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10,000 Mile Prius Oil Change Interval

prius-oil-change.jpgFrom Prius3.com: I’ve had my 2010 Toyota Prius for nearly 12 months already and today I headed back to the dealership’s service department for my 15,000 mile oil change. I’d been watching the mail for a couple of weeks, hoping Toyota or the dealer would send me an oil change special coupon or discount - but nothing arrived. Those of you who own a generation 3 Prius know why I was looking…because oil changes run $60 to $100 depending on location and a few other factors. My last one was around $65 as I recall and did not include the recommended 5,000 mile tire rotation (since most of my recent driving had been highway miles).

Before I made the appointment, I also searched online to see if Toyota had made any changes to their initial recommendation of 5,000 mile oil change intervals. A while back I’d read that Toyota was considering a 10,000 mile interval for some of their newer vehicles using synthetics. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find anything that looked official or definitive so I called the service manager and headed in.

When I arrived, the person I met with asked me a few questions about what work I would be having done and how many miles were on the vehicle. When he learned that it had only been 5,000 miles since my last oil change, he let me know about the new 10,000 mile recommendation from Toyota Motors. The technician also showed me how to reset the service warning message that had been appearing in my display lately, every time I started my Prius. From memory, I’m fairly sure the steps are as follows:

1) With the Power On, switch the trip-meter to display “TRIPA”
2) Push the Power button to turn the Power OFF
3) (Without your foot on the brake) push the Power ON button while holding in the “km/h” and “MPH” button
4) The display screen will show the progress of reseting of the oil change data.
5) When the reset is complete, release the button and press the Power Off button

Anyway, I asked the tech to send me the official announcement their dealership had received from Toyota, so I’ll copy it below. I didn’t get the free oil change coupon or revised maintenance guide so I’ll have to check on those items next time…

Over the past several months, there has been considerable discussion regarding Toyota and Scion vehicles that have adopted a new engine oil lubrication standard (SAE 0W-20 synthetic) as well as the timeline for the complete integration of this standard. The purpose of this communication is to provide important information regarding the subsequent extension of the oil drain interval for vehicles that have adopted the 0W-20 oil standard.  To that end, I am pleased to announce that TMC has approved our request to move all 0W-20 certified vehicles to a 10,000 mile / 1 year (under normal operating conditions with 0W-20 oil) oil and oil filter change interval effective immediately with the following stipulations:

  • TMS solely bears the cost of Warranty and Maintenance Guide (WMG) revisions (i.e. reprinting and distribution, and scrapping of outdated materials) and any and all owner notifications;
  • TMS works closely with the Dealer organization to ensure that consumers receive real cost of ownership benefit from this change;
  • TMS integrates an updated and TMC approved set of “Special Operating Conditions” (formerly called “severe use”) in all affected WMGs; and
  • TMS helps monitor the impact of this change and report the status to TMC periodically

In essence this change marks a return to the two option format in place several years ago. The good news is that, as mentioned above, the Special Operating Condition criteria and WMG verbiage have been revised to provide greater clarity. The new criteria are as follows:

Special Operating Conditions - In addition to standard maintenance items, the maintenance log indicates services that should be performed on vehicles that are driven under especially demanding conditions. These “special operating conditions” and their required maintenance items are clearly indicated in each chart.

You should perform these additional maintenance services only if the majority of your driving is done under the special operating conditions indicated. If you only occasionally drive under these circumstances, it is not necessary to perform the additional services.

  • Driving on dirt roads or dusty roads
  • Towing a trailer, using a car-top carrier, or heavy vehicle loading
  • Repeated trips of less than five miles in temperatures below 32°F / 0°C
  • Extensive idling and/or low speed driving for a long distance such as police, taxi or door-to-door delivery use

The details of our 0W-20 interval change implementation strategy are as follows:

- This change will be applied retroactively in an effort to enhance both the current customers’ ownership experience and the marketability of these key products;
- Consumers who have paid for an oil and filter change at 5,000 miles will be provided a coupon for a free oil change at their local Toyota Dealer;
- Customer communication will include distribution of a revised Warranty and Maintenance Guide as well instructions on how to obtain and utilize the free oil change coupon;
- The maintenance reminder lights on these vehicles will continue to illuminate every 5,000 miles even though the nature of these services has changed

By Jeff Carey

There Are 5 Responses So Far. »

  1. I call my dealer service department and they confirm the 10K oil change interval due to synthetic oil. Although they don’t know anything about the coupon for free oil change if you had oil change at 5K like manufacture recommend. Any suggestion?

  2. Besides oil type, how does the hybrid engine system affects combustion? Wouldn’t it reduce combustion frequency, requiring this way longer intervals for oil change?

  3. I’m guessing that the engine runs over half the time in normal usage–meaning, engine usage versus milage (which is 1:1 for non-hybrid) isn’t that drastically different for the Prius. [I’m talking normal usage for most people.]

    The Prius, IIRC, does take steps to keep the engine coolant warm, so cold start wear should be low. So, IMO, in the end the hybrid impact on oil type is probably nil.

    That said, 10k on synthetic is probably conservative. To go further would require oil testing, which most probably don’t care about, given that it’s like 20 bucks per test, and a good synthetic oil change is like 50 or 60 bucks if you do it yourself.

  4. What is the impact on the car? This looks like cost saving feature from Toyota. They are offering Basic care with every car.

  5. Here in the UK 10,000 miles service interval / oil change has been standard for at least 6 years on the Prius. Fits in with “normal” cars here in the UK where 10,000 or 12,000 service and oil change intervals are normal and have been for many years. No reports of any UK Prius (other makes) cars expiring through going more than 5,000 miles between oil changes.

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