New Toyota - What Would You LIke to See?

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Feb 21, 2003
Houston, Tex
After reading a recent post on the shortage of new vehicle UOAs, I thought I might offer my new vehicle as a test platform.

I have a 3 week old 2003 Toyota Tacoma 3.4L, with 800 miles. If I can discern a consensus on what oil(s) to run and when to sample I will be glad to follow those suggestions.

The current anticipated use of this vehicle will be for mostly short trip, stop and go driving in hot and humid Houston, Tx. I have no objection to eventually going to synthetic, although I'm not sure I could afford the boutique synthetics, especially at the low monthly miles (500-600) I am predicting.

Obviously I would prefer suggestions which anticipate a favorable result, on the other hand I am also open to the idea of conserving resources through extended intervals.

TooManyWheels, a priority for any new car owner should be to meet the maintainance requirements of the powertrain warranty - in your case its a 5 year, 60,000 mile warranty.

If you go to and click on Owners and then click on FAQ, you will see Toyota provides an extensive amount of advice about vehicle maintainance.

With regard to engine oils, Toyota advises the following:

1. Do not change the factory fill oil until the first scheduled oil change (6 months or 5000 - 7500 miles).

2. The factory fill is dino oil. Do not switch to synthetic unless you plan to use synthetic for the life of the vehicle. Toyota strongly advises against switching back and forth between dino and synthetic oil.

3. If you decide to use synthetic, NEVER extend oil changes beyond those recommended for dino oil or your 5 year / 60,000 mile warranty will be voided.
My father bougth a pervia (2.4L mid-engine van) new in 1994. He changed the oil on ~7500 mi. intervals, and did the required other interval services. The past two years or so he has been changing it every 5000mi. The old dealer he used supplied toyota brand oil, the new one uses kendall. Always dino, always toyota filter, never had any problem at all, and were up to 145k+ and going strong.

He has done a lot of city driving, although a lot of the miles were on family trips (interstate driving)... But he always drives under 55mph for the first 500-1000 miles, and follows the book break-in procedure. My chevy on the other hand suggests to change the oil after 500-1000 to get contaminants out.

So I would drive lightly, and start playing after a few thousand miles.

Perhaps I didn't make my intentions quite clear. I am not looking for advice on how to maintain my vehicle, over the last 35 years I have been either a mechanic or heavily involved auto hobbyist (engine, trans and rear end rebuilds)and can easily figure that out.

I am asking what you would like get information on from a research point of view on a factory fresh vehile, since apparently that is a rarity on this forum. My only request is that you don't think in terms of "Let's put this poor performing oil in his engine to see what a worst case scenario looks like".
Well, since you put it like that, I'll tell you what -I- did on a brand new (6 miles on the odometer at delivery, 4 of which I and my sales guy put on during a test drive) Hyundai Sonata V-6 purcahsed this past December. I changed out the factory fill oil at 600 miles, and then changed again at 3,000 miles. I figured, rightly or wrongly, that there'd be more wear during the first 500 miles or so than any other specific oil change interval (3,000 miles as my traditional policy) during the engine's life. I broke the engine in on Hyundai's recommendation of no jack-rabbit starts or faster than 55 mph (I cheated a couple of times after the first 300 miles, but never from a standing start or faster than 65 mph.
) for the first 1,200 miles. Both oil changes were accompanied by filter replacements (SuperTech). I now have nearly 4,000 miles on the engine. The engine is not noticeably using oil, and my gas mileage varies from 24 mpg in town to 31 mpg on the highway (started out at 15 and 21, respectively). My initial oil analysis is in the UOA section under "SuperTech 5W-30". This was done at the 3,000 mile mark on the drained 5W-30 oil. I went with 5W-30 dino oil as a break-in aid. (Hyundai doesn't specify what weight grade they use for the factory fill oil.) The oil currently in the sump is SuperTech 10W-30 dino (my traditional weight range preferance for my area in southern California). When I use the last of the case of SuperTech 10W-30 dino I have on hand, I'll be using the two cases of Chevron-made Havoline 10W-30 dino I just bought at Target for 68 cents a quart. I'm NOT implying that YOU should consider using SuperTech or Havoline motor oils or my particular schedule. Just relaying what -I- did and the results so far.

[ March 08, 2003, 04:36 PM: Message edited by: Ray H ]
I would say use pennzoil or castrol whatever grade your manual calls for and change every 3K and go from there. Since you won't be putting that many miles on it I think synthetic would be a waste of money. Your looking at every 6 Months at 3K, if you tried to go 6K-10K your looking at an interval of a year or more, and in my opinion thats too long.
OK I think I would recommend Chevron,Pennzoil,any other hydroisomerized oil. Read the virgin oil analysis report section seems like most oils are ok to very good .Then change the oil right away or not.
TooManyWheels, many, many Toyotas that end up in wrecking yards before 500,000 miles get there on account of cooling system, emmission system and ignition system deterioration, not because the owner didn't use the best engine oil available or because the owner failed to change the oil and filter 3 times before the first 5,000 miles.

So for optimum engine life you need to keep that Tacoma running factory original cool for its entire life. A really simple method of doing this, as Undummy pointed out, is just draining the radiator once a year and refilling with a 50/50 mix of factory original Toyota Red antifreeze and distilled water. Don't flush anything, just drain and refill like people drain and refill an automatic transmission oil pan.
Doing this annual service will keep the inside of your cooling system in like new condition for decades and your water pump could last over 200K miles. Also, about every 4 years, replace the cooling system thermostat with a factory original.

To keep the ignition system in optimal condition, replace normal wear items like spark plugs and ignition wires before they wear out to the point of causing a misfiring or pinging condition. And to keep the emmission control system in optimal condition, replace the PCV valve and oxygen sensor(s) before the check engine light ever comes on (i.e. replace at roughly 100,000 miles)

In sum, Toyotas are killed prematurely by stresses & strains causes by cooling, ignition and emission control system deterioration, not because one particular brand or type of engine oil substantially decreased engine wear compared to another.

I have watched you for quite some time, both as malibu and monarch. What I would like to know is, just what is your back ground, current and past that "qualifies" you as such an expert on how to maintain toyota's. I find it somewhat amusing as you seem to be so stead fast on dealer only items but appear to have very little real knowledge on original equipment verses after market equipment.
Maybe you could take the mystery out of it for us. I have a real good friend that is toyota ase master and toyota master certified and he seems to be just as amused as I am from some of these comments you make. Are you a toyota certified mechanic or better yet toyota engineer? This would sure lend more toward your credibility with me if you were.
Going a few messages back to ones that actually had some relationship to oil, why would you like me to have these particular oils analyzed in my vehicle? I have been lurking long enough to know that these are generally well regarded oils, but why would you like to know how they perform in a Toyota V6?

I'd run the engine at least 7500 miles before going to a synthetic lube. The Mobil 1, 10w-30 changed every 5000 miles should give you 400k out of the engine.

If you test a brand new engine you do see very high levels of wear metals, but aside from that it doesn't tell you much ....

khager, the Tacoma 5VZ-FE V6 was never sludge prone, only the '97-'02 Camry / Sienna 1MZ-FE V6 and '97-'01 Camry 5S-FE 4 cyl motors are slightly sludge prone.

you will find out Toyota redesigned the PCV system in the 1997 Camry 1MZ-FE V6 and 5S-FE motors and this had the unintended consequence of making the engines slightly sludge prone.

To correct this, 1MZ-FE PCV system was modified by Toyota part way into the 2002 model year and some oil passages in the engines were enlarged. Both of these mods are claimed to mitigate the tendency to sludge.

[ March 08, 2003, 11:09 PM: Message edited by: ED P. ]
Paul, you have no idea what you're talking about when it comes to sludge issues on those engines.

I'm not going back into this issue again as it has been proven more times than you can imagine, but it is a fact that the oil in 96/97 had a major change in formulation from the SH to the SJ and that there isn't a pcv valve anywhere that will shear oil down from a 30wt to a 20wt viscosity inside of 3500-4,000 miles(proven by oil analysis), And no pcv valve will cause a brand new engine to sludge up in 12k miles to the point of locking up. Thier engine design was fine until they implemented extended drains with the use of sj oils. On top of that, they did not enlarge any oil channels. FYI they did replace the oil sump pickup screen with a bigger one only when an overhaul was done as part of their resolve to sludging. They still us the exact same part number for the pcv and no other TD's are out to eliminate this problem with exception of reducing oil drain intervals.

There was a lot of speculation about the pcv valve, just as you are passing it around, but truth is, anyone running 3k drains, had no problem with sludge whatso ever. I believe it was around the same time, 96-97 when toyota started to recommend extended oil drains to 5-7500k.

So in a nutshell, it is/was a combination of all of the above that caused this but pcv was not one of them.

I wish too that you'd qualify your expertise as TheMechanic asked earlier.Seems you have a lot of answers but a lot of unfactual information to back up your statements.

BTW, Some have seen this in person on this board and not that it means anything, but Coporate Toyota in Torance Ca, called me personally, and sent me a real nice mens seiko braclet watch with team toyota on it with a letter of appreciation with the help on the sludge issue because I along with the local ase master mech's did research with analysis and such to make some determinations as to the cause. What most were doing, like yourself, was speculating because a lot are just mechanics with very limited knowledge on oil, the oil's history with the api cert changes and the basic chemisty changes used in oil and how it is affected by mechanical conditions.
I don't exactly agree with Malibu...

1) My 2001 Toyota owner's manual, nor the dealership does not say that I shouldn't drain the initial oil...they just say that it's not necessary. I haven't heard that the 2003 recommendations are different.

2) I know that Toyota says not to switch back and forth between dino and syn oil, but they don't say why, I've never seen any problem doing so, and knowledgeable folks I've spoken with don't know the reason for Toyota's statement.

3) The warranty will not be honored if anything you do causes the damage for which you submit the claim. Legally, this means that the vehicle maker has to prove that you did it. Practically, if they stonewall and refuse to pay, you have a big headache. (Some folks say that if you use Amsoil, their warranty will protect the whole's worth exactly the paper it's printed on.) I don't know how well it would work out if you had the oil analyses to prove that the oil is still good. So-called extended warranties are different. They aren't warranties, they're service contracts or mechanical failure insurance policies. You must follow all provisions, and be able to document that you did so, or the underwriter won't pay off on your claims.

OK, here's an on-topic one... Based upon your driving style, I would like to have you do this:
-Change once with factory manual specified grade Castrol GTX
-Change once then refill, sample this oil at change interval.
-Repeat with Syntec Blend
-Repeat with mobil 1

This will stretch over some time, but I would be interested in this analysis, because I would like to see how a straight high quality dino stands up to a blend and how those stand up to the accepted synth.

Actually, maybe iot would be more correct to use mobil products all the way through, therefore eliminating the need for the double drains because of additive issues. This way we could:

-fill with mobil drive clean (maybe do this a second time before starting analyses so to get out any other brand oil)
-after analysinz the drive clean, fill with drive clean blend. Analyze at end of interval
-Fill with straight mobil 1, analyze at end of interval.

Since your weather conditions will be relatively standard, i.e. so far above where cold temp properties matter, that it would yield a lot of information regarding the necessity of a synthetic oil in an engine (always the same one) used for short trips all the time, changed on a 'standard' interval in relatively constant conditions. it would also show how much longer one could use various types of oils used in short trip service, and also show if there is any actual improvement using synth blends that are commonly available.

What do you think?


[ March 09, 2003, 12:17 AM: Message edited by: JHZR2 ]
I agree with Ken. You could change to synthetic at 2k if you wanted too, but I would wait untill around 5k miles. They are also very conservative on there drain intervals, especially with the sludge engines. In Houston Tx I'd run a 10w-30 Mobil 1 or a 5w-30. If you can find Amsoil, I'd definitely recommend that too. Definitely stick with the 5w/10w-30 Mobil 1. Mobil's 0w-30 is not needed in your climate and it has consumption issues in certain cars, mainly older ones. Very dissapointed in there 0w-30 oil.
Thank you JMH, that's the kind of suggestion I was looking for! I assume you would want to see the blend and synthetic sampled at the same intervals as the dino, i.e. dino at 3K, blend at maybe 3K and 4-5K (if it was usable past 3K), and full syn at all of those intervals up to the 7500 factory max, if possible?
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