In this post I’ve sorted through all the forums, discussion boards, and opinions on the topic of the best oil for a Toyota Corolla and tell you which oil to put in your Corolla!

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Which oil to use in a Toyota Corolla

The following is a quick summary of the best oils to use in a Toyota Corolla. All the details follow after this list, use one of these oils:

For Corollas made before 2009:

  1. Castrol 03057 GTX 5W-30 Full Synthetic
  2. Valvoline 881164 Engine Oil, 5. quarts
  3. Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic 5W-30 Motor Oil (5-Quart)

For Corollas made in or after 2009:

  1. Castrol 03060 GTX 0W-20 Full Synthetic
  2. Idemitsu Full Synthetic 0W-20 Engine Oil SN/GF-5 – 5 Quart
  3. Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic SAE 0W-20 Motor Oil 5 QT

Choosing the Right Engine Oil

The Toyota Corolla is one of the most reliable vehicles ever built! So it is great you are taking care of it by changing the oil regularly (I recommend every 5000 miles).

The best type of oil to put in your engine depends on a number of factors, and as a result, people will be arguing about this until the end of time. In my quest to answer this question for myself, I ended up going down the rabbit hole… When I finally came out the other end, after reading what seemed like hundreds of blog posts, articles, and even technical research papers, I decided that I don’t want anyone else to have to go through that. That is why I am writing this article, so you don’t have to!

At the end of the day, there are mainly 2 things you need to think about when choosing the best oil for your vehicle: mileage and climate. Even though there are a host of other things to consider, such as how you drive, what your daily drive is like, or whether your vehicle has any known problems. I’m going to assume you are a ‘typical’ driver, you live in a climate with cold winters and fairly warm summers, and the car doesn’t have major issues.

How to Change Oil in a Toyota Corolla?

Changing the oil in a Corolla is very straightforward and takes about 20-30 minutes; most of the time is spent waiting for the used oil to drain out of the car! Please visit this post for details on changing the oil in a Corolla. All you’ll need is a 14mm socket, funnel, 4.4 qts of oil, a drain pan, and an oil filter.

Oil Change Toyota Corolla Drain Plug 14mm Socket Wrench
Changing Oil in a Toyota Corolla.

What Viscosity is Right for Me?

When you see the numbers on the bottle like “5W-30”, very simply, the first number corresponds to the viscosity when the oil is cold (think “W” for “winter”). The number before the “W” refers to the viscosity rating at 0°C. A lower number means there is less thickening of the oil at lower temperatures. The number after the dash (-) refers to the viscosity of the oil measured at 100°C, and is an indication of the oil’s rate of thinning at higher temperatures. Visit this post for a more detailed explanation of the SAE numbers.

Why should I use Synthetic Oil?

  1. Synthetic oil allows your vehicle to get better gas mileage. Since synthetic oil can be manufactured down to higher viscosity ratings than conventional oils, the oil flows more freely, allowing the engine to not have to work as hard.
  2. Synthetic oils can also go longer between oil changes. This not only saves YOU money, but also reduces waste.
  3. Synthetic oils increase engine longevity. If everything else is the same, an engine will last longer if synthetic oil is used.

What Oil is the Best Oil?

Before 2009, Toyota recommended the use of 5W-30 oil in their Corollas. From 2009 and onward, the recommendation changed from 5W-30 to 0W-20. The reasons for this comes down to tighter tolerances in engine manufacturing processes and fuel economy. In fact, in some cases, Toyotas sold in other countries (such as Australia) specify the use of 5W-30 engine oil, since the mandated fuel economy requirements have not yet been tightened there. Also, often if a vehicle will be used for towing, 5W-30 oil is recommended in order to increase the engine life.

For these reasons, the following oil types are recommended based on the year of the vehicle.

For a Toyota Corolla Made before 2009, use this:

Castrol 03057 GTX MAGNATEC 5W-30 Full Synthetic Motor Oil, 5 Quart <– CLICK HERE

For a Toyota Corolla made in 2009 or after, use this:

Castrol 03060 GTX MAGNATEC 0W-20 Full Synthetic Motor Oil, 5 Quart <– CLICK HERE

Why use these oils?

Read the following specifications for more information on these oils.

5W-30 Full Synthetic Oil

Castrol 03057 GTX 5W-30 Full Synthetic meets the following specifications:

  • API SN Plus (Approved by the American Petroleum Institute)
  • ILSAC GF-5 (International Lubricant’s Standardization and Approval Committee)
    • Improved protection against oil ‘sludge’
    • Formulated to improve fuel efficiency
    • Satisfies ILSAC GF-4 standards
    • Low low HTHS ((≤ 3.5cP)
  • GM dexos1 Gen 2 (GM Specification)
  • Ford WSS-M2C929-A and WSS-M2C946-B1 (Ford Specifications)

From the spec sheet for Castrol GTX Magnatec 5W-30:

Castrol GTX Magnatec 5W-30 ASTM Method Result
Viscosity @ 100C, cSt ASTM D455 11.20 cSt
Viscosity @ 40C, cSt ASTM D455 68.6 cSt
Viscosity Index ASTM D2270 156
Low Temp. Cranking Viscosity ASTM D5293 6600 cP, max
Low Temp. Pumping Viscosity ASTM D4684 40000 cP, max
HT/HS viscosity, cP min ASTM D4683 2.9 cP, min
Pour Point (C), max ASTM D97 -36 C, max
Flash Point PMCC C, min ASTM D93 200 C, min
Density ASTM D4052 0.86 g/cc

The following are other good 5W-30 oils to consider:

0W-20 Full Synthetic Oil

Castrol 03060 GTX 0W-20 Full Synthetic meets the following specifications:

  • API SN
  • ILSAC GF-5
    • Improved protection against oil ‘sludge’
    • Formulated to improve fuel efficiency
    • Satisfies ILSAC GF-4 standards
    • Low low HTHS ((≤ 3.5cP)
  • GM dexos1

From the spec sheet for Castrol GTX Magnatec 0W-20:

Castrol GTX Magnatec 0W-20 ASTM Method Result
Viscosity @ 100C, cSt ASTM D455 9.1 cSt
Viscosity @ 40C, cSt ASTM D455 44.4 cSt
Viscosity Index ASTM D2270 192
Low Temp. Cranking Viscosity ASTM D5293 6200 cP, max
Low Temp. Pumping Viscosity ASTM D4684 42000 cP, max
HT/HS viscosity, cP min ASTM D4683 2.6 cP, min
Pour Point (C), max ASTM D97 -39 C, max
Flash Point PMCC C, min ASTM D93 200 C, min
Density ASTM D4052 0.848 g/cc

The following are other good 0W-20 oils to consider:

How Much Oil goes in a Toyota Corolla?

All Toyota Corollas take 4.4 US Quarts when the oil is changed with a filter. Without a filter the oil quantity is 4.1 US Quarts.

Summary

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