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No Oil in SUV

i have a 2010 Toyota Highlander (wife’s). 3.5L fwd, 155K miles, beautiful vehicle, gets us and kids anywhere and everywhere we want to go. Pleasure to drive. Changed oil last weekend, a week later, wife complains that vehicle is making terrible sound everytime she hits the accelerator, and that oil light is on. She stops immediately and tow it home.

I look at it, realize the oil light is correct, no oil on dipstick, and almost no oil in pan. I started to get upset with myself for probably misaligning the rubber gaskets on the oil filter assembly. oil was all over that general area of the oil filter. pull filter assembly off and all gaskets are in place and filter looks correctly installed. I remove and reinstall just to make sure. Where is all of this oil draining from?

I have another person start up the car, and it is shooting out of the front lip of the oil pan. So the oilpan gasket area is where the oil is escaping. Doesn’t look like a leak due to hitting something in the road as this place is really close to the oil filter, but anything is possible.

I have ordered the gasket and RTV. Removed all of the bolts/screws. Is a screwdriver to wedge into the old gastket/grey RTV material the correct protocol to pull off the pan? Or a putty knife better? light taps on the side/edges of pan have not been effective.

Second question is, can i assume this is just an old gasket blowout due to age? or did something pressurize the oil pan so much that i am only solving for a result (oil blowout) and not addressing the initial cause? What could those other causes be?

Exterior of oil pan looks nice and new/no dents, but that leak was impressive. (after filling with 5qts and running the engine for 15 seconds) Thanks in advance.

Honestly… I think I’d have it towed to a mechanic for a proper diagnosis of the engine before I proceeded any further with the oil pan, etc.

It concerns me that the engine was already making noise/having issues while running without oil… and it sounds like you’ve run it yourself a few times too. Admittedly you put oil in it, but it was also leaking, sounds like. Not good.

What I’m getting at is… this engine may be toast. It may not be worth your time trying to fix. Hopefully I’m wrong, though.

Good luck.

The oil cooler hoses above the oil filter are leaking (there is no pressure in the oil pan).

Toyota had extended the warranty on the oil cooler pipes to 10 years/ 150,000 miles. It seem that you are out of warranty by miles but it is not an expensive repair unless you have to replace a damaged engine.

If you have already damaged the oil pan seal you will have to remove and reseal it. You must first remove the lower oil pan and then the oil pick up tube before removing the upper oil pan.

The oil cooler hoses that Nevada is referring to are made of rubber, they are certainly hard as a rock by now, probably that’s why they’re leaking. There’s a pinhole in one of those hoses that’s shooting right at the oil pan. If you have not yet broken the seal on the oil pan mounting I would try to put the bolts back in, see if you have a leak there after doing the cooler lines.

There are replacement aftermarket parts available that are entirely steel save for the mounting O-rings.

Seal not broken yet. I will look closer at the source. Thank you so much for the advice. It really helps. I will report back.

Any idea if a 2013 highlander V6 has the rubber lines or did Toyota correct this? Curious if my wife’s car could have this problem. They put a plastic skid plate type thing under there to improve aerodynamics, and it makes it difficult to see anything from underneath the vehicle.

If the problem really is where you speculated at first, from a failed the oil pan gasket, best to not try to wedge anything metal in there to break the seal. If you need to pry it apart, some sort of plastic wedge material would be preferred. Just knocking it sideways with a rubber or wood mallet might be enough to free it up. You definitely don’t want to mar either of the sealing surfaces, on the block , or on the pan, so you want to use something softer than steel if possible. It might help to remove the pan by first heating up the gasket area with a heat gun. I’d guess a big leak like that springing from the gasket area would most likely be caused by the pan hitting or being pushed against something. Not an unusual thing to happen in parking lots and the like.

I believe all 2013 Toyota 2GR engines have metal oil cooler pipes. The bulletin with all metal replacement oil cooler pipes was issued Dec, 2011 for 2007-2011 vehicles.

This is the replacement, part # 04004-29131


Great, thanks!

OIl light on and knocking means there is some engine damage. The only question is how much. Even if the engine quietens down with a fix and oil fill that does not mean you’re out of the woods at all.

I’ve had a couple of Toyota’s that leaked oil from around the front oil seal, just behind the harmonic balancer. If this has a timing chain instead of a timing belt, the fix is pretty easy, but first you have to make a tool. I used a piece of 1x4 wood, drilled two holes to accept the bolts that screw into the empty holes on the pulley, that’s what the holes are for. Then hold the 1x4 while loosening the crankshaft bolt that holds the harmonic balancer and pulley in place. Pull the pulley out, pull out the seal, put in the new one and replace the pulley and crank bolt, using the 1x4 again to hold the pulley while torquing the crank bolt.

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You and Nevada are spot on. I was not looking close enough. Oil pan was not the source. It was the oil cooler hoses. Shot oil directly at the lip of the oil pan. Reflected and looked like it was coming from the oil pan.

I purchased the metal replacement hoses , just as pictured. Worked great, install simple and Vehicle is not leaking anymore. I will have to drive the vehicle more to notice if engine damaged. Thanks for the advice.

Let me guess . . . the Toyota dealer “just happened” to have the updated parts in stock?


My brother’s 2008 Highlander had the exact same leak last year, and the dealer had the updated part in stock