Toyota Highlander oil sludge settlement

bicebice Member Posts: 1
edited December 2013 in Toyota
2001 sole owner of Highlander, 104,000 miles, NEVER a problem until check engine light started coming on, dealer said"bad sensor", no problem with engine. Then light started flashing, then blue smoke from tail pipe, sluggish to drive like it was losing power, dealer said 5000.00 to replace engine, traded and lost $$$$, then fOUND out about OIL SLUDGE class action settlement that would have replaced the engine or repaired it. What now?


  • mackabeemackabee Member Posts: 4,709
    Looks like you lost some money there. There was a notice that was sent out to owners of 1997-2001 Toyota s with a potential sludge problem. I don't think there's anything you can do now since you traded the car.
  • jsambojsambo Member Posts: 5
    I just had my oil changed at 95k which was only 1500 miles since the last but 5 months of city driving had passed. The prolube man showed me the sludge build up below the oil cap on the engine. He said I should have a flush next time and switched me to geriatric auto-oil. I have been consistent 4k oilchange person since I first read of the oil sludge problem five years ago. Does this first evidence of sludging indicate the beginning of the end for my engine? I think the extended sludge warrenty is to 100k so I wonder if I need to take it in to the dealer now? I wonder if I should trade it to a dealer to avoid an inevitable engine job?
    Thank you
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    I'd want a little more info than just some crud under the oil cap.

    210delray, "Toyota Engine Sludge" #36, 12 Jan 2001 7:29 pm
  • jsambojsambo Member Posts: 5
    The extended warrenty is good for 8yrs. with no mileage restriction and I am getting very close to that. I am going to have the dealer look at the engine just in case there is any problem. It has been a very reliable vehicle which I hope to keep for many more years. Is the gelling problem showing up in any of the newer siennas,camrys or lexis vehicles.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    I don't think the gel/sludge problem is much of a big deal anymore for Toyota.

    We kept asking for recent examples over in the Toyota Engine Sludge discussion, but the last 1,000 posts were mostly just ones bashing Toyota, so we finally shut it down. I haven't checked on the Sienna or Camry discussions though.
  • jsambojsambo Member Posts: 5
    The dealer looked at my engine and could not see any sluge or gelling under the valve covers. They did notice some smoke (blue)in the exhaust and offered to do valve guides for free. I also had the trans. fluid changed and injectors cleaned. He just called to say that the car was ready. The bill to Toyota is supposedly $1800. I never believed the owners manual guidelines for oil changes.
  • bob57bob57 Member Posts: 302
    Years ago while having my 2000 Sienna oil changed at the dealer (always at ~ 3000 miles) I read an internal memo (I think it was internal - dealers name on top of page - and I'm reading it upside down on his desk - did that to my boss too...) that service counselors strongly urge owners of '99 - '01 Sienna's to have the engine flushed every 30,000 miles regardless of oil change intervals.
    I'm not totally sure of the year range but definitely the 2000 Sienna was there.
    Of course at the same time I'm reading & they were telling me that there is no sludge problem and blaming it on the owners.
    Yeah, they knew - hence, the extended warranty.
    I still have the Toyota, it's been a good van. They just got caught with their pants down back then - and yeah, I had the engine flushed.
  • kenlwkenlw Member Posts: 190
    blue smoke is NOT always a sign of sludge, just that it is burning a bit of oil. Valve stem seals are a very common source of leakage on toyotas, you will notice it more as a puff when you take off from a light. A bit of valve stem seal leakage is of no big concern, many cars have been driven for 100k+ with a bit of leakage. The only concerns would be that the spark plugs may foul more often, and you need to make sure you aren't loosing too much between oil changes. Sometimes moving to a 10w40 can slow it down, it did for me. Some oils have "seal conditioners" I think they are worth a try.

    Continuous smoke as you drive is different and probably more serious, but again, not necessarily a sign of sludging.

    Originally this engine was scheduled for much longer oil change intervals (10k, iirc). After the sludging issue came to light, the interval was changed to 7500. Regardless, most of the documented cases I have heard of (from friends at dealers) involve much, much longer oil change intervals, some up to 20k! No wonder they've sludged! Many engines could actually go 20k between changes and NOT sludge, this one was designed to run a bit hotter, so that probably contributed to the problem. The configuration on the Seinna was a bit hotter yet, so it seems most of the sludged engines were in Seinnas.

    I'm not saying that all cases are due to neglect (because they're not!), but the data I've seen says they are extremely rare. In any case, Toyota extended the warranty to 100k for all affected engines, even the 4 cylinder. Mine (v6) already had 150k when the warranty was extended!

    My 97 camry (with this engine) now has 220k miles and uses very little oil between 5k oil changes. Our 02 Highlander with the same engine has 90k and, while not subject to the sludgng issue in theory, it still uses no oil between 5k changes.

    Neither has ever been flushed, I had never heard of this being suggested. It certainly can't hurt, altho I don't think it is a cure-all as sludge tends to collect in places that a flush won't purge. Regular oil AND FILTER changes with quality oil will always be the best preventative in any case.

    checking under the oil fill cap is NOT a good way to determine sludge. this engine (and many Toyota engines) have a 'splash guard" right under the cap. It is a rough finish metal part, and just looking at it will convince you that you DO have sludge on a brand new engine! It isn't!

    You MUST pull the valve covers (or pan) to verify any sludge. Looking under the cap is not a good way to tell.
  • busirisbusiris Member Posts: 3,490
    I would add one thing to your post...

    Driving specifics may have a lot to do with sludge buildup, especially in engines prone to this condition.

    Those cars driven minimal distances (short mileage trips with long delays between trips, ie. 4-5 miles to and from work) will have a greater tendency for buildup as compared to longer trips where the engine reaches normal operating temperatures and stays there for a while, such as 25 mile trips or longer...
  • andrelaplumeandrelaplume Member Posts: 934
    Well, I had Chryslers in the past and they were known for head gasket jobs. They cost less than $500 as I recall. Toyota's cost a heck of a lot more than that and then you have the sludge possibility...nothing like playing Russian Roulette after committing to an already expensive gasket job only to find out you need a new engine. Its BS. FYI, I have a 2002 Camry w/64K miles. I have the oil changed 75% of the time at a dealer, 25% at my tire guy. Early on, at my original dealer, I paid for some sort of oil treatment to 'keep the seals in good shape'. The dealer I got to now says I was wasting my money. Anyway, I change the oil every 3 months no matter what. Guess what. My car is puffing blue smoke at start up. Don't tell me this is normal when I am paying extra for the Toyota...supopsedly a superior vehicle. It IS under the PLATINUM warranty I bought (the one many said I was nuts to purchase!). Now we will see how Toyota tries to wiggle out of a gasket least until the car is out of warranty!

    PS: Under warranty an emission chip was also replaced as well as some sort of piece in the door that causes the door lock to intermittantly not work with the keyless entry system. That would have run me $400. The scary thing is that 2 others doors have the same affliction now and then....of course they can not be repaired under warranty unless the dealer witnesses the problem.....$400 a shot!

    I was very well satisfied up until the year. If it were a Ford of GM I'd be looking for new one now. I paid extra $$$$$$$$$$$ for the Toyota expecting it to go at least 8 years with no issues. Silly me I guess. I hope my wife's 06 Rav fairs better.
  • kenlwkenlw Member Posts: 190
    why 3 months on oil changes? oil changes are usually based on mileage, not time.

    again, a slight puff of smoke at start up is, while not perfect, of no real concern in most cases. My 97 v6 camry does this and has for well over 150,000 miles (and as i said previously, has a total of 220,000 miles on it). Even with this stem seal leakage, it isn't enough to have to add any oil between changes (5000 miles).

    $500 for a head gasket was a LONG time ago.....
  • sitiakabsitiakab Member Posts: 4
    I have a 2002 Highlander six cylinder with 180,000 miles. I purchased it brand new, and I have always done my own maintenence, including regular oil changes. It had never used any oil between changes. However, starting at about 160,000 miles, I started to have to add a quart every 2000 miles, and then it got worse and I was having to add a quart every 1000 miles. It was not leaking, and there was no smoke, even when first started up. I did research and found about the oil sludge issue. I called my local dealer and they offered to check it out to see if this was the problem. I did not have high hopes, due to my research showing many dealers not wanting to deal with this, or only a small percentage of engines actually having the issue. I was surprised when my dealer said "yes, you have oil sludge" and gave me the good news that Toyota would basically give me a brand new "short block" (block, pistons, rings, etc) and have the top valve end re-worked, and other misc parts, for "free". They also told me that when they do this repair job, they suggest other reapairs at the same time that are not covered under the oild sludge deal such as timing belt, water pump, spark plugs, belts, etc. I also had a differential seal leak which they suggested I fix, and I had a partially stripped oil pan female thread so they suggested a new oil pan. Of course, it did make sense to replace these items while the engine was being rebuilt, even witt the high cost of dealer parts and labor, and I OK'd the additional repairs. My grand total cost including taxes was $790, and $200 of that was for the oil pan... so the cost for a brand new lower short block, and top end re-do, with misc parts that are routinely replaced, was $600. I was never asked to produce any type of receipts or proof that I routinely changed oil, etc. Neeedless to say, I am very happy with this "settlement deal" as I have what amounts to a brand new engine for under $600.
  • bdymentbdyment Member Posts: 573
    You are one lucky customer. Many people had to fight tooth and nail to get Toyota to do anything, often with less than 80,000 miles for the sludge issue.
  • steves_toyosteves_toyo Member Posts: 9
    Hi, I have the exact same situation. what dealer did you bring this to? Where? What city? I have the same vehicle with only 53k miles and it has excessive oil loss at highway speeds. Like 3 quarts every 300 miles. Thanks!
  • jxcjxc Member Posts: 1
    I have a very similiar situation to steve, 53k miles and sometimes I've got white smoke on startup that lasts about 30 seconds. Sometimes there seems to be a large cloud other times not much of a cloud at all. It doesn;t seem to be related to how long it sits but more to the amount driven before parking it. I checked the oil and it was down below the first hole on the dip stick. I called my dealer ( who performs all service on this vehicle ), and their service manager indicated that it wasn't unusual for the valve seals to dry out and allow oil in while it sits. He said he didn't think it was unusual to need to add a quart of oil every 1000 miles. His assessment was - if it's just burning a little oil no worries - just keep adding oil. ( 10w30 or 10w40 he said add either ) . I think that is ridiculous. A) I should have to worry about adding oil to a car with 50k miles on it. B) I look like a dirtbag when I start the thing up and a giant cloud comes out. C) Is this guy giving me the run around? I would think the dealership would be more than happy to do the rebuild if Toyota is paying for it. What should I do next?
  • sitiakabsitiakab Member Posts: 4
    I listed a post regarding a dealer that DID provide me with a new short block engine - under name "sitiakab"... for those that asked which dealer, this was done by Lewis Toyota in Topeka KS
  • baboosh44baboosh44 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1999 Toyota Avalon 6 cil. I have noticed that it hasoil build up sludge like all across engine, car smells like its overheating although temp gauge does not go over half way. Oil recently changed and fluids topped off, no problem with oil pan noted. There is an oil leak on ground under car. I took back to place where oil change was done and tech suggested that I take it to a good mechanic and have checked out but he thought that it could be the head gasket needing replaced, expensive and might not fix the problem, engine on last leg, could blow, don't let overheat and dont overwork it. ?????? has always had regular maintenance done, and oil changes, been well taken care of. I wondered if this is the "Sludge" problem that I've been reading about?
  • vaofkyvaofky Member Posts: 1
    I'm glad to have come across this post today. I have been meticulous about my 2002 Toyota Highlander. Everything has been done at the dealer according to the book. After the last oil change at 102,000 my oil light came on at 104,000. I checked the oil and had to add 4.5 qts of oil. My local Toyota dealer could not figure out why I had no oil as there were no leaks and it did not appear to be burning oil. At 106,000 I had to take it back in after putting 5 quarts of oil in. I was told that they would have to tear the engine apart "to figure out the problem" though the lead mechanic thinks he knows what the problem is without doing so. He thinks I need to replace the block to the tune of $4000. No one mentioned of the oil sludge issue common to these vehicles. The dealership did tell me after the first oil change that if something happened "Toyota would take care of it" I'd say because of the known oil sludge problem. I'll keep you posted.
  • pcsperlingpcsperling Member Posts: 1
    If I calculated it correct, the engine replacement was done within the time frame allowed in the settlement of the Class Action Lawsuit which was 8 years and 120 days from date of purchase.

    I have a 2002 which was purchsaed new and it just started having an oil consumption issue - 4 quarts in less than 3,000 miles. I have been meticulous with oil changes and maintenance and I have all my records which my mechanic has duplicates of as well.

    Also, from what I have been reading ~ letters were supposed to have been sent..... I haven't moved, have the same address I did when I purchased the car..... Toyota is just f'd up!
  • themanindboxthemanindbox Member Posts: 11
    Ways around the oil sludging issues... Simply, just run full synthetic oil. There are no issues with the sludging issue if you run full synthetic. Your issue does not sound like a sludging issue. The sludging issue could cause burning, could cause over heating, could cause sluggish acceleration, typically causes an engine code and check engine light to pop up as well. generally it does not cause disappearing oil.. that sounds like a bad head gasket. I would suggest changing your own oil, or going to a different mechanic and see if he can check for coolant in your oil, or have your coolant flushed and changed, then have him check to see if your coolant has oil in it.. because either it is leaking out, "bad grommet on your oil plug?" or your head gasket is leaking.
  • roadrunner70roadrunner70 Member Posts: 241
    use of oil may be related to not replacing the pvc valve. see other thread on this board. change pcv first. rr70
  • highlander24highlander24 Member Posts: 1
    I am also having a problem with excess oil consuption. I need to add 1 quart of oil every 500 miles, I have a 2001 highlander with 110000 miles on it. It has NO leaks but it does have a sludge build up in the PCV area, oil passes through the PCV valve. I heard about the unusual sludge problem with these models so I called Toyota Financial (I bought this vehicle from the in September 2011). They said my VIN should it may be eligible for repair by toyota so now it is hoop jumping time. They told me t go to a dealer and have a teck check it out. I took it to Libertyville Toyota and they checked it out and they said the engine was clean. I asked about the PCV area and they said they would need $400 from me before they would check that. I asked about the excessive oil use and they said it is normal to use a quart every 1000 miles on a well maintained vehicle. I asked for that in writing but they gave me a piece of paper that said something about if a vehicle uses more than a quart of oil after 1250 miles, there is a problem. They said the sludge problem would be by the valve cover if it was going to be covered by toyota. I reminded them again that I just bought the vehicle from toyota financial, they should have disclosed this problem before I bought it. They said too bad, pay up.

    I am waiting for a letter from Toyota to see how to proceed. Would like any feedback.
  • poynorwife9819poynorwife9819 Member Posts: 3
    We also have a 2001 highlander. They shot us down in a very ugly way with the same situation. We found this problem 40k miles ago! By accident we found that if you leave the oil cover off (where you put the oil in the engine) Then it will burn oil must less quickly. In order to keep the oil from spraying all over the engine, we have placed an edlebrock air breather over the opening. Still burns oil, just not nearly as quickly. My highlander is a mom car and my kids have been terribly rough on it, so we decided NOT to spend the 3k on the engine, but it is still going strong with this method. It is sad that Toyota wouldn't do the right thing. We were within the window and had all the reciepts for oil changes, but they said it wasn't engine sludge. That was 2 years ago. We are going strong. =)
  • ferris2ferris2 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 Hylander that I purchased with 131,000 miles on it. Drove it off the dealer lot and seemed fine. After the first oil change, it has used as little as 1/2 quart over 300 miles of driving or as much as 4 quarts in 250 miles. I contacted the dealer and they tell me to bring it in and have engine disassembled for troubleshooting. Another mechanic I use thought it was oil rings. It doesn't add up. Does anyone know what the problem could be? I really like this vehicle, and own a newer Highlander as well. Maybe this was a bad chioce for a vehicle. Its getting old carrying around a 5 quart bottle of oil to make sure I do not damage the engine. Oil consumption is not even consistent. I have put 10,000 mikes on it and have added more than 20 quarts of oil between oil changes.
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    The oil is either leaking out of the engine or being burned along with the gas. In either case at that level of oil consumption there should be obvious signs.

    If there are no signs of leakage you most likely need a new or rebuilt engine.
  • steves_toyosteves_toyo Member Posts: 9
    I own a 2002 toyota highlander that burned excessive oil only at highway speed driving (~70mph or greater). It was burning 3 quarts every 300 miles at these speeds. It did not burn this oil at city driving speeds. The lack of oil did eventually damage my block. My toyota highlander only had 53K miles at the time in 2009 when this happened. Toyota "assisted me in my repairs" since it was such a low mileage vehicle and I had good records of my oil changes. They paid for my parts (a new short block ~$4k) and I paid for the labor (~$1,900). However, that did not fix the issue. Later after many more test drives and the technician trying to figure it out, Toyota replaced the heads, valve covers and the PCV valve. Toyota paid for it since they didn't fix it right the first time with just the short block replacement (after pleading my case to the manager at the dealer and the regional Toyota engineer). I have not had excessive oil consumption since then. I have done some research and found that the earlier highlanders, including 2002, had a flaw in the oil circulation in the heads. Some say the new valve covers provide better oil flow in and around the valves in the heads. I have seen where others have claimed that a new PCV valve had resolved the issue. Based on my experience, all I can say is it was something in the new heads, valve covers, or PCV valve that fixed the problem since those were the last three items that they replaced. Best of luck to you. It is somewhat difficult to get Toyota to admit to any design flaws and to cover the costs!!!! I may have been one of the exceptions since it had such low mileage. I basically ended up with a complete new engine at my cost of labor ($1,900).
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaMember Posts: 1,786

    The description of the high oil usage at high speed points clearly to a problem with the PCV valve in any engine. I'd guess that was more logical starting point


  • dave402dave402 Member Posts: 1
    I own a 2002 Highlander V6 with 112,000 miles on the clock and also experience oil consumption issues. It's mostly used for short hilly urban stop start commuting in Vancouver, Canada, and uses about 1 quart every 3000mi - pretty reasonable to me. However, when used for longer high speed freeway trips, it starts eating oil like there is no tomorrow.

    I did a 4500mi road trip from Canada to Southern California last summer, where, at times, I was going through two quarts every time I filled up (about 300miles). It appeared to be directly related to how fast I was driving - at a steady 75mph I used a quart every 300miles; two quarts were required during 85mph legs in Montana. Under 65mph oil consumption is negligible, even when hauling a trailer.

    I've learned to live with it, and given the big repair cost of PCV valves, I'm not going to fix it, unless it gets worse. I now use one of our other vehicles for long distance trips in future, and keep the Highlander for around town commuting.

    Sucks though. I backpacked around Australia a few years back in a 1984 Toyota Corona. 405,000 kilometres on the clock when I purchased it and 421,000km when I sold it 7 months later. It didn't use any oil between changes, and it was often driven at 100mph plus in the then speed limit free Northern Territory.

    Somehow I don't think my 2002 Highlander is going to get to 400,000km.

  • steves_toyosteves_toyo Member Posts: 9
    If the solution really is just the PCV valve, it is only ~ $10 item. PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) system siphons the vapors from the crankcase and routes them into the intake manifold so they can be reburned in the engine. It's just a little black valve that attaches to the valve cover. Some have claimed this has worked for them (this valve needs to open up at high speeds). I'm not convinced but I think it would be worth the $10 to try it. If that doesn't work, then yes it appears that your repair will involve either the new valve covers that they have made for the older highlanders or the actual heads with new valves. Best of luck. If you do choose to replace the PCV valve and it works, I'd be interested your results.
    Regards, Steve
  • heartlandhomeheartlandhome Member Posts: 5
    We also own a 2001 Toyota Highlander that has the same problem of using a lot of oil. I was very interested in your solution regarding leaving the oil cap off and replacing it with an Edlebrock air breather. May I ask what the part # is for the air breather? I would like to try this solution, thank you.
  • meke1meke1 Member Posts: 1
    Did you ever have any luck finding out how to get hold of the Edelbrock air breather for your Highlander? I have an 02 with the same problem. I bought it new and have been meticulous about oil changes and such. Very frustrating! I have also noticed much higher oil use on longer, highway speed drives.
  • yj151yj151 Member Posts: 1
    My 2001 Highlander is tha same as yours. I am the second owner of this suv.
    Current milage is about 166,000km. I found when I drive the speed over 120km/hr, need around 2 quarts engine oil for every 300 km. If the speed is less than 80 km/hr, the engine oil consumption is not apparent.

    I did talk to TOYOTA CANADA. Toyota asked me to send my viehicle to delership to get test. After communicating with dealership, they said I need to get the engine oil changed at their ficilate at first. And they will monitor the engine oil consumption. I was confuded for if I need to make a trip to approve my evidence. I gave up. I prepare some engine oil on my suv for a long trip.

    If I can get a conveninence and economic way to fix it, I defenetly go with it. I hope I can still drive this viehcle at least 5 more years.
  • shoffieshoffie Member Posts: 1
    I have an 02 higlander, 151,000 miles. it started using oil last fall. the oil light has never come on and i only found out when getting ready to go on a road trip, i checked the oil and there was none on the dip stick. I finally took it to the dealership who changed the pcv? valve, did a consumption test after 500 miles, and all checked out fine. I thought we solved it..
    I just went on a road trip this past weekend and checked the oil before i left. It was good. I drove to billings montana from denver and parked it. when i went to leave and started the car, the engine banged around and a puff of black smoke came out. i turned it off right away! that had never happened before..checked and again, no oil on the dip stick. put about 2 1/2 quarts in, and all was well. I put the other half in at wheatland, and now the oil level still looks good but i called the dealership and told them the pcv valve wasn't the answer obviously. I took it in and after looking at it, they told me they'd have to remove the top of the engine (or something like that) to check on a sludge issue that had been happening with these cars awhile back, and that would cost ME $450 alone. but... that if i kept up with the oil, the car will probably be fine for a long time.
    Other than the indications on the dip stick, there are no other "symptoms". Never any leaks on the ground, never any smoke coming out except what happened the other evening...they are not offering to pay for it AND i don't recall ever getting a letter re: a sludge issue. I am now and always have been on top of all the maintenance required....
  • heartlandhomeheartlandhome Member Posts: 5
    I never did find out what Edelbrock air filter to use but it doesn't matter now because we are to the point of either replacing the vehicle or repairing the oil problem. I think we'll repair the engine, it's a better option for us than buying a newer vehicle right now. We did start using a synthetic blend oil (Trop Artic) which works a lot better than straight motor oil and very reasonably priced compared to other synthetic blends. We can definitely relate to your frustration of the oil problem and, unfortunately, AFTER buying our Highlander and finding out about the oil problem with it, we then did some homework on it and found out this is a common problem with the 2001, 2002 and then got better starting with the 2003 models. The funny thing is, after doing a lot of vehicle shopping the last few weeks I still like our '01 Highlander the best, still looks very good inside and outside for it's age and you can't beat the price tag even with the repair of the oil problem :)
  • bruce2891bruce2891 Member Posts: 1
    I just picked up a 2001 highlander v6 70k miles, 3rd owner last year in summer of 2011. Now in 2012 around June, I started noticing the oil sludge problem. So I took it to a shop and the auto guy said I had carbon build-up because I take short trips or a lot of idling too much (what a liar never heard that one b4) cause of only 5k miles into it for a year and it needed motorvac, etc ..cost $450 for treatment. A month goes by and still the same thing oil consumption. 4 more months go by with the sludge and one cylinder misfires. So now my car is in a shop and an auto guy tears the engine block down to tell me that a piston valve broke, oil ring broke, needs new piston ring all due to oil sludge . I mean come on Im at only 80k. But anyways I want to know if I can still get the toyota sludge settlement even if the car is a 2001 and now its 2012 and the settlement only covers up to 8 years? Cause all these repairs is causing me a lot of money.
  • poynorwife9819poynorwife9819 Member Posts: 3
    I originally posted in 2011. A few people asked what the breather was that we were using in lieu of the oil cover. We recently had to have the spark plugs changed because my ride was missing, but it is running like a dream once again now!! 169k and going strong!
    I am so, so sorry that I never received any of your replies via email!! I certainly would have replied. This cover is similar, if not the same one as I have on my Toyota. We did have to have new spark plugs installed this month because it was missing. Now it is running like a scalded dog once again!! =) We are at 169000 miles.
  • cyork3202cyork3202 Member Posts: 1
    13k on car ... it uses 1 quarter of oil every 1k miles. Dealership keeps keeps telling me this maybe normal. Wants me to keep bring it back every 1200 miles to check. This is getting a little laborious. Any suggestions?
  • heartlandhomeheartlandhome Member Posts: 5
    We purchased a 2001 Toyota Highlander in August of 2010 and found out three months later that it was using oil like crazy. After doing a lot of homework on this vehicle we found out that a lot of the 2001, 2002 and some of the 2003 Highlanders had this problem. A class action law suit was brought against Toyota which resulted in the Company issuing an unlimited mileage repair of this problem to the original owners of the vehicle. Unfortunately, we were the second owners so it didn't do us any good. We just ended up with a real lemon dumped in our laps. We are going to sell it for parts and salvage, we aren't about to have someone else end up with it. I wouldn't think that a 2012 would have this problem and for your sake I truly hope this isn't the case. I wouldn't think a newer car using a quart of oil every 1k miles is "normal" for ANY vehicle, just saying. Good luck, hope it's still under warranty.
  • poynorwife9819poynorwife9819 Member Posts: 3
    I have owned my 2001 highlander since 2005. We found out about the problem in 2008. I have driven it 70k since then. It helped a LOT when we figured out that if you leave the oil cap off, it burns less oil. We ended up putting an Edlebrock engine breather thing over it to keep the oil from blowing out on the engine. This works quite well for city driving, but Interstate, it still burns quite a bit of oil. With this being said, we have just had a tune up on it and replaced one of the coils. It is now becoming higher maint. that we care to deal with considering we are military and live 1000 miles from home. We will be trading in for a newer highlander...why? Because despite the defect in the engine, I still love this car. The way it handles, the performance over the years. Bottom line is that if I had gotten the oil changed every three thousand miles, it probably never would have had the issues that it does. 8 years next month...I will be sad to see my baby go.
  • cordieritemancordieriteman Member Posts: 2
    edited May 2013
    I am interested in the research you did on your Highlander to find the unlimited mileage repair for the original owner. I am an original owner of a 2001 and have found high oil consumption with my vehicle at approximately 165,000 miles. My Toyota dealership says nothing about any repair through Toyota. They say that they are only familiar with the "oil sludge" problem on other Highlanders. I am not sure this is related. I noticed this problem in January 2013. It would burn a quart of oil every 300-400 miles. This is not possible with simple oil leaks. I surmise there is a vacuum malfunction within the engine emissions control system in the exhaust gas re-circulation logic. I have seen some posts suggesting it is tied to the PCV valve, but I had mine changed and it did not improve much. This would also explain why use of a vented oil cap helps. In my experimentation with my vehicle the highest oil use is at highway speeds greater than 70 mph (1 quart per 300 miles). At 65 mph the oil use drops to less than a quart per 300 miles, while at less than 62 mph the oil consumption decreases to essentially zero! I see almost no oil consumption in around town driving. By the way, I have personally changed my own oil for all 165,000 miles on the vehicle every 3000 - 4000 miles. I also have always changed the filter with each oil change, only using Toyota filters. I would really appreciate any information you have gathered on Toyota offering the unlimited mileage repair to original owners. I would love to keep the vehicle. I like everything else about it, except this oil issue. Thanks in advance for your help!
  • heartlandhomeheartlandhome Member Posts: 5
    If you key in "Toyota Oil Sludge Class Action Lawsuit" into your search engine you should find some information on the subject. The way I understood it when I read it was that the original owner had 8 years from the original date of purchase or lease to correct the problem so it has now expired. I found the same to be true on our Highlander, the faster you drove, the worse the oil consumption. I know what you mean about loving the Highlander, I really liked ours even though it had the oil problem.
  • steves_toyosteves_toyo Member Posts: 9
    I had the exact same issue of excessive oil usage w/ my 2002 highlander at highway speeds in excess of 70mph and no excessive oil usage at city driving. My threads on this issue were listed in #28 and #31 in these excessive oil usage threads on this site.
    In a nutshell, the oil sludge settlement was for 8 years and that has passed but the issue was not oil sludge. Toyota has made new valve covers for these earlier model vehicles that allow the proper oil circulation around the valves. I truly believe this will fix the issue but I don't know that 100% since the last thing they did on my engine was replace both heads and valve covers at the same time and I haven't had the problem since. But I do know for sure that they have new valve cover designs for the earlier highlander models.
  • heartlandhomeheartlandhome Member Posts: 5
    I agree, I wouldn't call it "oil sludge" either, our Highlander simply burned a lot of oil, smoke out the back tailpipe and all. We no longer have the Toyota but it's good to know they now have a new valve cover design for those earlier models.
  • tmmc_workertmmc_worker Member Posts: 1
    Yes our 2002 highlander 3.0 was using 1 liter for 200km of highway driving. After reading many internet sites and many posts i put these new valve covers on and the problem is now fixed its been 2 weeks since repair and have traveled over 1000km and oil level hasn't changed Thank you to the internet since i got no where with Toyota.
  • brynderwenbrynderwen Member Posts: 1
    Hey tmmc,

    How has the new valve covers been working. I am thinking of purchasing a 2002 Highlander with 3.0L V6 that has a blown #2 valve... The mechanic that worked on the vehicle says it was common for these early year models....
    I can get the Limited edition for $1,500 or maybe less and put a rebuilt in for $3,000. I'm curious to know where I can get the new valve cover designed covers? Do you have a part number...? I see it has been a month and a half already... Still good?
    Thank you for your time.
    Curious to know if anyone else has tried this?
  • dlbarrierdlbarrier Member Posts: 1
    My 2002 Toyota Highlander 3.0L V6 has also experienced high oil usage lately. It only has 70,000 miles and Toyota wants to put a short block engine in for the tune of $6000. After reading what others have experienced, it sounds like new valve covers might solve my problem. My non-Toyota mechanic says he noticed I have lost some compression on two out of six valves which really concerns me. My check engine light stays on and the engine idles a bit rough but runs fine when driving. Around town my oil use is normal. When traveling on the highway at speeds of 65mph or more, oil use really goes up. At least a quart every 500 miles. Any advice?
  • jprocjproc Member Posts: 135
    well I would not put 6k of my money in an 11 year old car-think its time to trade it in
  • cordieritemancordieriteman Member Posts: 2
    See my post from May 2013. I indicated that my 2001 V6 Highlander uses about a quart of oil every 300 miles, but if I keep the speed no faster than 62 miles and hour then my oil use become negligible so I do not need to add any oil between changes. You might try that first. I also had my PCV valve changed as this can cause a vacuum if it gets stuck open at highway speeds that can draw oil into the combustion chamber. I would not change the engine, but I would try low cost ways to improve the oil consumption. I have also gone to a 10W40 weight oil which at the higher high temperature viscosity may also reduce oil consumption. I hope this helps.
  • travelingirltravelingirl Member Posts: 1
    We have over 400,000 miles on our 2003 Toyota Highlander. Love our car!
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Wow, I thought I was doing good to hit 200k on my last van.
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