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Miracle Fix or Death Knell?

2001 Camry 4cylinder 120k miles.

For the past several years, the car has burned/leaked about a quart of oil every 2000 miles so I put in about
6 or 8 ounces of oil each time I fill up. Never overfill. Never goes more than 1/2 quart low.

Suddenly I am not consuming any oil. Just changed the oil about 1000 miles ago. Still looks new (not milky).
Coolant still is as pink as could be so I don’t think the head gasket is bad. No white smoke.

Any theories as to what may have happened? Should I buy a lottery ticket or start saving for a major repair?

Look that gift horse directly in the mouth why don’t you?

Did you switch to a high mileage oil?

Any theories as to what may have happened?

Doesn’t surprise me. Trump/Pence are running things now. My stocks are up, too! This is all probably just part of “Making America Great Again.”

Either that or an asteroid is headed right at us.


No, same oil–the 5-30 regular Quaker State from Wal-Mart I always use.

Maybe some piece of dirt clogged up that small leak.

Or maybe in the cold weather you have more condensation adding blowby water/gas to the oil. Do you drive lots of short trips? A one-hour trip down the freeway should cook out any condensation, I’d think. Then check the oil.


How many times in 120k have you replaced the PCV valve? Perhaps it was sticky and now it unstuck.

When you say “burned/leaked,” you’ve never found any evidence of a leak?

Nothing in the engine compartment gets oily and there’s nothing that drips off the bottom side?

It definitely leaks a small amount around the valve cover but never enough to reach the ground or make the engine compartment oily. Oil pan is clean.
I never see any blue or white smoke (cross fingers)!
I checked and cleaned the pcv valve a couple years ago and it was clean and rattling easily. No change after that.
Should I change it if it is working? I am always hesitant to change things when not 100% needed, mostly because my car was manufactured in Japan and I don’t want to replace Japanese parts with cheaper Chinese parts which I assume are the only option nowadays.

Maybe the rings were slow to seat.


Just to put your mind at ease, a Camry with 120k miles is hardly close to the “death knell”. You’d have to drain out all the oil and then drive it around for a while to deliver a death knell to it.

Just keep your eye on the oil level and take care of it as you have been doing and you will find that it still has a long life ahead of it.


Concur w/ @keith above, whether it leaks a quart of oil every 2000 miles or not, there’s no real problem to lose any sleep over. Years ago I took an auto mechanics course for diy’ers at a local high school, and I decided to clean my truck’s engine of all the gunk as my task for one class. The shop instructor asked what I was doing, I explained, he said “well, last time somebody did that they ended up with an engine that leaked oil like sieve. The gunk was preventing the leaks, but when they cleaned the engine the leaks started up.” So I left the gunk on there, and no oil leaks … :wink:

I had something similar happen with my PT Cruiser, Since new it had burner a quart every 2500 miles, I would put in 1/2 quart and change at 3000 miles. I was using Pennzoil 5W-30. A store near me had a sale on Peak 5W-30 where it was free after rebates so I bought a case. After that, it burned only 1/2 a quart in 2500 miles. I know the Pennzoil feels slipperier in your fingers than anything else to me. I wonder if the rings never wore in with it?

look at the “The Motor Oil Bible” book:

oils have different levels of volatility: essentially it boils to how much oil evaporates from the cylinder walls at combustion cycle

obviously, different brands and types of oil have varying volatility

as an example, when I had Subaru, its horizontal opposed engine would burn 2-3 quarts of Pennzoil synthetic over 5000 miles, but once I migrated to Valvolyne synthetic, I would not need to add any oil in 5000 miles as it would drop less than 1 quart

I specifically changes oil brand based on this book supplied tables and it did not lie :slight_smile:

I might expect you will find Peak to have specs better suited to your engine