Ask TundraHQ: My 2007 Tundra Is Burning Oil – Is That Normal?

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A reader writes:

I have a 2007 Tundra with the 5.7 that I purchased brand new in the spring of ’07. The truck has ~64k miles, has been serviced at the dealership since it was new, and has not been abused. I’ve been using Mobil 1, changing the oil every 10k miles. I noticed when checking the oil before my 60k service that it was down about 3/4 of a quart on the dip stick. The dealership’s service department said they have never heard of a Tundra using oil, especially at only 60k miles. Is this normal, or is something wrong?

Short answer: There could be something wrong, but more likely than not everything is fine. Here’s some more detail.

New Engines Don’t Burn Much Oil, But They Burn Some

As a general rule, newer engines (1990 or later) don’t burn much oil unless:

  1. They have active fuel management (aka cylinder deactivation), which can lead to substantial oil consumption and/or
  2. They’ve got lots of miles…at least 100,000, and typically 200k+. Rings and seals don’t last forever.

Therefore, a 60k mile 2007 Tundra really shouldn’t be burning oil (at least not much – more on that below). We’re not specifically aware of any problems with 2nd-gen Tundras burning oil, nor any other recent Toyota models. This isn’t a “Tundra problem” we’re aware of.

Still, most owner’s manuals suggest that vehicles can and do burn oil, as they recommend checking oil levels between changes. This is because engines can “consume” oil in a variety of ways:

  • Some engine designs call for ill-fitting pistons (more on that below)
  • Seepage thru various seals (albeit minor)
  • Carbon deposits
  • Oil that’s too thin (oil that wasn’t designed for your engine)
  • Dirty air filter, clogged PCV system, and about a dozen other unlikely possibilities

Generally, most people accept that engines will consume less than a quart of oil between changes. Some vehicle manufacturers (Ford and GM) say that engines can consume as much as one quart of oil every 1,000 miles with no adverse effects. However, this much oil consumption is sky-high as far as Toyota engines are concerned.

What’s Going On With This Tundra?

Two items caught our eye.

First, the 5.7L Tundra has eutectic pistons, as they’re designed to accommodate the TRD supercharger. This means that they’re a little more expansive than pistons used on other Toyota engines.   To ensure these pistons don’t expand beyond the confines of the cylinder, they’re made to be slightly out of round when cold. Thus, the rings don’t form a perfect seal between the piston and the cylinder wall until the pistons themselves have warmed up. A little oil is going to sneak buy until the engine is warm.

If this Tundra doesn’t spend a lot of time at full operating temperature (because it’s used for short trips mostly), it’s going to consume oil more than expected.

Eutectic piston

Eutectic pistons expand more than hypereutectic pistons, but they’re not as brittle, and thus ideal for an engine that may be supercharged.

Second, the recommended oil for a 2007 5.7L is 5W-20. If you’re using 0W-20, you may find that the engine consumes a little oil, as it’s a bit too thin. Toyota didn’t recommend 0W-20 oil for the Tundra until 2010.

While using 0W-20 oil on a 2007-2009 Tundra won’t hurt anything, it might very well cause oil consumption.

How To Check Your Truck For Oil Consumption

Checking for oil consumption is easy – just be sure to compare a dipstick reading in the same circumstances. Don’t park your truck on an incline, check the oil when it’s hot, and then repeat the check when the engine is cold and the vehicle is parked flat. (Ideally, you could check oil levels when the truck is parked on flat ground and the engine is nice and hot.)

If you’ve checked the oil and notice oil consumption, try and get a grasp on how much. If it’s a quart or more between oil changes, it’s something you need to monitor. If it’s half that amount, don’t give it much thought.

Filed Under: Maintenance Tips


RSSComments (7)

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  1. LJC says:

    Excellent article!
    I’d like to add that the owner of the truck should have the oil analyzed. If there is problem with the engine you can bet that something pointing to the cause will be in the oil analysis report.

  2. ricqik says:

    My ’00 tundra since new burns 3/4 to 1 quart every 5k oil change. I run Mobile 1 synthetics since the first oil change. To this day at 274k, it has gone down to just under 1/2qt every 5k oil change.

    As to the above ’07 tundra burning 3/4 of a qt every 10k, that’s hardly anything to worry about.

    • Larry says:

      I agree,,,, that amount of oil consumption is nothing to worry about.

      My 2011 Subaru Forester requires 0W20 oil. Thin as water. I have to add about 2 quarts between 6000 mile oil changes. Not burning any oil or leaking. It’s so thin some of it just gets past the rings and it runs at high RPM much of the time.

  3. shawn says:

    I change every 2000 miles.
    Cheapest maintenance.
    117000 miles. Valvoline full synthetic and 0 consumption.

    • Larry says:

      I’ll take your old oil if you are only running synthetic for 2000. I can get an another 8000 miles out of it.

      Really, 2000 mile oil changes.

      I ran a 3.0L Toyota for 18 years 150,000 miles changing Mobil 1 every 15,000 miles. Changed the filter every 7500. When I sold that truck it was using no oil. It is still on the road in Colorado.

      I ran a 1994 Subaru for 325,000 miles also changing Mobile 1 oil every 15,000. That motor was still running fine, had to give up on the car because the door hinges were rusted out.

      2000 mile oil changes? I would call that expensive maintenance or expensive engine insurance.

      BUT, it won’t hurt anything that’s for sure and if you like doing it keep doing it. It won’t cause and problems, that’s for sure.

  4. Hemi lol says:

    Great article! Interseting info to publish. I was also going to add to that reader that a 10k oil change is not ok per Toyota. that didnt happen until 2012 or 2013 Non FFV 5.7’s. then and only then did they start 10k with 0w-20 oil….. They did however say that you can use 5w-20 or 0w20 starting around 2010 (if memory serves me correctly) but definitely not on a 2007

  5. Jack says:

    Decent article but the information concerning no modern Toyota vehicles have trouble with oil consumption is simply not true. The latter 2AZ-FE engine burns a significant amount. These can be found in the 2007-2009 camry and 2004-2007 Rav4s. They’re found in others but these are the biggest sellers. The 2AZ in my mother-in-laws 07 camry burns a quart about every 1500 miles. And according to what I’ve read this is norm for this engine. It seems to show no ill effects as she has almost 120K on it now and it still runs good. It’s burnt oil since about 40K miles. Kinda made me look like a fool b/c I pushed hard for them to buy a Toyota and the one they bought burns oil.

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