Note: I will apologize for the length of this post now. It’s fairly long, but I believe all the information is important.
Just over 2 months ago (in April), I took my 2005 Toyota Camry on a road trip. I live in Toronto Canada and was travelling 4 to 4.5 hours south to spend a week in one of my favorite places to just “go to and relax” in the United States.
Now, I was coming up due for an Oil Change – I wouldn’t make it to my destination before I would go over, so I figured to get it done before I left. I usually get it down at Costco, but they were all busy with Tire Swapping at the time. So I went to Toyota and figured I would spend the extra money to get what the car needs, since I assumed they would know my car best.
My family had trouble with that particular branch of Toyota before. I had also been told I needed an entire new radiator which turned out to be false as I took it to a specialist in radiators and was told there’s nothing wrong with it.
Since I was leaving that day, I decided to just go there and get them to do it.
I went in the trip and came back – everything is good.
Now, from the middle or end of May to the present day – I have had smoke (sometimes quite a bit) coming out the exhaust only during startup and only happening on a cold start. After reading up on it, I found that it could be Stem Seals or a host of other things, most of them being expensive things to repair.
It doesn’t happen every day, but often enough to say it feels like it happens more than it doesn’t.
Just yesterday I noticed that my cold engine oil level has dropped below half since I’ve gotten my oil changed in April (I don’t check regularly, but I started since the smoke started). Today after I got my fill up of gas, driving home from my usual gas station cause my gas meter to drop, not alot, but a concerning amount when remembering how it never used to even move any of the other times I got gas there.
I figure, “half my oil is gone”, so it must be affecting efficiency. So I consider buying some oil from a store to keep with me to just fill up if my level goes down after my oil change in two days from now. After I check my manual to find what kind I need, I decide to look at the receipt that Toyota gave me in April, and I noticed that they used 5W-20 rather than 5W-30 as the manual states.
Tonight I did some reading, and found a page that says that using an oil with a lower ending number (the viscosity of the oil when hot) than what is recommended, could cause the engine to start burning oil.
I also read that 5W-20 is a poor choice over 5W-30 when you drive alot at high speeds (I drive alot of freeway – so that made me wonder too.
I don’t know whether I should believe that Toyota’s use of a different oil had a hand in causing this smoke and burning of oil. Or if it’s just the seals getting old, as would possibly be normal with a 13 year old car. Or perhaps the high usage of gas in a small amount of time (which has seemed to stop since I let the car sit and went back out) is a sign that a simple tune up is becoming necessary.
If you guys could provide some insight into the issues, that would be fantastic.