If you are like the thousands of other Toyota Prius owners on the road with an oil control problem, you may have heard there is a solution.
The Prius with a 1.8L engine has become a notorious "oil guzzler." It is a cause of some issues for Prius owners. This article will talk about what causes oil consumption and what you can do about it.
Why Does My Prius Consume Engine Oil?
Oil consumption can happen for a few different reasons. Especially with Prius, it can be caused due to excessive carbon build-up in the piston ring lands.
Other reasons it can happen are from worn-out piston rings or even a plugged PCV valve. Whatever your case may be, know that it can and does occur over time to your car. Dealing with it once it does happen is where you need to place your focus.
How Does The Oil Get Consumed?
In a previous article, I spoke of a product by BG that can help with oil consumption. Check it out here. Sometimes just doing a treatment will help, but other times it is not enough.
Prius owners with a 1.8L engine have an efficient engine, but it comes at a cost. As the engine wears, more exhaust gasses pass by the piston rings. This action is called "blowby," and what can happen is the excess pressure that goes into the oil pan area called the crankcase will pick up tiny bits of engine oil.
The oil now trapped gets re-rerouted back through the positive crankcase ventilation system or PCV. As the gasses move and carry the oil with it, those gases get routed back into the intake manifold for re-burning, helping to lower emissions, among other things.
The issue is that those gasses are carrying bits of oil which end up getting dropped into the intake manifold and causing driveability problems.
How Can I Help With Oil Consumption On My Prius?
Some Prius owners have reported that adding an oil catch can have helped them keep unwanted oil out of the combustion chamber.
An oil catch can typically be installed on vehicles with forced induction, meaning a turbo or blower. Those devices cram more air into the engine and can cause more blowby. The same thing happens with the oil getting trapped into the gasses and getting circulated back.
The genius behind the oil catch can is it separates oil and air from the PCV system. Then the separated oil is allowed to return back to the pan.
On Prius, most do not route the oil back to the pan. They use the catch can to holds the excess oil. Periodically the car owner will open the can and dump out the excess into a suitable waste container.
This is one way that you can keep oil from building up inside your intake manifold.
Pros And Cons With Catch Cans
A pro for having a catch can be to separate your oil and prevent it from going back into the engine. This will help with a cleaner-burning engine and should result in optimal fuel economy.
A Con with putting an oil catch can on is that you are now no longer SMOG compliant in the state of California. So you would have to take it off before doing any smog testing.
There are other things that we can get into specifics with oil catch cans, but that will be for another article.
I would like to get your feedback if you would like me to do more on this subject. I think that there is a need for Prius owners to understand how to best take care of their car.
If you feel your Prius is consuming a lot of engine oil then this solution may be right for you. Know that some oil consumption is normal in the Toyota world.
If you are in California, you are on your own. Smog regulations will not allow tampering with the system as designed from the factory, so if you want one, you will have to install it.
I think that with higher mileage cars cans are worth all the hassle, but if you have been religious about maintaining your car you honestly should not need one.
Thanks, everyone, that is all for today. I look forward to seeing you in the next article. Want to know when you can afford a new Tesla? Check this article out here!
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Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporters.