A quart of oil every 300 miles

So my 1999 Corolla with 110K miles requires a quart of oil every time I fill the gas tank. It doesn’t seem to be leaking; when I went away for two weeks there wasn’t a nasty looking spot where it was parked. Yet, it guzzles oil like Bender on Futurama.

My mechanic said that he couldn’t do anything to save the car. But, I am wondering if any of y’all have suggestions of what to look for or have inspected by my another mechanic. I need to get a second opinion, but I want to go in with some ideas.

I would also gladly take any suggestions on how to reduce the oil consumption. By the by, I am using 10w-30 in Southern California.


The only thing that will save it is an engine rebuild with new pistons and rings. Google Toyota Corolla oil burning and you will find this to be a problem with late 90s and early 2000 Corollas after toyota re designed the engines.

You could also replace the PCV valve. It’s cheap and easy to replace. It may or may not work, but, for less than $10, why not?

+1 to BustedKnuckes’ suggestion.
While it may not make a huge difference, “investing” a few bucks for a new PCV valve is something that the OP should consider. Even if it doesn’t work…the OP would have spent less on that part than he does on his weekly oil fill-ups, so it is worth trying.

Thanks guys. Any idea how long a car like this will last before it dies?

Until the plugs foul or the cat clogs, outside guess 15k. I don’t know how everyone else feels but a thicker weight oil might slow the use, what was the maintenance schedule for oil changes. It is possible you have a sludge or valve guide problem, a compression test will tell what the condition of the engine is, There are other possibilities but you need to get it checked out as to where the oil is going. It may be one of a number of things.

Just to add to @Barkydog’s idea, also try different brands. Some brands tend to burn faster than others. Also, change the oil at regular intervals. Even tho you are adding oil at a high rate you still have a lot of contamination of the oil building up that has to be removed.

If you are lucky, the reason for the oil burn could be coked up rings. This can be cleared using a good quality oil and using top tier gas. It may take a couple of months, but that combo should clear the crud buildup.

When I acquired my '88 Supra, it was consuming oil at about the same rate. Over the years, I’ve been able to replace seals and change oil with an accelerated schedule of 3000 miles with a good quality oil, Castrol GTX. The compression in the cylinders was always good, but you could see evidence of oil burning on the plugs. Now, with 288k on the odo (30k miles later), my oil consumption is only 1 quart per 1,000 miles, oil changes are back to my regular 5,000 mile interval, and the engine seems to run ‘happier’.

Just as an aside, to let everyone know just how far we have come in the evolution of the internal combustion engine, here are some boasts from an ad for the Saxon automobile, circa 1915:

“Owners are amazed at the economy results of their Saxons–28-36 miles per gallon of gasoline;
75-100 miles per pint of oil; 3,500-5,000 miles on a set of tires.”

The ad even includes some owner testimonials, including this one from Mrs. L.A. Gulley, of Champaign, Illinois: “Oil consumption runs from a pint to a quart every 150 miles.”

So, after 110k miles, the OP is doing better than the owner of a brand-new car would have done, back in 1915.


Well, that’s total loss oiling for you. Mostly a pre-WWII phenomenon, I think Harley used it on their servi-car trikes up to about 1970.

Even better were the WW-I rotaries found in airplanes. Castor oil, total loss, and the spinning cylinder design everything (pilot included) got “slimed.”

This is most likely a problem requiring an engine rebuild. But there’s an off chance the OP could get lucky. OP should have a wet/dry compression test done. If the result is good, indicating the rings are sealing correctly, the valve stem seals might be the problem. And those can usually be replaced by a well equipped shop without removing the engine, the transmission, or the head. More likely to be the case if the driving style includes a lot of brief trips during the day.

Yep, stuck or worn rings. Time to start shopping. My diesel was down to 500 miles per quart before it developed a knock and needed to be replaced. So you can just keep adding oil for a while until the neighbors start complaining about the tail pipe smoke, but the fix is a different engine or an overhaul which is not probably worth it.

I agree with GeorgeSanJose. I had a similar problem in a Ford Maverick that I bought second hand. It consumed a quart of oil every 300 miles. New valve stem seals reduced the consumption to a quart every 1250 miles which I could live with.