I am seriously confused by Toyota. When do I need to have an oil change?

Hi everyone. Before you suggest me to change my own oil or learn how to, please be reminded that I am disabled and unable to perform these tasks a car requires.

My Toyota Dealer staffers all been telling me different info on when to change my oil in my 2012 Toyota Camry SE with 4 cylinder each time I visit. Some say to change every 5000 miles using synthetic oil and other times they are suggesting I don’t need an oil change until 10,000 mileage. I told them that I have learned that changing every 5000 miles or every 6 months is best for the car, and they would tell me they have never heard such a thing, and other times they would say I am right about that ! smh

My user manual is completely useless to me, as it does not indicate or suggest maintenance. It doesn’t even tell me when I should change my brake fluid.

So what should I do? Go with the 5000 mile change to stay on the clear, or am I wasting money that way?

It depends on the type of oil used.


It’s in your warranty and maintenance manual:


Thank you for your reply, Tester. You have always been a great help. I always use Synthetic

If you like 5000/6mo, that’s great, that’s what’s indicated for lots of short trips. If most of your miles are longer trips, you could go longer.
Here’s where to get your manuals, if you don’t have them. The maintenance schedule in in the warranty/maintenance manual:

Looks like it recommends 0W-20, which would be synthetic.

Sir, thank you very much. It looks like I need to change every 10,000 miles. May I ask where you got these helpful info off the net? When I google these things, I dont find them.

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It was the first link that popped up by googling “2012 camry maintenance schedule.”


Informative! Yes, I do mostly short trips. My car is a 2012 model and has 66K mileage on it. This shows how little distance I drive the car, but I drive it every day on very clean roads. Many thanks for the link :slight_smile:

Do you check your oil level?

I really hope that you take note of the proviso that you need to change your oil at least once a year, no matter how few miles you drive in that year.

For reasons that I will probably never be able to deduce, a HUGE percentage of the population can’t seem to wrap their heads around the maximum elapsed time part of maintenance schedules, and those folks seem to focus only on the odometer mileage factor.

Hopefully you are not one of those people.

Like my name says, I am clueless, completely clueless when it comes to cars and their details, but I am learning, especially from this community. I wouldn’t know where to check my oil. Embarrassing, I know!

But this is what I do with my car since owning it. I demand Toyota dealership to change my oil every 5000 miles using Synthetic oil, or every 6 months. But like I stated in the original posting, some staffers told me I don’t need to and others said I do. They always inspect the car when I take it in and recommend a bunch of stuff I need to do, but I always come here first to verify and the pros on here would tell me I don’t need those services. So I don’t perform them. I have only changed transmission oil once, brake fluid once, battery once, and front brake once since owning the car at 35K mileage.

So the car gets her engine oil changed twice yearly with synthetic oil. But I might reconsider the recommended 10,000 miles after reading these info on here today.

Car gets oil change twice yearly with synthetic oil, while I drive only 7000 miles per year.


Have someone show you how to do that. Is this the car you paid to have lowered ?

You would be OK with once a year oil changes as that would be every 7000 miles. However it is your car and in the end, you are paying the bills.

My daughter has a 14 Camry and it calls for 10k/1year oil change interval. She does a lot of short trip city driving, several trips per day. I found sludge building up in the oil filter housing after 30k with 10k intervals. We have moved up to 7500 intervals and so far, no more sludge.


I bought a 2011 Toyota Sienna when they came out in April of 2010. The manual specified a 5000 mile or 6 month oil change and at 5000 miles, the “Service Engine Soon” message appeared. I took the Sienna in for an oil change and the service writer claimed it didn’t need to have the oil changed. When I protested, he took me in to the see the service manager. The service manager showed me a directive from Toyota that the interval for the oil change had been extended to 10,000 miles or one year. He said that engines now run cleaner and that motor oil has greatly improved over the old days when we both grew up. The dealer rotated the tires and sent me on my way. Three days later, I received an official letter from Toyota that stated the interval for changing the oil had been extended to one year or 10,000 miles and this letter superseded the specified interval in the owner’s manual. I followed this recommendation with my 2011 Sienna and do the same with my 2017 Sienna. I trust the Toyota engineers know what they are talking about.

Yes sir! Same car and the ride’s quality is the same as it was before the lowering springs. No bottoming. I have had absolutely no trouble.

In your opinion, would you sell a car that was problem-free at 66K mileage?

You don’t have to take the car to a dealership. You can take it to a good independent shop. That’s what I do. The one I use isn’t a lot cheaper than the dealer, but they do excellent work. You certainly can use the dealer if you like them, but you seem to be unhappy about the different opinions you get there. If you don’t know of a good independent shop, ask everyone you know for recommendations. Eventually, a couple of names will rise above the others. Try one of them for an oil change and see what you think. BTW, I would change oil once per year if I owned a car like yours. Actually, I do, I own a Honda Accord with the 4-cyl. The oil life monitor tells me to change it about every 10,000 miles. I actually do it a little sooner, say, between 8000 and 9000.

Only if it was not meeting my needs.


At school they say every 3,000 miles for regular and 5,000 for synthetic they say 3k on regular oil to be safe rather be safe then sorry when your motor gets messed up.

What school ? The change rate has been at least 5000 miles or 6 months for years. And now many mechanics agree that 7000 or 1 year is good for most driving patterns . And the manufactures even have some oil change numbers higher than that.