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Our daughter was given a 2001 Toyota Echo with 205,823 miles. The previous owner (original owner) had the oil changed every 3 months at the dealership. The question, should we change the oil type to synthetic or keep putting what the dealer is putting in?

What do you want to do?

If the car’s in good condition at 206K mi, why not stick with what’s worked so far?

Do you know what type of oil the dealership used? Probably 5w-30…In the winter I would use 5w-20. Changing the oil every 6000 miles or so should be good enough…If mineral oil has brought the car 205K miles, I would stick with that…But changing to a synthetic or synthetic blend won’t hurt anything…

What part of the country do you live in? If in the frigid north, I’d use a synthetic oil of the specified grade in the manual for cold weather, in the south, the oil specified for year round use.

I would check what the dealer charges if that’s convenient, often for oil changes the price is OK.


Just to be clear to the OP, posting oil questions on this forum is like chumming the water while sharks are around!

Use what oil Toyota recommends, change it at the interval for severe duty and you should see another 80,000 miles at least.

There really is no need to go to synthetic. Only if the weight required is only available in synthetic such as 0-20. Likely the recommended oil is 5-20 or 5-30 year round. No need or gain to change anything.

Use what the owner’s manual recommends.

Synthetic’s main advantage is that it better withstands extreme conditions such as the high heat that turbochargers subject oil to. The Echo does not subject it’s oil to extreme conditions, it has no turbocharger, therefore synthetic is unnecessary.

I’d use synthetic if it’s under 20F.

By the way, IMHO the Echo is a great little car if properly cared for.

My neighbor had one. Unfortunately, he didn’t properly take care of it. The demise began with not addressing a coolant loss and letting the coolant run dry (never changed, never checked), then overheating the engine over and over and over and over again… and again and again… and again. He just repeatedly kept dumping coolant in the radiator and oil in to hole and driving it until it overheated again. Amazingly, it survived this abuse for a few years, perhaps even three. Until it finally said “enough” and gave up the ghost. It broke my heart to see a great little car like that beaten to death through neglect. I offered to help once, but he declined. Nice guy and a good neighbor, but just doesn’t care about his cars.

I don’t see any advantage in using synthetic oil for a car like this. It would just be a waste of money. Keep using the current oil.

I'd use synthetic if it's under 20F.

Conventional oil flows down to -35. It’s a little thick at that temps. But it’s still fine to 0F or lower. You won’t see a difference in engine life at with conventional or synthetic if the coldest temp you see is 20F. 20F is NOT cold.

Mineral oil has been fine for scores of years in most cars, including all cars like the Echo. Follow the owner’s manual directions for changing the oil and use the grade in the manual. It is likely also on the oil fill cap.

Why synthetic on a 200k mile car? It will provide no added benefit. And, even though some cars can extend oil changes with it, a 200k mile car has an engine sufficiently broken in where regular oil changes are much more beneficial. I have had several 'Yota vehicles that made it to ovr 300,000 miles with regular oil changes with dino oil and none suffered any oil-related repairs.

In a perverse sort of way, I can relate to your neighbor. The Tercel, Echo and Yaris are all cars made by the same company, Toyota which changed their name so customers would forget what wretched performers they were. Car companies do this to encourage sales of a new model that isn’t really new, just a retread. I think your neighbor “wanted” to Kill the car in a subtle way and short of selling it, he devised this scheme to make it look like he was maintaining it. I think everyday that car woke up and started was like a punch in the stomach. If I had an Echo and was “forced” to drive it everyday, I would plan accordingly. ;)))

I would not let my daughter drive an Echo/Tercel to college after we tried one out. I chose a used Accord instead. These cars are unsafe, poor performing on interstates in any wind, low powered cars that your loved ones would be better served by a Corolla or Civic. I would not take one…even as a gift, unless I could use it for target practice.

Dag, I think you need to stop smokin’ whatever you’re smokin’.

Me thinks that dagosa does not like the Echo.

The Echo is what it is; a spartan Econobox. For free, it’s worth a shot.

Rather than the OP being fixated on oil (just use what they’ve been using) what I would suggest is that the brakes and suspension be gone over and any needed repairs in those areas be taken care of immediately along with checking the tires and battery over.

“The Echo is what it is; a spartan Econobox. For free, it’s worth a shot.”

Another vote for using it for target practice…

One load of 00 Buck should just about do it… :slight_smile: