CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Where is the oil go?

Hi ! My cousin got a 2007 Toyota Camry. Every time we did a oil change put 5 qt Synthetic ow-20, once he hit to 3000 mile on hard brake stop, the oil light is on, we check that has low oil level and oil change. came out 2 half qt oil, any body have some problem like that and why ?

Check with the dealer to see if the oil consumption is out of the normal range.

It’s either burning oil or leaking oil. The oil shouldn’t generally be more than one quart low in 3000 miles on a car of this fairly new age, unless it has a lot of miles on it. How does the exhaust look? Any blue or black smoke, esp at start-up? Any oil stains on the pavement where the car is parked?

I would look for leaks first but even my 2003 ford only looses a quart over 3k miles, it has 150K on the clock. The camry may have issues that a mechanic who can see the car can help with.

You are using 0W-20 oil which is very thin. You really can expect to add some oil between oil changes using such a thin oil. It is simply burning off as you drive. Check the oil level monthly (that’s a minimum) and add 1/2 quart as needed to keep the oil level between the full and 1/2 full marks.

When you don’t add oil and you only have 2 to 2 1/2 qts in the crankcase you’ll burn oil at a faster rate and eventually you’ll run the motor out of oil completely. Burning oil is normal that’s why you check the oil level every few weeks and add when needed. Once you see oil on the ground, or clouds of blue smoke in your rear view mirror then you are running a “tired” motor that will use even more oil at a faster rate.

You need to check the oil at every gas fillup until you figure out how many miles it takes to use a quart. Being more than 1 quart low is VERY bad for the engine.

Learn how to check the oil level yourself. It is about as difficult as screwing in a light bulb. Good Luck

I agree with all the comments, especially @uncleturbo.
0 weight is wicked thin. Are you sure that’s recommended for that car?
If they suggest a range of oil, perhaps pick something a little thicker (ie higher number).

Just wondering why you are using 0w-20 on a 2007. Toyota didn’t specify 0w-20 synthetic and a 10k change interval until the 2010 model year. My coworker has a 2010 Prius with just over 100k miles from a 100 mile daily commute. He changes his own oil every 7500 miles.

The other day he mentioned a warning light came on during a hard turn on the Prius and it was near due for an oil change. The Prius needed 3 qts. before any oil appeared on the dipstick. He was not in the habit of checking the oil level between changes since previously the Prius never used any oil. He will be checking the oil level from now on.

My 2006 Sienna has a 5k change interval using conventional 5w-30 oil as specified in the Owner’s manual. The oil level does not drop between changes but it still gets checked.

Ed B.

The best way to check your oil is to do it at home when the car has been sitting for a while, ideally when it’s cooled off, and you are not in a hurry and it’s easy to clean your hands afterward. If you keep a couple quarts of oil at home, it’s easy to add what you need. The advantage is that the engine is not hot, so it’s less unpleasant than doing it at a gas station when the engine is hot. The disadvantage is that your parking spot may not be level, which could make the reading inaccurate. As others mentioned, it’s very important to check the oil regularly to avoid inflicting severe damage on your engine.

The owner’s manual on my 2011 Toyota Sienna requires the use of 0W-20 oil and states that 1 quart every 600 miles is normal. I use the 0W-20 synthetic oil, have driven the Sienna 35,000 miles and have never had to add any oil between changes. Toyota will probably say that your oil consumption is in the normal range, but I think it is excessive.

It could be this car had problems when you bought it and oil consumption is why the previous owner unloaded it.
Running the engine chronically low on oil has not done the engine any favors either and unless your cousin gets in the habit of checking fluid levels every few weeks odds are that this engine will suffer a catastrophic bang and that will be it.

The first step is to run a compression and/or leakdown test and find out what shape the piston rings are in; or at least as best as the tests will allow.
Maybe this engine saw infrequent oil changes in the past, sludged up, and the oil consumption is the result of stuck piston rings. This is not a rare thing to occur.