Vehicle Rarely Gets Fully Warmed Up. How Often for Oil Changes?

Our 2009 Toyota RAV4 with 100.000 miles on it went being driven 90 minutes on the highway Monday through Friday to being driven each day for just one or two short trips of five minutes or less. What would be a good oil change interval for a vehicle used in this manner? Toyota’s scheduled maintenance document for this vehicle calls for oil changes every 5,000 miles or 6 months for all driving conditions.

There’s your answer.



Ye,s 6 months. For some reason people seem confused by the words every 5000 miles or 6 month. It means whichever cones first.

Change the oil every six months and on the weekend take a 20-30 minute ride to warm the engine up and charge the battery

You forgot the MOST important part, "whichever comes first"



If the vehicle is driven 5 miles each day, 6 months would be approximately 900 miles, that is frequent enough.

I was not clear. I understand the 5K miles or 6 months whichever comes first. No problem there. I was wondering if that rule should be halved somewhat if the daily drive is extremely short, like 1/4 mile round trip.

Sounds like the consensus the short drives are not harmful and the Toyota guidance should be followed. Sorry for the confusion.

Maybe you could take the RAV4 for a 20 to 30 minute drive every other week to warm it up. That would help keep the battery charged and blow the condensation out of the exhaust.

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Our extended warranty for Rav4 oly requires once a year. Short trip mostly also. Went to check the oil could not remove dipstick, rusted in place due to short trips they said, they removed the tube, lubed it up, no charge,

If the interval should be halved for short drives, the manual would’ve said so.

I disagree, 6 months should be fine.
However, the OP would be a candidate for a plug in electric.

You meant to say a candidate for walking or bicycling to these destinations :laughing:

That too would be a possibility. Where I live they would use a golf cart.

Maybe not if they’re carrying a bass violin. :rofl:

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I’m not the driver of the vehicle in question, but I have lost my nerve for riding a bicycle in traffic. I stick to bike path riding now. When I was a teen my buddies and I did lots of day trip rides on busy two-lane roads with narrow gravel shoulders. Fearless back then.

They want your wife to carry the groceries on a bicycle, I’m sure there wives are provided with a vehicle.

Man, Toyota spells it out exactly and breaks it down for you…and people still have questions!

If anything, I would follow the severe maintenance recommendations rather than extending oil changes, but I think every 6 months should be fine

If you look back, the OP was considering 3 month oil changes, which I do not think would be necessary. However, unless he has a battery maintainer, that will probably be a problem.

It could well depend upon environmental conditions also as that has a lot to do with it.
Here in northern OK we are generally east of the dry line and there’s a world of difference between the east and west sides of it; not to mention the always present dust.

Does operating an engine in a cold climate where the engine is not run long enough to get up to operating temperature lead to engine oil sludge?