Oil Consumption by a 2000 Prizm-Keep or Sell?

Greetings to all who might help me! I love my 2000 Prizm but for the past year or so, I have been losing oil when I drive on the highway. My repair person, who I love, says that it is an aging process but since it is essentially a Toyota engine and it only has 135,000 miles, I am wondering if this might be fixed? Does it need a ring job? SOme other repair? It doesn’t lose oil when driving around town. And, we have tried high mileage oil with an oil stabilizer added at each oil change. Should I look to buy another car or is it worth it to add oil every 1000 miles or so? I do alot of highway driving in my profession.

Thanks to any helpful suggestions!

How much oil do you add after 1,000 miles? If it’s a quart or less it’s not really that bad. If it starts using more than a quart every 1,000 miles I’d start to worry.

I don’t understand, however, why it doesn’t burn oil when you’re not on the highway. Engines that burn oil burn it constantly, not just at highway speed.

Has your mechanic checked the Positive Crankcase Ventilation (PCV) valve? If this valve is not working correctly there could be excess pressure in the engine which would increase oil consumption.

I would not use “high mileage” oil, and I especially would not use any sort of oil additive. They won’t help and can actually make things worse. Just use regular motor oil as recommended by the owner’s manual.

Yes, your Prizm (which is a Corolla in disguise) has a Toyota engine, and it is one of the most reliable engines on the planet. I wouldn’t give up on the car just yet. I’d add oil and keep on driving. That’s what I do for my car, which uses about a quart every 1,500 miles.

Is is a quart per 1000 miles? That’s generally what most car makers say is about the maximum “acceptable” consumption. But really, the cost of a ring job will buy a lot of oil, so for my money I’d say just keep it topped off. I think it would be worth having a mechanic spend an hour or so diagnosing it since it could also be the PCV valve (cheap!) or the valve guides (not quite as expensive as rings!).

None of the additives or high mileage things will help, but if you do decide on the “live with it” route you might try running a heavier weight oil, like 10w-40. Your fuel mileage will suffer a little, but it might reduce the oil consumption. If you live somewhere cold, you should also switch back to 5w-30 in the winter.

That is common for those motors just keep it full with correct oil and drive another 100,000 after checking what others have said.
Another thing these engines do it the throttle body gums up and idle will go a little screwy and somethimes die or speed up at idle if it does repair guy can clean it for 10-20 bucks

Get rid of it now. It will progress to the point that you’ll be checking your oil every other day. Toyota’s reputation is in the toilet now.

Suzie S, I have a 98 Prism. Yours is probably the 3 speed automatic like mine. Same issue. Mine started losing oil at around 80K miles. It has 135K on it now. I’ve just considered the cost of a quart every four gas fill ups as the cost of doing business with a car that, otherwise, costs peanuts to drive and maintain. I have a theory that the 3 speed revs pretty high at highway speeds, and that might be making the difference between city and highway consumption. Don’t really know. I’ve had it to three different garages and all have said the same thing… For a couple grand they can tear it apart and find out what’s going on, but it otherwise runs fine and a couple grand buys a lot of oil…

Oil every 1000 miles is nothing to be concerned about with an 11 yr old vehicle. A bit of a pain but just add a few bottles of inexpensive motor oil(Walmart SuperTech) to your trunk and check/top every 2-3 fuel fillups.

Despite Toyota’s golden reputation Corolla’s(Prizm cousin) are known to consume oil in your generation vehicle.

The manual for my 2011 Toyota Sienna says that one quart of oil every 700 miles is not excessive. It hasn’t used any oil in 20,000 miles, but if it did, apparently Toyota wouldn’t do anything unless it used more than a quart every 700 miles.
I had a Ford Maverick that used a quart every 300 miles until I had the valve stem seals replaced. I was delighted to have the oil consumption reduced to a quart every 1200 miles.
My first car, a 1947 Pontiac for which I paid $75 used a quart of oil every 200 miles. It made the trip of 350 miles from my home to graduate school carrying me and all my worldly possessions. I thought any car would be great that only consumed a quart every 1000 miles. One trick I used on the old Pontiac was to hold my highway speed to 55-60 mph. We didn’t have interstate highways in those days, so this was a good highway speed. If you hold your speed on the highway to 65 mph or so, you may cut your oil consumption.

Not sure why some burn oil and some do not. My daughter has a 2002 corolla ( same motor ) and it sucks down oil like crazy. It has been doing this forever. It now has hit 200,000 mile mark. CEL light has been on the whole time. Contaminated cat I am sure. I have a 1998 Prizm LSI that just hit 100,000 miles. It does have the 4 speed auto. It uses no oil what so ever ( knocking on wood ) oil always looks gold on this one. So who knows why some do and some do not.

Check the PCV valve, as previously suggested, but also be aware that the amount of oil your engine is using is perfactly normal and healthy for an engine with that mileage. It is not a sign o a problem and other than regular monitoring and an occasional added quart requires no action.

Know also that oil usage does not portend disaster. The lubrication system draws oil from low in the oil pool, pressureizes it, and that’s what lubes the engine. As long as the level is kept above the fill line there’s no danger of losing lubrication. The engine will never know the difference.

By the way, congrats on paying attention to your engine’s needs. I wish more people would.

'98-02 1zzfe engines are prone to oil caking up in the rings.
In '03 revised pistons got more/bigger drainback holes in the oil control ring lands.

Some Seafoam might be worth a try to clean the rings

I would continue to drive the car as is. One of my cars uses a quart of oil about every 1000 miles now, but has used a quart every 1000-1500 miles for probably the last 100K miles. The engine has 518K miles and counting.