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The 5 Most Important Toyota Maintenance Items for Owners

Here’s a question I often get: “My Toyota has 100,000 miles, what are the top 5 things I can do to keep it running like new?”

Here at Highline, I’ve seen it dozens of times. A new client walks in the door with their Toyota Camry, 4Runner, or Corolla because the “Maint” light is flashing on their dash.

First off, don’t fret! Newer Toyotas are so smart, they know when it’s time to change the oil.

This “Maint” light will start flashing at 4,500 miles upon start up and go away. At 5,000 miles since your last service, that “Maint” light will stay illuminated while driving. At this point, you know it is time to get it in for service.

Toyota Maintenance

If you bought yours brand new, you already know how easy Toyota maintenance is.

  • Oil change every 5,000 miles.
  • Tire rotation every 10,000 miles
  • Engine and cabin air filters every 15,000 miles
  • Repeat.

New Toyota maintenance is quick and easy on the pocketbook.

As your Toyota adds miles, there are more intensive preventative maintenance items professionals recommend. The individual services won’t be unfamiliar. Owners have heard of each of them over time. Our team only recommends these services when necessary and our customers have come to appreciate that we begin mentioning the services as “something you’ll want to have done in the future” so they can prepare.

Here is a list of the top 5 most important (and commonly overlooked Toyota maintenance items).

Automatic Transmission Fluid Replacement

Check out our article on transmission fluid HERE for more specifics. But the bottom line is that here in the East Valley, Highline Car Care recommends servicing your Toyota transmission fluid every 60,000 miles.

Drive Belt Replacement

In Arizona, we have seen Toyota engine drive belts (or serpentine belt) dry out and eventually crack at 60,000-80,000 miles. If you are way over this mileage, there is a good chance your belt may have ideas of “packing up and quitting its job.”

In other words, that belt could crack at any moment.

Your car relies on this engine drive belt to keep your power steering, air conditioning, alternator, and water pump turning and doing their jobs. This is something we begin monitoring prior to 60,000 miles and keep our customers up to speed on.

Spark Plug Replacement

Toyota spark plugs have a very tedious job and extreme working conditions. We recommend replacement every 90,000 miles to keep your Toyota running at top efficiency and performing as it was meant to. Check out our article HERE if you’d like to learn a bit more about spark plugs.

Engine Coolant Replacement

Recommended Toyota maintenance and the Highline maintenance schedule* agree on this – your coolant should be replaced at 100,000 miles. This is crucial to keeping your cooling system free of debris and corrosion. On a case by case basis, we will recommend replacing your radiator hoses at the same time.

*Arizona driving conditions, Phoenix in particular, are much more extreme than many other states in the US. Every vehicle manufacturer has a recommended maintenance schedule that provides general maintenance milestones. After working on vehicles in the East Valley since the 90’s we have developed our own maintenance schedule that better reflects the needs of a vehicle in the Phoenix area. You can see this maintenance schedule here.

Struts, Struts, Struts!

This is probably the most overlooked maintenance item on your Toyota. They are hard at work, day in and day out, keeping your vehicle’s tires in contact with the pavement. A good strut will keep your vehicle riding and handling like a new car. A worn out strut might make your ride feel more like that of a cruise ship. Excessive swaying and your car will continue to bounce long after you have hit that dip in the road or speed bump in the parking lot.  

Toyota struts don’t commonly leak when they fail (many manufacturers struts do), so it is sometimes overlooked upon inspection. At Highline, we have patented the “bounce test” (see what I’m talking about in this video) to determine if you are due for strut replacement. Trust me when I say this – you WILL notice a huge difference in the way your vehicle drives after we replace those worn struts!

Staying On Top of Toyota Maintenance Will Keep Your Vehicle Running “Forever”

These are just a few of the commonly overlooked items I can think about while sitting in front of the computer.  If you haven’t been in to see us yet, give us a call, (480) 336-2889.  Our 33 point inspection is always free, and what’s more is we will put together a list of maintenance and repair items you need to be aware of so you can begin planning on future care for your Toyota.

Our shop, Highline Car Care, is the best option for your Toyota maintenance needs. We have been in business since 2000 and in that time we have cared for and serviced thousands vehicles, a great deal of them being Toyotas. We’ve seen it all.

We’re located west of Mesa Drive just south of US 60. You can learn more about us here and get directions to our Mesa auto shop here.

Wes Hawkins

Owner of Highline Car Care

Wes Hawkins, Owner of Highline Car Care

Wes Hawkins is the Owner of Highline Car Care in Mesa, Arizona. Highline works on all makes and models with a special emphasis placed on Toyota, Honda, Acura and other Japanese designed and manufactured vehicles.

Highline has grown from Wes in his garage doing repair and maintenance work for family and friends to their current shop located in Mesa, Arizona.