10k oil changes--and break-in oil?

My new Toyota (Avalon Hybrid) is due for its first (5k) maintenance. They do things like rotate tires (free for awhile) but they don’t change the oil till 10k.
I am highly skeptical of this and would plan to get a 5k oil change. However, I am concerned that it might be filled with something like “break-in oil” and if it were refilled with normal oil (specified as a 0w20 synthetic) this might not be right. Anyone know the facts about this?

They use filter elements. I have 3 Toyotas and I don’t care what they say, I only do 5k.

My Honda has a section in the manual that speaks directly to engine break in. They come right out and say it has special oil additives and to not change the oil before the specified interval. They have a schedule detailed after the break-in period. My Toyota is a decade older but only speaks to driving habits during break-in period. What does your Toyota manual say? That’s what I would follow…

I have a 2014 Highlander with the same engine. I too am very skeptical about the 10k oil change interval. I know the 5k oil change works well enough to keep my vehicles running great well past 250k miles. So far there’s no evidence that the 10k oil change interval will provide the same protection…so I’m sticking with the 5k oil change. I let the dealer do the 10k and 20k (since its’ free)…and I’ll do all others. One of the easiest engines I’ve ever did an oil change on.

I gotta go with @MikeinNH on this. Change it. 5000 miles is more than enough to break in an engine and more than long enough for the first oil change.

Your engine oil is quite literally the lifeblood of your engine. The primary reason our motor oil turns black and gets dirty is from the washing away of the Soot in the combustion chamber from the burning of Gasoline. So the longer the oil remains in the engine and the more FUEL you burn…the more of the micro fine Black Soot particulate builds up in the oil thickening the oil and reducing its ability to lubricate properly. I use Full Synth in my Turbo Charged 03’ VW GTi… I change my engine oil at 5000-7000 mile intervals and it has been working like a charm. 10K in my opinion is a bit too long to go without engine oil refresh…Just based on the amount of Fuel that has been burned by that time and the amount of soot introduced into the oil…with that much particulate in the oil…its just time to get it out of there before it starts to cling to the engine block…clogs up oil passageways or just bakes itself into the cylinder head never to leave the engine again. I mean its always better to err on the lower side than to try to go to these ridiculously long oil change intervals of 10-15K or LONGER.

Even if your oil has some kind of “Break in” additive in it… I would get the stuff out of there at 5K …do an oil change at that time…and not worry about the additive on the next 5K. Just use the correct Full Synth oil that the engine calls for and you will be fine. Most people dont even have this additive…and or they dont even use Full Synthetic…NOR the correct weight and their engines break in just fine with no trouble at all. So you are way ahead of the game already.


with normal oil (specified as a 0w20 synthetic) this might not be right.

That is the correct oil.

My 2007 Toyota has 5000 mile intervals (with 5W30 dino oil) from the start and does not mention use of any “break in” oil. Toyotas now use 0W20 synthetic and they have pushed the change interval to 10,000 miles, something I am also very skeptical of. If I bought a new Toyota today I would I would go with 5000 mile intervals.

5000 miles. That’s my motto.

I also change oil sooner than factory recommended changes. I have it done by the dealer I bought the vehicle from. They use the correct oil, I get free coffee and donuts and they run it through the car wash. I then use my worry type brain cells for something important. Like am I going to hit it out of bounds on number one tee.

If the oil looks fairly clean on the dipstick I’d leave it alone.

My 2004 Sienna calls for 7,500 mile intervals (normal maintenance). I have run it on full synthetic using 7,500 to 8,000 mile intervals. I am at 185,000 miles and it purrs like new without burning any oil between changes. Ok, maybe a quarter of a quart every 8,000 miles. I have been running 7,500 to 8,000 miles on full synthetic in all my cars for a long time and haven’t had an oil burner or engine failure yet. The cost to my wallet and the environment doesn’t justify shorter intervals unless you run severe service (which many people do).

You can NEVER go wrong changing the fluids earlier than recommended.

If the oil looks fairly clean on the dipstick I'd leave it alone.

Dirty oil is only ONE indicator that the oil needs changing. Oil may be worn out before it gets too dirty.

My 1994 Honda Accord spec’d 7500 mile intervals. That is what I followed and never had an engine problem in the 20+ years I drove the car.

Five thousand mile intervals and depending upon environmental conditions and driving habits 3k miles or 3/4 months may be in order.

This issue grates on me a bit because as a mechanic at car dealerships I’ve had to deal with (and get cursed by…) people whose engines died at 30-40k miles simply because of lack of oil changes.

While I did not personally see this one, a lady on another forum was extremely irate because the engine in her brand new Nissan Altima trashed itself and warranty would not cover it.
The reason? The car had 15k miles on it over a 2 year span and had not seen one single oil change. The engine was sludged to the point of destruction.
According to this lady a Nissan engine should not go bad even if the oil is not changed. Ms Naive…

You MIGHT be fine with 10K oil changes, but I am always a bit more conservative and esp with Toyota’s history sludge issues, I will go 5-7.5K depending on driving style. At 200K miles, the cost difference would not be much and definitely less than a new engine.

I was a long time 5K/year oil change interval person and with a bit of anxiety, I’ve moved to following the longer intervals specified in my vehicle’s owner’s manual.

It’s sometimes difficult to remember that for years now, millions of vehicles are doing just fine with the extended oil change intervals. Vehicles sold in Europe switched to the 10K-15K oil change intervals years before vehicles in the USA did. It’s working there as well.

Do what feels right.

I used the 7500 mile oil changes on my commuter civic with $15 quick lube walmart specials when it was 120k+ and it went 240k in 9 years running perfectly. Still does as I see it around.

You MIGHT be fine with 10K oil changes

10k oil change might be fine. But taking a chance on a $30K+ vehicle is not something I’m willing to do.If you only keep your vehicle for less then 150k miles (which most people do)…then 10k oil change might be fine.