Oil color question!

Hi, I just have a quick question about oil color! I had this 2004 Camry Sportivo 2.4L for just over a month now, I drove almost 2k KM already, it had an oil change right before I bought it. The oil color is still not dark though even after a fair bit of driving, and am not sure if its a good thing or not. Most cars I had in the past would get dark oil color very quickly after an oil change and driving around for a bit. Should I be worried there might be a headgasket issue or its just a really clean engine? I kind of doubt that it is because its done over 288k KM overall. See the photo! Thanks! :slight_smile:

That looks like your transmission fluid and dipstick to me.


lol I’m an idiot :rofl: Yeah I was looking at this one here haha!

So, what does the oil dipstick look like?

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Seeing that is only about 1200 miles then it shouldn’t be dirty . With todays oils and filters most can go 6-7000 miles or more before having to be changed .


Modern fuel injection cars, which includes your 16 Y.O. Camry, properly maintained generally have clean appearing oil until the next oil change. My car has 128K miles on it, the oil is still clear amber right up to my 5K oil change. My V8 truck with 63K on it, after a round trip drive from central Florida to north Georgia, still clear amber oil.
Old carburetor engines would look hazy black after a few thousand, or less, miles.

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Good that the trans fluid has been changed recently.


Clearly you’re not in the USA

What’s a Camry Sportivo . . . ?!



Your engine bay’s really clean :+1:

It sure makes working under the hood more tolerable :smiley:

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This is in the morning while cold, seems ok I think!

Yeah I’m all the way in New Zealand, you guys dont have these over there? its just a regular 2004 Camry tbh nothing special, just slightly more sporty in terms of suspension/steering/bodykit etc… engine is standard though. (I think this one was build on Toyota factory in Australia)

We have Camrys here . . . I happen to have a 2005 Camry 3.0 . . . but they’re not called “sportivo”

Looks like the “sportivo” is equivalent to our “SE” trim line

That’s a really nice looking car, by the way :+1:

I live in southern California, and the climate is extremely brutal for the car’s exterior surfaces

Translation . . . many/most of the Camrys of that vintage have bad paint, no matter how often we wash and wax them. Others may have a different opinion, though

I think the climate in New Zealand is a lot milder, versus the american southwest . . . ?!

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Thanks :slight_smile: Yeah make sense, I briefly been to Cali before it was really hot reminded me of northern Australia a bit, and it looks like you guys barely get any rain. So you probably get more sun damage but less rust? In New Zealand yeah the climate is more mild, specially where I am, it never gets really hot and never below 0c either (32F) but its very very windy and rains a lot haha! So we do have a problem with cars rusting when people don’t look after them, but yeah you still see a lot of cars from 90’s and early 2000’s on the roads driving around in fairly good condition. (Even some classic American cars)

You nailed it . . .

Leather seats and clear coat suffer terribly due to the sun

But the flip side is that we don’t have a big rust problem

Which is why a lot of guys from countries with extremely high rainfall actually schedule trips to the american southwest to snatch up rust-free american muscle cars :wink:

Did you watch that movie “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” from about 4 years back, the one starring Sam Neill . . . ?!

Anyways, one of the guys at work has a red Toyota 4x4 truck that looks identical to the one in the movie, the one that the kid wrecked. Except it doesn’t have any rust, unlike the one in the movie

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Haha yeah there is a car yard down the road from me they have a lot of old American cars they love to import, they all look in really good condition, was very temping to get one I do prefer American style cars over Jap but with our fuel prices here at around $2 per L just for 91 and higher maintenance cost I think ill stick to Toyota :rofl:

Nah I still haven’t seen it but yeah I’ve heard of that movie and been meaning to watch it, thanks for the reminder I’ll check it out! :grin:

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Wow, at about 4 liters/gallon that makes high octane at $2 / gallon look cheap!

But on the other hand considering how well you guys did with Covid, that you still have somewhere to drive to, I guess it seems to even it out though I miss my Cars and Coffees Saturday car meets!

So I’m wondering how do LHD US cars do on RHD NZ roads, especially with the stick on the “wrong” side?


Yeah we did alright with Covid, had a full lockdown for a month in March but since then its mostly been back to normal, everything open and can go to events/gigs etc… But tbh its an Island with less then 5mil people, would have been embarrassing if we didn’t do well lol.

Sometimes people modify them and make them RHD but usually they don’t bother not worth the $, its a bit strange at first but its like anything you get used to it after awhile and its not a big deal anymore. With more modern American cars like for example newer Mustangs or F150 they often already RHD, I guess they make them for NZ/AU market at the factory.

Some of us on this forum live in CITIES that have more than 5 million inhabitants . . .

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“So, what does the oil dipstick look like?”

Look in your owner’s manual! Get a manual if you need it, even an online pdf will help.

But paper one in glove compartment can be VERY useful.

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Ok firstly and this is pretty universal on all cars but particularly true to toyota your oil dipstick is always yellow and tranny dipstick is orange. It appears as though the engine has been replaced. If it has then you are running on a reconditioned motor and so it will act as though its brand new. . . Meaning its extra clean and can take up to 3 months before you start to see soot(carbon) discoloration in the oil. In your other photo where you’re showing the oil on the dipstick you can see it is already showing slight discoloration in the oil on the stick. Also because you aren’t in the U.S. that motor is required to run on synthetic oil which resists carbon buildup in the engine case and in the oil so it may not discolor as it would when running petrol oil. In other words it appears to be just fine.

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Cheers, oh interesting theory, is there anyway to double check if its an original motor or its been replaced? In any case cant really complain the car still runs great considering its age and mileage, and I didn’t pay much for it. I do want to look after it though and I actually double checked with the dealership where I bought it if they changed the oil and nah they didn’t, there is no record when it was changed last or what oil they used. So I think ill definitely get that done next week, gonna get some Penrite 5W-30 full synthetic probably, that’s usually my go to, or 5W-40 one.