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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought a used 2010 Tundra about a month ago with 30,000 miles (5.7L 4x4). A few days after buying it I took it to the local Toyota dealership to have the oil changed. Come to find out, after driving around for 3+ weeks that they didn't fully tighten the drain plug and it has been slowly leaking oil this entire time since the oil change. When I finally realized this and tried to check the oil level, it didn't show up at all on the dipstick. My question is, how many quarts has to be missing for the level to not even register at all on the dipstick? I'm thinking 2 quarts or more (I believe the truck calls for almost 8 quarts total)? Once I realized this the dealership had it towed to the shop so that they could verify where the leak was coming from and replace the missing oil without me driving it anymore. They told me that only 1 1/2 quarts were missing and no damage was done. I'm not sure I believe them. I'm concerned that some damage could have been done driving it for so long with lower than normal oil, perhaps damage that won't happen to a few years and several thousand miles down the road. I got a Toyota for their reputation of being quality vehicles that last a long time. Now I always have to wonder and worry if it will last as long as it would've if this never happened. 3+ weeks of slowly leaking oil, verified by oil spots all over the work parking lot, makes me think more than 1 1/2 quarts were lost. The oil "dumby" light never came on. I glance at the oil pressure gauge from time to time and never noticed it low. Maybe I'm being paranoid? Thanks for your help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the link, I did go to it and registered my truck. I see in the manual that it says the quantity of oil needed to raise the level between the low and full marks on the dipstick is 1.6 quarts. So if I had nothing on the dipstick, not even at the end of the dipstick where it comes to a point below the low mark, it must have been 2 quarts or more low than. Still wondering if anyone knows the minimum it was low if it doesn't show up on the dipstick.
 

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If you didn't experience any oil starvation (knocking, low oil pressure etc...) you should be fine.

The oil pickup is aprox. 1/2" off the bottom of the sump (pan). Just a WAG, but the motor could probably run with just a few quarts (4+ quarts low) and live.....obviously, the oil would break down much quicker.

The reason for the large capacity is to ensure cool, fresh, clean oil for 5,000 miles. (10K with synthetic if I'm reading the latest posts correctly)

To maybe give a comparison, take a single cylinder high performance motorcycle engine. Size restraints limit the size of the sump to aprox. 1 quart. OCI's are measured in HOURS!!!

If you want peace of mind, go ahead and change this oil or maybe do it at a 1/2 interval.......but honestly, IMHO, you didn't hurt anything.
 

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Not sure if my memory serves me correctly or not, but I think it is 7.4 quarts for a full oil change on the 5.7L engine. If you see decent oil pressure and your engine temperature was good, I wouldn't worry too much. If, on the other hand, you didn't have good oil pressure, than that could be problematic. It may mean that you have other issues causing the leak of oil. Without the pressure, the oil isn't going to lubricate all the parts as necessary. I would have asked them how much oil actually came out after draining. Additionally you should have seen some spill on your driveway or at the very least on your skid plate. Find out if the lack of oil is really due to the drain plug (bolt) not being tightened properly or if there are other areas where your engine could be leaking oil...
 

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I find it hard to believe it was a loose drain plug. I have not changed my Tundra oil yet so correct me if I am wrong- every car I've ever changed the oil in the plug stops the oil from draining as soon as you thread it in maybe one turn.
I'd would tend to believe you are either burning it or leaking it.
Did the previous owner have a receipt for a recent change?
Best case scenario would be they left it a few quarts low and no issues develop from that.
I'd look for a receipt, leaks and check the plugs to see how they look.
 

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This is an example why some of us do not trust dealerships. DIY oil change is fairly simple -- the hardest part for me was removing the skid plate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yeah, that would be the easy and sure way to know how much oil was missing but since the dealer towed it to have it serviced and they put the oil in to fill it back up I can't do that option. I did ask and they said they only had to put 1 1/2 quarts in, but the reason for the question I posted was because I don't believe them. The owner's manual says it takes 1.6 quarts to move from the low level to full level marks on the dipstick and then there is another 3/8" or so of dipstick below the low level mark. When I realized it was leaking oil I tried to check the level but it didn't even register on the dipstick. So my rough calculations estimate another quart to drop off of the dipstick entirely, so I'm thinking a minimum of 2 1/2 quarts low. I wish I would've watched them put the oil in to fill it but I didn't. Thanks, I like this website, it's going to be handy to be able to ask for advice for the life of the truck, which is hopefully a very long time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yeah, I wish I would've. I thought a dealership would be better than a Jiffy Lube or similar. I changed the oil on all my other vehicles, but I got an online post of how to do it on the Tundra and it seemed a little more complicated with the oil filter. Maybe I have to spend a little more time reading that again if you're saying it's fairly simple, I just thought the filter part seemed to have a few more steps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It was indeed the drain plug. From what I could see crawling underneath in the parking lot without a jack or lift, it was apparent to me it was coming from the drain plug that was loose. The dealership verified that it was indeed the loose drain plug. You would think it would stop with just a few threads in, and I kind of thought the same thing from my past oil changing experiences. But it did have a slow leak over the 3+ weeks and left a lot of stains over the various parking spots. I should have noticed it sooner, but then again my wife does always tell me I'm not very observant. I bought the truck used, then I took it to the dealer by my house a week later to have the oil changed. So it was the oil change that I had done that was the cause of the leak, not the previous owner. I hope you're right that best case it was only a few quarts low and no permanent damage that will arise several years and miles down the road. Thanks for your post.
 

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This is an example why some of us do not trust dealerships. DIY oil change is fairly simple -- the hardest part for me was removing the skid plate.
Yep - and this kind of crap is exactly why I change my own oil, even with the free ones that came with my truck. I have done three now and I no longer find the skid plate very tough. The filter is just different, not really any more hassle overall than a spin on one, at least IMO. The oil change thread with pictures makes it pretty easy and when you do it yourself you know that it was done right.
 

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I thought that maybe your dipstick was too short but your wife would have picked up on that. :)
 

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ZING!!!!

Sent from my PG86100 using AutoGuide.Com Free App
 

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I had the same thing happen to me. I bought a used "certified" 07 Honda Civic SI sedan 4 years ago. After a few days of owning it I started looking around and found a small puddle of oil under the car. I was able to tighten/loosen the drain plug by hand.

I tightened it up and added more oil. Never had an issue after that. Needless to say I never took the car in for service while I owned it to that dealer ever.


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