Weekend workshop: how to change oil

Changing your Toyota’s oil is a relatively straightforward job for a competent home mechanic. With the right tools and knowledge it’s something some owners will be happy to do themselves.

If you know your way around under the bonnet, this ‘weekend workshop’ will show you how to change the oil in most Toyota models (GR Supra requires a different procedure). For everyone else, an oil change is included in any service at a Toyota dealer.

If you choose the DIY route, before you get started make sure you have the right oil for your Toyota, and enough of it to refill the sump. Check in your handbook, or contact your local Toyota dealer if you are in any doubt.

Make sure the engine is warm, as cold oil won’t drain properly. Park the car and pull on the handbrake, and put the car in first gear or park as an extra precaution.

Engine oil: what oil for my Toyota?

Carefully lift the car using a good quality trolley jack and the recommended jacking point. Support the body on a set of axle stands. Brace both the rear wheels to prevent the car rolling backwards.

Lift the bonnet and loosen the filler cap. This will allow the oil to drain more freely. Next, locate the drainage plug, put a suitable container underneath and use a spanner to rotate the drain plug anticlockwise. Finish removing the plug by hand, and be sure to remove the old sump plug washer. Take care as the warm oil may flow out quickly.

Now loosen the oil filter by turning it anticlockwise and be aware that some oil may spill as you do so. Toyota can supply a special tool for this job. Just ask your nearest dealer for details.

Wrap the filter in old newspaper, and set the filter and the oil you have collected to one side. They’ll need to be responsibly disposed of later. Try searching online for your closest oil bank.

Take the new filter, and apply a light film of oil around the edge. This helps the filter seal better. Screw in the filter clockwise. Now clean the oil plug, and fit it with a new washer to prevent leaks. Screw it in using a torque wrench to be sure it is tightened correctly.

Check that the area under the vehicle is clear, then carefully lower the car. Don’t start the engine yet. Doing so would cause severe damage.

With the car now parked on level ground, fill the sump with the correct grade of oil. Use the dipstick to check that the oil level is correct. Replace the filler cap. Now turn on the ignition and let the engine run for a while. When the oil warning light goes out, turn the engine off and check the oil level again. Now the oil has spread around the engine you’ll probably need to add a little more.

Finally, check for any leaks under the car.

If that sounds too complicated, don’t forget that a Toyota dealer will be happy to change the oil for you. It’s carried out whenever a Toyota is serviced.

See also:
Weekend workshop: how to check oil
Weekend workshop: how to change a wiper blade
Weekend workshop: how to change a tyre


  1. I have Toyota Avensis 2016 1.6D , what engine oil is recommended please. Car Reg. Is GV16 XFN

    1. Hi Ali,
      Thanks for your comment.
      SAE 0W-20 is filled into your Toyota vehicle at manufacturing, and the best choice for good fuel economy and good starting in cold weather.
      If SAE 0W-20 oil is not available, SAE 5W-30 oil may be used. However, it should be replaced with SAE 0W-20 at the next oil change.

      1. Thank you for reply, that’s very useful. I didn’t know Toyota gave access to their service manuals through paid subscription, wish all manufacturers done that.

      2. Yes but the price is rediculous 2900 Euro ???? for access to the service manual. This does not help the DIY owners.Haynes have stopped producing their manuals and therefore even basic information such as torque settings is not available.

    1. Hi Nonso, thanks for your question.

      The recommended Engine Oil for this vehicle is 0W-20 AFE. This is available at Toyota Parts Centre.


  2. Good evening, can you please tell me the grade of oil to use in my 1.3 Yaris 2013 and how much oil to use for a full oil and filter change ?

    Many thanks.

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