Mobil1 in my wife's RAV4. Bone dry after just 3k miles. Advice needed

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Jun 23, 2003
My wife has a 96 Toyota Rav 4, 2.0 liter, automatic, with 113,000 miles on it. Up until 3k miles ago she had always used a local service to change her oil. After we got married I convinced her to let me change her oil and use Mobil 1. She drives back and forth to school every day. That is 145 miles round trip of 99% pure highway driving. Changed her oil to Mobil1, used a standard Toyota factory oil filter and everything was good. Last Friday she was driving home from school and was just about home when her oil light came on. She drove on home where luckily my Dad happened to be letting our dogs out for a "constitutional" He checked the oil and it was bone dry, not a drop on the dipstick. He checked everything out and there was no sign of leakage. There was no Mobil 1 around in my garage, I was out, so he walked back to his house, grabbed some Quaker State, and filled the car back up with oil. Everything has been ok since then. No sign of oil usage or leakage. The oil and filter will be changed this weekend so my questions are this.

1. Is this type of oil usage when switching to a full syn to be expected? It didn't happen in my Durango so I'm a bit concerned.

2. Should I go back to Mobil1 in her car or stick with a dino?

Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
I'm not to sure by your statement "it was bone dry...not a drop on the dipstick" If it's not reading on the dipstick that's about 1 to 1 1/2 qts. low not empty. The only way to find that out is how much did your dad add? Just some cars use more oil on M1 if just down on your dipstick. Now if it really was bone dry now that's a different story which if that's true I would go back to conventional to see if that helps. I think there would be bigger problems though.
Her car is listed as holding 3.9 quarts with the filter. He didn't change the filter and added 3 quarts. After adding the oil and warming the engine up it was reading just at full on the dipstick. So, it wasn't "bone dry" exactly but it was very low. My Dad, being a former military mechanic and lifelong shade tree was appalled. He hates synthetic oils by the way....just wanting an unbiased opinion about what to do with her car.
I should mention that up until the switch to Mobil the local shop had always used Castrol dino when changing her oil.
3 qts low....well I would go to conventional with this up coming oil change and see if this useage comes down if it does maybe the combo of M1 on the thin side and the car having 113,000 wear miles could be a bad mix. If you want to stay with a syn. oil maybe add a qt of M1 15W50 to the M1 as some here have tried with great results, or try GC 0W30 which is thicker than M1 10W30.
Yeah...I'm leaning towards going dino. Just don't know which one now. Dad is of course a Quaker State guy and always will be. I lean more towards Pennzoil on the dino side of things. Then again her car, at least since she bought it, has alwas used Castrol dino. Sooo....I don't really know squat. Any help with the dino issue would be appreciated as well. This car has to last her until she's finished with her Masters program.

[ November 06, 2003, 12:14 AM: Message edited by: shinerburke ]
Go with Chevron at Walmart or the pennzoil would be good too. Chevron has had great UOA here on the board and at $1.08 you can't beat it.
Chevron huh? Never heard much about them. Is Chevron now the same as the old Texaco Havoline?

Another thing.....what is the advantage of the "high mileage" oils? Any reason to switch in her car?

I'm tempted to just go with Pennzoil since I still have some from before I switched my Durango to Mobil 1. Honestly I've never had a problem with Penn in any of my cars, I just wanted to take advantage of the extended drain intervals of Mobil 1. I know some people hate Penn, but I've been using it in combo with Wix filters since I was 16, I'm 33 now, without issue.

Thanks again for all the help....I'm still trying to learn all this stuff....

[ November 06, 2003, 12:36 AM: Message edited by: shinerburke ]
How about my high mileage question? Worth it in her car? I've been reading some opinions about high mileage oil and it seems to be about 50/50.
See your in OK (Hey, I was just in Shawnee and McCloud a little bit ago.)

Anyways, thirty weight was the O.E. recommendation, so why not consider a fourty-weight?

10w-40 Pennzoil High-Mileage
5w-40 Rotella-T Synthetic
15w-40: Delo, Delvac, Long-Life.
I think its more important to figure out why 3 qts of oil disapeared in 3K miles than what oil to put in next, I would use any premium dino (Pennz should be fine), do a compression test and of coarse a visual for leaks.
Could also be the fact that Mobil 1 is cleaning your engine, all the deposits from the dino oil would cause a lot of blow-by past your rings.

My advice, go to dino oil, do an auto-rx flush(2 of them) then go back to Mobil 1
Never, never just switch a car over 100,000 miles to synthetic oil and then not DAILY check the dipstick, especially if no prechangeover cleaning was done.

More than likely the car had/has a pretty nasty ring pack. The oil was consumed for this reason and cleaning reasons. Also in combo with the lighter viscosity.

You just added more ammo to your dad's camp - but I would do a double or triple AutoRx treatment and start over again.

Mobil1 nor Amsoil nor Redline really give much advice in this area (although I do think Amsoil tries to some limited extent - and I DO try)
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