Victims of Toyota Oil Sludge

Been a victim? Tell us YOUR STORY



Los Angeles, California 90065

2007 Lexus RX 350  125,000 miles

I'll keep it short! Toyota/Lexus motors suck. Oil sludge big time...was just told by my master mechanic who at one point worked for both Toyota and Lexus my motor is going bad and I need to replace it! Tons of sludge. Always use top quality oil and changed oil regularly. Real Shame. Now i have to replace motor at the cost of minimum $2500 for a used motor!


Alan Poepping

Fond du Lac, Wisconsin 54937

2000 Avalon LE 146,400 miles

I bought the Toyota Avalon used last year. The car was well maintained and with oil changes done every 3,000 miles. Recently I started having engine misfire issues and the dealer said it was due to engine sludge and there were a few codes that came up to verify that. They are replacing a few parts at the present, plan to clean the engine and replace the oil. The original estimate is for over $500 and that may not fix the problem. Is there any recourse as this seems to be problem for this year/make of Avalon?


Anthony Kollman

Spokane, Washington 99205

2004 Corolla LE 83,000 miles

2004 Toyota Corolla LE, bought new from the dealership and had no oil consumption problems or oil sludge problems until 3 weeks ago, when (during our most recent routine oil change)the mechanic showed us large quantities of oil sludge under the oil cap, the consistency of peanut butter. The day after the oil change with a high grade synthetic oil, the vehicle was leaving huge clouds of blue smoke behind the vehicle. It never smoked at all before 3 weeks ago, but now it had become a traffic problem.

Took the vehicle to the Toyota dealership and the mechanic pretended to have never heard of a Toyota oil sludge problem. Then I showed him the various websites I had discovered via my iPhone while in the repair waiting room. Then he gave me the phone number to Toyota corporate. They tried to tell me that I only had a 3yr./50,000 mile warranty. Then I advised them that I had bought the Platinum extended warranty, to which they said I would have to contact Toyota Financial because they are a separate company and that they could not help me since my Toyota year and model was not in the oil sludge class action lawsuit settled in 2007.

So then I called Toyota Financial, who verified that I had the Platinum extended warranty, but that warranty was only good to 75,000 miles and I was at 83,000. So they said they couldn't help me either and that the only escalation process would be through Toyota corporate as they were separate companies.

Last of all, back at the Toyota repair shop they said it would be a total engine replacement for approximately $10K. The mechanic also said that the piston rings and the valve guides were the CAUSE of the blue smoke and the oil sludge. I then advised him that he has the cause and effect reversed: the oil sludge proceeded the blue smoke out of the tailpipe, not the other way around.

So now I am having the engine replaced at a local shop, not Toyota, and I had found a 55,000 Japanese rebuild and am having it replaced for a third of what Toyota wanted.

Does anyone have any knowledge on how to escalate this matter and get Toyota to pay for the repair? Or is there a pending class action, other than the 2007 oil sludge settlement. Thanks, in advance, for any advice or direction.


Cary Pugh

moss Beach, California 94038

2005 highlander Limited 4WD 70,000 miles

I never had a problem with my 2005 Highlander until the oil light came on in June of 2012. I was shocked to find out there was sludge in the engine since the oil had been changed every 5,000 miles. In most every case the oil was changed BEFORE it even got to 5000 miles. I fought with Toyota for months trying to get them to fix it. I provided receipts for previous 4 years and offered to get three more years if it would help. They refused to fix, replace or even pay for part of the repairs because I didn't not have my oil changes done at a Toyota dealership. They said they felt that the oil changes had probably not been done properly. They had no way to know if the places I took it to even changed the oil and filter like they said they did. The really strange thing is several times when I took it in for an oil change the person changing it said the oil looked brand new even though it had been either six months or 5000 miles. I think it never circulated thru the engine properly. The day the engine light came on the oil looked like it had just been changed even though it had been four months. Toyota tried denying they had any problems with oil sludge. When I called them on it they said that all the cars that had gotten sludge in the past were actually because the oil wasn't changed often enough. They denied any problem with their engines ever. Even when I called them on it they would not admit to any problem on their part. They were really horrible about the whole thing. I had to fax my receipts to them a dozen times before they would even admit to getting them. They wouldn't return my calls. It took them two months to officially say they were not going to fix it. When I looked into getting it fixed the only way I could get a new engine was thru Toyota. There were no engines available anywhere else. For a car that supposedly had no engine problems there sure were not any engines from totaled cars available. I refused to give Toyota another cent of my money and sold it.


Caleb Higginbotham

Mishawaka, Indiana 46545

1996 Avalon XLS 136,000 miles

Well I bought this car to flip and now I have lost money because the stupid japs cant do anything right, it has the oil light coming on so we took it to a dealer and its a piece of shit, and they are cleaning out the engine


Terrance Atkinson

Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70810

2004 Solara 3.3l engine 80,000 miles

Total engine failure in 12/2012. Engine turned a bearing at just under 80,000 miles and no explanation could be given by mechanic. Car had been serviced regularly including oil changes.
Had car towed to local Toyota dealer. Offered to replace the engine for $8,000. No notification to us about oil gel issue/lawsuit/settlement. Refused dealer offer and replaced engine with a used motor from Japan for $3,000. After one year, was told same problem happening to this engine when taking car in for routine oil change (not at dealer). Mechanic knew all about oil gel problem and assisted me in web search regarding this known issue.


Gary Rhodes

Fayetteville, North Carolina 28303

2003 Highlander 4x4 120,000 miles

We bought this vehicle new from a Toyota dealership. The vehicle has NEVER gone more than 3500 miles without an oil change. We don't abuse our vehicles, and I drove a 1987 Camry for over 220,000 miles before giving it to a school teacher who still drives it.

That's not the story of the 2003 Highlander. In Feb 2013 our Highlander's oil light came on when our son tried to drive the Highlander about 10 miles down the road. He shut the engine down, and we got the vehicle to a Toyota dealership. The dealership service department looked at the sludge in the engine, and asked why we never change the oil. They would not believe that we maintain the vehicle according to the manufacturer's maintenance schedule.

We paid $200+ to have the oil pan cleaned, and our son got the vehicle back the next week. That weekend he tried to drive from Boone, NC to Fayetteville, NC, and only made it about 60 miles before the oil light came on again. The engine started to knock, and he shut it down. AAA towed the Highlander back to Boone, where we paid another $200+ to have the dealer flush the engine out with solvent and clean the oil pan again.

Today, our son picked the Highlander up and didn't even make it the two miles to Wal-Mart before the oil light came on and the engine started knocking again.

The Toyota dealership said nothing about Toyota ever having a sludge problem with its engines, and I only learned of it after talking with a co-worker about the problem.

There's going to be an interesting conversation with Modern Toyota of Boone, NC tomorrow morning.


Steve Chen

Washougal, Washington 98671

2000 Sienna  160,000 miles

The check engine light was on (yellow), and then (next day) the oil light was on (red). I immedialtely shut it down.

I had a Mechanic to look at it. He took the oil pan apart, and saw lots of sludge plugging the oil tube suction head (screen). He removed the sludge and put back oil pan.

After about 3 hours runnning, the oil light came back again. The mechanic opened the oil pan again and saw lot of sludge which was the same as before. He said he never saw other cars having this problem.


Chris Thornhill

Pompton Lakes, New Jersey 07442

2005 RAV4 LE 124,000 miles

I have always loved Toyotas and been brand loyal to them since my '83 Corolla. I have maintained my RAV4 well but the oil pressure and check engine light came on the other day. The car was repaired today for $500.00. Please let me know if this is relevant and if Toyota would perhaps help cover this cost.
Thank you-
Chris T


Leah Varga

Miami, Florida 33173

2000 Lexus RX300  120,000 miles

The car is old but has been meticulously maintained and has good mileage. Last night, the check fluid light went on (my oil had been changed 3 weeks earlier) and about 10 minutes later, the car just stopped running. I had it towed to the nearest Pep Boys. After discovering the bearings were bad, they showed me the sludge near the oil cap and informed me of Toyota's engine sludge problem during the late 90s early 2000s. My father checked on line for more information, and here I am. The mechanics said I need a new engine. Frustrated and broke.


Steve herrell

Fountain, Florida 32438

2003 Rav4 4x4 150,000 miles

I do regular mantinance on my vehicle it is a daily driver I bought it when it was a year old every thing was going good with the vehicle and today I was driving and all of a sudden the car just shut s off soo I have it towed home and come to find out my engine was siezed so I pop the oil pan off and I see nothing but sludge


Teresa Howard

Richmond, Virginia 23222

2004 Sienna LE 80,000 miles

We bought a Toyota Sienna (2004) and we loved it...we thought. After only a few months it was smoking at the tale pipe and when we took it in for servicing we were told it was nothing, just the cold weather. It continued to smoke and everytime we took it in to be serviced, we were told the same thing. Then in 2008 it started to used hugh amounts of oil in short periods of time. When we were on a trip to Kentucky, we stoped to fill replenish the oil at least 6 times and on the way back the car started to heat up very fast and slow down. When we got it home we took it back to Toyota to find out just what the problem was. First they told us it was sparks, which they took out and changed for a large fee. The next day they told us it wasn't the plugs but the engine. When we asked for a refund for the misdiagonosis and plug job, they said no way. They informed us that we needed a new engine, that it could cost anywhere between $5,000 to $9,000 or more and there was no guaranteed that it would hold, therefor there was no warrenty with it. They said that it could cause other major problems as it usually did and it could be in service from anywhere of 2 months or more.

We were dumbfounded, this was the only care we owned and we needed it for working. We were afraid, with the news they had given us that we would just be throwing more money away if we let them fix it. We were still making car notes at the time and could not afford to rent another car while still making payments and Toyota was offering nothing. When I tried to call headquarters, I would get interrupted by some young guys saying that Toyota had given them the authority to make decissions as to what could be done and what couldn't. We were still under warrenty and they said that warrenty would not cover it, that they had a right to make that decissions. We were stuck and helpless...scared to drive the car because it might just stop working while in use. We tried to get it serviced by some auto shops and no one would touch it. We were told that it was a thankless job, that it was sure to have a transmission problem soon after the engine was fixed, it always happened with the Sienna. We were told that there was a motor or something that set on the floor of the car that had no real purpose but was against the law to take out...that the motor heated up so hot that it caused the oil to turn to sludge. We were told that we should just junk it (not waste anymore money on it).

Well, we were caught between a rock and a hard place, we couldn't work without a car so we had to rent one. We were going broke with this thing. Long story short, we gave the car back with only 5 more payments. It was just sitting in the back yard collecting dust and requiring us to continue to make insurance payments. They picked it up and sold it for over $5,000...poor somebody. They knew what to do to it because it didn't take any time to sell (it wasn't running when they picked it up). They sent us $400 based on that sale and the other $30,000 we spent on that car was just lost. We couldn't get any help from Toyota what so ever. And so we are now still trying to overcome that horrible event in our lives. That's our story. One more thing...I can't remember the name of the oil company that sells oil to overcome the sludge problem. When I asked their opinion about using their product for our problem, they wrote me back that it would not help the Toyota engine problem, that it was their engine that was the problem and not the oil and that Toyota knew it.


michael paczolt

ocala, Florida 34472

2004 matrix 5 dr hatch 119,000 miles

Our 2004 Matrix was working fine, then the "check oil" light began flashing. We checked the oil and since it was full, thought it was a fluke, as the light went out. The following week we went on a trip 90 miles away. The oil light came on again, and stayed on this time. A half hour later the check engine light came on. We were, of course, headed home by then, and though the engine was running and the fluids were all full, the engine started sounding very rough. It was a very stressful and tense ride home, not knowing if we were going to be stranded by the side of the freeway after dark.
We took it to our mechanic the next morning, and were shocked to hear that there was oil sludge built up in the engine, and that it would need an entirely new engine! The mechanic said it was probably due to lack of oil changes, but I was very diligent about changing the oil and filter on a regular basis. (I also change the oil and filter in our 1996 Saturn that has 214,000 on it, and ironically, it's still running and is now our only, and most reliable, transportation!)
This has left us in a total financial bind. Toyota is buying our car for a fraction of the KBB value, but with the engine about to go, we have absolutely no bargaining power.
We figured to soon be replacing our 16 yr old Saturn, not the 8 yr old Toyota! There's no way we can afford two car pmts when the Saturn goes, so this is really a hardship.
Our mechanic said this is the 4th Toyota engine he has seen needing replaced, and his business is a fairly small one.
This is very obviously a wide-spread engine problem that Toyota knew about, and we are very angry at a company that cares absolutely nothing about their product or their customers. This was our second, and absolutely LAST Toyota ever!!!


Jonathon Andell

Gilbert, Arizona 85295

2007 Sienna  122 miles

Oil burning for some time. Quoted $2K to fix a problem Toyota caused. I'n not a happy camper.


Robert Kizu

Los Angeles, California 90064

2002 Sienna CE 80,000 miles

My Sienna developed a puff of smoke upon start up and was using about a quart of oil every 1000 miles. It lost compression in one cylinder and upon inpection was told i needed a valve job. My mechanic pulled the head cover off and noticed there was a lot of sludge buildup. I changed the oil every 5000 miles but not sure if i can find all the reciepts. It has only 80,000 miles on it will cost me about 2500.00 to fix it.


James Curran

Montclair, New Jersey 07042

2001 Camry LE  100,000 miles

Check engine light came on and the car stopped driving at a reasonable speed. Toyota Service Dealer said "you need to replace the engine and estimated it at $4,600".

They never said anything about the oil gel / sludge problem.

Two days later, I got the notice about the settlement FIVE YEARS AFTER TOYOTA WAS SUPPOSED TO SEND IT TO ME. I also have a Highlander 2003, which has had issues too.

Toyota lost their magic in the late nineties. A once die hard toyota fan will never buy one again. I just bought a Jeep Cherokee to replace my Camry because the Highlander is sure to go soon! =(



NORTH BERGEN, New Jersey 07047

2002 RAV4 2WD 69,000 miles

Hi, my story starts about a year ago when my oil light on my RAV4 goes on, so i pulled into a gas station and checked the oil thinking that it needed oil sure enough i added a quart of oil to the engine. Two days later the oil light goes on and the car starts to vibrate, so i took it to the dealer, which happens to be Hudson Toyota of Jersey City, and they serviced my car. They claimed that they could not find anything wrong with the car, that it only needed an oil change. Ok, so i went on my marry way, about three months later the oil light comes on again, this time i pulled into a oil lube place and they told me that i needed an oil change. mind you i only had put about 1500 miles between oil changes. Ok, so car worked fine i did my regularly service checks with my dealer two more times for the next six months, then on January of this year my ordeal started, check engine light goes on then oil light, car starts to shake violently. Took it to above mentioned dealer, and they told me after three days of the car being there i needed an engine replacemnt due to sludge. They were quick to point out that it was lack of maintenance on my part??? I felt very disconcerned because i have always take care of my car, and dealership should know this. just check how much money i have pumped into the maintenace of my car. Well little did i know a year ago when that oil light came on that i will be having this big problem and now i have no car to drive because i cannot afford to buy a replacement engine. It is very dissapointing to me that Toyota may have had knowlege of the problem facing this model vehicle, and claim that it is consumer negligence, what a cop out!!!
Well needles to say if i cannot get this problem resolved i will have to say i will never buy Toyota ever again, and i will pass this on to family and friends.



LOS ANGELES, California 90018

2008 HIGHLANDER 4 X 2 BASE 57,000 miles



Shunmugaraman muthiah

fishers, Indiana 46037

2002 sienna le 105,000 miles

I have Sienna 2002 and put 105000 miles and do oil change regularly. Last week, oil indicator came and after 1 mile, it is stopped. I brought this car near service store, they said the oil is not pumped to engine. I don't know what to do. I heard that this van is having this kind of issue. Any help?


Scott Jumper

Geneva, Florida 32732

2004 sienna LE 140,000 miles

When our van had around 140,000 the motor started ticking badly. My wife checked the oil and it was sludged up on the dip stick. She imediatly had it changed and things were okay for the next 30000 miles. We figured it was because she went to long without changing the oil. I have gone longer on other vehicles in the past with no problems like that. Now The oil presure light comes on at idle. I have not pulled the oil pan yet but my fear is that I will find what everyone else is finding.