Why Is My Engine Running Low On Oil - Capitol Toyota Service

A modern car engine is designed to hold a large amount of oil. This oil coats the engine's moving parts, allowing them to rotate and slide against one another with a layer of protection so parts don't damage each other. When you get your oil change, all the old and dirty oil is drained out, and fresh oil is added in -- but what if your engine is losing oil between oil changes? We can help with this problem and all your auto maintenance questions at Capitol Toyota in Salem, OR!

On this page, we'll go over the three most common reasons your engine suffers from a low oil level. If you need a repair to stop a leak, or just an oil change service, head to our service center. We've got the right facilities and the right team of service experts to care for your Toyota the right way.

Shown here are pistons, piston rings, valves and other engine parts, which require oil for proper lubrication and performance

Reason #3: Engine Oil Leak

Of all the possible causes, this one is perhaps the most obvious. If there's less oil in the engine than was added originally, that oil had to go somewhere, right? It's possible that the engine may have an oil leak. A severe oil leak would likely be visible to you in the form of large black splotches on the ground beneath your vehicle. But smaller leaks can develop that never even reach the ground. Finding the source of an oil leak can be tricky without special equipment, and repairing such a leak often requires dismantling the engine. If you want help investigating and repairing your engine's oil leak, just swing by our service center!

Your engine may leak oil due to a poorly installed or damaged oil filter, a cracked engine oil pan that struck a curb or a rock, or degraded seals allowing oil to seep out, such as the rear main seal or the valve cover gasket.

If your engine is burning too much oil, you'll notice a grey-blue smoke coming from the tailpipe

Reason #2: Engine Oil Consumption

If your oil level is low, and no leak can't be found, that points to another possibility -- that the engine is burning the oil internally. In fact, a small amount of oil burning can be considered routine, especially as engines age. A little bit of oil burning means that the engine's primary seals are working well, but a little bit of oil is seeping into the combustion chambers. Depending on the age of the vehicle and the rate of consumption, we may recommend simply topping off the engine periodically between oil changes.

However, a rapid oil burning problem can cause bigger issues. If you can see a blue-grey smoke coming from your vehicle as you drive, that indicates that your engine is burning a significant amount of oil and may require service. An engine usually burns oil due to degraded internal seals like piston rings, valve seals and valve guides.

This light indicates a low oil pressure condition in your vehicle, which can be a severe problem

Reason #1: Low Oil Pressure

Combined with old engine oil that needs to be changed and/or a low oil level due to an oil leak or oil consumption, a lack of oil pressure spells bad news for your engine. As the oil in your engine ages, it breaks down and becomes thinner and less capable of providing proper lubrication for the engine's moving parts. Eventually, you may start to hear all kinds of scraping, sliding, grinding and knocking noises coming from under the hood. That's bare metal scraping against bare metal. This can quickly destroy engine components, leading to costly repairs.

When an engine has the right amount of fresh oil, it should have all the oil pressure it needs. However, a problem with the oil pump, the incorrect oil viscosity or a blockage in the system can prevent oil from circulating properly. This problem could be exacerbated by a lack of oil in the engine as well.

When you see a low oil pressure warning light in your vehicle, pull the vehicle over and stop driving as soon as it's safe to do so. Driving with a vehicle that's not got sufficient lubrication can cause severe damage quickly. If you have additional questions or need help getting to our service center, don't hesitate to give us a call! A friendly service advisor would be happy to assist you.

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  1. Capitol Toyota

    783 Auto Group Avenue
    Salem, OR 97301

    • Sales: (888) 459-7024

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Capitol Toyota

783 Auto Group Avenue Ne
Directions Salem, OR 97301

  • Sales: 503-399-1011
  • Service: 503-399-1011
  • Parts: 503-399-1011