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Old Toyota

I have a 2000 Toyota Corolla with about 170,000 miles. It runs very well and I like it very much. But it uses about a quart of oil every three hundred miles. The exhaust is not smoky, so I don’t think it is burning it.

My question is: do you think it is worth the cost to have it fixed considering its age and mileage. I’m assuming the cost would be well over a thousand dollars?

A 16 year old car with an oil consumption problem need a rational approach. If the oil consumption is due to a worn out engine I would question if the car ever had proper maintenance. Corollas are extremely durable, and at that mileage should not use oil very much. If the oil consumption is simply due to it leaking out at highway speed, a fix might be economically justified.

If it is due to wear, just keep adding oil, and don’t use anything lighter than 5W30 grade. Oil is cheap and if the car runs well you may getting a few more years out of it.

Doing internal engine work to stop oil consumption will cost you several thousand dollars at least.

If it’s the piston rings, I’d say it’s not worth spending money on engine repairs

I’d just monitor the oil level weekly, and keep topping it up, as long as it’s still got decent power, fuel economy, and still passes the smog inspection

I urge you to NOT drop in a used engine. It may be using just as much oil as yours . . . !

Check to be sure you aren’t leaking oil. A valve cover gasket or an oil pan gasket is a relatively inexpensive repair. A leaking oil plug can be fixed easily,with a special plug. If the engine isn’t leaking oil, it could ve valve stem seals which might be worth having replaced. If it is,worn rings, go with buy oil on sale and just add as necessary.

Here’s an interesting european TSB . . . I’m fairly certain the US Corollas used the same engine and had the same problems

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again . . . Toyota has LONG had problems with excessive oil consumption on their 4-cylinder engines. Doesn’t matter if cast iron block or alumimum block. And the problem has been bottom end

I’m not making this stuff up . . . there’s plenty of bulletins and information out there to back me up. Many professional trade magazines talk about this stuff.

I think that if this were a severe oil leak . . . such as a front crank seal . . . the OP or a mechanic would have mentioned it. Because it would be impossible to ignore, based on the amount of oil mentioned

therefore I think an external oil leak is NOT the cause of 1qt/300 miles . . . not based on the information we’ve been given up to this point

I disagree with db that all Toyota 4-bangers have long had problems with excess oil consumption. I’ve owned a number of them, still own one, and if properly maintained they do not. But, he and I have had this debate before. We’ll never agree, but that isn’t important to you. The only important thing for you is to realize that there are opposing views on this allegation. Do not assume that because you have a Toyota 4-banger you therefore are destined to have excessive oil consumption.

I do agree that your car needs to be looked at by a qualified diagnostician. It is very possible that you have seepage through the valvecover gasket, the oil pan gasket, the crank and/or cam seals. You may also have oil being blown past worn out or gummed up rings and/or cylinders or being drawn past tired old valve stem seals. A clogged PCV valve could also contribute. A quart every 300 miles is excessive, and the best next step is to get an evaluation as to why. None of the aforementioned would be unusual to find, depending on the engine’s history and driving environment. Many are affordably correctable. Worn out cylinders and/or rings aren’t. It’s important to find out which are applicable, as best as a good look-see can tell. Seeping valvecover gaskets and crank/cam seals are easy to diagnose, as is a seeping oil pan gasket. The internal cylinder condition can likely be determined with a simple wet/dry compression test.

Don’t let the lack of smoke in the exhaust fool you. In modern cars, much of the burning oil is caught by the cat converter. Besides that, at idle the lack of a cloud means little. And if the valve stem seals are leaking it may not present except under deceleration.

If it does turn out to be wear, I support the recommendation to just keep adding oil. It’ll probably serve you well for another 10 years.

Triedaq: And oil changes are no longer required as the vehicle is changing it’s own oil. Just replace the filter every 5,000 miles. Wink! Wink!

Oh Lordy! Don’t get that old rumor started!

I never said ALL Toyota 4-bangers are destined for excessive oil consuption

But I stand by my assertion that it is a common problem

On certain Toyota engines, it’s a KNOWN problem

it doesn’t mean if you have one of those engines, it will happen to you, but there is a fair chance, probably a greater chance, versus some other engines

I did my homework before buying my Toyota. I paid money to log onto the Toyota technical website . . . the same website used by Toyota dealer mechanics . . . and that is why I bought a V6, instead of a 4 banger

as mountainbike stated, we do not agree on this matter, but we seem to get along okay, regardless :smiley:

I don't think it is burning [oil]

If it isn’t being burned in the engine, do you have an alternate theory why you are loosing oil? Leaky valve covers are a common problem with Corollas, I’ve had to change mine out twice on my own Corolla. That’s a fairly simple and inexpensive fix if that’s the problem you are having. Do you park it in a place where if it was leaking oil, you’d be able to tell? If not, suggest you try that for a while, just put a piece of cardboard down under the engine wherever you park, and inspect it daily for signs of oil leaks.

Not all Corollas have an oil loss problem. With no valve cover leaks, my early 90’s Corolla w/200 K uses about a quart of oil every 5,000 miles.

That vintage Corolla (late '90’s to 2002) has an issue with gunked up piston rings.
In 2003 they switched to an improved piston design.
I would try a piston soak. Remove the spark plugs and pour in a solvent (my favorite is a mix of paint thinner and acetone).
Wiggle the crankshaft a bit and re-fill with solvent every hour.
After a few hours lay a rag over the spark plug holes and crank the engine to drive out the liquid.
Replace the spark plugs and start the motor. Let it idle until it stops smoking. Then change the oil.


I don’t mean to sound rude . . .

There are some external leaks, which I do not fix, because it’s not worth it

For instance, there are a few seeping valve cover gaskets or oil pan gaskets, which I haven’t fixed, because there is no oil dripping onto the ground, and there’s no smoking, due to oil dripping onto the hot exhaust

And since I’m a fleet mechanic, I constantly see these vehicles. And none of those lose 1qt/300 miles. In fact some of the vehicles have seeping oil pan gaskets AND valve cover gaskets, and still don’t lose 1qt/300

I realize we all bring different experiences to the table

And while I respect the others, that doesn’t mean I have to always agree with them

I absolutely respect db’s expertise and knowledge. We simply disagree on this issue.

If there were only two human beings left in the entire world and they had both been brought up in the same household, received the same degrees from the same universities, and worked side by side for forty years, I feel safe in saying they wouldn’t agree on everything. If they did, that would mean one of them had stopped thinking for himself. The important thing is to understand that the agreement is restricted to the issue and nobody take it personally. :smile:

To the OP, to all OPs, it serves to give him/her different perspectives on the issue. Different perspectives provide a wider breadth of insight into any issue. It’s a gift rather than a curse.

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A good mechanic may be able to tell if the engine is burning oil by examining the spark plugs. A black carbon deposit on plug is an indication of oil consumption. I am not certain whether or not today’s high voltage ignition is capable of burning off these deposits… I do know that in the old days this was one way we checked for excessive oil consumption. My Ford Maverick used a quart of oil every 300 miles and I could tell from the spark plugs that it was burning oil. New valve stem seals solved the problem. The cylinder head didn’t have to come off–the mechanic injected air into the cylinder to hold the valves up while he removed the keeper and spring so he could replace the seal. The oil consumption was reduced from 1quart in 300 miles to 1 quart in 1250 miles which I could live with.

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A compression test done dry and then wet could help in diagnosis.

PCV system, as the same mountainbike suggested, is a possible factor. Not expensive to take care of.

I would start putting Marvel Mystery Oil in the gas and the crankcase and see what happens over the next couple thousand miles.

All the above assuming no leakage. But first make sure of no leakage, with careful inspection of top, sides, ends and bottom of the engine.There is UV tracer that can be put in oil to aid in detecting leakage…

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I wouldn’t give it a second thought. Keep adding oil and keep on driving. I once owned a Corvair that used a quart of oil every 30 miles or so and I thought I was lucky.

Ok, I own a 2000 Toyota Corolla CE with the 1.8l 1zz-fe, you’re issue sounds exactly the same as mine, but if it is go out and start your car and put a white piece of paper under the exhaust or near it, if the same issue i had is the case, you’ll see drops of oil all over the paper, (or in the snow) and if that happens, then the issue that we had the oil holes on the pistons of the 1zz-fe between the years of 1998-2002 is they are too small and what happens since toyotas run hot, the oil sludges and plugs the pistons oil holes, which creates the pistons rings not to be lubricated, therefore what’s happening is the rings are being eaten by the cylinder walls due to lack of lubrication, so i spent 500 dollars on an ebay engine rebuild kit, pulled the engine had the block taken in to a machine shop had them bore it .050 over and rebuilt it at home, now it’s been over a year and 47,000 miles later and i regret one thing from that rebuild, i didn’t take the head in to get a flatness check on it. so i’m leaking a bit of coolant out of the corners of the head but none in the cylinders. so deffinately take the head in too. it will cost you around 500 dollars -700 total. and it won’t fail.
remember to follow torque specs and patterns.