off.

If this solves the problem then you know it is just your engine. If it doesn’t solve the problem then at least you have eliminated one reason and need to see a good mechanic. Get the filter that goes with your rav as well, everything is on the page in the link.

Let us know! Hope it works.

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Except, the OP does not check and add oil. Waits until oil pressure drops then drives to Firestone to have oil added.


I don’t think you understand what you’re being told here. Driving your car until the oil gets that low and the low oil pressure light comes on, apparently twice, is causing damage to your engine and perhaps significantly reducing its life. You need to check your oil regularly as your owner’s manual tells you to do!


Have you changed your driving pattern. I had a car once that burned no oil between changes when driving it at low speeds, less than 50 MPH, but then I drove on the freeway for a couple hundred miles and oil was so low the hydraulic lifters rattled due to low oil when going around a curve. The causes of high oil consumption are intake valve guide seals and oil rings that have lost it or perhaps the PCV valve that sucks the blow-by out of the crankcase is plugged Put in a new PCV valve and have the valve guide seals renewed and then check oil every time you fill with gas. If the high oil usage continues too high for you time to renew the engine or trade in the car.

I do not recommend going to the expense of putting a new engine or rebuilding the engine in a 20 year old car unless it is a classic collectors car that is appreciating in value.

I resent that comment. I do check the oil regularly. This was a problem that errupted in the last 3 months. Not the life of the car. So, of course I’m going to ask what the deal is with a mechanic.

I didn’t drive the car till the oil got that low. According to the mileage and the last oil change I had I had 2000 mi. to go before there was any indication that I had a problem. I always had my car checked every 4000 - 5000 mi. for as long as I have had it. Did not have an oil issue until 3 months ago.

Oh, and I do check my car, every weekend. Never had an issue until 3 months ago. So now, I’m on it all the time. It has 182000 mi. and been through some issues. So, of course, I want it to last for a bit longer. I don’t know where everyone comes up with not checking my car regularly. I never said i didn’t. I said I had an oil issue that erupted just 3 months ago and can’t figure out why it is happening now. NEITHER CAN THE MECHANIC. MAYBE TIME TO GET A NEW CAR.

HELLO, I have been driving to L.A. for a long time … moved a few times as well. Average drive could be up to 100 mi. a day. Down now to 60 mi. a day. It is getting up there in mi . 182,000 now. 9 yrs old car. I have had it checked twice now for oil problem. No one can see any problems, yet is losing oil. I am checking now, as you have said. I just put in new transmission. A lot of money. Not doing the engine tho. Considering trading it in. Best advice yet. Thx.

Some engines can go for years burning or dripping oil. As long as you check it often and keep it topped up, your chances are pretty good.

I never wait for it to go down a quart - top up any time it’s down 1/2 quart or even less. Buys me some cushion in case there’s a sudden increase in oil loss. Good luck to you!

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You have the car with 180+ thousand miles, so “it is not young anymore”, let’s keep it in mind.

I’m not sure what constitutes “checking your car every weekend”, but if you do not raise the hood of your RAV4 and not pulling the oil level stick out to examine it, your are NOT checking on your car health, especially considering it is “not young anymore”.

If you want to defer the expense of getting replacement car, you better get into habit of checking your oil level every week as you “check your car” and adding u to the “full” mark every time you discover it is lower.

Since you told us that your “oil indicator” light was already blinking on you, we can assume with a great degree of confidence that your engine was getting damaged as you drove the car with that blinking light.

Engine is a mechanical device and it does not care if it is “ok” or “not ok” to get oil low, if it is low to the point of light blinking - it is getting damaged, it is only reporting this sad fact to you and this is up to you to accept the realities or not.

it is quite “OK” for the engines with above 100 thousands miles on odometer to consume MORE oil. Your engine was ALWAYS consuming oil, but the rate of consumption was not enough to get you to “low oil” condition before, but now the rate of consumption is such that you are getting out of reserve capacity before you get to the next oil change - that’s life, all engines are getting worn with time and it is normal.

Given that in general Toyota makes very reliable engines - you might get away from your couple of “low oil” incidents and if you keep checking the level and adding on a very religious schedule like “every week” - it is a good chance you would be able to get few more years out of your RAV4.

If you elect not to do that, it is a fact that your car goes to the junk-yard much-much sooner than that, and a number of professional mechanics on this forum told you about that.

This is up to you to decide, of course… your car / your money…


As auto engines age, they undergo wear, and begin to consume more oil. This usually is a consequence of worn piston rings and cylinder bores, but can also be caused by worn valve guides or valve seals. It is possible to leave it alone and just be diligent about checking and replenishing the oil as needed, but this practice can foul sparkplugs or catalytic converters. It is time to begin looking for either a good used engine or another vehicle. And frankly, if your mechanic is that puzzled about where the oil is going, you need a better mechanic.


You’re welcome; oh, minimum ownership costs of cars on average are to buy a two rear old car from top reliability ratings by Consumer Reports and keep them for about 10 years. Thios avoids the high depreciation costs in the first two years and the high maintenance costs when they get old and high miles. Obviously when you plan to keep cars long time scrupulous maintenance is required. Good luck


Yes… I agree. Better to look for a different mechanic. I really don’t know how everyone assumes that I did not look at the oil issue. My dad bought me my first car - a Chevy II, way back when. He always told me, gas, oil and water. I checked all 3 every time I filled up … which use to be not as frequent as it is now. As for looking under the hood, I would do that every weekend to be sure car was ok. When the light started blinking at me … it was end of week, on my way home from work. I pulled in to gas station and popped the hood and saw how low the oil was. I was freaking out and took it to my friend who said couldn’t see a leak and go get oil now. I did. First time it happened. Never, not once before did this occur in all the time I’ve had the car. Running great … till now…

Thank you. Lesson learned.

Sometimes things sneak up on you.

If you check your oil every weekend and you discovered that you were 3 Quarts low near the end of the week, that would mean that your car burned 3 Quarts in 6 days or less. If this is true and your commute is 70 miles a day, that is 420 miles. Your engine is toast.

The fact that you were 3 quartsw low and drove is some place to get it looked at, shows that you don’t really understand what you are doing.

If your car needs oil, you don’t drive it to a mechanic,you add oil first.

Don’t pat yourself on the back for using synthetic oil, your car requires it.

I don’t understand the point of checking your oil if you are not adding it when you are a quart low. I have a 2012 Camry with the same engine. The owners manual says one quart in 700 miles is not excessive. Also, the low mark on your dipstick is one and one half quarts low instead of one quart like every other car I have owned.