Oil cap left off

toyota

#1

Loaned my 1987 2wheel drive Toyota PU to someone. They drove 30 miles to get to my house to return it yesterday with the oil cap off. Oil spewed all over the engine. The cap was sitting next to the oil fill hole on the engine block. (Nope, it didn’t fall out). Dipstick with cold engine has not a drop of oil on it. Person didn’t hear any noises while driving here like that. What assorted problems could this cause with the engine and with any parts now covered with oil? after the oil is cleaned off, what should be done next: fill it? Tow it to a mechanic? Fill it and drive it to a mechanic? Don’t fill it and tow it to a mechanic? (They have no idea why the cap was off or how it got that way)


#2

If the person who borrowed the truck didn’t add oil (and with nothing showing on the dipstick, it is not likely that he did add oil), then the question arises of exactly when the oil cap came off.

How many miles did the other person drive the truck, in total?
Did the OP check under the hood immediately prior to loaning out the truck?
When was the last time that the OP checked the dipstick prior to loaning out the truck?
and…
How old is the PCV valve?

I am asking the last question because if the PCV valve is gunked up, it could have led to the following conditions…
…increased oil consumption
…oil leaks
and…
a build-up of enough pressure in the crankcase to blow the cap off !

In view of the advanced age of the truck, my advice is to add enough oil to bring it up to the full mark on the dipstick, start the engine, and immediately check for sufficient oil pressure. And–of course–if you hear any unusual noises, shut the engine down immediately.

If the engine sounds okay and has normal oil pressure, then I would suggest checking the PCV valve. If it is gunked-up, rather than cleaning it, just replace it for the grand sum of…probably ~$5. Also, be sure to run some solvent through the PCV hose.


#3

I agree with VDCdriver’s approach. Let us know how many quarts were needed, as that’ll give some idea of the likelihood of engine damage.

I’m not big on engine cleaning because it can cause issues if done incorrectly (getting things wet that aren’t supposed to get wet), but in this case I’d go to a detailer to get that done, so that you’re not smelling burning oil any longer than necessary.

By the way, I managed to do this to my car once a long time ago with no ill effects.


#4

Thanks a lot, you two. I can let you know later.


#5

Not a drop of oil (on the dipstick) is not the same as not a drop of oil in the crankcase. With no oil light and no noises, I’d just fill it up and hope for the best. Make note of how many quarts it takes relative to sump capacity.

Then you have to decide how to make things “square” between you and friend. IMO, it’s not fair to leave friend on the hook for any peculiar things that occur to your ride years from now. If it were my friend, I’d bust his [chops] a bit about this, tell him he owes me a steak dinner…and then just claim my steak and let the rest go.


#6

“If it were my friend, I’d bust his [chops] a bit about this, tell him he owes me a steak dinner…and then just claim my steak and let the rest go”

Okay, but the OP has not even bothered to respond to my very reasonable questions, namely:

How many miles did the other person drive the truck, in total?
Did the OP check under the hood immediately prior to loaning out the truck?
When was the last time that the OP checked the dipstick prior to loaning out the truck?
and…
How old is the PCV valve?

I don’t know about you, but I would make DAMN sure that I was not at fault before I started blaming somebody else. Otherwise, the accuser might make himself look mighty foolish later on, and this can be avoided by some very simple due diligence before the act of loaning a vehicle to somebody else.

The OP’s response to my questions was, “I can let you know later”, but…he apparently doesn’t know when he last checked under his own hood, or when he last checked the dipstick prior to lending out the truck. That lack of response is…not promising in regard to the overall maintenance of that old truck.

I can understand needing to verify odometer readings–pre and post loan-out–and I can understand needing to check service invoices in order to determine the age of the PCV valve, but…with whom is he going to check in order to find our what he did under the hood of his own truck prior to lending it to somebody else?


#7

VDCdriver- I checked my records. The oil was changed about 1000 miles ago just about when I loaned it out. The truck has 178,055 miles on it. I get it changed about every 3000 miles. It was on loan for a few months and they put about 1000 to 1500 on it. Should have some more info to you two in a couple of hours.


#8

Our replies crossed. I did answer just before you sent yours. I’ve had the truck since 48,000 miles and keep every single maintenance record. Ever keep track of gas and check the MPG every time I fill up. Sorry to upset you with my delayed response. It’s a busy day. I much appreciate all of your (plural) hep and ideas.


#9

I had a 1992 Toyota Celica that I took to get parts in. The car smelled of burning oil. I opened the hood to find the oil cap off and in three pieces. There was oil all over everything. The car was 2-1/2 quarts low, so I went ahead and changed the oil and replaced the cap. I then took some engine cleaner and tried to clean it off. Still working on it a year later. But, the car has 368, 000 miles on it and seems no worse for it.


#10

Good to know, Busted. Lion9, it holds 4.5 quarts, and took 1 quart 4 ounces. We will just have it detailed to be sure we don’t mess something up. VDC Driver, the PVC looks fine and was replaced with the last oil change. MeanJoe, I’m going to pass on the steak and get a few micro brews out of this instead. Again, thanks a lot for all of your advice.


#11

Ya, being a little more than a quart low shouldn’t cause any damage, just a mess.