2010 Toyota Highlander Engine Oil Capacity

The 2010 Toyota Highlander has an oil capacity of 4.7 quarts or 6.4 quarts, depending on which engine it's equipped with.
Written by Shannon Fitzgerald
Reviewed by Brenna Swanston
The 2010 Toyota Highlander has an engine oil capacity of 4.7 quarts for its 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine and 6.4 quarts for its 3.5-liter V6 engine. 
One of the most well-known original crossovers out there, the Toyota Highlander melds the strength and capability of an SUV with the agility of a smaller sedan. But while the Highlander keeps up a thrill and refinement in your everyday drive, it’s important to make sure you keep up with its
ongoing maintenance
—like regular
oil changes
Knowing your Highlander’s oil capacity can help you perform oil changes on your own to save on those
oil change costs
. Here are some specs you’ll need to do the job successfully, along with the types of oil you’ll need to buy.

2010 Toyota Highlander engine oil capacity

Before you start opening up your Highlander’s hood for an oil change, you’ll first need to know how much oil your SUV takes. 
That number depends on which engine you have. If your 2010 Highlander’s equipped with the 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine, you’ll need 4.7 quarts (or 4.4 liters) of engine oil with the oil filter (4.2 quarts or 4.0 liters without). Highlanders with the 3.5-liter V6 need a little more oil—6.4 quarts (6.1 liters) with a filter and 6.0 quarts (5.7 liters) without. 
Remember, the 2.7-liter and 3.5-liter indications for each engine are measuring the volume of your Highlander’s cylinders (i.e., your engine displacement). As such, they cannot be interchanged for your engine’s oil capacity—they are two very different measurements!
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What kind of oil does a 2010 Toyota Highlander need?

According to your
2010 Toyota Highlander’s manual
, you’ll want to stick with SAE 0W-20 or SAE 5W-20 oil for the smaller four-cylinder and SAE 5W-20 for the V6. While you can also use SAE 10W-30 oil for the V6 in a pinch, Toyota recommends switching back to 5W-20 at the next oil change. 
Let’s break down what that SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) oil code means. Essentially, the digits before the dash tell us your oil’s viscosity in colder, winter (W) weather (or cold starts), while the two digits after indicate its viscosity in hotter weather (or at its normal operating temperature). The numbers 0 or 5 show that your Highlander’s oil stays thin to keep running smoothly in frigid temperatures, and 20 or 30 shows that it stays thick when heat might normally thin it out too much. 
By maintaining these versatile viscosities in varying temperatures, your oil can continue protecting and lubricating your Highlander’s engine no matter what season or temperature it's operating in. Though Toyota recommends using
Toyota brand genuine motor oil
, you can choose to opt for either synthetic or conventional oil from a car parts store as long as it has the correct oil grade. 

How often to change the oil on a 2010 Toyota Highlander

The frequency with which you’ll have to change your Highlander’s engine oil depends on how you drive your SUV. For example, driving at high speeds with frequent acceleration or deceleration consumes more oil than driving at low consistent speeds and therefore requires you to change your oil more frequently. 
In general, though, Toyota suggests that you change your Highlander’s oil every 4,500 to 5,000 miles. To help you keep track of this, your engine oil replacement light will automatically come on once you hit 4,500 miles after an oil change. 
If you’re ever worried about your Highlander’s oil, you can always check on its health yourself by using the dipstick about every other time you fill up the tank. Should you ever notice the following signs, it may be time for an oil change: 
  • The oil feels gritty in texture.
  • It appears black and inky, rather than amber and translucent (i.e., black coffee vs. a light brown tea).
  • You can smell exhaust fumes or burning oil in the cabin.
  • There is smoke emitting from your tailpipe.
  • The engine is making knocking noises or behaving strangely.

How to change your oil and oil filter

If your engine oil’s looking bad or it’s been more than 4,500 miles since your last oil change, it’s time to grab your jack and stands and get prepped for an oil change.
To start, you’ll need a new filter and cartridge, a filter wrench, oil drain pans, a torque wrench, and a 14mm socket wrench. For exact filter and filter wrench specifications, consult your manual or a local Toyota technician. Finally, you’ll need to grab either 4.7 or 6.4 quarts of 0W-20 or 5W-20 oil
Once you’ve compiled your supplies, warm your engine up for about five minutes to get it up to operating temperature and turn it off. Then you can put your car on jack stands, and do the following: 
  • Open the hood and take off your oil fill cap.
  • Under your Highlander, pop off the access flaps to the engine filter and drain plug (if necessary).
  • Position a drain pan under the drain plug and filter, then remove your drain plug using the 14mm wrench (be careful if the oil is still very hot).
  • As your old oil empties into the drain pan, loosen the drain plug on your oil filter, and allow the oil filter to drain out.
  • Once your oil filter’s oil has drained, remove the oil filter cartridge using the filter wrench.
  • Take out the old oil filter and replace it with a new filter and O-ring—you can lubricate the O-ring with a thin layer of fresh oil.
  • Replace the filter cartridge and tighten its drain plug to about 10 lb-ft with the torque wrench, and tighten the cartridge to about 20 lb-ft.
  • Swap out your drain plug’s gasket for a new one. You can also lubricate this with fresh oil.
  • Replace your drain plug and tighten it to about 25 lb-ft.
  • Close up your access flaps (if necessary).
  • Up top, pour the correct amount of oil into your engine—a funnel can help with spillage.
  • Replace your fill cap and close up your hood.
Once you lower your Highlander from the jack stands, turn it on and look under the vehicle to make sure there are no oil leaks. After it runs for a few minutes, check the dipstick levels to see if you need to top off at all. 
Though your change oil light should reset automatically, you can also reset it yourself by turning your Highlander on without the engine, then pressing the trip meter reset and turning the engine on at the same time. 
As for all that used oil in your drain pan—don’t just throw it into your trash! Used engine oil is extremely harmful to both yourself and the environment, so you’ll want to dispose of it in a sealed container at a local recycling center
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