Car burning oil

I own a Lexus IS 300 2001, i left the car to sit for 5 days while on a trip. when i got back i fired it up and the car misfired like crazy and had A LOT of white exhaust smoke (smelled like a 4 stroke boat engine, scary identical) i drove it around the block and then it ran fine, with no more exhaust smoke. The car already burns lots of oil, the low oil light light comes on about every 4000km. It has no over heating issues, and doesn’t leave oil spots on the ground it does seem to have lost a bit of power over time but not too noticeable. after driving it for any more then an hour you can smell burning oil when I stop. just was wonder if anyone has an idea of what might be causing it before i take it to a shot and they quote me 4000$ to fix something that isn’t the problem.

It depends. If this car has a low oil level light, that is one thing. If it is a low oil pressure light, driving a car without checking or adding oil until the oil pressure light comes on is a sure way to destroy an engine.

If this car is using three of more quarts in 600 miles and is leaking nothing onto the ground, there is no repair possible other than a different engine.

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No oil pressure is fine, i have been driving it this way for almost a year if not more. the problem has not gotten worse until the other day. I drive the car literally every day, that was the first time i had let the car sit for more then 48 hours. It also rained a lot while it was sitting there if that might have anything to do with it.

The misfires might be from dampness in the ignition system. Does it have a distributor with wires going to the spark plugs? Those are areas to check. The the exhaust was extra smelly because the mixture was not being burned adequately. You might also have a leaky injector, causing an extra rich mixture in one cylinder when first started.

Never wait for your low engine oil light come on. Check oil level often and keep it at or near topped up. If your oil pressure light comes on, turn off the engine right away.

Good luck and please keep us informed.

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Your engine is burning oil internally.The piston rings are no longer doing their job.You may still top up with oil but sooner and later you will need a new engine.If you are able to do mechanical work,the cheaper option will be to replace the piston rings.

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You never gave oldtimer_11 a straight answer to his question about whether this is a low oil level light or an absence of oil pressure light. Which is it? You simply said the oil pressure is fine and the lamp comes on every 4000km. So how do you know the oil pressure is fine?
The fact the oil pressure light goes off does not mean the oil pressure is good. It only means that the oil pressure system is putting out the required 3 to 5 PSI of oil pressure to kill the light. Works on the bulb but that’s not enough to protect the engine. Neither light should ever be allowed to come on.

Moisture in the air could have been responsible for the rough running as it can cause misfires in the secondary ignition; meaning spark plugs, wires, coils.

The smoke could have been built up moisture in the exhaust system. A more serious cause could be oil drainage past the valve seals and worst case would be piston rings. You mention loss of power and burns lots of oil so that would point to engine wear in the top end; meaning rings, etc.

Best thing to do is run a dry/wet compression test at this point and read the spark plugs while they are out. The car is 19 years old with an unspecified number of miles so it could be heading to the end or engine replacement time.


Lets see , you know that this vehicle uses oil but you keep driving until some kind of light comes on. That tells me you are not checking the oil level which only makes things worse.
All you can do now is pay a diagnostic fee and get an estimate of repair costs . Then decide if this vehicle is worth the expense .
And take better care of your next vehicle.


Could it be valve guides could be worn causing oil to drain into combustion chamber while setting?

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Remove the oil dipstick and smell the oil.

Does it smell like gas?

If so, there may be a leaky fuel injector.



okay first of all i don’t let my low oil light come on, i top it up now and then. i just figured out how often the light came on a while back and considering a 5 liter jug will take me to my next oil change i know its not burning more then before. give me a little more credit guys, im not a f***ing idiot. Also give me money to take better care of my car and i will. this car costed me around 2 grand to replace 3 coils and the throttle body, sorry if im not willing to drain my bank and take out a lone for parts. Also the cars at 270 000km and has a lots of rust and body problems, so again sorry if im not willing to drop all my money into the car.

Oil smells and looks fine, i live with a heavy duty mechanic he has looked at all the simple tells like the oil, exhaust, codes, ect. but hasn’t done anything like taking it apart or done compression tests. he said it might be blow by with the piston rings but said he’s really not sure.

Okay the reason i said it the way i did was cause he basicly said if it had low oil pressure it would be dieing, the car shows no indication of death other then the burning oil. plus with how long i have had this problem id assume it would have had serious problems by now if the low oil pressure is on. i take this car on road trips, and drive it every day, neverhas the oil pressure light came on, and the mechanic i live with has never poiinted to that being the issue. so if you wanna pay to find out if oil pressure is good, go right a head but ill bet my money on something else.

I’m grateful for the help, but the hate and condescending attitudes are very much not appreciated since i really do care for this car and try my best to take care of it, it’s just parts cost a FORTUNE on this car, at least where i live since i have to ship them all from the USA, UK, or Japan. i’ll Be booking the car into be looked at in a shop after I convince my mechanic to look into the possible causes you guys mentioned. I will update you guys soon.

Define oil light. Low oil level light or red lack of oil pressure light? Either one is not good. The latter is worse and the former can lead to the latter.

For what it’s worth, an engine can run fine with low oil pressure. Up to a point; and if a worn rod bearing shell on an engine with low oil pressure decides to swap sides on the crank journal you will know it instantly.

It’s the “low oil light” i swear i have written it multiple times. also the car is booked in for friday more news soon.

Most cars have a low oil pressure light. Some cars have a low oil level light. When you just call it a low oil light it is confusing.

The low oil pressure light is red on every car I had that had one,

I don’t know what color a low oil level light is because I have never had a car that had one. I did have a car that shut off the engine when it thought the oil level was low with no light to announce it but that was just a bit of temporary insanity by GM.

The low oil level light will illuminate when the engine oil level is low, long before the low oil pressure warning light illuminates. The OP seems tired of conversing with those who do not understand the difference.

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The reason why this oil light thing continued on is simply because a straight answer was never provided along with a number of other oddities.

Yellow low oil level lamp or red lack of oil pressure light; neither should ever be allowed to illuminate.

I can say with EXTREME certainty that i have answered that question, just because i might not have said “amber low oil level light is on” exactly doesn’t mean i didn’t answer it. you could have deduced that was the light when i literally corrected you guy multiple times saying it was not the oil pressure light over and over again, or by the fact that i said over and over again that its burning lots of oil. so i will say it one last time. THE YELLOW/AMBER LOW OIL LEVEL LIGHT IS ON, THE ONE THAT LOOKS LIKE AN OLD OIL CAN ABOVE A SOME WAVES.
either way none of this arguing is helping me solve my problem so if you want to argue my wording just leave i don’t want your help, i don’t want your justifications i want helpful advice from smart people. and if you can’t deduce what i was saying then leave i don’t want your advice. Thank you to everyone who actually helped me and gave genuine advice i very much appreciate it, if you wanted clarification at the start that’s fine but if your one of the people who kept asking the same question that i answered multiple times LEAVE. again thank you

The reason I was trying to clarify the light thing is because over the years outside of this forum and many times from people who posted on this forum they have mentioned “my low oil light is on”.
The reality of it many times was that the 'low oil light" they were referring to was actually the red no oil pressure lamp.

So what’s wrong with verifying something rather than blindly assuming something I rhetorically ask…