One of the most important things you can do to maintain and care for your vehicle is regularly change the oil. Toyota vehicles have recommended service intervals, which can be found in the owner's manual, and helps determine how often you should change your oil. Changing your oil on time, or even early, can prolong the life of your vehicle by thousands of miles or even years. Each vehicle, and each owner is different, but there every manufacturer provides a guide in the owners manual on your vehicle's maintenance schedule, type of oil and oil weight. The general rule is that you should change your conventional motor oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, and change synthetic oil about every 7,500 miles. We want to help those who want to DIY(do it yourself), so here is what you need to know:

1. Don't be cheap! If your vehicle uses synthetic oil that can last up to 10,000 miles, don't buy the cheap filter. Not all filters are the same, and some last longer than others. If you buy the wrong filter, you can damage your engine and the performance of your car. There is a big difference between economy filters, and ones that will last much longer, even though the price difference is relatively small.

2. Proper disposal of oil is essential. You can't just pour oil down the drain, out in the yard, or throw it away in a container. It has to be properly disposed. Most auto parts stores which sell oil offer disposal of your old oil, and you can bring the old oil back to them in a container such as a bucket and they will dispose of it for you.

3. Make sure you have everything you need before you start. Once you drain the oil and/or remove the filter, you won't be able to go anywhere (unless you have a second mode of transportation), so it is important that you have everything you need before you begin. Those materials include: proper towls i.e. rags, rubber mallet, safety glasses, gloves, flashlight, wrench set (do not use adjustable wrenches or sockets, everything must fit according to the proper size), oil filter wrench, a funnel, jack stands, floor cover and an oil pan. You will also need the materials to replace the old oil, which include the engine oil specific to your vehicle, an oil filter, replacement oil gasket, and a container for the used oil.

Now that you have everything you need, it's time to get started!

First things first:

1. Safety first! Lay down your floor cover and drive your vehicle over it, so the oil pan is above the cover.  You don't want to spill any oil on the driveway or in the garage. It is extremely difficult to remove, and stains asphalt and concrete. Use the jack stands to get the vehicle high enough to maneuver underneath it. This is also the time to put on your safety glasses and your gloves.

2. Place the old oil container under the oil pan, and unscrew the plug. This is where you may need to use the flashlight, as it can be dark underneath the car and hard to locate the oil pan.  Quickly remove it and allow the old oil to flow into the pan. This is likely to be the messiest part of the process, especially if it is your first time with this process. Remove the old gasket from the plug, clean it off with a rag, and install the new gasket. Once the pan is drained (may take 5-10 minutes) put the plug back in the pan.

3. Remove the oil filter. This is where the oil filter wrench may come in handy, sometimes the filters are too tight to remove by hand. Just remember, righty-tighty, lefty-loosey! Before installing the new filter, use your finger to smear new oil on the new rubber gasket. Make sure the old gasket is not stuck to the engine, and that your new filter comes with a new gasket.

4. Pour the fresh oil. Remove the filler cap from the engine. It is located under the hood, and usually displays a graphic of an oil can. Place your funnel in the filler tube and slowly pour the new oil into the funnel. Pouring too fast can result in spilling, as oil is thick and moves slowly into the engine.

5. Check the oil levels. Now is the time to make sure you have done everything properly. Run your engine for 5-10 minutes and then check the oil level. To do this, remove the oil dipstick (usually brightly colored), wipe it off with a rag, put it back into the dipstick tube, remove once again, and read the oil level. If the level is between the 'MIN' and 'MAX' indicators, you are good to go. If it is below the 'MIN' level, you did not add enough oil and need to pour more in. Repeat the process until you are just under the 'MAX' level.

6. Recycle old oil. Take the old oil container to wherever you bought your new oil, with the receipt. You will be able to dispose of the old oil at the shop.

It may take a couple of times repeating this process to get a rhythm going, but once you have done it a couple of times you will start to get the hang of it.


Larry H. Miller Toyota Albuquerque

10401 Copper Ave. NE
Directions Albuquerque, NM 87123

  • Sales: 5053326569
  • Service: 505-332-6529
  • Parts: 505-332-6585


  • Monday 8:30am - 8:00pm
  • Tuesday 8:30am - 8:00pm
  • Wednesday 8:30am - 8:00pm
  • Thursday 8:30am - 8:00pm
  • Friday 8:30am - 8:00pm
  • Saturday 8:30am - 7:00pm
  • Sunday 12:00pm - 6:00pm

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