7 Tips for Taking Care of an Older Toyota

2017 Toyota Camry

Toyotas are built to last, so it's not unusual to hang on to your high-mileage model for a decade or more. If your trusty Toyota is more than 10 years old, it's important to understand how to best maintain the vehicle so that it remains with you for many more years to come.

Schedule Regular Oil Changes

With any high-mileage vehicle, you should be scheduling an oil change every 3,000 to 4,000 miles, which works out to be about once every four months. Mechanics often use special high-mileage oil containing additives designed specifically for older vehicles, helping them run smoother between oil changes.

Regular oil changes are necessary for keeping your car's fluids clean and fresh, but they're also a great chance for professional technicians to inspect the car's other systems to ensure they're in proper working order. This process can spot early warning issues, allowing you to tackle them before they become major problems.

Follow the Recommended Maintenance Schedule

Along with frequent oil changes, you'll need to stick to your car's recommended maintenance schedule for proper servicing guidelines. This information can be found in your owner's manual, but ask a Toyota-certified maintenance technician if you're still not sure how often to have your vehicle serviced.

Regular maintenance will check for items that need to be replaced at certain intervals, such as the timing belt. Most vehicles should have their timing belts changed every 60,000 to 90,000 miles, so if you have an older Toyota, this is one service you'll definitely need sooner rather than later.

Keep an Eye on the Brake System

All of the systems in high-mileage vehicles have aged quite a bit since the car was rolled off the assembly line, and the brake system is no exception. While your mechanic may suggest otherwise, most experts recommend flushing the brake system completely once every two years to keep it running smoothly


A brake system flush removes moisture and fluid from the car's system and replaces it with clean, fresh fluid, ensuring the brakes operate at peak performance. A brake system flush will also increase your brake system's lifespan, helping you reduce future maintenance costs.

Splurge on Quality Replacement Parts

At some point, your high-mileage Toyota will need some kind of replacement part. When that happens, invest in quality OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts. Genuine Toyota parts are designed with your vehicle in mind, so there's no point in opting for cheaper, less reliable parts if you hope to keep your vehicle running for a few more years.

OEM parts tend to cost more than their aftermarket counterparts, but you can be confident you're making the right decision for your high-mileage vehicle.

Keep the Car Clean

Some vehicles rust long before their internal components ever wear out, but you can avoid this problem by keeping your Toyota cleaned properly. Climate can do a number on any vehicle, so if your car is exposed to the elements, then ensure that it gets a thorough run-through at the car wash at least once a month. Waxing your Toyota will also protect against minor scratches that have the potential to turn into rust issues if left unchecked.

While a professional cleaning and car detailing job is worth the investment, you can easily learn how to do the job at home. When you're committed to having your car detailed on a regular basis, learning how to do it yourself is a smart move.

Fix Things Immediately

Keeping your Toyota for as long as possible means staying on top of even the tiniest issues. Whenever something breaks or even sounds off, schedule a service appointment right away. Ignoring seemingly unimportant issues can result in major damages or costly repairs, so why take that chance?

Seemingly insignificant problems like torn upholstery, broken trims, strange noises, or electrical glitches start to add up over time if they're not addressed right away, which wear down your old car little by little. Fixing these things as they pop up means shelling out less cash at once and keeping your car in the best shape.

Build a Repair Fund

Nobody wants to be faced with a $2,000 repair bill, but when you have an older high-mileage vehicle, you never know what could happen. If your car is over 10 years old, then start building a modest repair fund in case of emergencies. When you consider that an average transmission replacement costs between $4,000 and $8,000, you can better estimate how much you should aim for in saving for your emergency repair fund.

Keep in mind, though, if your older Toyota is costing you a lot of money in frequent repairs and servicing, it may be more cost-effective in the long run to buy a newer model.

Categories: Service, Car Tips


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