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Toyota RAV4 Burns Oil



  • Sorry to hear you're having the same problems as I am. Hopefully they'll do the right thing and take care of it for you. I will check back here Monday evening.
  • Oops. Am new to this blog and my reply went to you instead of to the other blogger who is waiting to hear back from the dealership on whether they will pay for a new engine. Wish I didn't need to be on this blog at all. It is very strange why the oil lights don't work when the car has gobbled up all or most of the oil. Seems like a fair number of people are reporting this rather odd issue. I think I'll contact Car Talk (National Public Radio) and see what they think.
  • Thanks for the website ' ' I will file with them. I sent a certified letter off to Toyota in Torrance, CA with supporting docs. from New York Times oct 13, 2011 which detailed the oil consumption problem. It started with my 2007 Rav 4 in June two months after the dealer did their complete check I needed to add a quart. I put on 820 miles a month. I had the oil change again in September with only two quarts in the pan. I am demanding that Toyota do the repair for free; I will file a small claims case against them as I do not have the funds to do a class action.
  • Please every one with this problem even if it was fixed needs to file a complaint with www. to try and get it a recall item. I just filed this today.

    Tell us what happened:
    This model Toyota has a record of stuck oil rings causing excessive oil consumption which leads to failure of engine and catalytic converter. See New York Times Oct 14,2011 and the hundreds of on line complaints about using one quart of oil every 1 k miles. In April of this year my dealer did a complete check with oil change, in June the Oil was down one quart and in September I did another oil change with only two quarts of oil left in the pan when it takes 4-1/2 quarts. I took my Rav 4 to the dealer(11-23-2013) I bought it from and without looking at it I was told the oil rings get stuck and I need an engine repair for $2,660 plus tax and most likely a new catalytic converter for $2,500. I had them check it out and I got a written document with the repair that is needed documented. This "NEEDS" to be a recall item. If a car doing 70mph has an engine failure due to loss of oil then the person will loose steering and brake control leading to a serious accident and most likely death. Toyota did two recalls on my car in April, Door switch needed a drop of oil and rear suspension needed to be re-torqued. Made a big deal out of what cost pennies to fix. Now a $2,660 engine repair and we need to go to small claims court or class action suit or plead to you to help us get this a recall item.
  • Went back to the dealer; they put in oil and a on monitor on the car and I will be back in 1200 miles to get the status. In the meantime, I will keep a couple of quarts of oil in my car and will check every 1,000 miles and refill as necessary. I also contacted Toyota USA and filed a complaint and and also filed a complaint. Still not happy, but nothing I can do until the meter gets read and the dealership confirms what the problem is. They of course are not aware of this being an issue with the engine in Rav4s. I will ensure that I get everything in writing from them and will keep buying oil until things get figured out. Thanks to all who post info here. It is very informative and makes me feel like I am not alone in this issue.
  • "They of course are not aware of this being an issue with the engine in Rav4s."

    They are playing dumb.
  • Someone mentioned earlier that if you are aware of the oil consumption issue, you can be proactive in checking your oil more frequently to make sure the well is never dry. It is extremely important to spread the information to anyone having a vehicle that has the suspect engine. My RAV never showed signs of low oil or overheating when the engine failed. Unless you know your vehicle is consuming oil, you may rely on the "service light" that comes on when due for the 5000 mile oil change only to be too late and have significant engine damage.
    My Daughter was left stranded at night when ours failed. That is a safety issue in my world. Toyota has a responsibility to make good on a bad design. I bought our RAV with the understanding that Toyota was a "quality/reliable" manufacturer. They preach customer satisfaction is key to success yet when it comes to supporting the buyer, they claim no knowledge of a problem.
    Again, the least we can do is spread the word to as many outlets as possible.
    Even if you nurse the vehicle to the point of trade-in, some poor sole will likely be the recipient of this design flaw. Like maybe a college student buying their first used car or a family struggling to make ends meet unknowingly buying what they think is a reliable vehicle.
    Toyota doesn't care! They already have your money when you bought the vehicle.
  • Please go to if more people complain there then Toyota would be pressed into making this a recall. I am now using 5w-20 Valvoline max every 3,000 after the oil change I did yesterday. Fingers crossed it is a high detergent maybe it will loosen up the oil rings :)
  • I don't mean to discourage you, just letting you know my experience. I've been using the Valvoline MaxLife 5W-20 for the past couple of oil changes and have not noticed a decrease in oil usage. Hoping you have better luck (and that mine turns around)!
  • My 2007 Rav 4 just died! I was shocked. The car only has 63,000 miles. I expected another 5 years out of this vehicle. My mechanic said it had less than 1 quart of oil and the engine was beyond repair. How could that be? I have been the only owner. It has had regular oil changes. The last one was less that 4000 miles ago? The oil pressure indicator never indicated that oil was low? How can a car just suddenly give out?

    The dealer says I have 2 options. Option 1 for $5,000 is to get a used toyota engine. Option 2 for $7,000 is to get a remanufactured engine. I ask about the pros and cons of both. The service tech "encourages" me to do some research on the toyota engine because replacing this vehicle with the same toyota engine may mean I get the same problem? That seems strange? i thought Toyota was tops in quality.

    So I do some research. Get to this web-site. Seems lots of people have the exact same experience. Seems like Toyota knows there is a problem because they actually have a service bulletin that warns of this problem. Seems like they don't want to tell anyone about this because that admission will cost a lot of money.

    Gee thats great. If I knew they had a defective motor, I would have closely monitored my oil level. Or I may have gladly shelled out a few hundred bucks for the recommended repair to avoid the $7,000 bill I am now stuck with to replace the defective engine.

    I call Toyota. Get the expected run around. A service bulletin talking about an oil consumption problem doesn't necessarily mean we think there is a problem? Umm OK??

    Thanks Toyota. You know exactly what is going on here. We all know as well. We will all remember.
  • First, I am sorry to hear about your Rav4.

    Second, you are right. We will remember. I will never buy another Toyota. Ever.
  • Does anyone know how I can get access to the New York Times Oct 14, 2011 article? I am looking on intgernet and cannot fine it?

    Mine just died as well!
  • for everyone's amusement. Here is Toyota's response to my concern. These guys are too much...

    My Reply back....

    You guys are too much!
    As I do research, Failures of this engine are all over the internet. I filed my concern with NHTSA. I plan to follow up aggressively with them.

    Kaizen??? Really! That is so ironic.

    You have an entire generation of vehicles that are suddenly and unexpectedly failing? And in your response you have the arrogance to tout your “well-deserved reputation for quality and reliability”? Meanwhile my vehicle, that has been well maintained, dies at 63,000 miles? And now I see numerous reports of other sorry owners all experiencing the exact same issue?

    My kids drive this car! It suddenly gave out while my son was driving. It is only a matter of time before your defect gets someone hurt, or worse killed.


    From: Ask Toyota []
    Sent: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 4:05 PM
    To: , Chris
    Subject: Defective Engine [Incident: 131127-000154]

    Recently you contacted Toyota. Below is a summary of your contact message and our response.

    Thank you for allowing us to be of service to you.
    Defective Engine

    Discussion Thread
    Response Via Email (Kym W.) 11/27/2013 01:05 PM
    Dear Mr.

    We apologize for your concern with engine in your 2007 RAV4.

    Toyota hopes that our owners will have a trouble-free ownership experience and not need to worry about the quality or reliability of their vehicles as you have. Our vehicles have achieved a well-deserved reputation for quality and reliability and we know that there are high expectations for any Toyota vehicle purchased. Kaizen or constant improvement is in Toyota's DNA, and we are always improving our products based on comments such as yours.

    According to our records, you contacted us by telephone today regarding the engine. At that time, we advised you that a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) is a communication between Toyota and its dealerships that can serve as an update to Toyota publications, describe parts updates, or relay enhanced or new service procedures. Service procedures may explain diagnostic steps, implementation of recommended updates, or how to perform certain repairs. A TSB is not a recall or a Special Service Campaign. If the cost of a TSB service or repair is eligible for warranty coverage, it will be specified in the TSB, and requires that the vehicle is within the original warranty parameters and exhibiting the concerns referenced in the TSB.

    Toyota makes all available TSBs accessible to the public by subscribing to our Technical Information System.

    The warranty coverage for the engine is 5 years or 60,000 miles, whichever occurs first from the vehicle’s date of first use. Our records indicate that date is March 10, 2007. Once the vehicle is beyond these warranty parameters, the cost of repairs becomes the owner’s responsibility.

    However, in the interest of customer satisfaction, we may review individual requests though the factory warranty has expired. We consider various factors, such as vehicle age and mileage in comparison to the manufacturer’s original warranty, the nature of the repair, inspection of the affected parts, and any dealer maintenance or repair history.

    Toyota respectfully declines your request for out of warranty assistance with the engine.

    Please be aware the information you have provided is used in combination with warranty claims and other customer contacts to track trends with our vehicles. If in the future a Special Service Campaign (SSC)/recall or warranty enhancement is issued that would cover your specific issue, and you have already made repairs to the vehicle, Toyota would review your repairs for reimbursement at that time.

    Your email has been added to file #1311271287. If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact us.

    Kym W.
    Toyota Customer Experience

    Customer By Web Form (Christopher ) 11/27/2013 12:32 PM
    My mechanic just told me my engine was dead and needed complete replacement. Apparently it was low on oil. Estimated cost $7,000. Impossible is my reaction. A Toyota? 63,000 miles. I get regular oil changes. Do some resarch. Google Toyota Oil Consumption issue". This is a well reported issue. Toyota serviuce bulletin T-SB-0094-11 documents your own concern. But no one is told? Toyota needs to step in an compensate owners who have to pay the cost of an acknowledged defect.
  • Here is a follow up letter I sent to NHTSA. I encourage everyone to invest in the cost of a stamp and do the same. To encourage the recall, the focus shouldn't be on the oil consumption issue. The focus needs to be the safety hazard that results from the sudden failure of the vehicle when the engine fails. In my case it happened while my son was driving. I see many other reports of this sudden and unexpected failure. Of course that is a safety issue. So we need to call attention to that concern. Write a letter!!!!

    3 December 2013

    Mr. Frank S. Borris II
    Director, Office of Defects Investigations
    Office of Enforcement
    National Highway Traffic safety Administration
    1200 New Jersey Ave, S.E.
    Washington, D.C., 20590

    Reference: NHTSA ID Number: 10554007
    Toyota Technical Service Bulletin T-SB-0094-11 (attached)

    Dear Mr. Borris:
    This letter is to call your attention to an ongoing safety issue associated with several Toyota cars, and to specifically make a petition that an investigation be started. The makes and models are as detailed in their own (attached) Technical Service bulletin. I have already submitted my case, and that ID number is referenced above. However, I felt it was necessary to write you a letter to make sure you fully consider this concern. Specifically, I wanted to make sure that when you perform the trend analysis, that you consider all the combined complaints for the following makes and models that include the engine in question:

    2007-2011 Camry HV
    2007-2009 Camry
    2009 Corolla
    2009 Matrix
    2006-2008 RAV 4
    2007-2008 Solara

    These vehicles all contain the same engine model that is the cause of this safety concern. When looked at collectively, you will see an alarming trend of vehicles that are subject to sudden and dramatic engine failure. The root cause is excessive oil consumption, leading to cars being driven with insufficient oil supply. But the issue isn’t merely about the oil consumption. It is about the resulting impact of the sudden engine failure. These failures frequently take place with no prior warning, as the oil pressure indicator light will typically come on after the damage has already been done. In my case, my son was driving at night when the engine suddenly stopped performing, leaving him with dramatically decreased acceleration. There was no prior warning. He had to pull to the side of the road, and wave traffic past. Fortunately he wasn’t involved in an accident. But he was certainly put at risk because of this issue. As you look at the other complaints, you will see many similar stories.

    Your NHTSA web-site defines a safety defect as a problem that exists in a motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment that:
    • poses a risk to motor vehicle safety, and
    • may exist in a group of vehicles of the same design or manufacture, or items of equipment of the same type and manufacture.
    I would submit that this problem precisely meets these criteria. By its own admission, and as corroborated by numerous complaints, Toyota has unleashed an entire generation of vehicles that are all subject, without any prior warning, to sudden and dramatic failure. Considering the number of these vehicles on the road today, it is only a matter of time before this defect directly contributes to an accident, an injury, or worse.

    Of additional concern is Toyota’s response to this issue. They are obviously aware of the problem. Their own technical service bulletin describes the engine, right down to the applicable serial numbers impacted. Despite this knowledge, Toyota is making absolutely no attempts to communicate this problem to car owners. It defies logic how a company can knowingly have a serious engine defect, resulting in numerous engine failures, but fail to make any effort to communicate the issue? I have to wait until the car basically gives out on my son as he is driving home late at night from work? My high school daughter used this car to drive to school every day. With my 2 other younger children as passengers! What if this happened to them during morning rush hour traffic? I purchased a Toyota specifically because of their reputation for reliability and quality. I was obviously mistaken.

    In conclusion I hope you will seriously consider this petition, and open an investigation into this matter. By copy of this letter I am also informing my congressman, Jim Gerlach, Pennsylvania 6th Congressional District, as I am also reaching out to his office for help in this matter. Thank you for your consideration.


  • Chris,

    Your story is all too familiar. It was my daughter that was left stranded at night when our engine failed.
    I wrote a letter to NHTSA back when I had my problem to help log complaints. I also wrote to JD Power because Toyota cares what they say.
    I received the same response from the Toyota Executive Office about being out of warranty and went as far as going to small claims court against the dealer. Needless to say, I lost that battle.
    I wrote a letter directly to the owner of Toyota in Japan (Mr. Akio Toyoda); paraphrasing "The Toyota Way" philosophy only to be directed back to the Customer Service group that refused to help me in Torrance California.
    Its big business versus the average Joe and I hope all who are experiencing this problem take their concerns to the highest level.
    As long as people keep buying these products, the manufacturer will claim ignorance. They made me feel like I did something wrong with maintaining my vehicle.
    I keep trying to put it past me but then I see a message like yours and get all fired up again.
    Good luck!

  • Class action sounds good! My story: I have a 2007 Rav4, purchased new in British Columbia. I bought it for the reasons other do: reliability and safety! Until about 6 months ago I was still in love with this car and hoped to drive it into the another 10 years or so........however, I was driving one night in the spring when suddenly my oil sensor light comes on! I pull into a gas station asap and after fiddling with the dipstick (with a 6 year old Toyota, I had never bothered to learn where the thing was, 'cause burning oil was the furthest possibility from my mind). There, at the bottom of the stick, was a thin black smear. I topped right up and booked an oil change shortly afterward. Now, it's been 7000 km (sorry, Canadian here!) since my last service, and the oil was reading at the "Fill line".........apparently from my research, this is considered within limits as far as Toyota is concerned (EXCUSE ME!?). I live rurally, a day's travel from a dealership and have no interest in going through their whole monitoring scheme, only to find that I'm consuming within their limits or not and need my engine pulled apart. I now feel that I no longer have a reliable vehicle. I can't take it on long road trips, and I have to check the oil every month or so and fill it as required.......I thought I'd given that up when I was 25 and traded in my 12 year old Mazda GLC, which at over 300000 KM burned less oil than this $40000 Toyota. So, if anyone is starting a class action, consider me in. I would also love to hear advice from anyone else in similar circumstances. My plan at this point is to keep checking and adding, try to do a cleanse of some kind (sounds like there are some products that can maybe loosen those sticky rings? Anyone have experience with that?), and start test driving Nissans! We currently own two Toyotas, but they will be our last after this experience (Hubby's chat with Toyota Canada was a complete waste of time). Another question: once it's burning oil, how quickly does the amount of oil used begin to rise? Am I looking at a litre every 500 Km in a year or so?
  • We also have a 2007 RAV4 - had the oil changed every 5k km and the engine lasted till almost 200,000km when it started using quite a bit of oil but the usage is not consistent. Sometimes we have to add 1/2 liter every fill-up and other times we get a couple of fills before it needs oil. It is currently parked till we decide what to do with it. This may sound like a lot of km, but my 04 CRV has almost the same number of Km with same oil change interval and it burns about 1/2 liter between changes. We sold our last CRV with 430,000 km on it and it burned 1 liter between changes.

    Anyway, 4 cylinder RAV engines before and after this 06/07 generation seem solid, so because of the quality issues associated with this generation engine, we are thinking of switching the engine out for an older or newer one. Has anyone on this forum tried this and if so, how much did it cost?
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited December 2013
    You can add a liter of oil every other tank and go a long time before you equal the cost of an engine swap or rebuild.
  • How frequently do you have to add oil before it starts burning blue smoke? There is nothing noticeable coming from the tailpipe with the amount of oil it is currently using. I am also interested in the cleaning procedure that the post above mentioned. Our local garage is going to try a clean on our RAV when it comes out of the garage next spring. I am not overly optimistic that it will change anything, but it is worth a try.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    I hate "using" oil but most manufacturers will say it's normal - to a point. That point is sometimes as low as one quart per 1,000 miles (sorry, I'm not up on my metric volumes). But it sounds like you aren't too far off that mark.

    What's your mechanic planning on using - something like SeaFoam?
  • It almost sounds like the HOST works for Toyota. Adding oil is the best way to avoid a failed engine, only if you know your vehicle is consuming it at this unreasonable rate (1 quart/1200 miles). If you do the math, this rate will leave your engine virtually dry with a 5000 mile interval. No one designs an engine that behaves this way on purpose. It's a design flaw that is corrected in the TSB plain and simple.
    As for the blue smoke, I never observed any on my RAV before the engine died. The blow through is subtle enough that it goes unnoticed.
    The engine cleansing with not help but if it makes you feel better, go for it.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited December 2013
    No, had a great '82 Tercel but driving a Nissan and a Subaru currently (and I work for Edmunds). The Subaru "uses" a little oil, the Nissan never does.

    But I typically check my oil every time I put gas in my cars and if you look at most any manufacturer, they'll have a "consumption rate" that they will consider normal.

    Here's an example - GMC Yukon XL Normal Oil Usage?

    And another. (Honda)

    The point is that most dealers and manufacturers aren't going to do much for you if all your engine is doing is consuming a quart every 1,000 miles because they'll produce some document that says such use is "normal".
  • Steve,

    You are right about monitoring the oil to be safe. What I've read here, it's about a lack of warning when the engine died. No light, no overheating, just died.

  • Had a 2008 RAV4 Limited that I loved. At around 100,000 miles starting hearing a whining noise coming from the engine. Brought the car to my mechanic and he said it was significantly low on oil- no engine oil light alerting me to the problem. I have been changing the oil regularly since I bought the car. After learning about the TSB on the Internet I told my mechanic and he called the dealership where I bought the car and spoke to the service manager who said "Tell your customer to carry around a couple quarts of oil". He said that the mileage was past the point where Toyota would do anything about it. 100,000 miles is nothing for a well -maintained car and I was planning to drive it for another 100,000 miles at least. Our Hondas have run to over 250,000 miles with no noticeable oil consumption. So I took a loss on the car when I traded it in. Will never, ever, ever buy another Toyota again.

  • My 2008 RAV4 burn out of oil after 4k miles last week, however, toyota dealer told me it is notmal. Just found my VIN is inside this TSB. anyone who want to sue Toyota, please count me in.

  • @suetoyota said:
    My 2008 RAV4 burn out of oil after 4k miles last week, however, toyota dealer told me it is notmal. Just found my VIN is inside this TSB. anyone who want to sue Toyota, please count me in.


    I don't think it would work (I wish it did). Toyota already remedied its engine and left the rest of us hanging in there. I have a 2007 RAV4, no problems yet, not enough miles.

    As far a burning oil goes, it is normal for any vehicle to burn certain amount of oil every so many thousand miles. That is the legalize they all use.
    As a matter of fact I bought a 1990 Taurus that burned oil like crazy since day one. Going through the owner's manual I found the Achtung! This engine might consume oil. Ford knew what was going on and got itself off the hook. After that I always carried a quart in the trunk till I finally dumped the beast. Which is what I might do with the RAV.

  • The problem is Toyota already knew this issue at least back to Aug 11, 2011, see the link. However, no dealer tell us about this and caused my car almost failed on road! So, how about the other people who have the problem cars but still don't know this? 2767463-will-scion-follow-toyotas-tsb-release-oil-consumption-t-sb-0094-11.pdf&e- i=jmrxTo2GMuGaiAL09pyUDg&usg=AFQjCNEnao8ytDVzLWCLJ6sJNZ8R0LlCnQ

  • Took the RAV out of the garage, did the cleaning procedure - first day the mechanic used transmission fluid, second day seafoam - and I am driving it back and forth from work to see if anything has changed regarding oil consumption. We get the oil changed every 5000km, and I want to see how many litres it uses between changes, so I am not going to add oil until it is on the add line. Unfortunately, when we were driving it last year, we checked it at each fill-up and topped it up if it was low, so I really don't have a sense of how much oil it was actually using. Have gone about 800-900 km and used about 1/2 a liter, so if this is consistent, we should get somewhere between 1000 to 1200 km/liter. Couple of things that have me puzzled: there are about 214,000 km on this car - more km than most of the other people on this string have achieved before engine failure - wondering what is up with that? Also wondering how much oil we can continue to add before the catalytic converter plugs up and quits functioning? I would love to limp this engine along to 300,000km and get 10 years out of the car, but will ask the Toyota dealer how much the rebuild will cost when it goes in for its 4th long procedure to fix something in the rear end that they didn't get right with the 3rd recall.....hahahah.....oh Toyota! And the airbag has also packed it in; apparently there is a recall coming for that too.....hahaha.....not sure how Toyota got its reputation for reliability - sure wasn't with the RAV. Anyway, if anyone wants to speculate or has any experience with how long a catalytic converter will last when the car is burning oil, I would appreciate it.

  • Car was overfull when the oil was changed, so that is why I think we may only get 1000 to 1200 km out of a liter of oil.

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