We used to call it “Blow back” for the oily soot. It means the rings are worn and the oil is leaking during compression. If the top is clean, oil could be leaking from the engine oil pan. There is another possibility for burning oil, but that is extremely rare: There was a farmer who added but never changed oil in his truck until the engine quit. When the oil drain plug was removed, nothing came out. when the oil pan was removed, there was an oily sludge about 4 - 5 inches thick in the bottom. The engine had been running on little over a quart of oil. After the engine rebuild, the mechanic would periodically call the farmer to have the oil changed.
200.00 for an oil change ? Maybe on a diesel semi truck but a Smart car . And I don’t think a Camry qualifies as a super expensive car to maintain.
Here we have a 10 year old car, 125,000 miles and uses a quart of oil every 1000 miles. I was elated when I replaced the valve stem seals on my 1971 Ford Maverick and went from one quart every 300 miles to a quart every 1000 miles. Back in the 1960s, Consumer Reports used to state the miles a new car being tested would go after break-in before a quart of oil had to be added. Many cars needed s quart of oil before 1000 miles.
Now I know engines have improved, and many motorists are unhappy if they have to add one quart between changes. I guess I am old school. I check the oil when I buy gas. If it needs a quart of oil, I pour in a quart and drive on.
Now if you want to see serious oil consumption, I’ll show you my 26 year old lawnmower. I fog for mosquitoes when I mow. Two seasons ago, I reduce oil consumption by 75% by going to full synthetic 10W-30 from straight 30 weight. I got two seasons of use before it reverted back to burning a lot of oil. I am going to have to buy a new mower next year.
I don’t know if using a full synthetic of the right viscosity would buy you more time with your Camry, but if you aren’t using synthetic, it might be worth trying.
The last Toyota I rented had a manual that stated that one quart of oil every 750 miles was “normal”. This car used 0W20 synthetic and this stuff is so thin that in a "loose’ engine it just seeps out or slips past the oil control rings.
@Docnick I had a 2011 Toyota Sienna and now have a 2017 Toyota Sienna. I have never had to add a quart of oil between 10,000 mile changes. I carry a quart with me in case I have to add oil, but have never had to do it
I think my owner’s manual says that a quart every 600 miles isn’t excessive.
Agree. This is a CYA clause that Toyota puts in nearly every owner’s manual. My 2007 Corolla has yet to need any oil added between changes. I do believe if older Toyotas are driven hard with 0W20 synthetic in the crankcase you could have a quart used per 1000 miles or so.
You and I are obviously moderate drivers.
the weasel clause comes to mind
I say that because MANY manufacturers state that engine oil consumption up to 1qt/600 miles is normal
@Docnick I don’t know how true it is today, but in the good old.days, oil mileage was related to brake lining life. Drivers who decelerated rapidly from a high speed and often had to brake hard wore out brake linings quickly and the high vacuum created when the throttle plate on the carburetor closed would suck oil into the combustion chambers. With carburetors and manual transmissions, spirited driving really increased oil consumption.
You are absolutely right on the camry. I was just trying to make a point to the person looking to buy another car, among them a cadillac. Years ago I bought brake pads for a pontiac $49. The pads were also used on cadillacs $128. I just talked to a lady who owns a smart car, and it sounds far fetched. She just paid $200 to have the oil changed, and $700 to recharge the a/c. She informed me that although the car was cute and convenient for tight spaces, she couldn’t afford the upkeep. It seems Mercedes has a lock on the maintenance.
A lot of cars are specifying 0W20 these days because lower viscosity means less energy loss due to friction inside the engine. Car makers can get an extra couple MPG out of their EPA ratings just by going to a thinner oil.
I was skeptical at first and then ended up with a car calling for this. Both my GF and myself ended up with a 3 cylinder Mitsubishi Mirage. I am pretty impressed with the car given how cheap these are.
They only take 3.1 quarts including the filter so keeping the oil level up is pretty important. Mine made it about halfway down the stick between full and add before I changed the factory fill at 3000 miles. I didn’t want to dilute that oil in case there were any break in additives. I have never noticed any oil use since. On the next change I was just a tiny bit over the full mark. I didn’t worry about it as it was such a small amount. I have been on 5000 mile changes since the first one and when I changed the oil, I checked first. It was still a tiny bit over the full mark.
My GF’s car took a little longer to seat the rings as she isn’t always the most spirited driver. I made sure to drive the car and get the rings seated right. Again, her car hasn’t used much oil since a little bit into that second change.
These cars are not a Mercedes and that wasn’t what they were meant to be, but the mechanicals seem to be solid and reliable.
As I have said on another thread. I have a 2002 Camry that burns (no leaks found) about 1 qt. 500 miles. At almost 200k miles it’s not worth rebuilding and for the price of a rebuild or even a used engine install I can buy a lot of oil. So I’m just going to keep the oil topped off and run it til it actually dies.
You may want to do a google search for make, model, year and engine size (4,6, 8 cylinder?) and see what comes up. I have a Honda with a similar issue, sudden loss of oil at 100,000+. I did a search and lo and behold Honda knew of this, there had been a court case and there was a recall of sorts under certain circumstances. I wasn’t viewed as a safety issue so they weren’t mandated to publish a recall notice
I always look at carcomplaints.com. Your Camry comes up with many issues for burning oil so this isn’t unusual. Also look up any replacement possibilities for any fatal flaws.
Toyota had offered a warranty extension on the 4 cylinder engine for oil consumption for 10 years/150,000 miles. The OP was unable to prove a consumption rate that would qualify for the repair during 3 consumption tests.
The warranty offer has expired for this vehicle, I don’t expect Toyota to extend the warranty to 12 or 15 years, at some point it is time to replace the vehicle.
Thanks @cwatkin that’s an interesting site. Looks like as you said engine burning oil is an issue. As said numerous times, I’ve experienced this issue starting at 8 years old and 100k miles. I don’t expect warranty coverage forever, though 8 years is too little. Toyota agreed since they extended it to 10 years / 150k miles. My dealer did test it 3 times though they are shady, my dashboard light kept coming up and now I’ve asked them what my measurable oil consumption was during those 3 tests and they cannot show me what it was, only that they supposedly “passed”. My mistake was trusting this dealer, which has horrible online reviews and also was sketchy in their estimate for a fix, as they first said it would take 9 labor hours, then said it would take 15 hours with no explanation why. Toyota has a class action suit against them for this very issue, so clearly they know it’s a problem.
You should have taken note at the time of the oil consumption tests and also observed the procedure for your personal validation. The technician removes the tamper labels and adds one quart of oil, if the oil level is over the full line the engine does not qualify for the repair.
It also would have been a benefit to you to know the oil consumption rate before you had the test performed. If your engine consumes 1 quart of oil in 1200 miles then you know that you should not return to the dealer to complete the test before that mileage.
Toyota will only allow for two oil consumption tests so your sketchy dealer went beyond there requirements with your car (3 tests).
That’s good info to know regarding oil now, however of course I had no idea about any of this until going through the process, especially since this service dept is bad anyway (2.5 star rating on Yelp with over 120 reviews), so your advice is useless and passive aggressive at this point.
Similarly, where did you get this info that Toyota allows only 2 tests? If so, why would that make any sense, especially since this occurred in my case over 2 years at least (from year 8 to year 10). I understand there’s got to be some reasonableness in owner maintenance and warranty expiration, though some of these comments seem to completely take the case of the corporation and dealership wholeheartedly. Do you work for Toyota?
The two test provision is stated in several documents including the owner notification letter;
If the vehicle does not qualify for warranty work based upon the oil consumption test performed following
notification of this Warranty Enhancement Program, one additional oil consumption test can be requested
(free of charge under the Program) after 6 months or 5,000 miles has lapsed if the vehicle is still within
the terms and conditions of the warranty enhancement program.
If an owner has a consumption rate of one quart per 2000 miles they cannot be allowed unlimited oil consumption tests.
Well I’m assuming then that I may have only had 2 tests done then even when I brought it multiple times since this dealership does not do anything above and beyond in any manner. I’d have to check my service visits record again. I can see that unlimited oil tests may be extreme, though I don’t see how it makes sense that a consumer can’t get tested this issue more than twice as long as it’s within the warranty period, since isn’t it possible that an engine oil issue could get worse even if it passes tests? I don’t see how a consumer couldn’t get this concern tested more than twice as the manufacturer clearly knows it’s an issue and the consumer shouldn’t be penalized, especially when it’s within a defined statue of limitations. What if the engine did degrade to failing the test, though a consumer had 2 tests done already? So they can’t have it fixed because, sorry, they had their 2 allotments already?
@martslee_143607 In October 2018 you had a thread asking what used vehicle you should buy. Well, stop beating this dead issue and forget a used vehicle . There are a lot of very good vehicles around 20000.00 and some even less. I know because I bought one recently. A new vehicle will have full warranty and lower finance rates .