Toyota Camry 07 - V6 oil change problem


We have a new Toyota Camry 2007 - V6 with only 4000 miles on it. We took it today to the dealer to have its 1st oil change. After driving approximately 18 miles back home, we checked the oil level and it was approximately 2 quarts low. The oil Toyota used was Union 76 synthetic oil. I talked to the person in charge and he said that we have nothing to worry about , there should be no damage to the engine.

My question is: has any damage been done to the engine because of driving a car 18 miles with 2 quarts low on oil.


No, I seriously doubt that any damage was done to your engine. However, I think that you should speak with the service manager and have him put in writing that he acknowledges that they did not put sufficient oil into your engine when they refilled the crankcase on July XX, 2007. And, in the future, you might want to check your dipstick before leaving that facility.


Thank you so much for your reply. We had a toddler in the car and she was crying and tired so we decided to do it once at home which was a mistake that we made.
Thanks again.


As noted it should not have caused any damage. Not good, but as long as the oil light was not on, it should be fine. Just add the missing oil ASAP.

I might suggest that while this can happen anywhere, it points out that dealers are not better than anyone else. Unless maintenance has been prepaid (the dealer would likely call it free) your would normally be better off having it done elsewhere. You do not need to have maintenance done by the dealer to maintain the warranty, but you do need to have it done and documented. The real problem with dealer service is it is almost always more expensive than having it done by a local independent (not a chain) shop.


we have a 2006 avalon, we don’t drive it much.It has been 19 months since we bought it and it has less then 11000 miles on it.How often should we change the oil and filter on this car?Every three months or every 3 to 5 thausand miles?


Inside your glove compartment you will find the owner’s manual for your car. Follow the manufacturer’s advice. Even on the 3,000 mile oil change is no longer in vogue. Won’t hurt anything but doesn’t help either.


As long as the oil was above the pickup tube, you had normal oil pressure. Two quarts low would not have gone below this level. As far as system oil pressure and flow is concerned, all was normal. The only difference is that with less oil, it had to circulate through the engine more frequently so it had less time to cool in the oil pan. It was basically circulating twice as often, so it got hotter than it normally would have. Eighteen minutes isn’t that long in the scheme of things.

If you went for a few thousand miles at 2 quarts under, then you would need an immediate oil change, as the oil would be breaking down about twice as fast as normal. Theoretically, you should change your oil eighteen minutes or 15 miles earlier next time, but 15 miles in 5000 is not significant, and synthetic oil is more resistant to heat than regular oil. so no harm done.


I seriously doubt that they used a synthetic oil for a standard oil change unless you requested it. next time ask to see the bottles or the bulk oil container!

2 quarts low did no damage, question to ask is, how did this happen and why should I bring it back there in the future?


Question on low mileage vehicles and when to change the oil, if concerned about the warranty go with the manual otherwise, as I have done, once a year with synthetic is overkill but that is what I do. Todays oils and engines are great, especially if you heat that engine up when you do start it, say drive 10 miles or so. Starting it and going a couple of miles, especially in winter is brutal on the oil


I had a similar issue last week. After driving home (30 miles) from the dealership after an oil change, I noticed spots on the driveway. I pulled the dipstick…nothing. It took 4 quarts to bring the oil level back to the full mark. Turns out the service tech at the dealership crushed the o-ring on the filter housing as it was being installed.

What are the chances I have short or long-term engine damage? Thanks.


Dealers are not going to have a top notch tech doing oil changes, nor would a good tech want to, especially if he getting paid by the job. The truth is you get about the same quality guy changing oil at the dealer as at a Quick change joint.

At four quarts low I wouldn’t have put a drop in. I would have called the dealer and made them come to the car so it could be properly documented.


I agree; you should have called the dealer and let them handle it even it meant sending someone over with 4 quarts of oil. And providing a written record to boot.

The majority of your oil is “in suspension”. This means it’s pooling in cubbyholes, being splashed onto all of the engine surfaces, and filling oil galleys. The remaining oil is the pool that the pump draws from. Being 4 quarts low means there is little or no oil to draw from at all and causes low or no oil pressure.

This could damage engine bearings to some extent and would probably have a long term affect rather than a short term one.
I for one am always very nervous about a car that has been in this situation. If you don’t hear any engine knocking or have an oil light flashing in about a year you might consider having an oil pressure check done.
This could determine whether to unload the car or not.
As to whether you could hold the dealer responsible, that’s a tough call at this point considering you refilled the oil. The dealer could always deny it happened.


What is the total oil capacity of your engine? Did the oil pressure light come on?


My apologies, I should have been more specific. The service manager and another tech came to my home and did the refilling. The service tech actually found the problem with the o-ring in my garage. I have pictures documenting the oil on the driveway, the 4 used qts, etc.

I am scheduled to return to the dealership tomorrow to speak with the owner. I was hoping to get some expert opinions on what approach I should take with them based on what potential damage has been done to my Avalon engine which only has 30K miles. I believe the total capacity is 6 qts.


Total capacity is around 6qt. I don’t recall the oil light being on, but I didn’t start the car after I found the leaking oil to double-check.