Think 3K. Get fidgety at 4K. Feel like a jerk if you go past 5K. You're
talking about an engine which, when properly cared for will easily surpass
200K miles and still run smoothly.
You could also consult the manual. And, begin worrying now if the timing
belt hasn't been changed. By the time you get to it (being busy, etc), you
might be at 90K.
I change mine based on oil color. It's nice until 3K, and headed south by
4K. It's ugly by 5K. My 2002 Tercel hit 240K miles and according to the
mechanic, still sounded & ran perfectly.
You should stick to reading Dr. Seuss, shmuckland.
I second that. By 4000 miles the oil is dark and doesn't pass through
light. I like dark coffee when light can still shine through. And the
mileage dropped a couple of MPGs by then. So 3000-3500 for me, in the
normal service category.
BTW, I don't trade in the car at 4 years like the dealer mailings
recommend. So YMMV.
The only way to really find out is by getting the used oil tested by a
lab (Caterpillar dealers can get it done) and increasing the miles
until the lab results become bad, but each test probably costs as much
as a DIY oil & filter change.
Ten years ago, Consumer Reports thought 6,000 miles was OK, based on
their testing with NYC taxicabs whose engines were torn down at every
change, and they used SH-rated oil, not the SM-rated oil sold now.
They tested only one synthetic, Mobil 1, but found no significant
differences between it and conventional oils.
The last time I bought pure synthetic Pennzoil Platinum, it was 38
cents a quart, but that was a huge increase over the previous price I
paid for it, 6 cents a quart. The most recent advertised price I saw
for any motor oil was 99 cents, from either Pep Boys or Checker/Kragen/
Shuck's. Their Sunday newspaper ads often include coupons, but you
may be able to get Pep Boys' coupons at their website.
Follow the automaker's recommended oil change interval, which is 5,000
Forget about the advice to change the timing belt, since your car has a
If you do not have the owner's manual, you can get the recommended
maintenance online at www.toyota.com in the owner's link.
It's not so much today's higher quality oils (even dinos), but the ash
particles your engine loads up the oil with.
Toyota has lowered the oil change interval from 7500 miles down to
5000 miles in 2004 because of sludge concerns. I think you'll do fine
if you change the oil every 3000 miles even in mostly highway driving
like I do. I'm in the normal service category with the Camry, and I
don't like how dark the oil's looks even at 4000 miles. For me
3000-3500 miles with dino works out.
For filters I use $6 Bosch Filtech / Purolator PureOne. The
multidensity, synthetic blend fibers will get small particles out and
add the 49-89 cent per quart Kragen/Schucks oils are cost effective
for me. That's $8-9 every oil change.
Even with synthetic technically you can only go up to 5000 miles
because that's what Toyota downgraded to in 2004. Besides, Toyota
engines aren't designed for extended drain intervals like European
engines (or even new Honda and GM engines, oils good for up to 12000
It's got nothing to do with engine design.
It's got to do with the oil specifications that the European OEMs
dictate (and the specs that the Asian OEMs -don't- dictate).
Domestic and Asian OEMs still specify ILSAC and API rated oils.
This is the oil companies telling the OEMs how the oil will
European OEMs specify ACEA oil ratings.
This is the OEMs telling the oil companies how the oil will
Which of these two above scenarios makes more sense?
GM, Ford, Honda, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Saab and others have their
own oil specifications that owners are best advised to adhere to.
The performance spec of the lowest (now obsolete) ACEA rated oils
far exceed anything that ILSAC and API oils offer.
The current crop of API specification fail the OEM specification
of the majority of cars built since the year 2000.
No, you won't find ACEA rated oil for 49-89 cents a quart and a
$6 filter isn't going to do anything to correct an oil that
doesn't have the HTHS viscosity the engine requires.
Brand name means nothing, various offerings with any brand name
mean nothing. You have to learn and understand oil
specifications and then procure the product specs for any/all
oils you may contemplate using and then READ the label because
while one version of Penzvalvoquakercastrolube -may- meet the
specs you desire, the next one may not. This stuff changes SO
fast it's frightening. What you thought was a good oil 4 months
ago may now be horrible, what you thought was a horrible oil 3
months ago may now be the best product on the market.
Demanding engines require good quality oil and yes there are different
specs, but that's not the point. The point is dino vs synthetic oil
and drain interval.
You can't add synthetic oil to an engine and say now the engine
qualifies for an extended drain interval. There is no oil company that
will recommend this kind of practice, just read their websites.
Corollas will benefit from good oil, but Toyota didn't design their
engines for the 12,000 mile Honda/GM drain intervals or the 15,000
mile BMW intervals.
As soon as the owner drives the oil over 5000 miles since Toyota
lowered it from 7500 miles in 2004, the engine warranty is technically
void. So better keep your receipts during the warranty period.
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