How to Reset the Maintenance Light on a Toyota Tacoma: 5 Easy Steps
Regular maintenance is key for a smoothly-running vehicle. If you own a Toyota Tacoma, you will notice a maintenance light coming from the instrument panel after hitting 5,000 miles on the road. Don’t worry when it appears; it’s just a reminder that your car needs to be serviced.
After carrying out the required maintenance, you’ll need to reset the light to allow the vehicle to keep track of distance, time, and other elements. This article provides a step-by-step guide for resetting the maintenance light on all Toyota Tacoma models.
Read on to find out.
What Is the Toyota Tacoma Maintenance Light?
Also referred to as the engine oil indicator, the maintenance light comes on the dashboard as “MAINT REQD” to notify the driver when an oil change is due. Changing the oil is a crucial maintenance practice as it improves fuel efficiency and keeps your engine running smoothly.
To ensure you don’t forget to change the oil in your Tacoma, you will see a 3-seconds maintenance light upon reaching 4,500 miles. It will flash for 15 seconds, and you won’t see it again until you get to 5,000 miles; but this time, the light won’t disappear unless you reset it manually.
A mechanic should reset it when you service your car. However, if you change the oil yourself or you visit a quick lube shop, you’ll also need to switch off the oil indicator by yourself. So, how do you do it?
How to Reset Maintenance Light on 2011 or Older Tacoma
Toyota Tacoma models from 2005–2011 will display a “MAINT REQD” message on the instrument cluster display to notify the driver that it’s time to change the oil.
How to Reset Maintenance Light on 2012–2017 Models
Toyota Tacoma models manufactured between 2012 and 2017 are more advanced. The steps for resetting their maintenance lights are pretty different too.
How to Reset Maintenance Light on 2018 and Newer Models
Unlike their older counterparts, new Tacomas come with an advanced display that eases everything up.
Can You Drive With the Maintenance Light On?
Yes, you can drive your vehicle safely even when the maintenance light comes on your dashboard. However, you should understand that the light is meant to remind you that the vehicle needs to be serviced, so you must drive with caution.
It’s also important to note that ignoring the oil change reminder increases the strain you are putting on your engine. While resetting it may take only a few minutes, disregarding the oil change reminder and leaving your engine unchecked is asking for damage to the engine.
Therefore, it’s better to take your Tacoma to your local mechanic as soon as you notice the maintenance light is on. They will carry out all the necessary checks and the light will go off before you even know it!
Could the “MAINT REQD” Light Indicate Engine Problem?
No, the “Maintenance Required” light doesn’t show up to indicate engine check. In your Toyota Tacoma, each dashboard component has its purpose and interpretation and you shouldn’t mistake the maintenance light for system malfunction. Rather, it’s a feature in all Toyota vehicles that indicates it’s time for scheduled maintenance.
Other Warning Signs Your Oil Needs Changing
Perhaps you changed your oil just recently but the “MAINT REQD” message appeared on your dashboard too soon. In that case, you might have to look out for these warning signs to know when an oil change is warranted, plus you need to repair the maintenance light.
How Long Can You Drive a Tacoma Without Changing Oil?
Oil change every 3,000 miles is now a thing of the past, thanks to the improvement in engine technology. Your Toyota Tacoma goes for 5,000 miles before needing an oil change.
Toyota recommends changing your Tacoma oil and filter after 3,000–5,000 miles for conventional oil and 7,500–10,000 miles for synthetic oil. Some careless owners travel as long as 50,000 miles before changing their oils, shortening the vehicle’s lifespan in the long run.
Nonetheless, it’s advisable to check with your dealer and your owner’s manual to find out the best intervals for your automobile.
What Happens if You Don’t Change Oil in Your Tacoma
The role of oil in engines is to help avert damage caused by friction and knocking and to separate the engine’s exciting parts from any disparate parts. A regular oil change is crucial for maintaining the required oil levels.
If unchanged, the oil will solidify inside the engine to form a sludge. It will then deprive the crankshafts, camshafts, bearings, and other valve elements of oil. Another critical function of oil is to cool the engine. For this reason, it’s important to ensure they don’t fall below the minimum level required.
Shortage of oil will consequently cause overheating, which may result in serious mechanical problems. It is safe to say, therefore, that failure to change the oil may end up costing you a lot of money in repair costs when the vehicle starts misbehaving.
If you followed the steps we outlined but your Tacoma still displays the maintenance light, then it’s likely you didn’t change the oil filler during the last maintenance round. Also, consult your local dealer or mechanic for a thorough inspection.
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Featured Image Credit: Paulino H, Shutterstock