What’s The Best Oil For A Toyota Highlander? [Answered]

To keep your Toyota Highlander performing at its best, you need to use the correct oil. But what is the best oil you can use for the loved family car? We've dug into what makes an oil good for your Highlander and what to look for when shopping around.

The best oil for new Toyota Highlanders is Toyota Genuine full synthetic 0w-20. For older models, the manufacturer suggests a Toyota Genuine full synthetic 5w-30.

You change the full synthetic oil and oil filter in the Toyota Highlander every 7,500-10,000 miles for optimal performance.

The engine is the heart of your vehicle, and by using the correct oil, you can prolong the life and performance of your engine. This article will discuss the best oil for the Toyota Highlander and its differences from other oils on the market. We will also answer other frequently asked questions about oil and the Toyota Highlander maintenance schedule, so read on!

What Oil Does A Toyota Highlander Take?

Whether it's a Toyota Highlander or any vehicle, oil plays a vital role in keeping your engine clean and cool. It lubricates the moving parts in your engine and helps to prevent wear and tear.

When you start your car, the oil is cold and thick. The oil becomes thinner and flows more quickly as the engine warms up. This allows it to lubricate the engine components more effectively.

For optimal performance and to protect your engine, Toyota recommends using full synthetic oil in the Highlander. But what is the best viscosity to choose?

The best oil viscosity you can use in newer Toyota Highlander models is Toyota Genuine full synthetic 0w-20 oil. However, if you own an older model with higher mileage, it is best to opt for full synthetic 5w-30 oil.

However, in some cases, a Toyota mechanic may recommend using a full synthetic 5w-20 depending on the year and miles.

Not only will full synthetic ensure that your engine is performing at its best, but you can also go 7,500-10,000 miles between oil changes.

That's not to say you can't use conventional oil, but you will need to change it every 3,500-5,000 miles. In addition, if you drive frequently, conventional oil won't be able to protect your engine and synthetic oil.

Be sure to double-check your owner's manual or with a Toyota-certified mechanic to see what oil is best for your model of Highlander. Depending on the year and miles, your car may require a different oil.

Toyota Highlander on a street in spring scenery

What's The Difference Between Conventional And Synthetic Oil?

The main difference between conventional and synthetic oils are how they are made. Conventional oil is made from refined crude oil and then blended with other oils.

Synthetic oil, on the other hand, is artificial. It is designed to have specific properties that make it better for your engine.

For example, synthetic oil is designed to flow better at low temperatures. This means it can lubricate your engine more effectively when starting up from cold.

Synthetic oils also have a higher resistance to degradation than conventional oils. This means that they can protect your engine for longer between oil changes.

In addition, synthetic oil is less likely to cause sludge build-up in your engine.

One thing that may steer vehicle consumers to conventional oil is the price difference. Synthetic oil is typically more expensive than traditional oil.

However, you don't need to change synthetic oil as often as conventional oil. So, synthetic oil may be cheaper than conventional oil in the long run.

What's The Best Way To Change A Highlander's Oil?

Draining oil tank on car lifted up

The best way to change your Highlander's oil is to take it to a Toyota dealership by a certified mechanic. They will have the experience and knowledge to change your oil properly and have the correct tools and equipment.

However, there are some benefits to doing an oil change yourself. First off, it will save you money.

An oil change at a dealership or certified mechanic can cost over $100. However, if you do it yourself, it will only cost you around $50. That means you paid double just for the convenience.

In addition, you can be sure that the oil change was done properly when you do it yourself. When you take your car to a mechanic that isn't Toyota certified, there is always the chance that they may not do the job correctly.

For example, they may not put in the correct amount of oil or forget to tighten the drain plug. Unfortunately, these are both common mistakes that can lead to problems down the road.

It is important to check with your Toyota dealer before doing an oil change yourself. If your vehicle is still under warranty, you may void the warranty if you do not have the oil changed at a dealership or certified mechanic.

How Do You Change The Oil In A Toyota Highlander?

If your Toyota Highlander is warranty-free, you may opt to change the oil yourself. First, however, you will need the following supplies:

  • Six quarts of synthetic oil for 3.5L V6 (5.8 quarts until full) and 5 quarts of oil for a 2.7L four-cylinder engine (4.6 quarts until full).
  • An OEM oil filter
  • A wrench to remove the oil drain plug
  • Vehicle jack
  • A catch pan
  • A funnel (optional)

draining engine oil from a car for an oil change at an auto shop

Steps To Changing A Highlander's Oil

  1. Let your Toyota Highlander run for a few minutes to warm the oil. This will make it easier to drain.
  2. Park your car on level ground and set the emergency brake. Place cardboard or a drip pan under the oil drain plug to catch any dripping oil.
  3. Now, use a jack to raise the front of your Highlander. Be sure the jack is placed on the frame to support your car correctly.
  4. Locate the oil filter and unscrew it by hand. Use the catch pan to catch any oil that drips out.
  5. Remove the oil drain plug with a wrench and let the oil drain into the catch pan.
  6. Replace the oil drain plug and tighten it with a wrench. Be sure not to over-tighten, as this can strip the threads. Usually, hand tight plus 1/2 to 1 full turn is enough.
  7. Now, apply a little oil to the oil filter gasket and install the new oil filter. Again, don't over-tighten; hand-tight plus 1/2 to 1 full turn is usually enough.
  8. Pour the new oil into the engine using a funnel. Be sure not to overfill! Depending on what engine you have, the correct amount of oil is 4.6 quarts for a 2.7L four-cylinder engine and 5.8 quarts for a 3.5L V6.
  9. Start the engine and let it run for a minute or two. This will help distribute the oil throughout the engine.
  10. Check the oil level with the dipstick and add more oil if necessary.
  11. Lower the car from its jack and stand and dispose of the used oil and filter properly.

Be sure to recycle the used oil and filter at an appropriate location. For example, you can usually take used oil and filters to your local dealership or certified mechanic.

Should I Change My Oil Even If I Don't Drive Much?

If you don't drive much, you may not need to change your engine oil as often as those who do a lot of driving. However, you should still change the oil at least twice a year.

The reason is that oil degrades over time, even if the car isn't being used. So, it's essential to change the oil even if you don't often drive to ensure that your engine is properly lubricated.

In addition, if your Toyota Highlander or other vehicles are parked for long periods, be sure to start the engine and let it run for a few minutes every so often. This will help keep the engine lubricated and prevent any rust or corrosion.

Pouring motor oil for motor vehicles from a gray bottle into the engine

How Often Do I Need To Change The Transmission Fluid?

Manual transmissions were standard back in the day, and professionals recommended that you change the fluid every 30,000-60,000 miles. However, with the advent of automatic transmissions, the recommendation is to change the fluid every 60,000-100,000 miles.

If you do a lot of stop-and-go driving or towing, you may need to change the fluid more often. Again, be sure to check your owner's manual for specific recommendations.

To Wrap It Up

Car Engine refilling new engine oil

Whether you own a new Toyota Highlander or an older model, using the right oil and changing it on time is crucial for maintaining your vehicle. By following the tips above, you can ensure that your car runs smoothly and will last for many years!

If you have any questions about changing your Toyota Highlander's oil or other maintenance issues, be sure to consult your owner's manual or contact a certified mechanic.

Made it to the end? Check out these helpful related Toyota posts below!

Toyota Corolla Oil Change: What Owners Need to Know

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5 Best Oils For Toyota Tundra

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