Oil change

How often should I change the oil in my Prius?

There is a maintenance schedule with the owner’s manual. Change as often as the maintenance schedule recommends. There will be a mileage and a time interval. Use whichever comes first.

McP said it perfectly as usual. I can only concur.

I Will Add A Couple More Suggestions.

If you haven’t done so already, read through your Owner’s Manual and familiarize yourself with its contents.

Also, there’s a maintenace schedule, possibly separate from or in the Owner’s Manual. You should look through that as well and famliarize yourself with recommended procedures and the mileage or time that they should be performed.

Once familiar with these documents you can refer to them frequently. These are important publications and should help you and your car maintain a healthy relationship.


I have to concur with the previous posts.
Open the glove compartment, take out the various booklets provided by Toyota, and begin to learn about your car.

Trust me, by actually reading the Owner’s Manual, and by following the Toyota Maintenance Schedule, you will wind up operating your car much more economically and much more safely. If you don’t know when to have various services performed, you can wind up doing damage to the vehicle and you can also be “taken” by unscrupulous service people.

There is an old Chinese proverb that says, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”.

We have all just taught you how to fish, so to speak.

I would simply use every 5000 miles or 6 months whichever first. I was told this years ago and have stuck with it.

Every 5k/6 months is fine, as long as the OP’s driving patterns do not fit the definition of Severe Service listed in his maintenance schedule.

Since the OP did not tell us about his/her driving patterns, it is possible that he/she should actually use the Severe Service maintenance schedule, which would call for fewer miles/less elapsed time between changes.

And, as many of us have found out, it seems that many driver’s car usage does fit the Severe Service definitions. This is just more evidence that the OP needs to read the maintenance schedule, rather than following suggestions that do not take his/her mystery driving patterns into account.

“I would simply use every 5000 miles or 6 months whichever first. I was told this years ago and have stuck with it.”

And your car has received good care. However years ago (somewhere in the 70 or 80’s for that 5,000 number) it would have been 100% correct. However modern oils and cars are not the same as they were in the 70’s. Today most cars can go further.

I suggest reading the owner’s manual and following the recommended maintenance for your kind of driving (severe service?). Doing it more often will only hurt your wallet a little so if you are going to error, doing it more often is better. Doint it too little can cost a lot.

Doesn’t the Prius have some kind of readout on the dashboard that tells you when the oil needs to be changed? What does the owner’s manual have to say on the subject?

If i owned a prius i would use a synthetic oil only because the motor starts and stops so much. If you cannot afford a synthetic oil change i would rec. using atleast a semi synthetic.

Synthetic oil is required for the Prius, and what does this have to do with beowulf’s question?

I’m Guessing That When One Doesn’t Know A Car’s Oil Change Interval, They May Also Need Help With A Recommended Oil.

I think that Srusinek’s Comments were appropriate and helpful, as intended. Whitey, your recommendation is also helpful and even more specific and goes right along with Beowulf’s question.


The current hybrids and newer more advanced one’s coming out someday soon change the whole when to change the oil question. It will be important to know and follow the mfgr’s recommendations. The every 5,000 model which is what I use myself will not fit these new types of cars well.

Hybrid gas motors run at a much more constant speed than the conventional gas engine. Therefore the combustion dynamics are easier to work with since they don’t idle, nor run at very high rpm’s. This means the motor’s combustion can be dialed in via computer to be much cleaner and less polluting than a conventional motor. Therefore less junk from the by products of combustion to pollute the oil.

While hybrids start and stop more frequently than normal motors the hybrids use sophisticated systems to stop the engine at juat the right point so that restarting is seamless and doesn’t put excess gas into the cylinders. Therefore stopping and starting will not add contaminants to the oil.

With a car like the Chevy Volt the gas motor may run very little in the 5,000 miles an owner puts on the car if most of that is short city commuting. My assumption is the Volt will have one of the oil change monitoring systems and that will tell the driver when to change the oil.

Oil change frequencies on the cars of the future could be 10K, 20K, or even 30K miles. Rather than a certain amount of time and/or miles these cars will tell us when to change the oil via a dash light, or text message on a screen. Changing more frequently based on old habits will be wasteful and unnecessary expense.

Perhaps I was too harsh, but I [b]seriously[/b] doubt you can find a non-synthetic or synthetic blend 0W-20 oil (which is what the Prius uses). All of the 0W-20 oil available is full synthetic. Also, I thought the “read the manual” advice covered this. I apologize if my question was uncivil, but I am 99.99999% sure the advice to use synthetic oil was redundant.

This raises an interesting point more generally. My 08 Accord’s owner’s manual says to change the oil when the maintenance minder says to. It does not give any mileage or time indication in the manual itself. I have been changing the oil after 6 months or 5,000 miles so far (the car has 18,000 miles on it); old habits die hard. The maintenance minder says there 30% or so oil life left when I’m changing the oil. Should I trust the readout or just go w my schedule?

To answer that with anything but a gut feeling to go on one would have to be privy to much technical information that only the manufacture has. This information would be test result data,the parameters that govern the maintiance minder and technical trade offs made when constructing the IC engine.

Toyota has stated their view by putting the minder in the vehicle,is it full of ****? only Toyota knows.

Because of this we can only err on the conservative side with “don’t mess with what works”.