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Toyota RAV4 oil. Ripped off?

I have a 2008 Toyota RAV4, V6 4x4.

I took it into the dealer for an oil and filter change on 1 July 09. I supplied a carton of 6 qts of Mobile 1 and a filter element which I got from the dealer parts dept. I had the work order note the oil & filter element in the rear of the car.

The glove box book quotes the 3.5 L V6 engine oil capacity as 6.1 liter or 6.4 qt (P430.) (actually 6.1 L = 6.45 qt at .946 L/qt)

I got the car back & checked the oil after the car had sat overnight on a flat surface. The oil level was ABOVE the second hole on the dip stick indicating a slight overfill. If they had used the 6 qts of Mobile 1, the dipstick should have indicated .45 qt LOW should it not?

So what?s going on? They probably changed the oil with the engine hot so was there a half a qt or so oil hidden in the hot engine that did not drain? Is the dipstick incorrect?

Or did they not read the work order & just fill with ?Toyota oil? per normal. Then someone read the work order, said ?Oh darn? and took the case of Mobile One home with them?

Neither the empty carton nor the empty oil bottles were returned to me.

and when you questioned the service manager what did he/she say???

Did you tell them you wanted the empty bottles?

Why do you ask if you were ripped off? You haven’t told us what they charged you. How can we determine whether or not you’ve been ripped off? You’re speculating wildly with little to go on.

Dealers almost always overfill slightly. A half-quart is normal. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying they often do it. It won’t hurt anything. I think they do it because they know most people never check their oil, and this way the engine won’t run low quite as soon. Just a guess.

Why, oh why, would you take your own oil and filter to a Toyota dealer? I don’t get it? You bought the filter element from the parts department, so it’s no different from what they would have used anyway. The only thing different is the oil. They probably laughed at you, and I don’t blame them.

My guess is they poured your six quarts in, knowing it wasn’t enough, and then added some oil from their tank. They don’t use quart bottles, they have a large tank of oil which is pumped through a hose under pressure. Then the tech started the engine for a few seconds, just long enough for the oil pressure warning light to go off, then he or she shut the engine off and checked the oil again.

At this point the oil might have read slightly low on the dipstick. Or not. If it was a tad low the tech may have added a bit more. If it showed slightly above the second hole, the tech thought, “OK, perfect,” and went on to his/her next job.

But even if your worst fears are realized, and someone put “Toyota oil” in your vehicle and took your expensive Mobil1 home with them, your RAV-4 won’t know the difference. It will run just as well, and it will last just as long.

You, my friend, are the perfect candidate for DIY oil changes. If you want to use Mobil1 (you’re wasting your money, but that’s your business), and that’s not what the dealer uses, you should just change your own oil. You’ll save money and you’ll be much happier. Maybe.

The warranty on your RAV-4 will remain in effect as long as you keep records of your oil changes, with receipts for the oil and filter elements. If you don’t want to do this, I suggest you find a good independent mechanic who’s willing to use the oil you want and do the oil changes for you.

And that 1/100 of a quart you’re so worried about (6.4 vs 6.45) really matters. NOT!

You bought an oil filter from the dealer’s parts department, and then brought it to the service department, along with your own oil? I am having a REALLY hard time understanding the logic of buying a part from the dealership and then handing it to personnel from…the dealership.
Or, am I missing something here?

Anyway, I think that the OP is obsessing over something that is not worth obsessing about.

Oh, and if your oil is missing, perhaps it is because you bought “Mobile” oil.
Next time, buy Mobil oil, as it is less likely to move, as compared to Mobile oil.
(I’m sorry. The Devil made me say that.)


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  1. I agree with the above (odd thing to do, IMHO)
  2. Regardless of source you have to change it at the manual-recommended interval anyway.
  3. Find an independent mechanic to do this.

Why would you buy your own oil and filter, and then pay someone else to do the oil change? Why not just use their oil and filter?

Unless the owner’s manual says you need to use synthetic oil, it is a waste of money. You can’t leave it in longer than normal oil or you will void the warranty. Since you have to change the oil according to your maintenance schedule, you might as well use the type of oil recommended in your owner’s manual, which I am willing to bet isn’t synthetic.

I can understand why you went to the dealership if you paid a reasonable price for the oil change. Many dealerships will do oil changes cheaper than independent mechanics. Next time just let them use their oil and their filter, and everything will be fine.

Even if they ripped you off and used their oil, your engine will be just fine with the oil they used.

If you want to have your own oil used the best way is to find a friendly local mechanic and go there for the oil changes. You can watch them pour your own oil in.

I have a Caravan and the tranny on this is very sensitive to the ATF type. I bought my own ATF and took it to the shop. I watched the guy do the work. When he was going to fill the tranny, he walked to their own barrel and was going to use his own ATF. I reminded him that my ATF is in the trunk. In this case they actually weren’t going to charge me for the ATF, so if anything he was ripping himself off. But he was just doing what he is used to do.

Possibly they topped it off when they misread the stick or the capacity is not exact.

People think you are funny supplying your own oil however my Subaru dealer does allow you to supply your own synthetic oil and still charges the same price($28/filter) for an oil change for conventional. They charge $70 for a Synthetic oil change using their brand.

Without a returned container you never know but did you actually ask for it? My dealer apparently returns last container as Subaru capacity is not quite 5 qts.

Personally I don’t use synthetic (with turbo car!) but just observed all this going on.

Now tell me how sure you are that your oil was used in the engine even when you have the returned container?

Same could be said for when you pay the $70 for synthetic oil. You either have to watch them do it or trust them.

Correct. That Correct Trans Fluid For These Is Extremely Important.


I would bet your listed capacity is for a completely dry engine. When you do an oil change, there may be a small amount that doesn’t drain out even if the engine is sitting. My truck has a listed capacity of 4.5 qts. When I do an oil change, I only refill it with 4.25 qts. and it’s still always slightly overfilled.

Old Fart, See If You Can Find Another Place For Your Oil Changes.

I change oil on all of our family vehicles. I do it for several reasons.

[list]I am thrifty. [/list]
[list]I am particular about the filter choice and oil choice (* Mobil-1).[/list]
[list]It is more convenient for our schedule (“Town” is a 40 mile round trip).[/list]
[list]I get nervous when my car gets lifted into the air by “mechanics”.[/list]

My nearest GM Dealer has a fairly new quick lube facility that is adjacent to (adjoining) the dealership. They work on all Makes. They have highly experienced Goodwrench oil change guys. They run specials to get cars in and charge next to nothing.

I have used this place during times when the ambient temperature stays below zero for a few weeks and a change is due.

Here’s what’s cool. No appointment needed. They have a pit. No lifting the vehicle. They have no rule about “Customers Not Allowed”). You can drive in and get out and watch. They will do a change and filter for about $23 (filter & 5 quarts) or will gladly let you supply the oil and filter and deduct some for that! They are polite and friendly and will check and top off all fluids if you’d like. Mine are usually topped. I always wonder why I bother changing my own oil.

  • Note: Mobil-1 or synthetic oil is specified for use by GM for my car if it is started in sub-zero weather. It is. I do.

Old fart, try and find a better place.
You’ll be fart’n through silk!

America, What A Country!


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Residual oil can take hours and hours to settle back down into the oil pan; and even then not all of it may settle.
There is no way a shop is going to allow a car to tie up a service rack all day long waiting for oil to settle.

The last thing any shop needs is yet more grungy junk lying around so odds are the carton and bottles were immediately consigned to the dumpster.
If you asked for the emptys I’m sure they would have gladly turned them over to you. If you did not ask then you have no valid complaint on that issue.

There is only one way and expensive way to tell if your oil was used in your engine and that would be an oil analysis. The other option is to take CSA reply and use it in the future. I have maybe 5 customers of mine that come in wanting a different brand of oil than i offer but trust us to do the work. As always if it’s nice out they stand out front and watch me perform the service or i put them on a bay that where they can see all the action. They just can’t be on top of me while i do the service. I usually only charge them 20 to 25 bucks to do this and still give them a receipt. Sometimes you get those people who want only this brand or this filter and the best way to take care of them is to give them the level of servie they’re looking for.

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