I was randomly checking oil on my wife's 2007 Toyota Camry AT with 2.4L I6 and 115k miles. It has been about 5500 miles since last oil change and I when pulled the dipstick it was BARELY reading on the bottom! I poured 1.5 quarts of oil in and the dipstick was reading little below the low mark. So in 5500miles the 2.4L drank 2.5 quarts of oil! The 2.4L holds 4.5 quarts with oil filter change. It has always been drinking oil since the day i got it and of course after the warranty is up it got progressively worse.
I have NO oil leaks and NO signs of blown head gasket. Oil is not milky just regular oil color.
I did some research on the 2.4L and it turns out that there is a TSB out for it. The TSB is for oil consumption caused by bad piston rings. So I assume thats whats wrong with my engine. The TSB only covers the engine under 60000miles or 7 year warranty, so I am screwed on that since the camry has 115k miles.
Now I am skilled when it comes to a car, but I wont undertake putting piston rings in. I don't have tools to do such a job.
I think I have three options;
1, Change oil, detail the car and sell the car. I owe $9600 on it. I "should" be able to get that private party. If I can't sell I will be forced to go with option #2 or #3,
2, Keep eye on oil level and keep driving it until motor gives out. It can go a long while or a short while. No one knows how bad it actually is and if the cylinder walls are scored.
3, Repair. There are three options on undertaking this;
a, Get engine from junkyard and replace it. I can do labor by myself and cost of engine is $1700-$1900 from local junkyard. This option i like the least, because I have no idea if the engine I will get will have the same issue, since the bad piston rings are documented and known issue.
b, Have current engine rebuilt. That would probably be around the same maybe little cheaper, IF I do pulling and installing the engine myself.
c, Buy a rebuilt engine. Most expensive option. I saw rebuilt engines from $2300-$2500.
One thing to mention is that I don't have money laying around to cover option #3...
Let me know what would you guys do...