Low Oil


#1

I checked my oil after 4000 miles and it was down to almost nothing.I added two quart. I dont have a leak on the garage floor and was confirmed by the shop where I hurriedly took it to get an oil change. No black smoke from teh rear neither do I notice any change in accleration. The shop told me to just check the oil every 1000 miles and add if necessary.
It is a 2003 camry with 227,440 miles on it. I love this car and never had any issues with it. I do service it per Toyota recommendation.
Any ideas what may be casuing the oil depletion and if it is worthwhile to try to fix the problem. Thanks


#2

I believe you could be burning this much oil without seeing much smoke. The engine is probably worn. If it were mine, with this many miles, I would just keep driving it and add oil as needed.
Don’t let it get that low. Check it every time you buy gas and add when it gets to the add line. Keep a spare quart in the trunk. Buy it at a Wal-Mart or a parts house so you don’t have to pay gas station prices. Good luck.


#3

With that many miles on the car you should be checking the oil once a week or every second fill up, not every 4000 miles. That way you will find if there is excessive consumption sonnet rather than later. That being said you should be happy if you use only 1 quart every 1000-1200 miles. Your rate of about 1 quart every 2000 is totally acceptable.


#4

Two quarts in 4000 miles is acceptable, especially for a car with that much mileage.
Running the car low on oil is not. That’s probably the single greatest cause of engines wearing out prematurely. “Wearing out” I would define for this thread as burning oil, running poorly due to excessive wear, having low power due to poor compression, having gunked up rings and or. valvetrain components, and all the other stuff that while allowing the engine to keep running makes it run poorly.

Learn to check your oil every time you gas up (as suggested) or every1000 miles. If it were mine, I might run some degunking additive through the lubrication system, maybe even twice, but that’s a personal choice.


#5

I do service it per Toyota recommendation.
I checked my oil after 4000 miles

What does the owner’s manual say about the recommended frequency for checking your oil?


#6
What does the owner's manual say about the recommended frequency for checking your oil?
I'm 1400 miles away from my Camry and the manual, but I can assure you it is more frequently than every 4000 miles

#7

Whatever the manual says about checking oil is likely irrelevant, since this is such a high mileage car. As mtnbike says, the thing is not to run low on oil.


#8

What the manual says about frequency may be irrelevant only since the older an engine is the more frequently (than the manual states) the oil level needs to be checked.


#9

I check the oil almost every time I buy gas. Our present vehicles don’t use any oil between changes, but it gives me something to do while the tank is filling up. I do this even with rental vehicles and when I used vehicles out of the fleet from the university where I used to work before I retired. I would rather check the oil than be stranded along the highway. I rented a U-Haul truck on a return basis for a move of 125 miles for my second round of graduate school. We did the move in a day. I checked the oil in the truck while the gas tank was being filled and it was 2 quarts low. I put in two quarts and kept the receipt. When I made the return trip of 125 miles, I gave the U-Haul dealer the receipt. He reimbursed me and then checked the oil in the truck. It was again 2 quarts low. He added more oil, shrugged his shoulders and said, “I guess the truck uses a little oil”.


#10

@Triedaq‌
It may give you something to do but definitely is a great long term habit…like checking your own blood pressure and heart rate every day.
Because to do otherwise would give you no input as to what the cause might be. If you do it regularly, you can definitely see a difference between normal wear over time and miles and a sudden change indicating some thing more acute as a problem.


#11

@dagosa–I developed the habit of checking oil when I bought my first car–a 1947 Pontiac for which I paid $75. It used a quart of oil every 250-300 miles, so I had to keep tabs on the oil level. Later, I owned a 1971 Maverick that was taking a quart of oil every 300 miles. I traced the trouble to bad valve stem seals and when the seals were replaced, the consumption dropped to a quart every 1250 miles. I have a lawnmower that burns oil. I check the oil before I start the engine to mow the grass and every time I have to stop for fuel. I’ve been able to keep the mower going since I bought it in 1992.


#12

Keeping tabs on oil consumption does pay off. Years ago, when I was in 6th grade, we were on a 300 mile trip in a 1949 Dodge that consumed oil. The oil level was on the full when we started the trip. However, about 200 miles into the trip, I noticed the oil gauge was fluctuating all over the place. I called it to my dad’s attention and he immediately pulled off the road. The oil was almost 3 quarts low. In those old carburetor days, the oil would become diluted and at highway speeds, it might burn off pretty rapidly. That must have been what happened with the Dodge. At any rate, my dad was really appreciative of me noticing the oil pressure gauge. My usual weekly allowance was 50 cents. However, I got a bonus in my next week’s allowance and received 75 cents for saving the engine of the car.
I still miss the oil pressure gauge. It seemed to me that this gauge was an important way of keeping track of what is going on in the engine.


#13

@Triedaq‌
Lawn mowers are one of my notoriously high oil consumption users in the past. It seems like the more oil they used, the longer they lasted. So it has many years of life left, just don’t hit rocks as we are prone to do on our lot. That impact hitting the blade and directly to the crank can mean sudden death. Now my 55 DeSoto was another story. Even though it had over two hundred K miles, the motor ran like a top and used little oil. But, every morning, I would take the collected transmission fluid that leaked out over night and pour it back into the filler tube, then top it off as necessary. So motor oil usage was the least of my worries. It being my first car made me a manual convert for the next 30 years of car buying.

Gee, a friend had a Maverick. It was a walking automobile repair manual.


#14

I was drafted into the Army in Feb. 1964. When I finished my 2 years, I drove as if I were sane, which was totally different from before 1964…

I did horrible cruel things to that 1953 Chevrolet, including pulling off the oil bath air cleaner, and the fan blade, and also loosening the distributor so I could turn it back and forth. If I didn’t park on a hill, I’d have to turn the distributor back a bit or it wouldn’t start. Once I got the car started, I would turn the distributor for maximum idle speed. That poor car would run 35 in first, and nearly 70 in second. Just before being drafted, I hit 96 indicated on a very long hill. I assure you '53 Chevrolets normally did not run like that.

Much of that driving was on gravel, winding roads, though it didn’t have enough power to go faster than 70 because of the curves. Anything over 70 would have been on a paved highway.

I did that a lot. God wanted to torture me some more because I survived that period of driving insanity.

But, the motor used 1 quart every 30 miles, whether I drove it fast or slow, after a few years of that abuse. I don’t know why. Some thought it was the main seals. I just added a quart whenever the oil gauge dropped on a hill, and kept going. My last trip before going to Ft. Leonard Wood was over 1100 miles round trip, and I used a great amount of oil. I probably should have been buying five gallon pails of tractor oil from Farm Bureau?

After a year at Ft. Lewis, I came home and put in a rebuilt engine and transmission, and drove it another 2 years, then bought a new 1967 Chevy II, and gave that '53 to a brother who lived on a farm and didn’t drive far from home. He drove it a year or two, then junked it out.

No car should be treated the way I drove that old car. But, others of my age treated cars even worse in those days. At least I didn’t knock any trees down, heh, heh.


#15

“. . .just don’t hit rocks as we are prone to do on our lot. That impact hitting the blade and directly to the crank can mean sudden death”.
@‌dagosa–
Back in 1952, our neighbors bought a Sears Craftsman rotary push mower that had a clutch. The blade was driven through a belt to the engine. The clutch operated by pulling the whole engine back which tightened the belt. To disengage the clutch, one just raised the handle. The engine then slipped forward loosening the belt. The engine was a Power Products 2 stroke engine. They used this mower for years. This seemed like a great idea to me, but I never saw another mower like this.
Lawn mowers, like cars, usually rust out before they wear out. My mower has a cast aluminum deck, so there is no rust problem. It isn’t self propelled, so there is no drive mechanism to maintain. I did put a new short block on the mower about 10 years ago because it was using oil and was fouling the spark plug. I think it cost me about $150 for the short block and I had people tell me I was crazy to put this much money into a $225 lawnmower. However, when I read in Consumer Reports that after 5 to 7 years, a mower really is usually not worth repairing, I think I got my money’s worth. I haven’t decided whether or not to buy another short block or even a new engine for the mower.


#16

Story time. My first car was a 57 Chevy BelAire. It burned a lot of oil–like a quart in 30 or 40 miles. I used to buy 24 quart cases of recycled oil (filtered used oil) at Workingman’s Friend and carry them in the trunk. Of course blue smoke followed me, but it got really intense after descending a hill and then hitting the gas. I used this to advantage once after being tailgated by a biker. I didn’t quite see what happened to him, but I think he may have gone into the creek. Same car I got about 3k on a set of tires. I thought the peak of driving was like on Thunder Road. Ah the good old days.


#17

@‌Triedaq
You are right. Steel deck mowers usually do rust out if you don’t scape them down after you mow. My steel deck mowers lasted for twenty plus years and usually started to have the wheels fall off and other problems but the decks were fine. I used paint scrapers and touched up any painted areas that chipped with a little grease before storage. Mentioned it earlier but my favorite of mine for twenty years and still going strong with my son is an old two stroke sell propelled Toro, though for him on a small lot it’s now a push mower. He’s 6’4" and 220 so he doesn’t mind.
@melott An old fill the oil and check the gas car…had a few of those too.


#18

Another oil thread drifts off into the Twilight Zone…


#19

I just bought a new mower, and when putting it together I sprayed the bottom of the deck liberally with PTFE Dry-Lube. I’m curious to find out if it’ll prevent the cut grass from sticking. Truth is, it’s no big deal, but I wanted to try it just out of curiosity.

I spray the chute, auger shroud, and auger on my snowblower with PTFE when I’m prepping it for winter and (this past winter) once in the middle of the winter. It prevents snow from building up and gives more loft out the chute. When it’s wet snow, I’ve even used silicone spray lube.


#20

Melott, my '53 did not leave a trail of blue smoke, which is why we had no real idea where the oil was going, except for a theory it was going out via the main seals.