Sudden Corolla oil use


#1

We are original owners of 2002 Corola. We have had all scheduled maintainence done on time and changed oil every 3-4,000 miles. At about 125,000 it abruptly started using 2-3 quarts between oil changes. No drips on the garage floor and no visible smoke. Dealer (who has good reputation) says normal wear and tear. We have had several toyotas and never had one begin using oil so suddenly or at such low mileage. Thanks for your advice/experience


#2

That is NOT normal wear and tear on a Toyota Corolla. 2-3 qts between changes would be highly unusual on a Corolla with double that mileage.

What kind of oil are you using?

It has to be either burning or leaking. If it is leaking, it has to be from somewhere that drips straight to the road and does not paint the bottom of the car with oil spray, because you don’t have oil on the garage floor. That is unusual. Most oil leaks get oil all over the place due to air turbulence under the car.

Let the car sit and run in one spot for a while and look for a drip. In particular, check the oil pressure sending unit. It is about the size of your thumb, and has a single wire running to it. It is probably located somewhere near the oil filter.

Do you see any blue smoke in the rearview mirror when you first start the car, or when you take your foot off the gas?

Are there droplets of black oil on the back of the car that have come through the exhaust and splattered on the car in an eddy current of air?


#3

If this happened just after an oil change, I would wonder if new oil was of the correct viscosity. I have had cars that used more oil of one brand than another when both oils were of the same viscosity. While it may not make a diffence, you might try a different brand of oil of the correct viscosity for your Toyota.

Just be certain to keep an eye on the oil level. At the rate of 1 quart per 1500-2000 miles is not excessive. Driving conditions can make a difference. Although fuel injection has minimized the problem over a carbureted engine, oil consumption may increase in cold weather under stop and start driving conditions. The oil becomes diluted and when you take the car out on the road for a longer trip, the oil may burn off a little more rapidly.


#4

I would not consider this usual. It is very high oil usage and it is at the point it may well damage the converter. Right now the converter is likely eating the excess oil, it is going to get indigestion soon and then you will start seeing the blue smoke.

Do you have the dealer’s “normal wear and tear” comment in writing? Sorry to say I believe your converter warranty is likely 80,000 miles and you are past that.

Good Luck.


#5

I Wouldn’t Overlook A Bad Head Gasket Or Oil Sludge Condition.


#6

Gummed oil control ring would be my guess.


#7

Check/change the PCV valve and also check the air intake to see if any oil there.


#8

aside from the suggestions you have gotten, don’t forget the EGR system, the valves will become dirty and stick or plug


#9

The 8th generation Toyota engine (1998-2002 or 2003) is known for burning oil - they used cheap rings. Surf other boards on the internet and you’ll find that it’s really tough to fix. What works for one person isn’t likely to work for another. Some have some luck with additives (I’ve had minimal). Others try ringing the pistons and get no improvement. For the last 2 years, my solution has just been to keep adding oil and keep checking the oil. I also add oil even if it’s down only 1/4 quart - it seems to burn faster the lower it goes.

From other boards, I’ve heard Toyota told people when their car was under warranty that 1 qt per 1000 miles is acceptable. Toyota refused to admit any liability.

My brother’s a mechanic and looked at the obvious things. No easy fix for me, but adding oil is simple enough - just hoping it doesn’t get worse. Mine ranges from 600 miles per quart (a rare low) to 1200 miles per quart, probably averaging about 900-1000 miles. Since my Corolla’s a 2000 model and since the expensive fixes don’t seem to work terribly option on this specific problem with this engine, I haven’t done them.