Keeping up with your oil changes and using the right grade can help keep your Toyota RAV4 running smoothly and efficiently. Conversely, the wrong oil can cause problems with your engine.
The Right Oil
The Toyota RAV4 owner's manual recommends using 5W-30 grade oil. The lighter weight is optimal in the vehicle, according to Toyota. Toyota also recommends using API (American Petroleum Institute) approved oil or ILSAC (International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee) oil. Either or both may be marked on the outside of the oil container.
Oil and Temperature
Toyota points out that the 5W-30 continues to perform well even in temperatures as low as --1.11 degrees C. And while the engine will run normally with 10W-30 oil under normal conditions, you may experience problems starting an engine with 10W-30 in it at temperatures below -17.8 degrees C. Interestingly, 10W-30 does outperform the 5W-30 at temperatures over 37.8 degrees C.
Automotive maintenance professionals have noted in recent years that improvements in new vehicles have made the 3,000-mile oil change standard obsolete. Driving 4,000 or more miles between changes won't cause the problems it once did. However, if you have an older vehicle, you will still want to change the oil every 3,000 miles. And if you are experiencing engine troubles, it remains a good idea to change every 3,000 miles.