Toyota Highlander Oil Leaks

wlblackwlblack Member Posts: 6
Sorry for the strange title but I've developed a drip of what appears to be oil in the front end of my 2001 AWD after I changed the oil last week.

The fluid is not transmission fluid because it's light brown and appears to be oil but it's running down where the transmission bolts to the side of the engine. The fluid also looks like it's new oil which has me even more curious. I've got a nice picture of the location of the drip for someone to look at if anyone has the time to view it.

I'm not a mechanic but have done my share of minor car repairs and would rather have an educated guess before I contact the dealer.

I did spill some oil when refilling it last week but didn't think it was but a few drops.

Thanks for your help.


  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    after I changed the oil last week

    That's a clue. Can you tell whether the amount of dripping is increasing, decreasing or remaining the same from day to day?

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • wlblackwlblack Member Posts: 6
    I've been watching the past 3-4 days and the amount "appears" to have decreased. It's gone from a small pool, 3-4" in diameter to about the size of a half-dollar and then last night there was maybe a quarter or nickel size pool. Last night I actually put an empty CoolWhip bowl under the area that's leaking and there's hardly anything in there at all.

    We've owned the vehicle for about a year and have probably done 3-4 oil changes in that amount of time, every 3,000 miles or so, and it doesn't use any oil between changes. I always buy the big 5-quart jugs of Pennzoil full-synthetic and put in the whole thing along with changing the filter so maybe the "jug" had more than 5 quarts in it for some reason. The dipstick shows just a hair above the 2nd line which indicates a little more than full.

    Is there an overflow type of tube like there are on some transmissions where the excess fluid drains out until the proper level is reached? Should I drain the oil and change the filter again or just keep an eye it for another week or so?

    Thanks for your help.
  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    I would just keep an eye on it but it would be nice if someone having hands on experience with the Highlander would jump in here.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    I don't have a HL but an '01 AWD RX300 which I strongly suspect has the same engine and configuration.

    When I change the oil and filter I always run the engine up to operational temperature first to make the oil more free flowing and hopefully catch more of the particulates still in suspension.

    I always use a funnel during refilling and am careful not to fill so fast that the oil overflows the valve cover intake opening. After I put 4 qts in I start the engine and let it run for a few minutes then wait (take this time for clean-up) for the oil to drain back down and check the level and then add the last quart and a tad. 5.3 qts, right..??
  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    Thanks,W! That sounds like a good procedure.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • wlblackwlblack Member Posts: 6
    Thanks for the suggestions.
  • tarugstarugs Member Posts: 16
    Holy cow, I have some major oil leak on my 2008 Limited highlander this morning! On our way back from church, I noticed a "low engine pressure" message pop up for a couple of seconds and then it went away. When we reached our driveway, I saw a big puddle of oil where the vehicle was parked at the previous night, underneath the engine on the right side (left side if you are in front facing the vehicle). I immediately stopped the engine and looked underneath the hood and lo and behold, the right side of the engine is soaked with oil. I know the leak is not coming from the oil pan as there is oil even on the underside of the hood. I added about 1 quart of oil and started the engine to see where the leak is coming from and there is a steady stream of oil (not just dripping) coming from the right side of the engine. Turned off the engine, went online to do research and saw this post:

    [URL] 1/401920-2gr-fev6-lsc-90k-recall-oil-line-fails-dealer-wont-cover-damages-warnin- g.html[/URL]

    Will contact Toyota first thing tomorrow morning.

    PS - I've religiously brought the vehicle to Toyota dealerships for oil change every 5k miles, up to 36k. Had the 40k done at Firestone and have been doing the oil change myself at 45k and 50k. Mileage is currently at 54k. Had the oil hose replacement done in June 2010.

    Here are photos:

    oil puddle where vehicle was previously parked

    Oil dripping as I backed the truck

    New oil puddle

    Underneath front right tire

    Oil splatter on wheel well

    Oil splatter near beneath the hood

    Oil is leaking somewhere on the right side of the engine, where the belts are at

    Hose replacement done in June 2010
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    edited February 2012
    I would FIRST make pretty damn sure it isn't the oil filter, or oil filer gasket, that "I" put on that isn't leaking due to improper installation.

    How did you manage to get your car out of the Firestone shop without paying a bunch of "upcharges"...? Or did you refuse them and the Firestone tech took his revenge..?
  • ctah78ctah78 Member Posts: 1
    Car will make its 4th visit in 6k to the dealer... 4 months old.. first time they thought it was at the filter cartridge... then it was on an oil cooler line with an o ring problem... then it was the upper pan gasket... that was 250 miles ago and now down 1/2 quart in a week... beginning to wonder if they have any idea what it really is but it was leaking but not on the floor... and if it is not leaking now... it is a consumption issue... ready to invoke the lemon law on this one and get the zone rep involved pronto...
  • rarmorgans1rarmorgans1 Member Posts: 1
    My Toyota Highlander 2008 just went thru 4 oil consumption checks, and before I could finish with the 4th check, the car rattled upon startup. Had it towed, pulled the engine cover and found oil sledge build up around the valves. Said this was new to them for this year. Well 2001 & 2002 had the sledge recall, so maybe they did not get the problem fixed. Extended warranty said they would cover the engine replacement, but of course not a new or rebuilt one, just a used one. You really need to stay on top of this because the oil consumption check MUST be done and recorded, this is important. There were no signs of leaks and nothing out the tail pipe until the day before it rattled, and saw more white stuff coming out the back then usual. Make sure you really push this. The problem with 2001 & 2002 class action went out 8 years after purchase.
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