CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Toyota Rav 4 oil filter

I have a 2011 Toyota Rav 4 and am doing my first oil change on it. The dealer has taken care of the first 25k miles free, now at 30k it is time for me to take over. I am disappointed to find out that Toyota uses a cartrige filter and even more disappointed that they require a “special wrench” for this cartrige. After finding out that none of the many oil filter wrenches that I own do not fit I have had to special order this wrench at my local parts store. Can anyone give me some insights into their conversion from spin on filter to a cartrige filter? It seems regressive to me. Does anyone know of anyone who has converted to a spin on filter? We love our Toyotas, they have always been dependable and relatively easy for me to maintain. Thanks all.

I think the change was made in the neverending mandate-guided quest for reducing nonrecyclable materials. If only the element goes in the dump, a higher percentage of the vehicle is recycaible. I gave nothing to back me on this, it’s just my guess.

Personally, I like spin-ons better.

You will get use to it. I had them on my early SAAB and others. Stock up on a few.

My wifes Lexus ES-350 has the cartridge filter also. But it’s encased in a spin type container. I use a regular filter wrench to spin it off. Then I remove the cartridge…clean it out…replace the gaskets and put it back on. It is far more green then the spin-on filter. Takes just a little longer then a spin-on filter.

My 07 Camry probably used the same filter cartridge. It is an odd size. Most sockets are 75mm approx but the Camry is 74mm and the socket spins. I checked the toyota parts bin and they have avast steel, chrome plated model for $60. I found an ugly, not plated version online for $12 and it works great. Autozone sells them under their “professional” line of tools. I got rid of Camry so I don’t use socket anymore. U can have it

The 2010=12 Camrys and Rav-4s use a 64 mm cap wrench. The wrench from Advance Auto Parts
broke the first time it was used. There are better ones on Amazon. I remember when all the cars had cartridge filters. They cost less than a dollar. When the spin on filters first came out they were expensive. Now they charge more for the “new” catridge ones.

I have a 2011 RAV4 4 cylinder. The best filter wrench will grab the ears of the housing, not just the flutes. In some ways the cartridge system is less messy than the spin on filter but in some ways it’s not. Once you get proficient in using that initial drain spigot or nipple, which is the messiest part, it’s not so bad.

You are right about the oil cartridge being regressive. I hope the trend does not continue unless it’s tire pressure indicators and ABS systems. You can add CEL systems to that list also.

Whether it’s “regressive” or not depends on whether you prefer ease of maintenance or protecting the earth. I like preventing unnecessary waste, but also like ease of maintenance. I want to have my cake and eat it too.

The cast steel filter sockets fit much better than the stamped steel sockets. I tried all the new sockets at store and none fit right. U would think 1 mm would not be a big deal on a 64mm socket. But it is enough to make the socket spin.