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Engine stalled because of no oil

I recently bought this 2001 Toyota Corolla with around 176,000 miles on it the guy didn’t say anything was wrong with it so I took his word for it. I did research on common problems with this car and year which I always do and I found out they burn oil. So I kept checking the level regularly and I was going to do an oil change myself yesterday and put full synthetic 5w30 oil Valvoline high mileage but I didn’t. So today on the highway it lost power and when i completely stopped it stalled, didn’t want to turn it on until I checked all the fluid and sure enough it had burned through all the oil. I got a friend to bring me oil, filled it up and tried to turn it on after the third time it did but it had a rough idle and I didn’t want to push it pass 10mph. It stalled again but started right up. Got home left it alone went back to turn it on after 6 hours and it had rod knock really bad so I turned it off after idling for 5 secs, came back an hour later and the rod knock had gone away and didn’t have such a rough idle. Checked the oil and it was really black, checked the coolant and it was really light brown not dark brown. You could almost see the actual coolant color which was green. I had checked the oil cap before purchasing and looked fine and still does. Coolant reservoir was empty when I bought should’ve been a red flag but he said he hadn’t noticed it. And again coolant reservoir was empty again. Do you guys think the head gasket blew? And would the engine be damaged from stalling with no oil?

How recently . . . ?!

Last week . . . ?

Last month . . . ?

And a lot of sellers are like that. Unless asked specific questions, they’ll just keep quiet.

I don’t know how much you spent on this car . . . but I have a feeling the motor’s not long for this world

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Stick a fork in it.

It’s done.



I don’t think the head gasket is as big a problem as the rod and main bearings. Don’t know if this car is worth putting a used engine in.


There’s every reason to believe your typical used engine for a 2001 Corolla will also have high miles and have oil consumption issues

Of course a junkyard is going to say their available engines fine are all in great shape :smirk:

Personally, I think the easiest course of action is to junk the car and call this a lesson. Donating it to your local npr-affiliated radio station is typically very easy. They do the paper work and pick up the car. But I’m not sure they’re doing that at the moment, because of the corona virus


I would not think head gasket first, sorry for your troubles, maybe miracle in a bottle and a few repeated oil changes can help. I have seen so many posts similar to yours, where the car blows up within a very short time of purchase, Is there like an underground pipeline of information, how to tell if your car is going to blow up soon and sell it now, but this can mask the symptoms for an unsuspecting buyer?


It’s been about 2 weeks do you think it’s under the lemon law? Or is that just for dealerships and not private sell. Engine sounded good and car fax showed regular oil changes and even being serviced at dealership for regular maintenance

That’s what I was thinking, the rods and bearings might have been damaged, I bought it for $1600 other than this problem I have to change an idler pulley I believe or maybe the serptine belt and the clear coat paint is peeling, no rust anywhere i live in CT so that’s rare. 80% of me is telling me to do an oil change, and coolant flush and see what happens

Yeah I was thinking of doing an oil change and putting in Lucas oil stabilizer not the thick one there’s a new low viscosity one that I believe is better. If the car works as normal I will probably sell it for around 1400 and will warn the buyer about the oil burning since it is common for these cars.

No . . . lemon law doesn’t apply in this case

I take that to mean it was a private party transaction

as such, you really have no leg to stand on

Personally . . . due to my natural skepticism, and also my professional experience . . . I think it’s extremely probable the seller knew darn well that the engine was on the way out. In fact, I bet the seller even had a few instances where he ran out of oil himself and was barely able to “resurrect” the engine.

But I doubt you’d ever get the seller to admit this, and it wouldn’t accomplish anything

Forget the coolant flush

Concentrate on the oil problem(s)

If you’re intent on hanging onto this vehicle for awhile, I’d drive the car several miles, then do an engine oil and filter change yourself, watching carefully what condition the oil is in while you’re draining it into a plastic tub.

Use the cheapest oil that meets the viscosity specs, and a store brand oil filter is fine. This engine no longer rates the good stuff

From that point on, you’ll have to check the oil level extremely frequently. At least every weekend. Maybe even every 2 - 3 days

But ultimately, my position hasn’t changed . . . the engine’s not long for this world

$1600 would have been a reasonable price for a 2001 Corolla with 176K with a good engine.

If you’re going that route, you might as well go all the way. Tell prospective buyers the engine actually stalled on you due to the low oil level, and that it was making ominous noises


No it is not under the Lemon Law .

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I don’t know how often “regularly” is but an engine that consumes 4 quarts of oil in one day has a serious problem and the knock indicates bearing damage.


Sounds to me like this is a good idea. Change the oil and oil filter, change the coolant, and see how the car runs. And of course, check the oil frequently and top off as needed. An engine that has been run low on oil is likely to consume way more oil than normal.

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thanks for replying, I’ll probably do that with the oil and just go on from there and I will definitely tell the potential buyers if I do end up selling it, about my incident don’t want them to end up like me. It’s just funny that before this car I bought a 2003 Hyundai Elantra that was not taken care of at all for $800 had rust everywhere and lasted me 2 years, ended up junking it since it didn’t pass emissions for evap leak and was leaking gas, never broke down on me and never needed anything except a new starter

I think I have seen Marvel Mystery Engine Cleaner recommended here, not positive though.


It certainly sounds like bearings and journals could already be damaged

As such, I don’t see how “Marvel Mystery Engine Cleaner” is going to solve that kind of problem