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Toyota RAV4 Burns Oil

dbs00dbs00 Posts: 3
edited May 4 in Toyota
1997 Rav4 with 185k miles burns some oil. I replaced the PCV valve thinking that may be the issue. That seemed to stop the visible smoke at a cold startup but alas, the problem still persists. We bought the car for a song at 180k so I don't feel I'm out much. The previous owner took incredible care of the car so it is solid in most areas.

I did learn the previous owner followed a dealer recommend oil change interval and changed the filter with every other oil change so this may explain some things.

My real question, and sorry for taking so long, is if the engine does need a refresh, what is the best option? I've not at all afraid of tackling a major overhaul myself and, in the past, have had pretty good luck with aftermarket rebuilt short blocks. But that was years ago. The dealer cost for a crate motor is outrageous and not justified for a '97 anyway. So at this point, I'm just looking for some advice from others who may have been down this road. Again, the rest of the car is solid and we don't have much money in it at this point so would like to keep it as our 'second' car for awhile.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.


  • sdc2sdc2 Posts: 780
    How much does it burn? A case or two of oil is a lot cheaper than a new engine.

    A puff of smoke at startup often is just a little oil that drains down through worn valve guides while the engine is off. Not a big deal, usually.
  • dbs00dbs00 Posts: 3
    Good point. It seems to consume about 2 quarts between 3000 mile changes. Granted I could buy l lot of oil for the $3k+ it will cost for a short block plus gaskets, valve job, pumps, etc. I don't know if the local inspection will have issues with a smoker if a slight smoker.

    Any experience, good and bad, with an after market short block?
  • dbs00dbs00 Posts: 3
    Has anyone tackled replacing the valve step seals in a Rav4. After some investigation, it appears the most likely cause is leaky valve stem seals. According to a mechanic I trust, he said the seals can be replaced with the head still on the car but it is very labor intensive. The labor is due to adjusting the valve shims and not the seals.
  • blufz1blufz1 Posts: 2,045
    Just experiment by adding different oils(same weight and type) as it burns off and see if one slows the burn rate. There are the high mileage oils you could try.
  • bjorn1bjorn1 Posts: 5
    My RAV4 2008 (38k) burns a lot of oil, nearly 4 l. or close to a gallon per 10.000 km. I have heard others have the same problem and have had their engine changes. Any experience or comments?
  • john3946john3946 Posts: 4
    My 2007 REV4 has the same problem. The engine has been laud since it was delivered. My wife complained to the dealer, but they told her that it was not a problem. About one and half year later, we found that the engine oil got under the dipstick and became black after about every 2000 miles drive. We reported to the dealer but they just added some more oil and did nothing else on it. Recently we asked the dealer to check the engine oil every month and document the difference and they finally admitted that the engine is burning oil. However, they said that about half quart per 1000 mile is not a problem that Toyota wants to take any action on. Anyone has similar experience? Do I need to go to arbitration or file a law suit against Toyota?
  • bjorn1bjorn1 Posts: 5
    They have now monitored my oil consumption for several months. It uses 2,5 - 3 liter per 10.000 km. They have now decided to change the cylinders, pistons etc etc - perhaps the entire engine - under the guanrantee. I have heard of others with similar problems and one who also had his engine replaced. So it is certainly another Toyota "anomaly"
  • john3946john3946 Posts: 4
    How did you get Toyota to repair the engine? Is it still under warranty? Did you have all maintenance done by Toyota? Did you change oil on schedule? Do you have all maintenance records? Sorry to ask you so many questions - I am still working with the dealer to get my vehicle repaired.
  • bjorn1bjorn1 Posts: 5
    Yes, the warranty covers because the car is less than 3 yrs. old. And I have had all maintenance done by the Toyota workshop. They even monitored oil consumption for a period where I took my car for every 1000 km. This was after a request from the National Toyota outfit. So Toyota was involved in every step and did all maintenance.
  • john3946john3946 Posts: 4
    My dealer just send me the guidelines set by Toyota's warranty: "Excessive Oil Consumption 60/60,000. If oil consumption exceeds one quart per 1,200 miles of operation and examination of the parts indicates cause was due to defective materials or workmanship when engine was originally built." My Rev 4 burns about 1 quart per 2000 miles so they refused to repair. How did you get toyota to work for you?
  • bjorn1bjorn1 Posts: 5
    I believe my consumption is higher than yours: 2.75 liters for 10.000km. - that translates to what?: 5 quarts for 6500 Miles or thereabout.
  • john3946john3946 Posts: 4
    Ths oil consumption is about the same. Your rev4 burns 2.75 litter, or 2.9 quart per 10000 km, or 6213 mile, about 3 quart per 6000 mile. Mine is 1 quart per 2000 mile.
  • evanmaydevanmayd Posts: 1
    My 2007 4-cylinger Toyota Rav 4 needs a new short engine block, a $5000,00 repair, At about 64000 my husband checked the oil and found the dip stick dry & burned black. We took to our local Toyota dealership who changed the oil free and had us come back to measure the amount of oil we are using. It was determined that we are using about a quart about every 1000 miles. Toyota said that this was within there acceptable guidelines, but said we need a new short engine block. They said if we checked the oil at least every 1000 miles we would be okay. When I said that I had bought a Toyota because I wanted a good vehicle and I said the engine block shouldn't damaged. The Toyota employee agreed that this shouldn't happen with a Toyota, but we still have to pay $5000 tio get this fixed.

    A few months ago we had the water pump replaced while it was still under the warranty. We previously has the steering column replaced under the warrant.

    I am so disappointed in the vehicle. It was my first new car. It already has some minor rust and the carpet has a whole despite using floor mats. The front passenger window makes noise.

    Any suggestions?
  • I bought 07 Rav4 and after 48k it started guzzling oil. It now consumes more oil than my 08 Tundra. Toyota failed miserably with this engine. Never again!
  • bjorn1bjorn1 Posts: 5
    I had exactly the same problem. Toyota was very helpful. They changed pistons, piston rings etc. It did not help. After extensive investigations they found out that the valves were too large and they changed them. This cured the car. They covered all costs for this.
  • brincbrinc Posts: 3
    Was your Rav4 still under warranty? I have the same problem but my Rav4 has already 74,000 miles.
  • I am looking at 2011 Rav 4. After reading the posts here I am a bit scared to buy the Rav. Are these problems for a particular model or year. Please help me with some information
  • I saw that Honda has redesigned the CRV but some good features. Is Toyota redoing the 2012 Rav to stay in competition? anyone know
  • jbwood5jbwood5 Posts: 2
    Toyota made a change to the 4 cylinder equipped RAV4 models in 2009. The new 2.5 engine does not appear to have the oil consumption problems mentioned by those having earlier models. My RAV4 (2009) just clicked over 30,000 miles and I just did the 5th oil change. I put the used oil in a 5 gallon container and it was about 4.5 quarts which is the fill amount from the previous change. In about 5000 miles, I could detect no usage at all.
    I hear of more problems with the 6 cylinder setup than the 4 cylinder models, but in any case, a 2011-2012 model should be pretty trouble free.
  • lucky43lucky43 Posts: 1
    I am having oil burning issues with my Rav4 also. It is a 2006, 4 cylinder. I have had my oil changed religiously in this car as it was my first new car. Every 3000 miles and I have the all the paperwork. About two months ago, I made a sharp right had turn and noticed the oil flicker on and off. Stopped at a station and it was completely empty of oil. I had had an oil change about 2000 before this happened. Now I am adding a quart of oil every 1500 miles or so. My mechanic (not Toyota, but one I have used for years) tried changing the type oil this time to see if it helps. It only124,00 miles. I thought it would get a good 200,000 miles out of it, especially with my maintenance record. Suggestions?
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