2012 Toyota Tacoma Engine Oil Capacity

A 2012 Toyota Tacoma’s engine oil capacity is between 4.8 and 6.1 quarts depending on the number of engine cylinders and the drivetrain.
Written by Mary Cahill
Reviewed by Brenna Swanston
You can reduce your 2012 Toyota Tacoma’s routine maintenance costs by changing the oil on your own. A 2012 Toyota Tacoma has an engine oil capacity between 4.8 quarts and 6.1 quarts depending on the number of cylinders the engine has and whether its rear-wheel drive (RWD) or four-wheel drive (4WD).   
If you’re looking for info about changing the oil on a 2012 Toyota Tacoma we’ve got you covered. Here, we’ll give you a rundown of how much oil the engine can hold, what type to use, and the steps required to change the oil successfully and safely. 

2012 Toyota Tacoma engine oil capacity

According to the
Toyota Tacoma owner’s manual
, how much oil the engine holds depends on a few factors. First, the capacity varies based on whether or not you use an oil filter. We’re going to focus on the engine oil capacities for the Tacoma with an oil filter.
Second, the 2012 Tacoma comes with either a four-cylinder or six-cylinder engine and either rear-wheel drive (RWD) or four-wheel drive (4WD). If you drive a four-cylinder Tacoma with RWD (such as the base model) the engine oil capacity is 6.1 quarts. A six-cylinder Tacoma with RWD will have an engine oil capacity of 4.8 quarts
If your Tacoma has 4WD, the engine oil capacity is 5.5 quarts regardless of engine size. If you drive the mid-level
trim, the engine oil is 5.5 quarts regardless of engine size or drivetrain.

What kind of oil does a 2012 Toyota Tacoma need?

A 2012 Tacoma with a four-cylinder engine needs
SAE 0W-20 Toyota Genuine Motor Oil
. The next-best option if you can’t get your hands on the SAE 0W-20 is
SAE 5W-20 Toyota Genuine Motor Oil
The six-cylinder Tacoma (and the PreRunner) take
SAE 5W-30 Toyota Genuine Motor Oil
. The secondary alternative is
SAE 10W-30 Toyota Genuine Motor Oil
If you’re new to deciphering engine oil types, don’t worry! Here’s a quick breakdown of what all these letters and numbers mean on a container of engine oil. 
  • SAE is short for Society of Automotive Engineers, which is the organization that oversees global viscosity codes. Viscosity is used to describe how thick an oil is. 
  • The number that follows “SAE” is separated into two parts. The portion before the dash refers to the viscosity. ”0W” and “5W” are thin viscosities—and the “W” stands for winter
  • The part of the number after the dash represents how thick the oil is at 212°F. A designation of “20” means that the oil retains its thin viscosity in both very hot and very cold temperatures. 
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How often to change the oil on a  2012 Toyota Tacoma

All of the oil types mentioned above are fully synthetic oils. When you use synthetic oil instead of a synthetic blend, you won’t have to change your oil for another 7,500 miles.
Just keep an eye on how the oil is behaving in your truck’s engine in the meantime. Check your oil every month to make sure it’s still running through your engine like it’s supposed to. Otherwise, it could negatively affect your Tacoma’s performance. 
If you notice the oil is gritty or a dark brown shade similar to cola, it may be time to change the oil soon. If your engine oil becomes sludgy or black, you need to look into it immediately. 
The same goes for the driveability of your Toyota Tacoma. The following symptoms like a or of the truck could be signs that the oil needs changing:
  • Laggy or jumpy engine
  • Smoke or burning oil smells under the hood

How to change your oil and oil filter

Before you do anything underneath your Tacoma to change the oil, make sure you have all your supplies ready and park your truck on a level surface
Here’s what you’ll need:
  • 4.8 to 6.1 quarts of Genuine Toyota Motor Oil
  • Oil funnel
  • Gloves and safety glasses
  • Oil drain pan and shop towel
  • Small oil catch container
  • 14mm socket wrench
  • Oil filter wrench
Got everything you need? Follow these steps to change your 2012 Tacoma’s engine oil:
  • Start by using your socket wrench to loosen the oil drain plug underneath the truck, until it’s loose enough for you to remove manually. Place the oil drain pan directly below to catch the spilling oil. 
  • While the oil drains, check the oil drain plug for signs of a damaged washer or gasket. If the washer is corroded or damaged, replace it with a new one before manually securing the oil drain plug in place and tightening it with the socket wrench.  
  • The oil filter is located on the lower right side of your engine, so you’ll need to pop the hood to access it. Remove the small cap on the underside of the oil filter housing and palace your small oil catch container below. If you skip this step, oil can pool into your engine bay.
  • Remove the oil filter. If it’s too tight to remove by hand, use an oil filter wrench. Double-check that the old gasket isn’t stuck to the oil housing, then replace the cap underneath the oil filter housing.
  • Coat the new oil filter and gasket with some fresh oil before installing it. Tighten by hand.
  • Use a funnel to fill the engine with the correct amount of new engine oil. 
  • Run your Tacoma for about 30 seconds to let the oil circulate through the engine. Check for any oil leaks underneath the truck or below the oil filter.
  • Check the oil level. If the dipstick indicates that the oil level is full you’re all set! 
To reset the oil change light on the dashboard, set the digital read on your dashboard to the odometer reading (not Trip A or Trip B). Press and hold the odometer read button (trip button) then turn your truck’s battery on. When you see the numbers on the digital odometer read blink and zero out, the oil change light has been successfully reset. 
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