Probably the most popular DIY job car owners do are oil changes. As one of the most basic maintenance items, it doesn't require a lot of time or skill, but it is one of the most important things you can do to protect your Toyota's engine.
To help you get started, we found this video from our favorite YouTuber, The Car Care Nut. In it, he talks about how to change your oil, how often to change the oil, and the tools you'll need. Then he takes you step by step through the process, using the same training Toyota technicians receive at the dealership.
How Often Should I Change My Oil?
One of the biggest questions people have is, "How often should I change my oil?"
The Car Care Nut says the recommended service interval for oil changes is every six months or 5,000 miles, whichever comes first. That means if you only put 1,000 miles on your vehicle, you should still change your oil every six months. Or, if you put 5,000 miles on your vehicle in less than six months, you should change your oil more frequently.
The one exception to the six months/5,000 mile rule is if you use synthetic oil. In general, synthetic oil lasts longer than regular oil, with the recommended service being one year or 10,000 miles. However, it is more expensive than regular oil or synthetic blend oil and may not be worth the extra cost in your situation.
Regardless of what oil you use, regular oil changes are one of the best ways to maintain the engine in your Toyota car or truck and ensure it lasts 200,000 miles or more. It's cheap insurance against costly engine repairs due to friction or premature wear.
What Tools Do I Need To Change My Oil?
You don't need a full set of mechanic tools to change your oil. In fact, the only tools you'll need are the following:
- 14mm socket wrench or crescent wrench
- Torque wrench
- Oil drain pan
- Canister-style oil filter wrench
- 3/8" ratchet for the filter wrench
- Small flat-head screwdriver
- Oil funnel
How Do I Change My Own Oil?
Changing your oil is a simple process with very few steps. But before you get started, it's important to park your Toyota on a flat surface, like on your driveway or in a garage, make sure the vehicle is in park, and set the parking brake. It's also a good idea to put wheel chocks behind the rear wheels to keep the vehicle from rolling.
Some vehicles, like trucks and SUVs, have enough ground clearance for you to get under the vehicle without raising it off the ground. However, it's usually better to raise the vehicle on jack stands using the following steps:
- Using your vehicle owner's manual, locate the jack points under your car or truck.
- Raise the vehicle on the jack and then place the jack stands underneath the vehicle to secure it.
For safety, you do not want to work under your car when it's only supported by the jack.
Steps To Drain The Oil
- Loosen the oil canister/filter and let it drain into the oil drain pan. Once it's drained a little bit, remove the canister and let it finish draining into the oil drain pan.
- Take the 14 mm wrench and loosen the oil drain plug. Do not remove it all the way.
- Position the oil drain pan under the oil drain plug. Then loosen and remove the oil drain plug by hand while positioning the oil drain pan to catch the oil.
- Let the oil finish draining into the oil drain pan.
- Once the oil has finished draining, reinstall the oil drain plug and tighten it no more than 30 lbs with your torque wrench. Do not over-tighten the oil drain plug, or you could strip the threads and damage the oil pan.
Oil Canister/Filter Prep
- Remove the old oil filter from the oil canister.
- Install the new filter and o-ring. Use some of the old oil to lubricate the o-ring before you install it. This will help prevent the oil canister/filter from leaking.
- Reinstall the oil canister making sure not to over-tighten it - use the torque wrench to tighten it to 18 lbs.
Check your owner's manual for the correct oil weight for your Toyota car or truck. You'll want to replace the oil with the same weight to maximize engine performance, longevity, and fuel efficiency.
- Remove the oil cap located on top of your engine.
- Place the oil funnel inside the opening for the oil cap.
- Add the recommended amount of oil.
Olathe Toyota Parts Center Is Your Source For Oil Changes
If you're looking to maintain your Toyota car or truck, we have the parts you need with up-front wholesale pricing. We're passionate about Toyota vehicles which is why we only sell genuine OEM Toyota parts. You can check out our recommended gear and regular maintenance packages here. We also offer helpful resources like a free Toyota VIN decoder, diagnostic info for common Toyota trouble codes, and a wide variety of resources just for Toyota and Scion owners.