Sludge can build up in the engine because Toyota did not recommend frequent enough oil changes. Lexus will sometimes offer a discount on cleaning the engine if necessary. Owners who changed their oil every 3,000 miles did not experience these problems. This sludge build up can lead to excessive oil consumption.
Car Problem Reports
Toyota Solara Sludge Buildup on Engine Due to Infrequent Oil Changes
Toyota Solara Problem
Engines Affected: 2.2L 4 Cylinder, 2.4L 4 Cylinder, 3.0L V6
Average Mileage: 160,417 mi (103,000 mi - 246,000 mi)
I just want to go on record to say there is something environmental or the way different people drive that causes the sludge buildup. A coworker owned my 2000 V6 Toyota Solara for the first 113,000 miles. He had the oil changed every 3,000 miles and I believe he used Penzoil 10W30. I have used the same oil (no additives like STP or anything else) but have changed it every 5,000 miles. The car now has 264,000 miles on it and uses no oil between changes, even during the extended 5,000 mile period. I recently removed the cam cover to replace the gasket and it was clean with no waxy buildup. I live in South Texas and I make a 250 mile run once a week. I think the buildup some folks are experiencing is due to the brand of oil, the driving conditions (in-town vs. long drives), or some other factor. It's possible that changing the oil more frequently in conjuction with a secondary cause keeps sludge from building up but my car is evidence it's not just because of the extended oil change period. By the way, I had a 1998 V6 Camry that I sold to my brother. It now has over 300,000 miles on it and still doesn't burn oil and the oil looks clean for a long time after each oil change. I changed the oil in that car every 5,000 miles and I think he uses the same change period.
Visitor, 2002 Toyota Solara, 3.0L V6, 103,000 mi
My 2002 Solara Camry has had synthetic oil changes every 3 to 5 thousand miles. It's been well maintained and properly driven. The engine now needs to be replaced at 103,000 miles due to oil sludge damage. This has cost me $500.00 thus far (replaced oil control valve and four engine flushes). From all research, this issue is design flaw that warranted a recall. I work and go to school full time, was hoping to get through college with this car. My engine is included in the oil gel settlement but it is now two years past the legal coverage. I am making a claim but from all that I've read it seems like a time consuming battle with an unlikely resolution.
Visitor, 1999 Toyota Solara, 3.0L V6, 130,000 mi
I bought my Solara used with 99,000 miles. I noticed the car would burn oil at start up. I change my oil every 3,000 miles and use Mobil 1 Full Synthetic. My dealership suggested I purchase a whole new engine but I refused and so far so good. Just regular maintenance oil changes at 3,000 miles will correct the problem.
After hearing scary knocking, took to mechanic, mechanic determined there is excessive oil sludge in the engine and says something (sludge...piece of engine)broke off in the engine. Says he cannot guarantee that it can be removed and recommends engine replacement. Replacement has 60K miles and cost of $2400 w/o labor. Help...does this sound reasonable.. ie diagnosis, inability to get knocking object out and cost for replacment?
Visitor, 1999 Toyota Solara, 3.0L V6, 150,000 mi
Oil sludge build up :(
Visitor, 2002 Toyota Solara, 2.4L 4 Cylinder, 195,000 mi
First let me say, my 2002 Canadian driven Solara is tops. Excellent fuel economy, no problem hauling my 4x8 utility trailer, very comfortable interior, never had a problem getting acceleration when I needed it and sometimes when I didn't ! as for the dirty engine ... Even with good quality synthetic oil rated for 10,000 km, the oil becomes very dirty much earlier - around 8,000 km. Certainly more frequent oil changes are indicated. I plan to ask a dealer if I can get a free clean as this is a known problem - wish me luck !