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1996 Toyota Camry:
How often do I Change the Oil?

Alex Steele
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I am the proud owner of a '96 Toyota Camry, and I really love my car. However, I'm a bit confused as far as mileage between oil changes is concerned. I don't drive hard, but I do put a lot of miles on the car, about 25,000 a year.




I could tell you some stories. I've seen the inside of a 100,000 mile engine so clean I had to wash my hands before I worked on it. On the other hand, I have inspected a few cars with 15,000 miles on the odometer, with the factory oil filter still in place, and the oil was thick enough to clog a garbage disposal.


That's the difference between changing the oil every 500 miles and never changing it at all. Now here's what you should do. Most manufacturers recommend an oil change about every 3,000 miles unless you drive at a constant 52.3 mph in a sterile environment, and at room temperature. Now, if you do a lot of serious highway driving (40,000 miles or more a year) it's all right to go 5,000 or 6,000 miles between oil changes. The oil doesn't take the same abuse as it does in normal stop and go driving. In the case of your Camry, though, I would stick with 3,000 or 4,000 miles as a good guideline. Changing your oil this frequently should keep the engine squeaky clean for years to come.


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Toyota | Engine Damage | Maintenance
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Bobby Roman
27 Jan 2013, 20:56
I own Toyotas. Should I change the oil if under 4000 miles a year, after one year?
30 Jan 2013, 06:38
Yes, if you care about the car.

Moisture builds up in the oil due to lack of use. You should change it annually even if you don't go anywhere.
Jeff Bloomberg
16 Mar 2013, 18:13
As someone who bought my Camry brand new and still owns it at nearly 400,000 miles, trust me when I say just follow the owner's manual and do all the recommended services. No more, no less.

The manual states to change it every 5,000 miles if you drive it hard (towing, stop-and-go, long idle periods, etc.). For normal usage, it instructs every 7,500 miles. The engineers who designed these things know what they are talking about, I'd listen to their advice.

I mainly do freeway, and used to change the oil every 7-8K. Since the car now burns a quart every 3K, I dump a quart in at 3K and change the oil by 6K.

Car still works great. Aside from following the service intervals, I have a trusted mechanic who advises me if I need to replace other items before they fail on me. We are college buddies, though, so I can trust his advice.


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