Can I just keep adding oil?

My 2008 camry with 84000 miles is starting to use a quart of oil every 3,000 miles. Inam told that this is the beginning of the end. Can’t I just keep adding oil? Or do I really need a new car/engine?

That usage is considered normal even for a new car based on what the manufacturers have told us. None of my cars have done that unless they were leaking or past 150K miles. But in your case, I would make sure the PCV is working, check for leaks and if all is fine just keep a close eye on the oil and keep topping it off.

Who told you this? Is it someone who wants to take the car off your hands for a song? There is nothing wrong. Some cars use more oil than that right out of the factory. The manual for my 2011 Sienna states that a quart every 600 miles is within the acceptable limit.

Whoever told you this it totally, 100%, dead wrong. A quart every 3,000 miles in a seven year old car is perfectly healthy. Most manufacturers today even consider a quart every 1,000 miles to be healthy in a brand new engine. Whether it truly is or not has been the subject of many debates among us, but I think we’d all agree that yours is healthy. I would submit that whoever told you this might be full of BS. Nobody who knows cars would tell you that.

Continue to be sure you monitor the oil level and add the recommended oil whenever it gets to the FILL line. And change it and the filter per the manufacturer’s recommendations. I know you’ve already been doing that because the engine is only using a quart every 3,000 miles. This engine, properly maintained, has another 200,000 healthy miles left. Maybe more.

Adding oil is fine for that mileage, but change the oil at recommended intervals. Otherwise it is like adding water to dirty water to wash your clothes, does not work.

Great analogy, barky. Permission to use it in the future?

This is very helpful!!

Same thing with transmission fluid.

Do you add a little clean water to mostly dirty water?


Clean water!!!

Don’t you know we are conserving. I stand naked in the back yard in front of a fan and throw a glass of water into the fan.

Though this has added to some confusion in the neighborhood…with the reports of a bear on the loose

Sorry @Marymax, but who ever told you your car was about to crawl onto it’s back and kick the bucket is just plain wrong…or they are people that just find pleasure in making everyone around them feel bad about life.

I run a 2002 Dakota pick up with 250K miles and it uses about 1 quart every 2000 miles. I’m happy with that and expect that engine to go 300K before I have to dig a hole to bury it in.

Your’s is fine and don’t worry about it, but be sure as everyone has pointed out…keep up with your regular oil changes.


It is the beginning of the end, the very beginning of an end that is still a long way off. Add oil as needed and keep up with the normal oil change interval, this car still has a long life ahead.

But do check the oil frequently, if it gets too low, that can move the end up much closer. Probably checking monthly for now will be sufficient.

Well I would want a little more info. If the car used absolutely no oil between oil changes for the first 80,000 miles and now started using oil at that rate I would have the PCV system and breather system checked, maybe pull the spark plugs and inspect them for signs of oil fouling. Then I would have the oil and filter changed and monitor oil usage for the next few thousand miles. If it’s only burning a quart every 3000 miles I would get in the habit of checking regularly and keep driving the car.

Is this a sudden change or has the oil consumption been going up steadily?

Regardless, I agree with galant that it makes sense to check the PCV valve and check for leaks. If you find no problems in those areas, then most likely you’ll be good for a number of years even with this minor oil consumption issue.

Ideally, my preference would be for no more than a 1/2 quart of consumption per 3000 miles.
However, one quart per 3000 is certainly no reason to go into panic mode.

You should consider any future advice from the person who told you this as something to be taken with a grain of salt.

Just change the oil/filter regularly and just as importantly; check the oil level regularly instead of assuming that it will stay full between changes.
Running an engine low on oil just exacerbates an oil consumption problem.

“I am told that this is the beginning of the end.”

Hardly. Stop listening to this person because they do not know of what they speak.

Some will argue that a quart every 3k is healthier than no oil consumption at all because a few oil molecules getting past the oil rings will reduce wear on the compression rings. Back in the 60s and 70s, we changed our oil at 2k miles and we figured that 1 quart between oil changes was the optimum.

Toyotas generally do not burn oil like some other brands, and I agree with Asemaster that if it is sudden, it should be watched and a couple of things should be checked.

As I recall, my last Toyota burned about a quart every 3k miles for the last 100k that I drove it (175k to 275k).

Small leaks will also show up as “using oil”. As cars age most will develop small leaks that will not show up as drips on the garage floor.

A sudden increase in “oil consumption” can often be a small leak is developing somewhere.

The oil consumption indicated is quite normal and no cause for alarm.

Based on my history with Toyota’s, the front seal could be leaking, but that is still no cause for alarm. It is not necessary to run out and spend a lot of money on a new front seal, it will still last for a very long time. It will be cheaper to just add oil when needed and check the oil level regularly.

If it reaches the point of losing a quart every 500 miles or less, then it is time to take some action, but until then, just take care of it as you normally would/should.

A quart every 3000 miles is nothing. My first car, a 1947 Pontiac used a quart of oil every 250-300 miles. I was still able to drive the 350 miles from my house to graduate school. I didn’t have interstates to travel, so I drove the state highways at 55 -60 mph. The old Pontiac would get into its rhythm at that speed and it would tick off the miles. If the OP’s Toyota went through a cold winter after the last oil change, the cold weather along with stop and start driving, particularly when the engine is cold, can increase oil consumption. My 2011 Toyota,Sienna was,down a little more than a pint after 5000 miles of winter driving and I had never seen it go down on the stick before. I just topped it up and drove on.

Gotta agree with the others but regular oil changes to me is every 5000 miles.

All great answers . I agree… A quart every 3000 miles is about as close to the “beginning of the end” as your first grey hair at age 35. You may be no where near the half way mark of the car…or you.

Unlike grey hair though, your usage can very with the type of driving you do…like high speed driving. So, some 3000 mile intervals may use a little less, some a little more. It’s all normal and ALL cars use some oil.

Come to think of it, maybe we do grey a little faster at different times…eat plenty of fruits and veggies !