Why Get an Oil Change at a Dealership?

December 7th, 2023 by

Regular maintenance is vital for the long-term health of any vehicle. Considering how much the average American drives in a year — 13,476 miles as of May 2022, according to the United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration — this maintenance is essential to maximizing your vehicle’s performance. A standard oil change is one of the most frequent and crucial services your car will require. Keep reading to learn all about oil changes for your new or used Toyota vehicle.

Why Is an Oil Change Necessary?

A regular oil change is one of the most crucial services to maintain your vehicle’s health. Oil changes are significant because lubricating oil is a critical component of a properly operating engine. High-quality, clean oil lubricates the engine, sustaining its performance and extending its lifetime. Over time, this lubricating oil deteriorates, which makes it difficult for the oil to perform these essential functions.

Oil Change Schedules for Toyotas

The short answer for how often you should change your Toyota’s engine oil is that it depends on the type of synthetic oil it requires. Toyota vehicles requiring 0W-20 synthetic oil are approved for extended oil change intervals of 10,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first. Still, if you follow this schedule, you’ll need to regularly check your oil level and top it off when necessary.

Toyota vehicles that can use 0W-20 oil or 5W-20 or 5W-30 mineral oil will need an oil change more often, every 5,000 miles or six months, even if you use 0W-20 oil. For Toyotas that use the 10,000-mile oil change intervals, you’ll still need to follow a 5,000-mile service interval. This means you’ll still need to bring your car for servicing every 5,000 miles for standard maintenance procedures such as tire rotations.

Similarly, if your vehicle meets the criteria for special operating conditions, which include driving off-road, on dirt roads, or towing a trailer, you must still replace your engine oil every 5,000 miles, regardless of what type of oil you use. If you have questions about your Toyota’s oil change schedule, you should consult your vehicle’s oil manual or contact our service team to talk with a certified Toyota technician.

Signs You Need an Oil Change

If you don’t know when you should change your Toyota’s engine oil or believe it needs it sooner than scheduled, there are several signs you can keep an eye out for. These include:

  • Check engine or oil change light: If your check engine or oil change light activates, your car is informing you it’s time to change your oil. This light may also indicate a more severe issue, so taking your car in as soon as possible is necessary.
  • Strange or knocking noises coming from the engine: Without oil to lubricate your engine’s metal parts, they’ll grind against each other, producing noises or a knocking effect.
  • Dirty or dark oil: Fresh, clean oil is generally an amber color and slightly translucent. So, when your engine oil is dark brown or black and has a thicker texture, it’s time to change it.
  • An oil smell inside your vehicle: If you smell oil inside your car, it can indicate that your engine oil is leaking or burning.
  • Colored exhaust smoke: Seeing grey or black smoke is a sign you need an oil change.
  • Shaking while idle: Similar to the knocking noise you can experience, your car shaking while idling is a sign of increased friction due to unlubricated engine parts. 
  • Engine overheating: Friction due to a lack of lubrication from oil produces more heat and can cause your engine to overheat.
  • Low or falling oil levels: If your vehicle’s oil levels are low or decreasing more rapidly than usual, it’s a sign that it may need an oil change. Low oil levels can lead to insufficient lubrication, which can cause engine damage.
  • Decreased fuel economy: Your car’s fuel efficiency dropping may also indicate it needs an oil change.

Checking Your Oil Level

While you may not have the time or ability to change your engine oil yourself, anyone can and should check their vehicle’s oil level. Most experts recommend you check your engine oil levels once a month, along with your other engine fluids and tire pressure. Checking your levels each month ensures you always have enough engine oil. Similarly, this monthly check-in allows you to inspect your engine oil for signs of breakdown or contamination.

Why Use Synthetic Oil

Toyota recommends you use synthetic oil for all its new vehicles. While synthetic oil is typically more expensive than regular engine oil, it has many benefits. Because manufacturers make synthetic oil with base oils that are of higher quality than conventional oils, it does a better job of protecting and aiding your engine’s performance. According to Car and Driver, these high-quality base oils make synthetic engine oils:

  • Less likely to acidify and oxidize.
  • More chemically stable.
  • Harder to break down and lose desired qualities.

Taking Your Car In Versus Doing It Yourself

While you can change your car’s oil yourself, there are numerous benefits to taking it to a certified Toyota technician. First, during a full-service oil change, your technician will also check your vehicle’s:

  • Air filters.
  • Coolant and antifreeze levels.
  • Power steering fluid.
  • Brake fluid.
  • Chassis lubrication.
  • Wiper blade health.
  • Washer fluid levels.
  • Battery life and health.
  • Tire pressure.

Each standard maintenance procedure is essential to ensuring your vehicle’s health and efficiency. Moreover, it would take extensive time to complete each of these checks unless you’re a technician yourself. Likewise, when you take your vehicle in for a service, you can feel confident knowing they’ll use the correct engine oil and air filters for the make and model of your car.

Get Your Next Oil Change at Classic Toyota of Tyler, Texas

If your vehicle needs an oil change or any other service, see our factory-trained, Automotive Service Excellence-certified technicians at the Classic Toyota of Tyler Service Center. Our highly trained and friendly professional team has proudly served East Texas drivers since 1994. Likewise, if you need to purchase, finance, trade-in, or find parts for your vehicle, we have you covered. Our comprehensive dealership is here to help you throughout the lifetime of your car. Contact us online, call 903-579-0237, or visit us at 1717 W. SW Loop 323, Tyler, Texas.


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