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Corolla Burning Oil


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#1 brooklyn99corolla

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 09:09 AM

After reading some threads about burning oil in 98-02 corollas i decided to check the oil, check the dip stick and no oil, well the oil was on the tip of the dipstick. well i had to add 2 quarts of oil to top it off. I usally change the oil evey 3000 miles so it looks like i'm burning 2 quarts evey 3000 miles. Its a 1999 corolla with 80k on the clock and i do the oil change at a quick change place, been going there the last couple of years, think the guy would have told me i'm down 2 quarts evey oil change :angry:

1-is it really bad to burn 2 quarts every 3000 miles?

2-is there a oil light that comes on?

Edited by brooklyn99corolla, 12 March 2009 - 09:11 AM.

#2 blb

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 09:36 AM

Many manufacturers are now using low tension piston rings which help reduce internal frictional losses and increase fuel mileage. The down side is the engines will consume some oil between changes.....no big deal. Just get in the habit of checking your oil level every other, or every third fuel fill-up and you will be fine. You may want to check the level more often if much of your driving is at highway (70MPH plus) speed. My 99 Prizm uses a quart around every 1300 to 1500 miles at highway speeds. Really nothing to worry about as long as you top it off every so often.

#3 fishexpo101

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 09:46 AM

I would personally say that 2 quarts every 3000 miles is excessive - as my own 2002 has about 150K on the clock and doesn't burn a drop. But by the "book", anything more than 1 quart every 1000 miles is considered "excessive" oil consumption. There is a low oil pressure lamp that comes on when the pressure is too low (the universal oil can symbol) - but once you see that, it usually means that it is too late, you have to be running nearly zero oil in the crankcase to see that.

Couple things you can do - ignore it and just keep feeding the engine oil when it needs it (cheaper than buying a new car). Or find out where the oil is going - a phyiscal leak, oil burning due to stuck rings, oil consumption due to leaking valve seals, clogged PCV valve, etc.

Quick lube places are convenient, but they can make mistakes, due to the volume of cars they are working on. Anything from forgetting to put oil back into the engine to leaving the drain plug off. If you must go to a quick lube place, double check their work immediately after they are done. Check oil level and note any oil drips, leaks. Only takes one mistake to start a good engine down the path of an oil burner.

Try using a synthetic blend or full synthetic motor oil - many have reported good oil control with blends or full synthetics. Synthetics are much more resistant to high temperature burn off than conventional oils and tend to have higher solvency to help keep the engine "cleaner". Valvoline Synthetic Blend high mileage oil (Valvoline MaxLife) is recommended by many - seems to help with leaky valve seals and may help control stuck rings. Additives like AutoRX are also highly praised for freeing stuck piston rings. But keep in mind that these will only help mild issues - if there is physical damage in the engine (broken rings, or scored cylinder walls) there is not much you can do aside from an engine rebuild. Only way to find out if you have leaky seals or stuck rings is to perform a compression test (normal and wet) and a leak down test. Leak down will check for leaky seals, a wet compression test will tell you if you have stuck rings or maybe worse.

Another option is to try a thicker oil - I'd recommend no more than a 10w-30 motor oil. Though technically not any thicker than the factory recommended 5w-30 at operating temp, will be a little tougher to pump around in cold weather. You may also note a decrease in fuel economy when you use the heavier oil. But in exchange, the oil is more resistant to high temperature burn off and tends to have a different additive package, since many 10w-30 do not come with the "energy saving / fuel conserving" rating. Note that if you still continue to consume a considerable amount of oil after switching to a 10w-30 oil - discontinue its use and go back to the 5w-30 - as the extra phosphorus used in the heavier oil's additive package, will tend to poison the catalytic converter slowly.

#4 brooklyn99corolla

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 10:15 AM

Thanks! I was thinking the little corolla was termial and wasn't going to make it. I'll keep on feeding it oil. I'v had it since new guess i got to start taking care of it a little more, it's one of the most reliable cars i'v ever had.

#5 kentoxboy

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 01:23 PM

Thanks! I was thinking the little corolla was termial and wasn't going to make it. I'll keep on feeding it oil. I'v had it since new guess i got to start taking care of it a little more, it's one of the most reliable cars i'v ever had.



Yea, mine burns around 2quarts per 3,000 too. The car tends to burn even more when it close to 3,000. I am only getting 25.5 MPG city/hwy. How much MPG are you getting?

#6 brooklyn99corolla

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 02:04 PM

i get about 16-20 mpg, i'm in nyc so even when i'm on the hwy theres traffic, i use about 3/4 of a tank a week and travel about 200 miles a week but 20% of the mileage is driving around looking for parking. But the little corolla still runs like a champ!!even with the burning oil.

#7 K_Watson

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 08:12 PM

Yea, mine burns around 2quarts per 3,000 too. The car tends to burn even more when it close to 3,000. I am only getting 25.5 MPG city/hwy. How much MPG are you getting?


Same story here with my 98.

#8 tsquic

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 10:14 PM

I run full synthetic 5w30 and my Corolla goes through about 1 quart in 2,600 miles. I ran a compression test dry/wet. Dry the compression varried from 200 to 215. Wet the compression jumped almost 40% on #'s one and four cylinders but dry the compression did not vary more than 15 psi and average listed in the OEM shop manual is 218. I have read a lot of comments on the internet regarding this engine and all the comments talk about excessive oil use starting around 80k (mine has 144k). I do not recall when the oil consumption started but it never used to use a single drop. Since my compression test I am currently running a test where I disconnected both PCV hoses and plugged both. I did this when the oil reached the add line and I topped off the oil. I recorded the miliage and date when I had to add oil. Now I want to see if I use a much oil over the same amount of time/miles with the PCV disconnected. If the oil consumprion stops or dramatically is reduced then I know the compression rings were bad and pressurizing the crankcase. If, as I susspect will happen, the oil usage goes on unabated then I know the compression rings are ok and the more likely culpret is the oil control rings and maybe the valve seals/guides a little bit.

I plan to remove the engine this Spring to mic the bores and pistons and maybe install a new set of rings. I also plan to have the head done while I am at it. BTW, my mpg dropped when the oil use started. I have been told that the burning oil screws up the O2 Sensor and the converter.

#9 tursup

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 11:22 AM

I would personally say that 2 quarts every 3000 miles is excessive - as my own 2002 has about 150K on the clock and doesn't burn a drop. But by the "book", anything more than 1 quart every 1000 miles is considered "excessive" oil consumption. There is a low oil pressure lamp that comes on when the pressure is too low (the universal oil can symbol) - but once you see that, it usually means that it is too late, you have to be running nearly zero oil in the crankcase to see that.

Couple things you can do - ignore it and just keep feeding the engine oil when it needs it (cheaper than buying a new car). Or find out where the oil is going - a phyiscal leak, oil burning due to stuck rings, oil consumption due to leaking valve seals, clogged PCV valve, etc.

Quick lube places are convenient, but they can make mistakes, due to the volume of cars they are working on. Anything from forgetting to put oil back into the engine to leaving the drain plug off. If you must go to a quick lube place, double check their work immediately after they are done. Check oil level and note any oil drips, leaks. Only takes one mistake to start a good engine down the path of an oil burner.

Try using a synthetic blend or full synthetic motor oil - many have reported good oil control with blends or full synthetics. Synthetics are much more resistant to high temperature burn off than conventional oils and tend to have higher solvency to help keep the engine "cleaner". Valvoline Synthetic Blend high mileage oil (Valvoline MaxLife) is recommended by many - seems to help with leaky valve seals and may help control stuck rings. Additives like AutoRX are also highly praised for freeing stuck piston rings. But keep in mind that these will only help mild issues - if there is physical damage in the engine (broken rings, or scored cylinder walls) there is not much you can do aside from an engine rebuild. Only way to find out if you have leaky seals or stuck rings is to perform a compression test (normal and wet) and a leak down test. Leak down will check for leaky seals, a wet compression test will tell you if you have stuck rings or maybe worse.

Another option is to try a thicker oil - I'd recommend no more than a 10w-30 motor oil. Though technically not any thicker than the factory recommended 5w-30 at operating temp, will be a little tougher to pump around in cold weather. You may also note a decrease in fuel economy when you use the heavier oil. But in exchange, the oil is more resistant to high temperature burn off and tends to have a different additive package, since many 10w-30 do not come with the "energy saving / fuel conserving" rating. Note that if you still continue to consume a considerable amount of oil after switching to a 10w-30 oil - discontinue its use and go back to the 5w-30 - as the extra phosphorus used in the heavier oil's additive package, will tend to poison the catalytic converter slowly.


Great write up. Chaulk another one for fish.

#10 ever_green

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 07:35 PM

wow 2qrts every 3000 miles is way too much. gotta 2000 corolla doesnt burn a drop. there is something wrong with your engine. try heavier oil to reduce burning. 5w-30 castrol high mileage.

#11 bhp02

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 08:28 PM


I would personally say that 2 quarts every 3000 miles is excessive - as my own 2002 has about 150K on the clock and doesn't burn a drop. But by the "book", anything more than 1 quart every 1000 miles is considered "excessive" oil consumption. There is a low oil pressure lamp that comes on when the pressure is too low (the universal oil can symbol) - but once you see that, it usually means that it is too late, you have to be running nearly zero oil in the crankcase to see that.

Couple things you can do - ignore it and just keep feeding the engine oil when it needs it (cheaper than buying a new car). Or find out where the oil is going - a phyiscal leak, oil burning due to stuck rings, oil consumption due to leaking valve seals, clogged PCV valve, etc.

Quick lube places are convenient, but they can make mistakes, due to the volume of cars they are working on. Anything from forgetting to put oil back into the engine to leaving the drain plug off. If you must go to a quick lube place, double check their work immediately after they are done. Check oil level and note any oil drips, leaks. Only takes one mistake to start a good engine down the path of an oil burner.

Try using a synthetic blend or full synthetic motor oil - many have reported good oil control with blends or full synthetics. Synthetics are much more resistant to high temperature burn off than conventional oils and tend to have higher solvency to help keep the engine "cleaner". Valvoline Synthetic Blend high mileage oil (Valvoline MaxLife) is recommended by many - seems to help with leaky valve seals and may help control stuck rings. Additives like AutoRX are also highly praised for freeing stuck piston rings. But keep in mind that these will only help mild issues - if there is physical damage in the engine (broken rings, or scored cylinder walls) there is not much you can do aside from an engine rebuild. Only way to find out if you have leaky seals or stuck rings is to perform a compression test (normal and wet) and a leak down test. Leak down will check for leaky seals, a wet compression test will tell you if you have stuck rings or maybe worse.

Another option is to try a thicker oil - I'd recommend no more than a 10w-30 motor oil. Though technically not any thicker than the factory recommended 5w-30 at operating temp, will be a little tougher to pump around in cold weather. You may also note a decrease in fuel economy when you use the heavier oil. But in exchange, the oil is more resistant to high temperature burn off and tends to have a different additive package, since many 10w-30 do not come with the "energy saving / fuel conserving" rating. Note that if you still continue to consume a considerable amount of oil after switching to a 10w-30 oil - discontinue its use and go back to the 5w-30 - as the extra phosphorus used in the heavier oil's additive package, will tend to poison the catalytic converter slowly.


Great write up. Chaulk another one for fish.

fish has the vocabulary of a university science professor. Quite amazed by his knowledge, his ability to express his thoughts in a scientific form.

#12 kentoxboy

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 02:15 PM

Just want to follow up on this, now the car has 170,000 miles. Last oil change was 1700 miles ago and I added 4 quarts of oil already... The car gets about 28-30 mpg. No physically leak, just all internal.


#13 miatadriverchris

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 09:42 AM

Just want to follow up on this, now the car has 170,000 miles. Last oil change was 1700 miles ago and I added 4 quarts of oil already... The car gets about 28-30 mpg. No physically leak, just all internal.



Leaking that much is not good for anything. Your catalytic converter is going to fail prematurely if it has not already in the past due to the major oil consumption being lost through the exhaust system. You may want to have the head or rings on the pistons looked at to determine your problem source and either do the work yourself, find a trusted mechanic for a good price, or sell the car. But if the catalytic converter has never failed and you have continued to consume this much oil, I would find it hard to believe it's not an external leak that is the main source of your problem, which you may have never noticed before. Take a deep look everywhere, it could be a spot that gets hot and doesn't drip onto the ground much.