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I got my 2002 Camry when it had 86K and now it has 97K on it. In the morning when I start the engine, I see blue-ish smoke coming out of the exhaust for a while. I don't know if I had it before, but it's more noticeable recently. The smoke does go away after driving for a while.

I assume the original owner used regular oil and I switched to Mobile One 5W-30 right after I got the car. I suspect it may have a semi-leaking valve seal, and after switching to synthetic oil, it worsen leak and caused blue smoke.

So my question is should I just switch back to non-synthetic oil? or just stick with it?

If I stick with the synthetic, that means I should replace the valve seals when oil burns too much, so far, it's not noticeable. If I do replace the seals, what else should I replace at the same time?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Whether you stick with synthetic or switch back to traditional oil, if it is your valve seals (which does seem likely) you will still need to get them replaced.

Quite often that is all you will need to replace - but worth getting your garage to have a look at head gasket at the same time as they will be in there anyway.

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Certain Toyota engines are notorious for valve stem seal leaks starting at right around 60k miles. It's exacerbated by using synthetic oil. I put 180k miles on a 5S-FE engine that had that problem all the way from 55k miles. Just had to top off the oil periodically. The Toyota mechs I know all say it's not worth the money to fix, just monitor the oil usage situation as it almost never turns into a real problem. There's just a blue cloud on start that gradually burns off. :-)

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