2011 Prius - burning oil - comments on my plan

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by Steelerfan2018, Jan 16, 2022.

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  1. Steelerfan2018

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    Hello all,
    I have a 2011 Prius - 140k miles - lyft driver - change oil every 3k miles using Valvoline 0w20 blend at a local Valvoline shop. I am noticing that it is starting to burn oil.

    Got it checked today and it was down 1.8q since I had it last checked before the holidays. Oil was dark. I have about 900 miles to go before a oil change is due.

    Valvoline guy says that switching to full synthetic sometimes helps.

    My plan:

    I have the BG products hybrid kit from Amazon. In 900 miles (or maybe earlier) I will do the full treatment. My idea is to go the Valvoline lube shop, start the process, wait the 15 minutes (or whatever) and have Valvoline do the oil change and add the additive.

    I am then thinking of switching to full synthetic, which should be about $90 every time I do a change.

    Q - should I switch to full synthetic? Any issues with this?
    Q - anyone have any comments on the BG products?
    Q - I currently do an oil change every 3k miles - if/when I switch to full syn should I stick to changes at 3k? Or go to 5k? Yes, money is an issue.

    Also - I have had a lot of maintenance done - new plugs, new trans flush, EGR cleaned, ran techron hi-mileage for about 3 tank-fulls in a row a few months ago. My MPG is around 44.

    Any thoughts?
    Rob
     
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  2. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    You should already be on FULL synthetic oil. So yes, go FULL synthetic.
    I used the BG products, and saw no difference.

    Since you do a lot of city driving, 5000 miles oil changes are what is called for, with full synthetic
    .
    $90 is a LOT for an oil change. It's about 15 minute job, are you able to do it yourself?
    The cost of the oil and filter and drain plug seal should be less than $40.
     
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  3. ForestBeekeeper

    ForestBeekeeper Active Member

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    I have no idea if switching to synthetic will help you. Sorry, I just have no idea.

    When I was approaching the end of the warranty for my 2011 Prius, I had a talk with the Service Manager at my local dealership. He said that shifting to synthetic would move my oil change requirement from 3,000 miles to 10,000 miles. So I shifted to synthetic during the last oil change that was still under warranty.

    I have only used synthetic ever since that day. That vehicle is at 186,000 today. It seems to like synthetic oil.
     
  4. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    There is no magic bullet for early gen3 oil burning.
     
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  5. bettergolf

    bettergolf Active Member

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    Full synthetic extends the mileage for oil changes but it won't help the car stop burning oil. You could use a different weight oil (like 5w30) and that might help some but your gas mileage will not be quite as good either. And yes, learn to change your own oil, I do mine for about $30, $22-25 for a 5 gallon jug of oil and a few bucks for a filter all from amazon.
    Also, dark oil doesn't always mean it's dirty, some oils turn dark soon after an oil change. I use full synthetic and change twice a year which puts the mileage at about 6-7k between changes.
     
    #5 bettergolf, Jan 16, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2022
  6. Paul E. Highway

    Paul E. Highway Active Member

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    +1 on changing oil yourself.

    My 2010 (I’m 2nd owner) has 168K miles and has had synthetic oil and filter changes every 5000 miles since new. Doesn’t use oil yet.

    A 5 qt jug of Mobil One is about $27 here and OEM filter about $8. I have ramps and can change my oil in 30 mins or less. Pre pandemic this was my Uber rig and I was changing oil every 4-6 weeks for a while.

    PEH
     
  7. Tombukt2

    Tombukt2 Active Member

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    When my 2013 shutdown I was at 200 and just under 70,000 mi I didn't see any oil burning my synthetic oil generally in 10,000 mi changes was looking medium brown on removal The car ran great for the first I think 35,000 mi that I had it and then the stumbling on transition started and we narrowed that down with the number two cylinder code and all that so I have not seen any oil burning in my 13 or my 2010 the 2010 is about 240 now. No work done to the 10
     
  8. Mdv55

    Mdv55 Active Member

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    BG is good stuff. It won't hurt you at this point to uae it. It can only help.

    Full synthetic and switch to a 0w-30 or 0W-40 as well. I'd run 0W-40 at this point if you're seeing consumption. Run 7500 to 10k intervals as well.. If you're burning a bunch you might need to top off but it's still cheaper then a full change and you'll get your money's worth. You're wasting money on those short intervals, especially on a rideshare car that sees miles pile on quick.

    For reference, I run 15k intervals on 0W-30 now. Car has been those intervals and full synthetic since 42k. It just crossed 154k tonight. It's also used as a rideshare car. Mine doesn't burn anything yet.
     
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  9. Mdv55

    Mdv55 Active Member

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    Absolutely learn how to change oil yourself as well. The more you can do yourself, the more profit, especially in a low margin market.
     
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  10. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Senior Member

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    It's not a good idea to run anything but the oil specified by the manufacturer. The oil passages in modern engines are small and narrow; designed for that viscosity of oil.

    Oil is also a coolant for the internal parts of the engine not reached by the water based coolant. A thicker oil flows slower and carries away less heat. Higher temperatures mean quicker deterioration of oil and formation of carbon deposits.

    Slow moving oil means that the timing chain and other components, including the bearings receive less lubrication, resulting in starvation and in extreme cases, scored cylinder and spun bearings.

    The oil rings on modern cars have very low expansion pressure. Along with very small oil drain holes in the grooves, thicker oil means more clogging of these passages.

    Degradation of the oil control rings in the pistons with resulting scroring of the cylinder wall is the main cause of blowby and oil burning.

    Clean oil from frequent changes of the correct type and viscosity is the the only way to long engine life.

    An engine that burns oil never gets better. Only a new engine or complete rebuild will do that.
     
    #10 Georgina Rudkus, Jan 16, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2022
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  11. Tombukt2

    Tombukt2 Active Member

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    All of these points are well taken and are generally in line with current technology and all of these failures that most people are having are generally above 150,000 mi generally more like 240 so then in reality your manufacturer is long out of the picture as they should be. Unfortunately with these engines there's rebuilding is not the cheapest way to go unfortunately because once you get inside you're pretty much making a new short block and then redoing a head so you figure it is the chassis really worth it

    SM-A715F ?
     
  12. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Senior Member

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    Want to know what has happened to the OP, just watch this video.



    Question is, if the OP bought the car new and started the oil changes at 3k and continued to the present day.
     
  13. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    It is easy to blame the owner for oil consumption by suggesting long oil change intervals are to blame. But the truth is these cars, including the Camry in the video above, often suffer from a design flaw causing excessive oil consumption. A flaw that forced Toyota to install free pistons and rings on Prius 1.8s from 2010-2014 throughout the powertrain warranty period.

    Toyota and their dealers also specified 10,000 mile oil changes and reinforced it by giving free changes for the first 25,000 miles.

    Just because some proud owners claim no oil use (technically impossible), it is irresponsible to blame the Op or others. I know my 2012 v had reasonable oil consumption through 150,000 miles. The next 100,000 miles became excessive.
     
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  14. Mdv55

    Mdv55 Active Member

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    Everyone conveniently forgets that the same motors magically spec thicker oils in overseas markets.

    I have lower wear rates then the average owner running shorter intervals on thinner oils. People can theorize all they want, but my data speaks for itself.

    Yes, thicker oil does run hotter then thinner oil, but a synthetic, especially in something like a Prius, isn't going to get anywhere near hot enough to carbon up or oxidize from heat. That line of thinking is correct in theory, but not in practice for a road going car on synthetic oil. It just isn't stressed anywhere near enough. Synthetics hold up just fine at much higher sump temps then a Prius will ever see. A turbocharged BMW can see almost 300F oil temps and be just fine for the whole interval. A Prius isn't going to run anywhere near that hot even if people ran a 50wt oil in it.

    I totally agree that a thicker oil isn't going to "repair" anything, but it can help slow down the rate of consumption without damaging anything, especially on car that is run at operating temp for hours at a time like a rideshare car is. The thicker oils have better HT/HS numbers and score better on the Noack volatility side of things as well. These are things that help minimize consumption.
     
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  15. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Senior Member

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    Using an oil of higher viscosity only slows down the rate of consumption going past the compression rings into the combustion chamber where it leaves carbon residue and other contaminants that destroy the catalyst system. It will not repair stuck oil control rings or scored cylinders.
     
  16. Mdv55

    Mdv55 Active Member

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    Agreed. Oil viscosity will help slow consumption down, which is what the OP is looking to do on a budget.

    The BG products "may" help with stuck rings. Nothing short of a rebuild will really do much if the cylinders are scored.
     
  17. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Oo oo oo! Take a picture when you hit 1 light-second!
     
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  18. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    Obviously the owner of the car hasn't done much upkeep on the car.
    It's been neglected. Probably used cheap non synthetic oil, when it was changed....

    Honing the cylinders and new rings would extend the engine. Seating in the valve w/new seals
    would also help. Not enough metal to bore the cylinders though.

    Question is, is it worth the money to get a short block? Possibly a used motor?
    "IF" the customer would change the oil and take care of the car, it probably would be.
    Still cheaper than a new car.

    Getting a used engine, or car is a risk. You can never really be sure what the previous owner(s)
    have or have not done.

    Judging by the condition of this car, they owner doesn't take care of the car, why would they
    take car of a new one, or this one after repairing it?

    The brakes are metal on metal......

    The scope he gave the link to is NOT a Snap On camera. Some off the wall brand.

    It's cheaper to put a new block in the car than buying a new one.

     
  19. Steelerfan2018

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    Thanks everyone for the responses.

    Q - when I switch to full syn, how long between changes? 5k? 10k? Someone even mentioned 15k? I am a very easy driver on vehicles.

    I am currently doing 3k and if switch to a longer interval, paying the $90 for a change isn't that great a hit. I went to advanced auto - full syn oil and a filter is about $40. I would like to do my own changes, but in the winter - well no... I have no problem with topping off.

    One of the nice things about my local Valvoline is that it right next to my Aldis - so I go shopping, run across the street and get my oil changed. It is rare for me to go more than 10 days or so without checking oil. And they top it off - sometimes if it isn't much they don't even charge me.
     
  20. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    5000 miles. You are driving under adverse conditions, as described in the owners manual.
    When summer comes around. Keep your money and change your own oil. :)
     
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