Performing a Toyota RAV4 oil change is an essential part of routine vehicle maintenance. This regular care will ensure that your car runs smoothly and efficiently for hundreds of thousands of miles.
It’s generally recommended by Toyota to change the oil in your RAV4 every 5,000 – 10,000 miles. The amount and type of oil Toyota suggests using is 4.8 quarts of synthetic motor oil with a viscosity of 0W-16 for optimal performance.
Read on and I’ll lay out the step-by-step process on how to change the oil in your 2019-2023 RAV4. I’ll also list all the tools that you’ll need and any additional tips for performing the oil change. The proper care and maintenance of this vehicle will extend its life so you can enjoy a reliable driving experience.
Source (RAV4 manual)
What does RAV4 maintenance required mean? How to reset or turn it off? See RAV4 Maintenance Required Light Meaning & How to Reset.
Understanding Engine Oil Basics
Before diving into the specifics of the Toyota RAV4’s oil requirements, it’s essential to grasp the fundamentals of engine oil and its functions.
Why Engine Oil Matters
Engine oil is crucial for maintaining your RAV4’s performance, as it serves several purposes:
- Lubricating engine components
- Reducing friction and wear
- Dispersing heat
- Keeping the engine clean
Types of Engine Oil
There are three primary categories of engine oil:
- Conventional oil: Derived from crude oil, conventional oil is the most basic type, offering standard lubrication and protection.
- Synthetic oil: Made from chemically engineered base oil, synthetic oil offers enhanced performance, longevity, and resistance to temperature extremes. I use synthetic oil.
- High-mileage oil: Specially formulated for older vehicles, high-mileage oil contains additives that help rejuvenate worn seals and gaskets.
Curious about your RAV4’s fuel efficiency? We’ve got you covered!
- Want the numbers? Check out our RAV4 MPG calculator for city, highway, and combined mileage for any year and trim.
- Looking for real-world insights? See real-world RAV4 gas mileage data from fellow RAV4 owners and how far your RAV4 can take you on a full tank of gas.
- Ready to estimate your weekly gas costs? Dive into our Toyota RAV4 Fuel Consumption Calculator: Estimate Gas Costs and take control of your fuel budget!
The viscosity of an engine oil refers to its resistance to flow. It is typically represented by a two-part number, such as 0W-20. The first part (0W) indicates the oil’s cold-temperature performance, while the second part (20) represents its performance at higher temperatures.
What Kind of Oil Does a Toyota RAV4 Use?
Now that we understand the basics of engine oil let’s explore the recommended oil specifications for the Toyota RAV4. So what kind of oil does Toyota RAV4 use?
According to Toyota, the recommended engine oil for the RAV4 (2019-2023) is 0W-16 full synthetic oil. This low-viscosity oil is specifically designed to improve fuel efficiency, reduce engine wear, and provide excellent performance in various temperature conditions.
If 0W-16 synthetic oil is unavailable, you may use 0W-20 or 5W-20 synthetic oil as temporary substitutes. However, be sure to switch back to 0W-16 during your next oil change for optimal performance.
What are common RAV4 problems? See 5 of the most common Toyota RAV4 problems and how to deal with them.
How Often Does a Toyota RAV4 Need an Oil Change?
Determining the frequency of oil changes for your Toyota RAV4 is crucial for maintaining its performance, longevity, and fuel efficiency. Although specific intervals may vary depending on driving conditions.
On newer models, Toyota has extended the suggested mileage for RAV4 synthetic oil changes to 10,000 miles in some cases. However, under most driving conditions (including short commutes, heavy stop-and-go traffic, etc.) Toyota still recommends changing the oil in your RAV4 every 5,000 miles.
So to prevent any future engine problems and larger personal costs I prefer to change my oil every 5,000 miles just to be safe.
Are you interested in freeing up some cargo space in your RAV4? See the 5 best RAV4 roof rack and cross bars.
Refer to Your Owner’s Manual
The best starting point is to consult your RAV4’s owner’s manual. It provides you with the manufacturer’s recommended oil change intervals for your specific model.
Conventional vs Synthetic Oil
Conventional oil: If your RAV4 uses conventional oil you should change the oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles or every 3-4 months, whichever comes first.
Synthetic oil: For RAV4 models using synthetic oil, you can typically extend the interval to every 7,500 to 10,000 miles or every 6 months.
Factors That Influence Oil Change Frequency
Keep in mind that your driving habits and environmental factors can affect the ideal oil change frequency.
You may need more frequent oil changes if you:
- Frequently drive in stop-and-go traffic
- Regularly make short trips (less than 5 miles)
- Drive in dusty, sandy, or salty environments
- Tow heavy loads or use your RAV4 for off-roading
Utilize the Maintenance Reminder System
Modern Toyota RAV4 models are equipped with a maintenance reminder system that monitors driving conditions and alerts you when an oil change is due. Pay attention to these notifications and have your oil changed promptly.
It’s also recommended by Toyota to rotate your tires every 5,000 miles. This requires knowing a few things like how to torque lug nuts.
What are the lug nut torque specifications for RAV4? See lug nut torque specs and socket size for RAV4.
Step-By-Step Guide on How to Change the Oil in Your RAV4
Embarking on a DIY oil change for your Toyota RAV4 may feel like an ambitious adventure. But fear not! With our comprehensive, easy-to-follow guide, you’ll be on your way to an easy oil change.
Just follow these 12 simple oil-changing steps, and your RAV4 will continue running like a dream forever. So roll up your sleeves, gather your tools, and let’s create a mechanical masterpiece together!
See the above how-to guide video and then follow the step-by-step list below.
Needed Supplies and Tools
Everything You’ll need to change the oil in your RAV4:
- 4.8 quarts of 0W-16 synthetic motor oil (see Toyota 0W-16 Synthetic Motor Oil Pack of 6 on Amazon or a cheaper option of Mobil 1 Synthetic Motor Oil 0W-16, 5 Quart)
- The oil filter (90915-YZZN1) from Toyota or a high-quality alternative (I like to buy filters from my local Toyota dealer but you can go to an auto parts store)
- Toyota crush washer for the drain plug (often comes with Toyota oil filter)
- Ratchet w/ ⅜-inch drive (see ratchet on Amazon and an extension is optional)
- 14mm socket w/ ⅜-inch drive for the drain plug (see socket on Amazon)
- 10mm socket w/ ⅜-inch drive for removing the skid plate access door (see socket on Amazon)
- Oil filter removal tool see on Amazon (end cap style or one that grabs the sides)
- Drain pan (see pan on Amazon)
- Oil Funnel (see funnel on Amazon)
- Car service ramps for higher clearance (see ramps on Amazon – these are optional)
- Rubber Gloves (optional)
- Kneeling pad (optional)
Here are the items listed above that I use and are available on Amazon.
Do you want to reduce the road noise in your RAV4? See the top 5 quietest tires for Toyota RAV4.
13 Simple Steps to Changing the Oil in Your RAV4 with Photos
Time needed: 1 hour
A comprehensive, easy-to-follow guide on how to change the oil in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, or 2023 Toyota RAV4.
- Gather materials and tools
You’ll need 4.8 quarts of 0W-16 synthetic motor oil, an Oil filter (90915-YZZN1), a Toyota crush washer for the drain plug (often comes with Toyota oil filter), Ratchet, 14mm and 10mm sockets, oil filter removal tool, drain pan, funnel, and rags. Optional (recommended) items include rubber gloves, a kneeling pad, and car service ramps.
- Position the vehicle
You can use ramps for better access, but it is not necessary due to the ample clearance under the RAV4.
Make sure to put the parking brake on so that the vehicle doesn’t move especially if you put it on ramps or jack stands.
- Open the hood
Pull the hood release latch located inside the vehicle, just off-center under the dashboard.
Lift the hood, slide the latch sideways, and prop the hood open.
- Remove the access door to the drain plug and oil filter
Place a kneeling pad under the vehicle for comfort.
Locate the large access panel underneath the car.
Remove the four 10mm bolts holding the access panel in place using a ratchet (electric or hand).
- Drain the old oil
Position the drain pan under the drain plug.
Use a 14mm socket to loosen and remove the drain plug.
Check for the washer on the drain plug.
- Remove old oil filter
Remove the oil filter using the oil filter removal tool.
- Install the new oil filter
Wipe the filter mating surface on the engine with a clean rag.
Apply a thin layer of fresh motor oil on the new filter’s gasket.
Screw the new filter on by hand until it touches the mating surface, then turn it another 3/4 turn.
- Reinstall the drain plug
Replace the drain plug washer if necessary.
Thread the drain plug back into the oil pan by hand, then tighten it snugly but not excessively.
- Fill with fresh motor oil
Use a funnel and add 4.8 quarts of 0W-16 motor oil to the engine through the fill cap.
Replace the oil fill cap.
- Check for leaks and reinstall the access panel
Start the engine and let it run for three minutes (Only start your engine after the new oil has been added).
Check for any oil leaks around the drain plug and oil filter.
Reinstall the access panel and tighten the 10mm bolts by hand.
- Reset the oil maintenance light
Follow the instructions in the vehicle manual to reset the oil maintenance light on the dashboard.
Go to Vehicle Settings –> Scheduled Maintenance –> Reset Data –> Yes
- Check the oil level on the dipstick
Remove the dipstick, wipe it clean, reinsert it, and then check the oil level.
Ensure the oil level is between the low and full marks on the dipstick.
- Clean-up and maintenance
Wipe down the engine bay with a soft cloth and furniture polish for a clean appearance.
Dispose of used oil and oil filter properly.
Keep an eye on other maintenance items, such as the engine air filter and cabin air filter.
To help keep your RAV4 running reliably, see the complete RAV4 maintenance schedule.
Tips for a Clean and Efficient Oil Change
Transform your DIY oil change into a well-organized experience with these tips that’ll keep your work area tidy and your RAV4 humming with gratitude.
Prepare Your Workspace
Clear a flat, level area with ample room for your tools and materials.
Lay down a protective mat or tarp to catch spills and make cleanup a breeze.
Wear gloves and safety glasses for protection from hot oil and engine parts.
Use wheel chocks and the parking brake to secure your RAV4 during the process.
Organize Your Tools
Gather all necessary tools and materials before you start, ensuring they’re within reach.
Store small items like sockets and ratchets in a container or on a magnetic tray to avoid misplacement.
Minimize Oil Spillage
Slowly loosen the oil drain plug and oil filter to prevent splashes.
Use a dedicated oil drain pan with a spout and a lid for hassle-free oil containment and disposal.
Clean As You Go
Keep a pack of disposable shop towels or rags handy for wiping up spills and cleaning tools.
Wipe down surfaces before and after completing each step to maintain a clean working environment.
By following these clean and efficient oil change tips, you’ll achieve automotive harmony, ensuring your RAV4 receives the care it deserves.
What size of windshield wipers does your RAV4 use? Find the exact wiper blade sizes for your RAV4 with our easy to use tool.
Environmentally Responsible Oil Disposal
You can contribute to a cleaner, greener world by disposing of used oil and filters responsibly. Let’s sow the seeds of environmental stewardship with these eco-friendly practices.
Recycling Used Oil
- Collect used oil in a leak-proof container with a tight-fitting lid.
- Locate a nearby recycling center or auto parts store that accepts used motor oil.
- Safely transport the container to the recycling facility and proudly contribute to a greener future.
Disposing of Used Oil Filters
- Allow the oil filter to drain fully into the oil drain pan.
- Place the drained filter in a sealed plastic bag or a leak-proof container.
- Take the used filter to an authorized recycling center or auto parts store that accepts filters for proper disposal.
By embracing environmentally responsible disposal, you’ll not only protect our planet but also ensure your RAV4’s legacy is as green as the scenic drives it embarks upon.
How can you get better gas mileage in your RAV4? See how to increase gas mileage in your RAV4 (tips that work).
Troubleshooting Common Issues
You can tackle any oil change conundrum that may arise. Let’s explore some common issues and their swift solutions.
Stripped Drain Plug Threads
A stripped drain plug can feel like a mystery, but fear not, for the culprit is often over-tightening. To resolve this enigmatic issue:
- Obtain a replacement drain plug and washer from an auto parts store or a Toyota dealer.
- Install the new plug, taking care not to over-tighten and ensuring a snug, leak-free seal.
Stuck Oil Filter
The case of the stubborn oil filter can be a baffling one, but with patience and finesse, victory shall be yours! To remove the filter:
- Use a dedicated oil filter removal tool or a pair of large pliers to gently twist the filter counterclockwise.
- Apply steady pressure, be careful not to crush the filter, and patiently persist until the filter relents.
Oil Leak After Change
A perplexing oil leak after an oil change may seem like an unsolvable riddle, but have no fear! Inspect the following areas to uncover the truth:
- Double-check the drain plug and oil filter for tightness and proper sealing.
- Examine the drain plug washer for damage and replace it if necessary.
- Verify that the oil filter gasket is debris-free and the mating surface is clean.
With these troubleshooting tips at your disposal, you’ll confidently conquer any oil change obstacle that comes your way. Just remember, when in doubt, stay calm, and think logically.
Oil Change Costs and Options
Let’s delve into the costs and options associated with RAV4 oil changes, empowering you to make an informed decision tailored to your budget and preferences.
DIY Oil Change Costs
Embarking on a DIY oil change adventure can be both cost-effective and gratifying. Here’s a rough estimate of the expenses involved:
- Motor oil (0W-16 synthetic): $25-$45 for 5 quarts
- Oil filter: $5-$15
- Crush washer: $1-$3
Note: Prices may vary based on brand and regional factors.
Professional Oil Change Costs
Should you choose to entrust your RAV4 to a professional, expect to encounter varying prices based on service type and location:
- Dealership: $70-$120
- Auto repair shops: $50-$80
- Quick-lube oil change centers: $40-$75
Note: These prices are approximate and may differ based on regional factors and specific services offered.
Weighing the Options
When selecting the ideal oil change path, consider these factors to find the perfect balance for your needs:
- Convenience: A professional oil change saves you time and effort, while a DIY approach offers greater control and flexibility.
- Budget: A DIY oil change is generally more cost-effective, while professional services offer peace of mind and expertise.
- Experience: If you enjoy hands-on learning and automotive maintenance, a DIY oil change can be an enriching experience.
As you traverse the oil change marketplace, remember that the perfect choice lies in balancing convenience, budget, and personal preferences.
Exploring the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Oil Change
The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid oil change process is strikingly similar to that of its gasoline-powered counterpart. It uses the same 0W-16 synthetic motor oil and oil filter and follows an almost identical procedure.
The RAV4 Hybrid follows the same oil change maintenance schedule as the gasoline model which ranges from 5,000 – 10,000 miles depending on driving conditions.
Just be mindful of the high-voltage electrical components unique to hybrid systems and prioritize safety during maintenance.
Is the RAV4 Hybrid tax credit eligible? See if the RAV4 Hybrid qualifies for a federal tax credit.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Toyota recommends changing the oil in your RAV4 every 10,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first. However, many driving conditions such as a lot of stop-and-go traffic, short driving times, dirty environments, or off-roading will require more frequent 5,000-mile oil changes.
Although Toyota specifies 0W-16 synthetic motor oil for the RAV4, you may use an alternative oil type if it meets the manufacturer’s requirements. Always consult your owner’s manual for the recommended oil viscosity and specifications.
You can effortlessly reset the oil change indicator by following the instructions in your vehicle manual. With just a few button presses, your dashboard will gleam with appreciation, and you’ll be ready for the road ahead.
The Toyota RAV4 requires 4.8 quarts (4.5 liters) of 0W-16 synthetic motor oil to keep its engine running smoothly.
Absolutely! The RAV4 Hybrid oil change process is quite similar to that of the gasoline model, using the same motor oil and oil filter. Just be mindful of the high-voltage electrical components and follow the recommended maintenance schedule.