House Grail is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How to Reset the Maintenance Light on a Toyota Tacoma in 5 Easy Steps

Toyota Tacoma

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.

car and road dividerWhat 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?

Toyota Tacoma
Toyota Tacoma (Image Credit: Alexander Migl, Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0)

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. Here is a 5-step guideline to follow when resetting it:

  • Turn the Ignition System Off: You won’t clear the maintenance light in pre-2011 Toyota Tacoma models when the ignition system is on. So, the first step is to turn the key to the “OFF” position.
  • Locate the Trip Stem Button: Once the engine has stopped, your next step will be to locate the trip stem button on the instrument panel. Find it on the right side of the speedometer and then press on it.
  • Turn the Ignition System On: Turn the ignition key to “ON” without releasing the trip stem button. By doing this, all the dashboard lights should come on, including the “MAINT REQD” message.
  • Release the Trip Stem Button: Wait until the odometer reads zero then release the trip stem button. The maintenance light should turn off and not appear until the odometer reads 5,000 miles again.
  • Contact a Mechanic: In case you followed these steps and nothing happened, you should consult a professional mechanic.

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. Here’s how to go about it:

  • Turn On the Ignition: Change the ignition key to “ON” but don’t start the car. If your car model is configured with the “START” button, then press it without engaging the brakes.
  • Switch the Display to Trip A: Upon pressing “START”, you will notice a “DISP” button on the dashboard. Press and hold it for a few seconds and another button “TRIP A” will appear. Then, release the button.
  • Turn Off the Ignition: Change the ignition position to “OFF”. After that, press and hold the ODO/trip button (also called the display change button) as you reach for Step 4.
  • Switch the Ignition Back to “ON”: Without releasing the ODO/trip button, turn the ignition key back to “ON”. Do it slowly so you don’t start the engine, otherwise you will have to start all over again.
  • Hold the ODO/Trip Button: You will notice the odometer counting back. Keep pressing until it reads all zeros, then release it. Congratulations, you have reset your Toyota Tacoma’s maintenance light.
toyota tacoma pickup
Image Credit: Dusty Barnes, Unsplash

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. This is how to disable the maintenance light after completing an oil change:

  • Power on Your Car: Without starting the engine, you’ll need to press the Power button first. This will ignite the car but ensure to keep your foot off the brake pedals- engaging them will activate the vehicle’s electronic system.
  • Select the Gear Icon: Move the left and right arrow buttons and select the gear icon shown on the info display.
  • Select “Settings”: Move the up and down arrows and select the “Settings” button on the display. Confirm using the middle button.
  • Select “Maintenance”: Move the up and down arrows until you come across the “Maintenance” button. Click on it.
  • Select “Reset”: Once more, scroll up and down until you see the “Reset” button. Hit the middle button and you’ll be prompted to confirm. Upon selecting “Finish”, your vehicle’s maintenance light will disappear and the odometer will start counting from zero again.

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!

red toyota tacoma off road
Image Credit: Kyle Winkle, Unsplash

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.

  • Change in Oil Color: Oil is translucent when clear, with a typical hue of amber. Over its service time in the engine, the oil picks up debris and turns gritty black. If you remove the dipstick but you can’t read it because of color change, it means an oil change is due.
  • Uncommon Engine Sound: When oil levels are too low, the engine parts start grinding against each other because there’s no lubrication. You should change the oil as soon as you realize a knocking noise from the engine.
  • The Smell of Burning Oil: Whenever you capture a burning oil smell, it’s either there’s an oil leak or oil shortage. You may also see some dust or smoke when the levels are too low.

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.

car and road dividerConclusion

Resetting the maintenance light on your Toyota Tacoma is a simple process. In less than a minute, you can turn off your car, press and hold the odometer button, and turn it on and off again.

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.

See also:


Featured Image Credit: Paulino H, Shutterstock

Related posts

OUR categories

Project ideas

Hand & power tools

woodworking

Garden

Automotive