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1996 Toyota Corolla


My friend and I are driving my 1996 Toyota Corolla across country. The car was serviced before we left but since then we’ve already driven 4,000 miles. Should we change the oil and the oil filter? Is there any specific kind of oil we should use? Thanks for your help!

Sar and Maggie

I would, simply because you can use your normal mechanic rather than doing it in a strange shop in a strange town. Check carefully after for a few days to be sure there’s no leak before heading out again, and then check regularly on the road. An old engine can tend to use more oil on the highway, so keep yourself safe.

Use whatever type of oil is recommended in your manual. My memory is hazy, but I think it’ll probably be 10W30. You’ll need to check. '96 Corollas don’t have turbos, so you don’t need synthetic.

Highway miles are not hard on the car or its oil. Modern cars that have “remaining oil life” per cent readouts will not tell you to change it for MANY more than 4000 miles on the highway. A 3.8L V-6 I had in a LeSabre was at 25% of remaining oil life when it was finally a quart low with 7,200 miles on the oil. That’s when I elected to change it. It might have gone another 2500 miles with the trips I had on it.

How many more miles do you have to go before you get home? Have you had to add any oil on your trip? (You are checking it, right?)

Oops. I goofed. I should have realized you were already 4000 miles from home.
I guess then that the most important question is how many miles you have left. If you’ll be back home in 2000 miles, I’d wait.

Thanks for your help! We’ve been checking the oil regularly, and the level has been fine. We just passed into Nevada headed to UC Berkeley. 600 miles to go!

Wait 'til you get to Berkeley and get to know some people who can refer you to a reputable shop.
Sincere best in your college career.

For what it’s worth, your car calls for 5w30

Change your oil when you get to Berkeley as the same mountainbike suggests and use 5W30 oil.