Toyota Oil Change Tips

Top 5 Tips You Need To Know For A Toyota Oil Change

Changing the oil on a Toyota isn't always as straightforward as a normal oil change. Here's a quick rundown of our top 5 tips for changing your own oil on a Toyota, Lexus or Scion (with a cartridge-style oil filter).

1 - Drain The Filter Housing Before Removing It

As you may know, many Toyota's have a filter housing that contains a paper "cartridge-style" filter. This housing is different from the common "spin-on" style filter and requires a few extra steps.

With a spin-on filter, you would normally loosen the old filter, dispose of it and replace it with a brand new filter.

With the Toyota cannister-style filters, you only replace the paper filter that sits inside the housing.

But that housing is usually full of oil - so our first tip is to drain that filter housing before loosening it

You can use a specialty drain tools like our MX2341 or use the little plastic tool that comes in the box with your new paper filter.

2 - You May Need A Breaker Bar When Removing The Filter Housing

One of the potential downsides of the cartridge style filter housings is that they have a tendency to be easily over-tightened. It can require a lot of force to remove them, so it's a good idea to have a breaker bar on hand.

Using a high quality wrench is important too - cheaper wrenches can deform or even break under the strain.

Using a high quality wrench with a breaker bar can make this job a lot less frustrating.

3 - Use the hex drive on your filter wrench when removing the housing, NOT the square drive


Because of the force that is sometimes required to remove these housings, it is a very good idea to use a socket on the hex drive (24mm on our MX2320-US wrench) when removing the filter housing.

The square drive is only intended to be used when re-installing the filter housing, so you can use a torque wrench to get it snugged down to the perfect torque setting.

Many people use the square drive because it's the "easy" option, but taking a little extra time to find and use a 24mm socket can save a lot of headache and frustration.

4 - Consider replacing your plastic filter housing with a stronger aluminum one

Although it's not super common, the plastic filter housings can become brittle and crack/leak oil. Many people find it worthwhile to replace their factory plastic filter housing with a stronger aluminum version. The transition is fairly simple and gives you additional peace of mind. See more info on switching out the plastic cap for an aluminum one here.

5 - Use a torque wrench to re-install your drain plug, filter housing and filter housing plug

Many people re-install their drain plug and filter housing by "feel". This method is not ideal since each person has a different idea of what "snug" or "tight" feels like. It's not hard, especially on the filter housings, to overtighten them. And they can then be a huge pain to remove the next time you need an oil change.

A better solution is to use a torque wrench to re-install your drain plug, filter housing and filter housing plug. It takes all the guesswork out of the process and keeps you from accidentally over-tightening these components.

Bonus tip: It's also a good idea to put a little bead of oil around the o-rings on these components before installing them. It helps them seat properly and avoid binding up.