Toyota Oil Consumption

courtesy of Bob, The Auto Answer Man

Dear Bob,
My friend has a 7 year-old Toyota Tercel with 94,000 miles on it. Since she is out of work, she brought it to me to change the oil in it. She says she has been adding a lot of oil (1 qt in 2 weeks - about 300 miles) to it lately and suspected a leak. While under the hood and the car I could find no excessive oil. She says she changed oil every 3000 miles since she bought it new. When she started it up and was driving away, I saw blue smoke at the exhaust. How can this be?

My daily driver has 106,000 miles and burns about a teaspoon between changes. The previous owner said he changed at recommended 7500 mile intervals and I continue to do so. Why the difference in consumption? Will anything short of a ring job help my friend? Do the new oils made for high mileage engines really help seals that much?
Ron P.

It seems, like you suspected, that your friend has a serious oiling problem. Is it the rings or the valves? Hard to say without more tests. As for those oils that claim to help higher mileage cars, I have no first hand data as to their effectiveness, however, it seems like an inexpensive test to try. Next time she comes by for an oil change, try it in her car.

Also, I was just reminded about the Hyundai problem with older models. You see, they only have about a 3.5 quart system. If the oil is not changed regularly, the oil sweeper ring gets clogged up and does not wipe the cylinder walls clean with each pass. This may also be your problem. Unfortunately, I do not have a quick fix for that either. One would think that one of those oil flush jobs may be a way to fix it, but on higher mileage cars, they seem to do more harm than good!
Good Luck!
Drive Safely!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man

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