Friday December 8 2017

Why does my Altezza abnormally consume oil?


Hi Paul, I drive a Toyota Altezza 1998-99. Around September the car started to abnormally consume engine oil. Could you please advise as I still need to drive this car. I imported the car from Japan around 2013. I am desperate for a solution. Micheal Sempijja

Hello Michael, ordinarily a car should burn or consume a small amount of oil (less than 0.5 of a litre) over the 5,000 kilometre service interval or oil drain interval.

This oil is mostly released through the engine venting system Positive crank case ventilating valve (PCV) or blow by gas.
Your Toyota Altezza engine burning oil in the excess of 0.5 litres, is severe so you should rightly be concerned.

Severe oil loss reduces engine performance, can lead to severe engine damage and is often very expensive to repair.
Common symptoms of severe engine oil loss include frequent oil level drops, blue smoke from the exhaust pipe and a loss of engine power due to poor compression.

You need to work with a good mechanic to inspect the engine and confirm the severity of oil loss. Start by observing the oil level and topping it up. Monitor how much oil you have to top up over a mileage interval such as 1,000 kilometres.
Confirm if the colour of smoke is blue (black is incomplete fuel combustion and white burning coolant).

Observe for engine misfire and check the PCV valve for blockage. A compression test using the right kit or a wet test should be carried out on each cylinder to confirm loss of compression.

Depending on the severity of oil loss establish if a decision to change the oil choice to monograde which has better sealing properties can be made or dismantle the engine for further inspection to establish what damaged components need to be replaced.

Common causes of engine damage which leads to severe oil loss include irregular engine oil change (exceeding recommended service period) or use of non-reputable poor quality engine oils which are not blended with additives to protect the engine against premature wear caused by; sludge, deposit accumulation, sheer damage and corrosion.

Use of wrong engine oil viscosity and older engines should be monitored to establish whether they require multigrade or monograde mineral oils which have better sealing properties to reduce oil hemorrhage.

Aged engine seals on valve covers, spark plugs, engine sump, crankshaft, valve guides, a damaged PCV fails to separate oil from blow by gases, damaged piston rings will allow engine oil to leak or access the combustion area where it is burnt to produce blue smoke.