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Oil Change

camryman5camryman5 Posts: 10
edited March 2014 in Toyota
I recently purchased a 2002 Camry LE 4cyl(20,000 miles). Is it alright to drive 5,000 miles between oil change? For me, that would mean 2, maybe 3, oil changes per year.

Also: Please feel free to discuss any other experiences you may have had (good or bad) with the 2002 Camry.



  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    5000 miles between oil changes is fine, and this is in fact what I do.

    You will get lots of different opinions on this board though! Including several that will tell you to switch to synthetic at 1000 miles and never look back.

    The required interval by Toyota to maintain the warranty is 5000-7500 miles between changes, depending on usage. You would be going with the most frequent of those intervals, which should be fine.

    You might want to make sure of getting 3 oil changes per year if you drive less than 10K in a year, though.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • bretfrazbretfraz Posts: 2,021
    That's as far as I'd ever go on conventional (non synthetic) oil. By 5K the additives package is used up and the protective qualities drop significantly. I've seen many used oil analyses where the oil is wasted before 5K to want to push my luck beyond.

    You can further on full synthetics (7500+) if your goal is to stretch change intervals.
  • df2000df2000 Posts: 60
    Is this 4cyl. engine one of these famous yota sludge monster? Anyway, I wouldn't trust regular oil for more then 3000mi/3mo,and synthetic(mobil-1) 6000mi/6mo.
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 845
    it was 6 cyl that was sludging.
    camryman5, do a search for sludge and toyota, you should find some info.

  • nematodenematode Posts: 448
    If you are going to keep the car around 5-7 years and then sell it (trade it or whatever)I would go to the absolute limit on all fluid changes (including oil) to stay under warranty. So 7500 miles a change or at least 1 change a year on regular oil. Its what I do but I dont plan on keeping the car more than 5-7 years and then I really dont care what happens to it. I'm doing 7500 mile changes now and I'm going to do 15,000 changes (1 time a year) once the warranty runs out. I do run synthetic but thats only because I have coupons.

    On the other hand, if you want to keep it until it dies of natural causes (like 10-15 years) then 3-5k oil changes are probably better but the evidence is not all that clear cut. There is little evidence that the 3k or even 5k change is necessary within the useable life of the car (about 10-15 years). Beyond that, it may be but very few cars are kept that long.

    On the other other hand if it makes you feel better to do the 3k change then just do the 3k change. If you are doing it yourself its less than $10. Its about $20-25 if you have a a quick lube place to it. Just keep in mind that if are paying $20-25 a chance then the difference is about $500-800 over 150k miles. Thats enough to pay to have your transmission rebuilt....which is more likely to fail than your engine. Still your mental health is more important so if 3k makes you feel good do it.
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Posts: 1,518
    3K oil and filter changes, done by the owner/driver: just can't be beat for safety and efficacy.
  • slov98slov98 Posts: 112
    Should you have the oil changed after 500 miles? to get rid of any tiny metal pieces that may accumulate as the engine is broken in?
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    and I split the difference in the last car. purists believe in factory break-in oil with possibly mild abrasives in it, certainly believe that you will grow tons of foundry sand, metal shavings, etc. in the break-in period. they want to dump it all pronto. I've been there in two vehicles.

    automakers generally are on the other side... no magic in the factory oil fill, they want the little bit of nonsense that is big enough to be trouble caught in the oil filter, and the microparticles that might develop will help the break-in process. the automakers say, normal change schedule, DO NOT perform an early change. IT IS NOT recommended.

    I wimped out and changed mine in the exploder at 1000 miles. so much for principle, my guts ran out.

    I have not run ten cars with and ten cars without, or 50 and 50, or any valid survey. one guy's story is not a valid survey here by any stretch of statistical nightmares.

    it's almost religion to some folks. practice what you preach, it's allowed here. expect folks on both sides to try and scratch out each others' eyes in the ensuing discussion... anything that pretends to be a discussion concerning OIL seems to bring all the moths to the flame ;)
  • tbonertboner Posts: 402
    I changed the filter at 1K miles and added a quart of Mobil 1 to the factory fill.

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    I have always changed the first oil at 5K. I only kept one of the four past 100K miles however...that one was still running fine original engine no oil consumption at 115K when I sold it.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Posts: 1,518
    When contemplating the desirability of changing oil and oil filter early, on new cars, don't forget the AIR filter. On the last several new cars in my family, I have noted that for whatever reason, there is a tendency for new car air filters to already be "nastied" up a bit, I suppose right from the factory. I have noted a "non dangerous" volume of black nasty stuff on practically every new car air filter.
  • nematodenematode Posts: 448
    1) Cars are disposable. You use them for 5-7 years and then ditch them.
    2) The vast majority of "car trouble" is not related in any way to oil change interval.
    3) The transmsission is far more likely to fail than the engine even with regular care.

    I think they are all true. However, I would not go more than 10k on regular oil.....every person has their limits!!! I have done the 10k interval with regular oil in a variety of domestic and foreign makes that I got used. They were all fine to at least 100k miles (at least 50k with me) and several to 150k+. Yes, they do get some sludge in the pan but it does not seem to kill the engine. I wonder how badly you have to treat your car to kill the engine due to oil failure?
  • tbonertboner Posts: 402
    But then I've broken four transmissions in my lifetime, and have yet to have had a catastrophic engine failure.

    I think part of that is because of the 3-5K oil change intervals typically found in America. (Of course that means for every one of us who changes at 3K, there is some guy changing at 7K-10K miles.

    Most people never touch their transmission fluid. Talk about a fluid with a rough life, you have to lubricate and operate in the pressure environments normally reserved for gear oils, but yet still be useful as a hydrallic fluid.

    For example, went to the parts counter of my local Mazda dealer the other day for a pan gasket, filter and O-ring for my 2000 Mazda MPV. The parts guy said I was the first one to ask him for these parts.

    Doesn't anyone change transmission fluid and filter anymore?

    I just finished these tasks on my 94 Geo Prizm. (I don't think the owner ever changed the gear oil on this car in 9 years.) And I installed ATF+3 in the gearbox of my 98 SVT Contour. Now before everyone flips out about ATF in a manual tranny, Fords factory fill is Mercon. However, there is no friction modifier so the syncros don't work well.

    Ford sells a 4oz bottle of FM that is about $20 or something silly like that to add to the Mercon fluid.

    ATF+3 is essential Mercon with FM added, and 3 quarts are under $10 at your local parts store or Wal*Mart

    Seems to do quite nicely.

    The MPV would also have new fluid and filter, but the Mazda guy had to order them. So next weekend for that project.

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    this car I just bought (Matrix) recommends the auto trans fluid NEVER BE CHANGED in the life of the car, unless it is used for towing.

    Seeing as I will probably not have the patience to keep this car more than 100-150K, I am bloody-mindedly going to do exactly that - not change it ever. I wonder if it will make it?

    I agree that automatic transmissions are a lot more likely to fail than engines, with or without proper maintenance.

    I do believe in keeping a car until it dies in principle, but in reality I get bored with them after 5-7 my shame!

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Posts: 1,518
    Great pair of posts! The tech info is useful, and the philosophy entertaining.
  • mxylplik2mxylplik2 Posts: 19
    So if motor oil should be changed every 3k (dino) - 6k (syn) to keep the engine running for awhile, how often should tranny fluid be changed? What other maintainenance on a tranny should be performed other than fluid changes to make it last awhile?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    may vary with model nowadays...before getting the car I have now, I would have said to change the fluid every 30K or two years, but in the Matrix you are not supposed to change it ever, unless you tow, so obviously things are changing on that one...

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • ...really depends on the tranny. As nippononly says, 30K is the average. However, if you own a Ford/Mazda product with the dreaded CD4E (Mazda 626 or Tribute, Contour, Mystique, Escapade...), then you want to do the fluid at 15K miles, at least once a year. This tranny has no filter to change, no pan to drop, and a terrible repair record. One of the problems in these cars is the tiny transmission coolers fitted to the cars, so the tranny heats up and cooks the fluid in less than 30K. Did it on my wife's 626 last May, and plan to do it again Next week (actually, next couple of weeks, as I do partial dilutions of the old fluid to get to the stuff in the torque converter).

    I know that with the CD4E is a matter of time, but I want to stretch that as much as possible.

    I also agree with nematode. Most of my trouble with cars have been plugs, wires, hoses popping off, CV joints, etc., etc. The only real problem I ever had that was oil related was when I drove a rented Dodge Caravan over a big pothole. I heard 'cronk', and the oil light lit up. My brother in law told me not to worry about it, that his car did that all the time, so I kept going. 2 miles later the van was chugging like a steam engine, and moving at a similar speed. We stopped, looked under the engine, and found a 5" cut in the oil pan - We had ran the engine dry for 2 miles. Called the rental company and they brought a new one: Since we had LDW, they never asked what had happened.

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    I don't necessarily go by what the manual says...I value my mechanic's opinion more. For instance, my Intrepid has 100K mile spark plugs, and IIRC, the book calls for 100K mile tranny services, but reduces that to 50K for "severe service".

    Well, my driving must be considered much, much worse than "severe", because mine needed to be changed at 30K! And this is a mechanic whom I've trusted for years, not some shady quickie place or the dealer whose service department, even in the words of a salesman there, "sucks".

    Those 100K spark plugs? Well, they needed a change out when I took the car in at 51K to have some work done on it (spark plugs, rear brake pads, and a leaky thermostat housing).

    For awhile though, while I was racking up miles quickly, it was all stop-and-go, as I used to deliver pizzas, so that may partially explain my shorter maintenance intervals.

    The coolant is supposed to be good for 5 years/100k miles, but I'm probably going to have it changed, along with the belts and hoses, this fall. That'll be 4 years, and maybe 85K miles. All that 100K mile stuff may sound sweet and tempting, but considering that the car only had a 3/36K warranty, what do they have to lose by printing longer service intervals? Most people don't even keep a car 100K miles, and that's probably what they're counting on!
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Posts: 1,518
    The extended service interval on items like spark plugs seem excessive when they go out to 100K miles. I have found that most vehicles show some improvement in performance when they get new plugs, even though the old ones were short of the recommended service life.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    who uses their car to deliver pizzas, or any other type of delivery route for that matter, should observe the severe maintenance schedule and then HALVE the mileage intervals shown there...

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • nmaenmae Posts: 3
    DIY oil and filter change on a 2003 V6 4runner!
    Please help.
  • tbonertboner Posts: 402
    <smartaleck on>Well you can stop by anytime after 7AM CDT, or you can ask a more specific question.

    I don't mind changing oil, and would be glad to help for a box of Krispy Kremes, LOL. </smartaleck off>

    Seriously, we need more information about what you really need/want.

  • nmaenmae Posts: 3
    thanks TB,
    do you know if i have to take the skid plate off to locate the oil plug (pan). I'm near Walmart I'll send u boxes of Krispy for an oil change!
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    they wouldn't be any good if they didn't cover up the oil pan (and its drain plug,) so there you are.

    might be a case for one of those fram easy-drain valves, if it would fit underneath. you'd still drool four plus quarts all over the skid plate and have to clean it up, but you wouldn't be driven insane trying to get the goldang drain plug back IN afterwards.

    hmmm, I wonder, just wonder, if it might be worth getting a 3 or 4 inch circular compound saw bit for the drill and make a hole in the skid plate where the drain plug goes once the skid plate is taken off the first time. just thinking out loud here.................
  • sequoiasoonsequoiasoon Posts: 223
    Not sure on the 4runner but on the Sequoia and Tundra the skid plate has to come down to change the filter. The drain plug on the V8 is right behind the crossmember very well protected. You could ask one of the dealership mechanics what they do to change oil on it. I asked 3 different mechanics at 3 dealers about mine and they all said drop the 5 bolts holding the skid plate and take it off to get to filter (PITA). You can contact and see if they have or can make an easier access plate for yours (they do for the Tundra and Sequoia) Their plates are more heavy duty than stock also.
  • tbonertboner Posts: 402
    If it is like most SUV's that never see terrain any more difficult than the soccer field parking area, do you really need to put the skid plate back on???

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    for quite a while have had the same situation.

    FWIW, it takes me about two minutes to drop the five bolts on mine to get in to do the oil change, maybe three minutes to put it back on because I have to position the skid plate first.

    It's really no big deal, certainly not worth the hassle of drilling a hole through it for future changes, IMO!

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • nmaenmae Posts: 3
    Finally done it by myself! Easy access on the filter and the drain plug - you do not have to take the skid plate off. There is a removable plastic shield about 6"X4" that easily come off that cover the drain plug.
    It took me about 40 mins including the wait to drain the old oil. I used Mobil1 for my first Oil Change 1k miles and my next one will be 7500 miles.
  • lok888lok888 BostonPosts: 1,788
    I have my new 03 Camry a week ago. When will be my first oil change due? Someone still told me at the first 1000 miles. Someone said not until first 3000 miles.
This discussion has been closed.