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Q: Going through too much oil, not leaking out

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I drive a 2009 Toyota Corolla and have done routine maintenance including regular oil changes on time. Despite this, at just under 30,000 miles, my car is always running out of oil. I put a quart in when it goes below the minimum on the dipstick and that has been happening more and more frequently. There does not appear to be a leak anywhere. Where is the missing oil going? Into the engine?

What you are seeing with the oil consumption on your engine may be abnormal. The oil is being consumed by your engine. Some of the oil is being burned up in the combustion process and the rest is going out of the exhaust. The oil is getting by the pistons’ oil control rings inside your engine. These rings are designed to allow lubrication of your piston, but not allow excessive amounts to get above the piston. When excessive amounts get by the rings it causes the oil consumption you are having. You should have your Toyota dealer first run your VIN number to make sure your vehicle is not under any recalls or Technical Service Bulletins (TSB) for the reprograming of the computer for this oil consumption. Then do an oil consumption test to determine actual oil usage and mileage driven for that usage. They can then determine if your engine is consuming excessive amounts of oil. The test starts with a fresh oil change and sealing off the cap, drain, and dipstick. You will have to come back to them to top off your oil and so they can determine how much oil was burned. Once the test is complete then they can determine a solution for your issue.

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