Toyota 4Runner 1996-2002: How to Change Your Oil

Replacing the engine oil in the Toyota 4Runner is the most important piece of maintenance you can regularly do. Learn how to do it here.

By Bassem Girgis - January 21, 2016

This article applies to the Toyota 4Runner (1996-2002).

The engine oil is designed to lubricate all of the metal engine components inside your Toyota 4Runner's engine. After a while (5,000 miles is the rough number), the oil starts losing its texture, which causes it to be less of a lubricant. The longer you wait, the more damage you cause to your engine's internal parts. Replacing the engine oil is an easy procedure, and even though it doesn't cost much to do it at an auto shop, you can still save money and get a sense of achievement if you do it on your own. Read on to learn how to replace your own engine oil in the 4Runner.

Materials Needed

  • Drain pan
  • Wrench
  • Oil filter wrench
  • Oil filter
  • Engine oil
  • Jack and jack stands (optional)

Step 1 – Drain old oil

If you're comfortable working in a tight space, you don't need to raise the car. However, if you feel more comfortable raising it, then jack it up, securing it with jack stands before sliding under it.

Open the oil filler cap on top of the engine. Then locate the drain plug on the oil pan. Place the drain pan under the oil pan, then loosen the drain plug to drain the old oil. Let it drain until the oil stops pouring out.

Drain plug on the bottom of oil pain
Figure 1. Drain plug on the bottom of oil pain.

Step 2 – Replace oil filter

Using your oil filter wrench, loosen the old oil filter by rotating it counter-clockwise, then remove it. Install the new air filter in place, and tighten it by turning it clockwise. Apply some oil on the oil filter's gasket before installing it.

Bottom view of oil filter
Figure 2. Bottom view of oil filter.

Step 3 – Fill with new oil

After tightening up the drain plug, pour oil into the engine. You will need roughly 6.5 quarts of oil. After filling up, close the engine oil filter, then start the car and let it run for a few minutes, then turn it off and check your dipstick. Don't drive the vehicle if it's low on oil. Be sure to check the dipstick for a few days after to make sure there are no leaks from the drain plug or the oil filter.

Check dipstick to ensure proper oil level
Figure 3. Check dipstick to ensure proper oil level.

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