An increasing number of Toyotas are experiencing excessive oil consumption which may be the result of defective piston rings. Toyota, in all their 'deny-til-we-die' splendor, is reportedly denying warranty coverage on many oil consumption related problems and telling owners that burning through oil is normal.
Burning the midnight oil in college? That’s normal. Burning through a quart of oil in 1,200 miles? Not so much, at least in our book.
Just How Much Oil Are We Talking About Here?
Even the most judicious oil-changers are reporting issues that probably shouldn’t happen. Things like:
- Having your “oil pressure” light come on halfway through your maintance schedule.
- Having you engine burn through as much as 1 quart of oil in 1,200 miles
- Being told that your engine burning through oil is “normal” and “nothing to be alarmed of”
- Having to come back with a damaged, oil-deprived engine only to be denied warranty coverage
Guess which of these is happening to Toyota owners? Go on, I’ll give you a minute. (Hint: this is a multi-choice test)
If you guessed all of them, you’re absolutely right.
Toyota Issues a TSB
On August 11, 2011, Toyota issued a technical service bulletin (TSB)1 to dealerships which says:
“Some 2006 – 2011 model year vehicles equipped with the 2AZ-FE engine may exhibit engine oil consumption. The piston assembly has been changed to minimize oil consumption.” And that “P030# (cylinder # misfire detected) DTC may also be set as a result of oil consumption.”
Unlike a recall, a TSB is basically a set of instructions given to dealership mechanics on repair procedures and warranty information. In this case Toyota says repairs should be covered under the standard Toyota Powertrain Warranty (60 months / 60k miles), but only after a test. The dealer is told to confirm the engine’s oil level, mark the dipstick and then advise the customer to drive for 1,200 miles before returning for an inspection. At that time, only engines that are more than 1 quart low will have their warranties honored.
So what about those that are outside the standard powertrain warranty or fail the test? They’re left to pickup the bill which can be thousands of dollars. Take it from these folks on CarComplaints.com:
“So after loving my Toyota for many happy years imagine my heartache when it began using oil to the tune of visible loss on dipstick at <100 miles. Having always prided myself on taking car maintenance very seriously and never owning a vehicle less than a decade this one is a total disappointment” -scaredgrammy in Dry Ridge, KY
“At some point around 100,000 miles I was shocked to find little or no oil on the dip stick so I started watching it closely. The car no has 149,000 miles on it and burns a bit more then 1 quart every 1200 miles. This just happens to be the amount that Toyota calls a problem and excessive, BUT our car is out of warranty. Amazing two weeks ago I ask the Toyota service manager about it and he said he never has heard of this … That is a totally false statement since there is a TS bulletin about this problem! Toyota’s engineers made an error with the design of the pistons.” -pstef in Newton Falls, OH
Vehicles with Oil Consumption Problems
Take a moment to browse through the Toyota section of CarComplaints.com and you’ll see just how many people have reported problems with the oil consumption in their engines, including Camry, Corolla, Matrix, RAV4 and Solara owners. This problem also extends to some Scion vehicles, which is one of Toyota’s brands.
- 2007-2011 Toyota Camry HV (Hybrid)
- 2007-09 Toyota Camry
- 2009 Toyota Corolla
- 2009 Toyota Matrix
- 2006-08 Toyota RAV4
- 2007-08 Toyota Solara
- 2007-09 Scion tC
- 2008-09 Scion xB
Potential Class Action Lawsuit
Now is the time to get your voice heard. After you’ve told your story on CarComplaints.com and griped about it to the NHTSA, you may also want to contact Chimicles & Tikellis. They are in the investigation phases of a potential class-action lawsuit for Toyota owners and lessees who have experienced excessive oil consumption. Head over to their site for more information.