Toyota And Synthetic Oil

Starting in model year 2010, Toyota began using an advanced 0W-20-weight synthetic oil in certain engines. In 2011 more engines were adapted to use synthetic oil, and for 2012 more have been added. In fact, the only 2012 Toyotas that don’t use synthetic oil are the 2.7-liter Highlander and Venza, 2.4-liter Matrix, 2.5- and 3.5-liter RAV4, 4.0-liter Tacoma, and Yaris. Everything else uses synthetic.

Toyota Oil Saginaw Michigan

Why Synthetic Oil?

Because synthetic oil is essentially “more slippery” than conventional, mineral-based oil, and it maintains its lubricating quality over a wider range of temperatures. Plus, it can help the engine use less fuel and emit fewer emissions—especially when the engine is cold. Basically, synthetic-oil molecules are a more consistent size then conventional oil molecules, so they are better at maintaining the slick film that minimizes metal-to-metal contact. And that could mean less friction inside the engine.

Engines using the synthetic oil have been certified for a more strict emissions standard and may achieve slightly better fuel economy. And most, but not all, of the engines using synthetic oil have an extended 10,000-mile oil-change interval. However, as with all maintenance there are limitations based on driving style and vehicle use, so the owner’s manual must be consulted to establish oil-change intervals for a specific vehicle and the specific way the vehicle is being driven.

Maintenance Indicator Lamp: Service Intervals vs. Oil-Change Interval

Toyota includes a Maintenance Indicator Lamp on the instrument panel light that illuminates every 5,000 miles. What exactly does this light mean? Three simple rules explain it all.

  • Rule #1: Every Toyota should be brought in for a service every time the light illuminates.
  • Rule #2: For vehicles using conventional oil, 5,000 miles is also the oil-change interval. The vehicle would be due for a service that includes an oil change every time the light illuminates.
  • Rule #3: For most vehicles using synthetic oil, the oil change interval is 10,000 miles. The vehicle would still be due for a service every 5,000 miles, but it would need an oil change only each second time the light illuminates.
  • There are exceptions to every rule, and here the exceptions are the 2TR-FE engine used in some Toyota Tacomas and the 3UR-FBE Flexible Fuel engine used in some Toyota Sequoias and Toyota Tundras. They use synthetic oil, but still require an oil change every 5000 miles.
  • The intervals may change based on driving habits and conditions. See the owner’s manual for details.

For more information contact a Labadie Toyota service advisor at (989) 684-2222

You can schedule your next Toyota oil change online at:

Labadie Toyota is a mid-Michigan Toyota dealer serving Saginaw, Midland, Bay City and surrounding communities.