Best Oil For Toyota Corolla 2021 – Buying Guide and Review

The Toyota Corolla is one of the most iconic Japanese sedans ever made. It first became popular in the United States during the late-70s and early-80s, when the demand for fuel-efficient compact cars was at its highest and fuel prices were astronomical.

 It didn’t take long for Corolla to become one of the top-selling cars in the world, and in 1997 it surpassed the popularity of the famous VW Beetle! In 2016, Toyota hit a company landmark after selling 44 million Corollas worldwide. 

The cars are known for their incredible reliability and longevity, with many Corollas surpassing 250,000 miles with little to no major repairs on the powertrain. This, combined with their incredible fuel efficiency, sporty feel and appearance, and award-winning safety features, has led to the Corolla being as much of a family car as a vehicle for younger drivers. 

In today’s article, we’re going to give you an in-depth breakdown of some of the best oils on the market for your Toyota Corolla. From standard conventional oil to advanced full synthetic and high-mileage formulas, we’ve done our best to provide you with a comprehensive overview of the best lubricants that money can buy. 

Additionally, we’ve also taken the liberty of giving you a step-by-step instructional on how to change your Toyota Corolla’s oil and answered some of the most frequently asked questions about changing the oil in your Corolla. Let’s take a look! 

Best Oil To Put In Your Toyota Corolla

If you go the extra mile and take excellent care of your Corolla’s engine, then achieving 250,000 miles or even 300,000 miles in your car is an easy accomplishment. The best thing that you can do, by far, to improve the quality of your engine, maintain its performance and fuel efficiency, and ensure its longevity is to always use high-quality oil and keep up with regular oil changes. 

Almost all modern Toyota Corolla’s (manufactured after 2009) should use 0W-20 motor oil. This oil is thinner and reduced the resistance that the pistons have to push through. This, in turn, improves the engine’s fuel economy and ensures that its power output is operating at the top end. 

If you’re in a bind, then you can also substitute a 5W-20 for the recommended 0W-20 motor oil. Both 0W-20 and 5W-20 oil are almost exactly the same and have the same weight (as indicated by the -20 suffix). The only difference is that 5W-20 may create more resistance in incredibly cold temperatures of -25 degrees Fahrenheit or below. However, unless you live in an area that regularly drops below -25, then this shouldn’t be an issue. 

If you drive an older model Toyota Corolla (manufactured prior to 2008), then Toyota recommends using 5W-30 motor oil. This oil weight is slightly heavier and is able to provide better protection from wear and tear. In addition to using 5W-30 in older model-year Corollas, it’s also a good idea to use 5W-30 in high-mileage motors (100,000 miles or more), even if it’s a newer model Corolla. 

Now that we’ve gotten some of the technical details out of the way, it’s time to show you all of the best oils for your Corolla. In accordance with the information that we’ve just presented, the oil types you’ll find on the list will be a mixture of 0W-20, 5W-20, and 5W-30 oil weights. 

Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic SAE 0W-20 Motor Oil

Valvoline’s Advanced Full Synthetic 0W-20 oil not only meets all of the modern industry standards for engine wear protection but exceeds them. In fact, this particular oil has been proven to provide 50% better protection than today’s minimum standards, making it a great choice if you want a long-lasting Toyota Corolla. 

Valvoline’s patented formula contains added detergents that help to break down engine sludge as you drive and prevent engine gunk from building up in the first place. These detergents also keep your pistons clean, which helps your engine maintain optimal fuel efficiency and ensure that you don’t lose any horsepower due to dirty cylinders. 

Pros

  • Exceeds all industry standards for engine wear protection. 
  • Added detergents for an ultra-clean engine and pistons. 
  • Designed to perform well under extreme temperatures. 

Cons

  • May not be a good choice for an older model or high-mileage Corolla. 

Castrol 03124 Edge 0W-20 Advanced Full Synthetic Motor Oil

If you’re the type of person who enjoys pushing the limits of their Corolla while driving at high speeds down the freeway, then you should definitely look into Castrol Edge 0W-20 Advanced Full Synthetic Oil. This oil is specially formulated to perform well under the extremely hot temperatures that are generated at higher RPMs. 

Its claim to fame is the patented liquid titanium molecules that are included in the synthetic blend. When engine temperatures and internal pressure increase, lower-quality oils can often produce added friction and reduce your total power output. However, Castrol Edge’s titanium molecules activate under higher temperatures and ensure that the oil’s viscosity remains consistent, providing optimal lubrication while reducing internal engine friction. 

Pros

  • Designed for high-performance driving and daily driving alike. 
  • Patented liquid titanium technology for enhanced protection. 
  • Maintains steady oil viscosity under high temperatures. 

Cons

  • May be too thin for older model Corollas. 

TOYOTA Genuine OEM 0W-20 Motor Oil

Sometimes, keeping it simple is the best way to go if you want to avoid any unnecessary confusion. If this describes your situation, then your best bet may just be to go with the manufacturer-formulated recommended OEM 0W-20 oil. 

Toyota’s oil is a full synthetic that’s specially formulated for use in modern Toyota and Lexus models, so it will suit your post-2009 Corolla just fine. While it doesn’t have as many of the added cleaning detergents and high-performance additives that other full synthetic oils have, it’s a great all-around oil that’s designed to help your Corolla’s engine stand the test of time. 

Pros

  • Designed by Toyota for Toyota engines. 
  • Full synthetic blend to maximize engine longevity. 

Cons

  • Not the best option for high-mileage Toyotas. 
  • Doesn’t contain high-performance additives. 

Mobil 1 0W-20 Advanced Fuel Economy Full Synthetic Motor Oil

Mobil 1 0W-20 Advanced Fuel Economy Full Synthetic Oil is designed for today’s small engines. It provides an incredible level of engine protection and contains a number of compounds that are designed to protect your engine through high temperatures or while driving through stop-and-go traffic during rush hour. 

As a full synthetic, you’ll only need to change this oil every 10,000 miles, which means that you’ll actually save money in the long run, despite the higher upfront cost of the oil itself. 

Pros

  • Designed to maximize your Corolla’s fuel economy. 
  • Guaranteed protection for 10,000 miles between oil changes. 

Cons

  • It’s a bit more expensive than other synthetic blends. 

Pennzoil 550046127 Platinum Full Synthetic Motor Oil 0W-20

Pennzoil’s Platinum 0W-20 is a full synthetic motor oil that’s designed to keep your engine clean with added detergents and cleaning agents that help to remove sludge, gunk, and other engine build-ups that can significantly decrease your engine performance. In addition, it also contains a number of patented compounds that provide superior lubrication, even at high RPMs and gridlock traffic. 

What makes this full synthetic oil really stand out from other synthetics on the market is the fact that it’s made from 100% natural gas. Unlike other full synthetics that are made from a crude oil base, Pennzoil’s commitment to using natural gas means that your engine will produce fewer carbon emissions and reduce your carbon footprint on the environment. 

Pros

  • Made from natural gas, which reduces your Corolla’s carbon emissions. 
  • Superior compounds to protect your engine from wear and tear under strain. 
  • Added cleaning agents to keep your pistons and cylinders firing clean. 

Cons

  • Not a great choice for high-mileage Corollas. 

Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic SAE 5W-20 Motor Oil

As we mentioned above, 5W-20 motor oil is almost identical to 0W-20 motor oil. The only exception is that it won’t perform quite as well in temperatures under -25 degrees Fahrenheit. Other than that, however, the weight of the oil is the exact same as a 0W-20. 

Valvoline’s Advanced formula is a full synthetic motor oil that contains a number of high-quality cleaning agents that can rid your engine of performance reducing gunk once and for all. This makes it a great oil if you’re making the switch from a synthetic blend or a conventional oil to full synthetic. It will clean out any and all gunk leftover from the lower-quality oil that you were using before. 

Pros

  • Provides similar performance to the recommended 0W-20 motor oil. 
  • Added cleaning agents to rid your engine of gunky buildup. 
  • The advanced formula protects your Corolla’s engine from metal-on-metal contact by providing even lubrication throughout your engine. 

Cons

  • Since it’s not expressly “recommended” by your Toyota manual, some lube shops will refuse to use it in your car for liability reasons. 

Castrol 03057 GTX MAGNATEC 5W-30 Full Synthetic Motor Oil

If you have a higher-mileage Corolla or a Corolla that was manufactured prior to 2009, then Castrol’s Magnatec 5W-30 Full Synthetic motor oil is easily the best choice on the market. As a full synthetic, it allows your older Corolla engine to go for longer periods between oil changes and provides superior protection against wear and tear from constant daily driving. 

What makes this particular oil so special is that the formula contains magnetic compounds that help to bind the oil to the engine, even while it’s at rest. This means that your engine won’t experience “start-up wear” when you first turn the engine on. The oil will already be magnetically bound to the engine at rest, which means that the pistons and cylinders are already lubricated prior to starting the engine! 

Pros

  • Full synthetic formula for maximum protection. 
  • Added magnetic compounds ensure that the oil remains bound to your engine, even at rest. 

Cons

  • As a 5W-30, it’s not recommended for newer-model Corolla engines. 

Valvoline High Mileage with MaxLife Technology SAE 5W-30 Synthetic Blend Motor Oil

If you have an older Corolla, then it’s time to start thinking about what you can do to keep your engine running as long as possible, despite the fact that the miles are racking up. Specially formulated for motors that have exceeded 75,000 miles, Valvoline’s patented MaxLife technology provides your cylinders with an added layer of film that remains even after you shut the engine off. 

The formula also contains added antioxidant compounds designed to prevent engine corrosion from the inside out. Last but not least, the oil helps to maintain the integrity of your engine’s internal seals, which can prevent (or delay) costly seal replacement. 

Pros

  • Designed for high-mileage Corolla engines or Corollas manufactured prior to 2008. 
  • Added antioxidants prevent internal breakdown. 
  • Helps to keep your engine block seals strong. 

Cons

  • Not recommended for newer-model Corollas. 

Buyers Guide and F.A.Q. 

Hopefully, this list and our corresponding reviews were able to help you make a decision on the best oil to suit your individual Toyota Corolla. With so many different brands and oil types/weights on the market, it can be quite confusing for most drivers who don’t have mechanical experience or haven’t done in-depth research into how certain oils work and why one oil should be used over another. 

That being said, we figured that it was a good idea to provide you with a brief buyer’s guide and answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding oil for your Toyota Corolla. Below, you’ll find a list of common questions and concerns along with our best answers to them! 

How Much Oil Goes In A Toyota Corolla? 

The two worst things that you can do for your engine are to overfill or underfill the oil levels. When you underfill the oil, your engine’s vital components will not be fully protected and will face the brutal wear and tear resulting from metal-on-metal grinding. When you overfill your oil, the cylinders can become clogged with oil, causing pistons to misfire and the ECU to misread signals and making the engine work way more. 

As you can see, this means that it’s essential to fill your oil correctly. The best way to tell for sure is to double-check your Corolla’s oil manual. However, for simplicity’s sake, keep in mind that most 1.8-Liter Toyota Corolla engines require around 4.4 quarts of oil. The larger 2.0-Liter engines may require closer to 4.9 quarts of oil. 

Your best bet is to purchase a large 5-quart jug of oil and start by pouring 4 quarts in the engine during an oil change. Then, slowly add more oil, bit-by-bit, checking the dipstick every time you add a few more ounces. This is the best way to ensure that you don’t accidentally overfill your engine. 

How Do You Change The Oil In Toyota Corolla?

If you’re looking to save money on your Corolla maintenance costs, one of the simplest things you can do is start changing your own oil. Paying for an oil change at your local Toyota dealership or lube express shop can cost anywhere from $80 to $150, depending on the type of oil you get. Often, the shops will try to upsell you on overpriced windshield wipers and other fluids that you may not even need in the first place. 

By changing your own oil, you can save a considerable amount of money, as you’ll only need to purchase the oil and a fresh oil filter. Here is the step-by-step process detailing how to change your own Toyota Corolla oil. 

  • Step 1: Park Your Corolla On A Flat Surface
  • Step 2: Remove The Plastic Underguard To Access Oil Pan
  • Step 3: Open The Oil Cap To Provide Airflow
  • Step 4: Remove The Plug On Oil Pan To Drain Oil
  • Step 5: Let The Oil Drain Into An Authorized Oil Disposal Container
  • Step 6: Remove Oil Filter
  • Step 7: Replace Drain Cap and Install New Filter
  • Step 8: Refill Your Oil (4.4 to 4.9 quarts)
  • Step 9: Dispose of Old Oil and Filter at Local Auto Parts Store (usually free)

Do Toyota Corolla’s Require Full Synthetic Oil? 

Toyota Corollas do not require full synthetic oil. If you go into a Toyota dealership for an oil change, they’ll generally recommend using a synthetic blend, which uses a conventional base with added synthetic compounds for enhanced protection. 

While a synthetic blend provides decent protection, it also requires you to change your oil at more frequent intervals (every 4=5,000 miles). In general, it’s always a better idea to go with a full synthetic motor oil. Synthetic oil provides better protection, is able to stand up to extreme temperatures, and stop-and-go traffic. It also maintains its integrity for far longer, meaning that you can go 8,000 to 10,000 miles between oil changes. 

Oil Type For Toyota Corolla By Model Year

To meet U.S. emissions standards and compliance, Toyota recommends using 0W-20 motor oil for all models manufactured after 2009. For models made prior to 2009 or for high-mileage Corollas that have surpassed 100,000 miles, you should go with 5W-30 motor oil for optimal protection and increase engine longevity. 

How Often Do You Need To Change Toyota Corolla Oil? 

Keeping up with regular oil change intervals is very important if you want your Corolla to last as long as possible. Additionally, regular oil changes can also increase the resale value of your car. When it comes time to sell your car or trade it in, having detailed records showing regular, scheduled oil changes is a great indicator of an engine that’s in good condition. In many cases, you may be able to sell or trade your car for significantly more money than you otherwise would! 

If you’re using conventional motor oil, then you should change your oil every 3,000 to 4,000 miles. 

If you’re using a synthetic blend, then you should change your oil every 5,000 miles. 

If you’re using full synthetic motor oil, then you should change your oil every 8,000 to 10,000 miles. 

Lastly, if your vehicle is sitting unused or you aren’t driving that many miles, then you should change your oil once every 6 months if you’re using a conventional or synthetic blend and once every year if you’re using a full synthetic. 

Sources:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Corolla
  2. https://knowhow.napaonline.com/understanding-oil-weight-numbers-bottle-mean/#:~:text=Oil%20weight%20is%20a%20term,operating%20temperature%20for%20most%20motors

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