Toyota makes the most reliable vehicle in the car industry. Even with zero maintenance, a Toyota can last more than 100,000 miles. However, if you plan to keep your vehicle for 12 – 15 years or 300,000 miles, the following regular maintenance is crucial.
Engine Oil Change:
Even though the Toyota user manual claims that an owner should change the engine oil every 10,000 miles or 6 months, we highly recommend you change your Toyota engine oil every 5,000 miles or 6 months.
The criterion for changing the engine oil at 10,000 miles intervals is rigid, and only a few owners qualify for that.
Moreover, always change the engine oil filter during your oil change.
Transmission Oil Change:
Toyota claims that an owner doesn’t need to change the transmission oil throughout its lifetime. It’s a sneaky claim.
Toyota gives a 60,000 miles transmission warranty. Toyota says you don’t need to change the oil in this 60,000 miles. Therefore, after 60,000 miles, you have to spend more than $4,000 to fix your vehicle if your transmission breaks.
Transmission oil is oil, and oil breaks down at heat. Toyota uses ATF WS oil, and these start to break down at 250°F – 300°F. Even though a Toyota transmission generally operates at 220°F, over time, the ATF WS transmission fluid degrades.
Thus, if an owner wants to keep the transmission in good condition for a long time, a transmission oil change at every 60,000 miles interval is crucial. A transmission flush is not required; a simple drain-and-refill is enough to keep the transmission in good working condition.
Overdoing transmission fluid change is not advised. If you want to do it early, a 30,000 miles interval is optimal.
Over the lifetime of your vehicle, a transmission fluid filter change is not required.
Brake Pads are crucial for vehicle safety. A good brake pad will last more than 20,000 miles. However, always take your vehicle to a professional mechanic for a regular checkup at 6 months intervals. If you sparingly use your car, take your vehicle for brake pad inspection at 12 months intervals.
However, the wear on the brake pad depends on driving behavior. Even though many brake pads come with a metal scraper, which makes a screeching sound if your brake pad wears off, sometimes that metal could be absent or broken.
Therefore, always use your proper judgment. If you feel that your car’s brake performance degraded, inspect it and change the brake pad if required.
Rotor generally lasts longer than the brake pad. At 6 months or 12 months intervals, inspect your vehicle rotor for visible wear and replace it if required.
Tire Rotation and Change:
Every Toyota vehicle’s engine sits on the front and steers using front tires. Therefore, a majority of wear and tear happens on the front tire. At the same time, the rear tire wears less. Rotate your tire at every 5,000 miles interval. It means to take out the front tire and install it as a back tire, and take the back tire and install it as a front tire.
Over time, the tire will wear off, and it will lose traction. At that time, driving over snow or in the rain becomes dangerous. Always look carefully at tire wear and change the tire if necessary.
Cabin Air Filter:
The cabin air filter filters the incoming cabin air. Over time it collects dust. Change the cabin air filter at regular intervals for clean air.
Engine Air Filter:
Check the engine air filter at regular intervals and change it if it looks too dirty. The interval time will depend on your location. If your vehicle operates in a dusty environment, you may need to change the filter sooner than those vehicles that operate in urban areas.
Toyota uses iridium spark plugs in its engine. A 4 cylinder engine has 4 spark plugs, and a 6 cylinder engine has 6 spark plugs.
These spark plugs last more than 120,000 miles. Therefore, change your engine spark plug every 120,000 miles. But always replace it with an original iridium spark plug. Don’t use platinum spark plugs because these have a maximum of 60,000 miles of life.
There are a lot of fake spark plugs being sold on Amazon. We advise that you buy your spark plugs from a Toyota dealer. NAPA, Autozone, Advance Auto Parts are also reliable. If you decide to purchase your spark plugs from Amazon, always look for “sold by Amazon.” Always be extra careful when buying from Amazon when a third party sells the product.
Even though the Toyota Vehicle User manual doesn’t talk about coolant change, you should drain and refill the engine coolant every 60,000 miles or 5 years. It’s because, over time, the coolant becomes acidic and attacks all the rubber hoses and gaskets. As a result, those hoses can degrade and start a leak. Draining and refilling the engine coolant will cost you $15-20 if you do it yourself. But if you ignore this maintenance for long enough, a leak would cost you several hundreds of dollars.
Every Toyota brake uses hydraulic fluid. These fluids would last a long time. However, over time it absorbs moisture and degrades. Every 5 years, a Toyota owner should inspect and change the fluid if required.
Remember, the fluid color has nothing to do with the properties of the brake fluid. If a mechanic tells you that your brake fluid looks dirty and needs brake fluid flush, stay away from that mechanic.
Whether the brake fluid is good or bad depends on the moisture content. The fluid is good as long as its moisture content is less than 3%. When the fluid moisture content is less than 3%, you don’t need to flush the brake fluid. Don’t make any decision based on brake fluid color.
Measurement of brake fluid with a multimeter is straightforward.
- First, set the multimeter to measure DC voltage.
- Then put the positive terminal into the brake fluid and the negative terminal on the metal housing of the brake fluid master drum.
- A DC voltage reading of less than 0.30V means the brake fluid is good. If the voltage reads more than 0.30V, the brake fluid has too much moisture, and it’s time to change the fluid.
The serpentine rubber belt drives the alternator, water pump, and other components. Over time, this belt will crack and will degrade. There’s no time limit on when to replace the serpentine belt. However, keep an eye on the belt for visible cracks and wear and tear. If you see any cracks on the rubber, you should change the belt.
If you accelerate your Toyota vehicle and the “check charging” lights come on for a brief moment, your drive belt is probably slipping. The alternator can’t generate enough power to charge the 12V battery as it’s slipping. You should change the serpentine belt as soon as possible. It will fix the problem.
The 12V battery is vital in your Toyota. When the engine is not running, it powers all the electronics. It also starts the engine through the starter motor.
If you buy a new Toyota, the 12V battery that comes with your vehicle will last about 3 years. However, depending on your driving and geography, it could be lower.
Always check your battery voltage. Using a multimeter, you can check your battery voltage. The Autozone will test your vehicle battery for free.
If your Toyota engine is not starting, and this is happening for the first time in your car, your 12V battery is probably dead. Push your key to start the engine, and don’t let go. After several seconds, if the engine starts successfully, your 12V battery is bad. You need to change it. Walmart, Autozone, Napa all sell 12V car batteries.
Before replacing your battery, make sure your battery Group such as 24, 24F, 26, etc.
Air Conditioner Recharge:
Over time the air conditioning refrigerant may leak. At that time, your air conditioner may not blow cool air. An air conditioner recharge will fix it.
Washer fluid is being used to wash the windshield. Regularly top off the washer fluid tank. Nothing will happen except for your inability to clean the windshield if it goes low.
Mass Airflow sensor and Throttle body cleaning:
This maintenance is not mandatory but optional and good for the Toyota engine. At every 60,000 miles, you can perform this maintenance.
The following requires no maintenance in a Toyota.
Every Toyota uses an electronic steering wheel. There’s no hydraulic steering fluid. Therefore, a Toyota owner doesn’t need any steering wheel maintenance throughout the vehicle’s lifetime.
No Drive Belt:
Inside the engine, Toyota uses a metal drive chain. There’s no rubber drive belt. Therefore, throughout the lifetime of a Toyota vehicle, there’s no maintenance here.
No two vehicles are made equal. Moreover, the environment also plays a crucial role in vehicle longevity. Even though it’s not guaranteed, if you maintain all the things mentioned in this article, your Toyota will last up to 300,000 miles.