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Corolla Oil Usage

My 2000 Corolla is using oil like crazy - a quart every 200 or 300 miles. The situation gradually progressed to this point. It does not leak oil, nor is there black smoke. The coolant system is fine. What causes this? and What’s the fix (both short term to get by and long term permanent fix)?

Are You The Original Owner ?
How Many Miles On It ?
Has It Ever Been Quite Low On Oil (More Than A Full Quart) ? How Low ?


Many Are Of The Opinion That Toyota (And Other Manufacturers, Too) Made Car Engines That Are More Susceptible Than Others To Developing Oil Sludge. Your Car Could Be One Of Them.

Do you know the whole oil change history of this vehicle ? Please explain.

Click this link and have a look.

By the way, this car is either leaking oil or burning oil. An internal leak could allow some oil into the cooling system, but a quart / 300 miles ? I doubt it.


No signs of oil in the cooling system. Its actually my daughters car, bought about 4 to 5 years ago, with a little over 80k miles on it. We bought it from a used car dealer (not Toyota dealer) so I’m not too sure about its history. We have been changing oil regularly on it. It now has about 115k miles. When we first got it maybe we’d add a quart or at most 2 quarts between oil changes (every 3.5 k miles). Its never gotten lower than down 1.5 quarts. The situation has gotten progressively worse. The car is peppy and handles well aside from this problem.

If It’s Got A PCV Valve Then I’d Check It For Free Movement Or Better Yet, If It’s Inexpensive And Easy To Replace (As Many Are), I’d Go Ahead And Pop One In There.

A clogged PCV valve or PCV plumbing (tube / hose) can exacerbate the consumption problem and the consumtion problem can exacerbate the clogged PCV problem.

Here’s a link. Pay attention to page 4 where it talks about Emissions & Drivability.


Excellent link on the oil-sludge.

That’s why I change my own oil every 5k miles.

I Go 5,000 Miles, Too. It Seems To Work Well For Me. We Can Put On 5,000 Miles In Less Than 2 Months (About 7 Weeks) On Our Main Drivers.


I’ve been skeptical of these extended oil changes…and the Oil Monitoring systems.

Changing oil every 5k miles WORKS…Maybe sooner if you driver a turbo…But for most cars 5k miles is fine. And our town has waste oil burners in several of it’s buildings so the old oil is put to good use.

Here is a link to a old discussion on Corolla/Prizm oil burning

Second link

CommonSense has it right, either leaking or burning.

Any signs of oil on the driveway? Leaks from the oil pan or filter? Near any of the seals on the block (granted, difficult to see some of these)

You mention no black smoke, how about bluish-grey? Either starting the car or when mashing on the gas? Either would suggest burning. Is the milage getting progressively worse with the oil consumption?

What needs to be done is to perform a wet/dry compression test and/or a leakdown test. This will verify the condition of the piston rings and valve/valve seat sealing.

This test is not 100% definitive but it’s the best there is and there is no test for faulty valve seals.

It could be that the car suffered some abuse before you purchased it and the chronic oil useage problem the car had is simply the same problem grown larger due to miles and time.

It only takes one overheating episode or a short period of extended oil changes to damage piston rings. The rings may seize in their ring lands due to oil sludge or coking, overheating, or losing their temper due to overheating. (temper meaning they lose their spring tension)

1997 through 2004 Corolla engines are known for having problems with the oil control rings.
You should have a compression test done on your engine to see if it has low compression in one or more cylinders.

Also, the cam chain tensioner on the back side of the engine is also known for leaking like a sieve, so you might want to get a good look back there to see if that is where the oil might be leaking out at, but not visible under a normal check. It only leaks while the engine is running.