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#4461430 - 07/17/17 06:46 AM 2003 Toyota Highlander 2.4L oil consumption
Buzzinhalfdozen Offline


Registered: 01/29/17
Posts: 27
Loc: Michigan
So the girlfriends Toyota I had noticed was burning oil. She was currently using whatever the oil change shops had put in. Assuming 5w-30 as per Toyota recommendation. I kept track of it and it was using a quart every 1000 miles.

Next oil change I put in some PP 5W-40 euro that I had from the autozone clearance. That cut oil consumption to 1 quart every 2000 miles.

Question is does anyone have experience with the 2.4l from Toyota? Is this a common issue?

Another note, the switch to 5w-40 doesn't seem to affect performance or fuel economy and no check engine light for the VVT either.
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#4461437 - 07/17/17 07:05 AM Re: 2003 Toyota Highlander 2.4L oil consumption [Re: Buzzinhalfdozen]
bioburner Offline


Registered: 09/19/16
Posts: 1418
Loc: Minnesota
Known issue with that little engine. Mine is at 35k now and seems to be zero consumption using full synthetic. OCI 5k with supertech filters.
I think someone posted a TSB
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#4461443 - 07/17/17 07:15 AM Re: 2003 Toyota Highlander 2.4L oil consumption [Re: Buzzinhalfdozen]
Leo99 Offline


Registered: 03/30/14
Posts: 2876
Loc: NJ
Look at the timing chain cover and the tranny/engine bell housing for leaks. Could be rear main seal. I'm using HM 10w-40 in my old Rav4. It doesn't drip oil but has a lot of seepage. Maybe it burns oil, too. If I and I'm not tearing apart the engine you find out.
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#4461449 - 07/17/17 07:24 AM Re: 2003 Toyota Highlander 2.4L oil consumption [Re: Buzzinhalfdozen]
dblshock Offline


Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 2592
Loc: WI.
How many miles? I had a '06 never burned a drop then sold it at 90k...some did strip the head bolts, is it holding the coolant?
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#4461468 - 07/17/17 07:53 AM Re: 2003 Toyota Highlander 2.4L oil consumption [Re: dblshock]
khittner Offline


Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 253
Loc: Michigan
It's a known issue with sticking rings, gummed up ring lands, and oil return holes in the pistons that are too small/too few, and leaking valve stem seals, too. I have the same engine in an '02 Camry that my son drives. We have the same amount of consumption now, and have had it for the past 15K miles. Ours now has 260+K miles on it, so no real complaints. Now running synthetic HDEO 5w-40 (Rotella & Delvac 1), but the consumption seems about the same. A top end rebuild or engine swap is about 20hrs. labor, per my AllData subscription, so I can afford to buy a lot of oil for it. Bought the car from my MIL at 114K miles, and it annoys her that she sold it to me with so many miles left on it, so a ring job in the future might be worth it, just to keep it running. whistle


Edited by khittner (07/17/17 07:54 AM)

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#4461524 - 07/17/17 08:50 AM Re: 2003 Toyota Highlander 2.4L oil consumption [Re: Buzzinhalfdozen]
jstert Offline


Registered: 09/14/15
Posts: 122
Loc: ne atlantic coast & sw desert
2006 toyota highlander 2.4 at 42k now miles, was my elderly mom's grocery-getter until we pulled her d.l. annual oil changes at dealership. no oil burning tho didnt realize is a "known issue."
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#4461527 - 07/17/17 08:53 AM Re: 2003 Toyota Highlander 2.4L oil consumption [Re: Buzzinhalfdozen]
JMJNet Offline


Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 904
Loc: TX, USA
It is a real defect and acknowledge by Toyota.
For the later model year, IIRC till 2008, they issue a Limited Service Warranty recall where they fix it for vehicle up to 150K miles or up to 10 years from service date.
I had a friend with a 2008 Rav4 that was covered, I discovered the issue just in the limited time she had at 135K miles so she only have 15K miles before it was up. The stealership fixed them.

Unfortunately, it does not cover a 2003.

Check with Toyota forum like Toyotanation about this and see what people have done.


Edited by JMJNet (07/17/17 08:55 AM)
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#4461535 - 07/17/17 09:04 AM Re: 2003 Toyota Highlander 2.4L oil consumption [Re: Leo99]
mooferz Offline


Registered: 01/30/16
Posts: 324
Loc: TX
Originally Posted By: Leo99
Look at the timing chain cover and the tranny/engine bell housing for leaks. Could be rear main seal. I'm using HM 10w-40 in my old Rav4. It doesn't drip oil but has a lot of seepage. Maybe it burns oil, too. If I and I'm not tearing apart the engine you find out.

If you haven't tried it yet, slow Toyota engine seal leaks tend to respond well to ATP-205 Re-Seal.

Originally Posted By: bioburner
I think someone posted a TSB
Found it via the 2AZ-FE Wikipedia, which has a section on the issue.
TSB 0094-11
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#4461546 - 07/17/17 09:22 AM Re: 2003 Toyota Highlander 2.4L oil consumption [Re: mooferz]
jstert Offline


Registered: 09/14/15
Posts: 122
Loc: ne atlantic coast & sw desert
Originally Posted By: mooferz
Originally Posted By: Leo99
Look at the timing chain cover and the tranny/engine bell housing for leaks. Could be rear main seal. I'm using HM 10w-40 in my old Rav4. It doesn't drip oil but has a lot of seepage. Maybe it burns oil, too. If I and I'm not tearing apart the engine you find out.

If you haven't tried it yet, slow Toyota engine seal leaks tend to respond well to ATP-205 Re-Seal.

Originally Posted By: bioburner
I think someone posted a TSB
Found it via the 2AZ-FE Wikipedia, which has a section on the issue.
TSB 0094-11


tsb does not list highlander as an affected vehicle. my sister i herited my mom's highlander. hopefully we are good.
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#4461758 - 07/17/17 12:42 PM Re: 2003 Toyota Highlander 2.4L oil consumption [Re: Buzzinhalfdozen]
Buzzinhalfdozen Offline


Registered: 01/29/17
Posts: 27
Loc: Michigan
The car has 134k on it. I've looked underneath before and didn't see any leaks or seepage. Nothing on concrete underneath when parked.

I'm guessing that khittner is correct.

Anyone just change a filter then at oil changes? Adding a quart every 2000 with syn. or 1000 with conv. is replacing 1/4 the oil capacity.....

Another note: the catalytic converter had to be replaced a few months ago. Caused by burning oil?
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#4461792 - 07/17/17 01:05 PM Re: 2003 Toyota Highlander 2.4L oil consumption [Re: Buzzinhalfdozen]
Flying_A Offline


Registered: 10/14/11
Posts: 282
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Originally Posted By: Buzzinhalfdozen
The car has 134k on it. I've looked underneath before and didn't see any leaks or seepage. Nothing on concrete underneath when parked.

I'm guessing that khittner is correct.

Anyone just change a filter then at oil changes? Adding a quart every 2000 with syn. or 1000 with conv. is replacing 1/4 the oil capacity.....

Another note: the catalytic converter had to be replaced a few months ago. Caused by burning oil?


Using full SAPS oils like PP 5W40 Euro with an engine that burns oil certainly may have contributed to the premature death of your cat- although if it was on a steady diet of TGMO 5w30- typically a mid SAPS formulation resource conserving oil- would certainly slow down the effected cat being damaged. If the car does burn a lot of oil then it would be only a matter of time reagrdless of SAPS levels.

High SAPS levels are toxic to your cats- phosphorous is associated with this and when burned (among others) clogs/damages the cat. That is why there are mid and low SAPS oil out there- they are formulated with emissions systems longevity and efficiency in mind. Going with an ACEA C3 high HTHS 5w30/5w40 with low or mid SAPS levels will help with the oil consumption and prolong the life of your cats. Mobil 1 ESP 5w30, Motul 8100 X-clean products and if you can track down PP Euro L 5w30 (if that is what's called still) may be good choices for you. All of those oils will have excellent NOACK numbers and are ACEA C3 compliant for emissions equipment longevity.


Edited by Flying_A (07/17/17 01:17 PM)
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#4461885 - 07/17/17 02:10 PM Re: 2003 Toyota Highlander 2.4L oil consumption [Re: Buzzinhalfdozen]
Buzzinhalfdozen Offline


Registered: 01/29/17
Posts: 27
Loc: Michigan
The PP 5W-40 euro was only the most recent change. Before that it was whatever 5w-30 the local shop uses. So I figure that burning 2 quarts over 2000 miles is worse than burning 1 quart of full saps oil over the same interval.
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#4461929 - 07/17/17 02:46 PM Re: 2003 Toyota Highlander 2.4L oil consumption [Re: Buzzinhalfdozen]
Flying_A Offline


Registered: 10/14/11
Posts: 282
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Originally Posted By: Buzzinhalfdozen
The PP 5W-40 euro was only the most recent change. Before that it was whatever 5w-30 the local shop uses. So I figure that burning 2 quarts over 2000 miles is worse than burning 1 quart of full saps oil over the same interval.


Gotcha. May be stepping up even further in grade may help you albeit it will be a full SAPS oil. Maybe going to a 5w50/15w50/10w60 might be worth trying out or how others have recommended, a HM 10w40. That is if you see real benefit to that in terms of oil consumption control. If you do get that under control and are not burning oil, that will help the cats too.

If you are worried about your failing cat situation and are ok with adding a quart of conventional oil every 1k miles, find the cheapest-high quality (look at the UOA section or PQIA for results) API SN 5w30 with the lowest sulfated ash % and call it a day.


Edited by Flying_A (07/17/17 02:48 PM)
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#4461951 - 07/17/17 03:20 PM Re: 2003 Toyota Highlander 2.4L oil consumption [Re: Buzzinhalfdozen]
Linctex Offline


Registered: 12/31/16
Posts: 5706
Loc: Waco, TX
I thought someone on here switched to 0W-20 and the oil burning stopped?
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#4462158 - 07/17/17 06:33 PM Re: 2003 Toyota Highlander 2.4L oil consumption [Re: Buzzinhalfdozen]
slacktide_bitog Offline


Registered: 03/20/08
Posts: 5837
Loc: USA
yes, high oil usage is very common on the 2AZ

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