How to Change the Engine Oil
2004-2009 Toyota Prius


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By far the most important maintenance item on any car is changing the engine oil and the Prius is no exception. Toyota recommends 5k change intervals but if you're using synthetic oil you can probably extend that a few thousand miles. The Prius makes this job simple because everything is so easy to access. The manual says to use 5W-30 oil.

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Tools Needed:

Parts/Supplies Needed:

1) Make sure the ICE has warmed up, this will help the oil drain. I usually do my oil changes after coming back from running errands.

2) Put the car on ramps or jack up the front and place it on jack stands. If you use ramps it helps to put boards in front of them to prevent them from slipping when you drive up on them. Engage the e-brake once you're up. I first learned of this trick from John's Prius site; he has a detailed Gen III oil change tutorial there.

3) Pop the hood and remove the oil fill cap.

4) Put some newspapers or a drop cloth down in case of any drips or spills and then position your oil drain pan under the oil drain plug. Remove the 14mm oil drain plug to drain the oil. Hint: Loosen the plug with your wrench and then do the rest by hand. Loosen the plug while lightly pushing on it until you can tell it's fully unthreaded, then quickly remove the plug and you can avoid a mess. I don't get any oil on my hands anymore ;) Keep an eye on the oil drain because you will have to adjust the oil pan location periodically.

Optional:After most of the oil has drained out I add about half a quart or whatever is left over from the last oil change to "flush" out more of the old oil.

5) While the oil is draining clean up the drain plug with a shop towel and install a new crush washer. PN #90430-12031.

6) Once the oil drain has come to a small drip, clean up the pan with a shop towel and hand thread the drain plug with the new crush washer until it's hand tight. Set your torque wrench and torque the 14mm plug to 28 ft-lb (38 Nm or 387 kgf-cm). Clean up any remaining oil on the pan.

7) Move your drain pan so it's under the oil filter and use your filter wrench to loosen it. Once the seal has broken some oil will start to drain out. Continue loosening the filter until it's unthreaded. Since it's almost completely vertical just keep it vertical while lowering it to the drain pan and then flip it over to drain out the oil in it. Thanks Toyota for making the filter accessable and vertical!

8) Dip your finger in some clean oil and coat the new filter gasket with oil. Clean up the area under the car and then hand thread the new filter onto the screw until the gasket contacts the seat. Use a marker to place a line on the bottom of the filter then hand turn the filter so it goes around 3/4 of a turn, the line will help you know when you've tightened it enough. You can also use your filter wrench along with a torque wrench and torque it to 13 ft-lb (17.5 Nm or 178 kgf-cm).

9) Refill with new SAE 5W-30 engine oil and then replace the oil filler cap. Now there is some some debate on the forums as to how much oil you should put in. It seems 3.5 US qts is all that's needed. Replace fill cap and take the car off the ramps/stands and check for leaks.


10) Properly dispose of the used engine oil and filter by bringing them in for recycling. What I do is I dump the drain pan into a 5 gallon jug I bought to store used oil. When the jug is full I bring it in to my county recycling center or to the local auto store. Most car stores accept used oil; there is no charge. DO NOT dump used oil in your backyard or down the drain, it is illegal!!!

11) Turn off the Maint Req light (if it was on due to this) and reset your oil/filter change counter on your MFD. I also write down my mileage and date I did the service so I know when it will need to be done again then put that into a OneNote notebook.




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Last revised: Sunday, 29-Oct-2023 16:36:54 EDT