Toyota Highlander Oil Change

You’ll need a Toyota Highlander oil change every 3,000 miles for conventional oil and every 7,500-10,000 for synthetic oil.
Written by Rachel Rigolino
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
Change the oil and filter in your Toyota Highlander every 3,000 miles for conventional oil or every 7,500-10,000 miles for synthetic oil. Many newer Toyota models require synthetic oil, so check your owner’s manual to find the recommended oil type.
Motor oil is a key part of your car’s health. Without it, the engine would seize and stop running. Over time, oil loses its viscosity and can’t lubricate engine parts effectively—so to protect your Highlander’s engine, it’s important to change the oil and oil filter regularly.
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has compiled everything you need to know about the basics of changing the oil and filter in a Toyota Highlander. 

How often does a Toyota Highlander need an oil change?

Toyota recommends changing the oil and filter in your Highlander every 3,000 to 5,000 miles for conventional oil. If you use synthetic oil, oil and filter changes can be done every 7,500 to 10,000 miles.

What kind of oil does a Toyota Highlander need?

Because there are so many variations in engine types, you will need to consult your owner’s manual for the right oil grade and oil filter for your car. Typical motor oil types include SAE 0W-20, 5W-30, 5W-20 with ILSAC GF-5 or GF-6 specifications.
Because it’s crucial to use the correct grade of oil for a specific Toyota Highlander model, consult your owner’s manual to determine which grade is recommended.
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How much does an oil change cost for a Toyota Highlander?

Costs vary depending on the type of oil you need and whether you take your car to a mechanic for an oil change or opt to DIY.

Professional cost

The cost of a professional oil and filter change for your Toyota Highlander may range from $95 to $136. Most mechanics also throw in an inspection of key components, check and fill tires, top up power steering fluids, and rotate tires. 

DIY cost

You can save money on your Toyota Highlander maintenance by changing your own oil and filter  A quart of SAE OW-20—a common motor oil grade/type used in Highlanders—costs between $7 and $13,  while 5 quarts costs between $12.50 and $40. You’ll also need to buy a filter, which will run you about $11 to $15.

How to change the oil in a Toyota Highlander yourself

These instructions are based on changing the oil in a 2018 Highlander XLE 3.5L V6. You can apply the basic principles to other models/years, but always consult your owner’s manual for specific information about your vehicle.

What you’ll need:

  • 5.8 quarts of oil (check your manual for grade and type) 
  • Toyota Highlander oil filter
  • Toyota Highlander oil filter wrench
  • 14 mm box end wrench, ⅜” extension and ratchet
  • Car jack
  • Jack stands 
  • Drain pan
  • Plastic container to dispose of old oil
  • Wheel chocks (recommended)
  • Disposable gloves and protective eye gear (recommended)

1. Warm up the engine

If the weather is cold, start your engine and let it run to thin out and help the oil flow better. Make sure to park your Toyota Highlander in a level area. Turn off the engine once the engine is warmed up. 

2. Secure the car

Jack up your car and
use jack stands to secure it in place.
Use wheel chocks for added stability.

3. Drain the old oil 

Then get underneath your Highlander and remove the drain bolt. Let the oil drain into your drain pan or other suitable container for at least 15 minutes.
Install a new washer in your drain bolt to prevent leaks. Then, be sure to reinstall and tighten the oil drain bolt. 

4. Remove the filter

The oil filter in a 2018 Toyota Highlander is underneath the car. Take out the filter housing using the Toyota Highlander oil filter wrench. Remove the old filter and O-rings from the housing. Check that the filter gasket isn’t stuck to the engine’s surface.

5. Install the new oil filter

Wipe away any dirt and residue from the engine block before installing the new filter. Lubricate the new O-rings and place them and the new filter inside the housing. 

6. Put new oil in the engine

Pour 5.8 quarts of motor oil into the oil fill opening. Replace the fill cap, making sure that it’s screwed in tightly, and start the engine. Check for leaks from the drain bolt and oil filter while you run the engine for a few minutes.

7. Stop the engine and check the oil level

After running the engine for a few minutes, stop and wait for 3 minutes. Use the dipstick to check the oil level and add more if necessary.

8. Reset the oil change reminder

Use your car’s multi-information display to reset the oil change reminder. 

9. Dispose of the old oil according to regulations

Never dump old oil onto the ground or put it into a garbage can. Doing so risks harming the environment. In most states, retailers that sell motor oil are required to take your old oil as are service stations and businesses (such as Jiffy Lube) that perform oil changes. Also check with your state or local government websites for other places to recycle your oil.

What happens if you don’t change the oil in a Toyota Highlander?

Oil changes are a critical part of your Toyota Highlander maintenance. If your car loses its ability to lubricate engine parts, serious problems like total engine failure can result. 
Changing your Highlander’s oil is a bit like going to a doctor for a check up. It is part of preventative maintenance. Yes, oil changes cost money, but they can prevent expensive problems down the road. 

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