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I have recently bought a used 2004 Toyota Camry Altise with 180,000 miles on it. Mechanically sound and no oil leaks at all. I have recently completed a 600 km journey today and have noted down my before and after oil level on my dipstick. Due to bad experience in the past with other vehicles concerning oil, I have some questions. I have attached two pictures of my before and after journey oil level in my dipstick. There has been some oil consumption, my question is if this level of oil consumption normal or if there is any problem with it?

Before Journey Oil Level Picture

Before Journey Oil Level Picture

After Journey Oil Level Picture

After Journey Oil Level Picture

Journey details:

  1. Majorly 110 kmph on cruise model
  2. No oil leaks
  3. No blue tint smoke
  4. No oil burn smell

Any advise/opinions are highly appreciated! Cheers.

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    Your links don't work, can you please put the picture in your question rather than links? – GdD Jan 26 at 14:00
  • Hi, could you please try again? I forgot to change the privacy setting. Now it’s viewable. Thanks. – Amal Sailendran Jan 26 at 22:49
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    So from 75% between min/max to 50% in 600km. Assume 25% by 1200km and full on min by 1800km. That does seem a poss that needs top up between oil changes. I assume you measured at same temperature both times? – Chris Jan 27 at 13:28
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    Thanks for updating your links, however adding the images directly is a LOT better option for the site. If the links to your images go stale (for whatever reason), then the images would not be available to people of the future who might have the same or similar question. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jan 27 at 15:24
  • @Chris Hi Chris thanks for your reply, yes I checked the before oil level first thing in the morning when the car was cold and the second one after my journey, waiting about 15 mins for the engine to cool. I will be doing a service very soon and my mechanic had advised changing the oil filters and using 10w40 oil and then monitor the change. – Amal Sailendran Jan 28 at 1:17
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If you checked the oil when the engine was hot and followed the practice of dipping, wiping, then dipping again after the engine was off for a few minutes then you have an accurate reading and it looks like you are definitely losing oil. If you aren't being consistent then you may have inaccurate readings and you should test consistently before making any determinations.

As for the question is it normal, a noticeable oil loss in 600km of driving is excessive, although that's pretty common in high mileage cars. However, even if it's normal to have oil consumption in a high mileage car it doesn't mean it's something you want to live with, because high oil consumption in any car is the sign of a problem. So the question you should be asking is what the potential problems may be. When you have a car that is that high mileage you need to find out whether it's something that is potentially catastrophic, where the engine could suddenly lose all its oil and seize up, or whether it's just going to ooze until it's taken to the junkyard. If it's the former you have to make the call whether to spend money on it or take the risk, if it's the latter you can make a decision whether to fix it or live with it depending on cost/eco consciousness/etc.

As for what could be causing it I have yet to see a 180k mile car that doesn't leak oil somewhere. Just because it doesn't drip when parked does not mean there isn't a leak, you'd need to investigate. If it's a bad gasket or seal somewhere it's often good news because they are often the cheapest things to fix. If it is worn piston rings then you may as well live with it as the cost of fixing it outweighs the value of the car, and it's not likely to fail dramatically.

That's not a list of all the potential reasons you are losing oil, this is more of an approach to the problem, which is find the source of the leak and determine what to do about it.

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  • Thanks very much for your detailed reply. I did dip, wipe and dip again to check it. Repeated this for two times. The check was done when the engine was cold at both times. I can only drill down to two possibilities, either it is the piston rings or the PCV valves. My mechanic advised the change of oil filters and using 10w40 to monitor the oil level drop. Since I recently purchased this car, I have no idea what type of oil the previous owners had used. As for the engine, it runs perfect, everything else about the car is perfect and well maintained. I cannot see any oil burning symptoms but. – Amal Sailendran Jan 28 at 1:22
  • You should probably check the oil when the engine has been warmed up, not when it's cold @AmalSailendran, that's what most manufacturers recommend. It probably won't make any difference in your readings but is worth trying. Also make sure you test on a flat spot. – GdD Jan 28 at 8:29
  • Thanks. I will do that – Amal Sailendran Jan 28 at 12:21

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