What Type of Oil for the 2018 Toyota RAV4?

Undoubtedly, Toyota RAV4 is people’s choice as a top-notch compact SUV. Once you ride it, you can feel the greatness of freedom and adventure. And, of course, using the right oil can enrich your feelings and make every trip memorable. So, what type of oil for the 2018 Toyota RAV4 will be an effective lubricant?

Selecting the right engine oil can keep RAV4 fully functional and every part of it properly lubricated. For this vehicle, Toyota recommends using synthetic SAE 0W20 motor oil (1,2). It will positively impact the car’s performance and increase the engine’s life. Other oils may be an optional choice (like 5W30) as they may not help the engine to burn fuel effectively.

Stay with me till the end! You will learn how to choose the right oil and many relevant things to smoothen your car’s engine performance. Thus, I will suggest some names you may select for the 2018 Toyota RAV4.

Importance of Choosing the Right Oil for 2018 Toyota RAV4

Why would you think about it, right? After all, many oil brands and qualities are available for Toyota vehicles. It’s not just about the maintenance of RAV4 as it has a connection with the overall engine performance and longevity of the car.

The 2018 Toyota RAV4 has three major diverse engine lineups (3):

2.5L 4-cylinder (2AR-FXE)

For the 2AR-FXE engine, you can use 0W20 synthetic or synthetic blend oil for smooth flow. It ensures optimal performance and fuel economy. To me, this is the king of the oil jungle for most RAV4s!

2.0L 4-cylinder (AR5)

This engine feels like an energetic beast. It prefers the slightly thicker grip of 5W30 synthetic or synthetic blend oil (4). This thicker oil than 0W20 is good, especially in hot climates or for those who like to push their RAV4’s limits.

3.5L V6 (2GR-FKS)

A greater quantity of oil means more powerful performance – yes, it’s right for this powerful engine. It demands the premium lubrication of 5W30 full synthetic oil for better friction control and maximum execution (5).

Now, you may wonder what these 0W20 and 5W30 actually mean. Do not feel bored yet!

Well, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) developed a grading system to classify oil viscosity (thickness). These grades consist of two numbers and a letter, like 5W30:

1st numberIt represents the oil’s viscosity at cold start (the “W” stands for winter). Lower numbers indicate better cold flow (e.g., 0W flows better than 5W). An oil viscosity number starting with 0 (1st number) works better in winter as it stays thin in such temperatures.
2nd numberIt represents the oil’s viscosity at operating temperature. Higher numbers indicate thicker oil (e.g., 30 is thicker than 20). An oil with a viscosity number finishing with a higher (like 30/40) stays thick at higher temperatures.

So, you can see the viscosity number is essential for the vehicle engine. You must not use the incorrect viscosity of oil to avoid engine damage. For instance, you use 5W30 oil in cold areas. It will not flow well in cold weather as it is generally thicker than 0W20.

When the engine is not lubricated with oil properly, it will fail to burn the air-fuel mixture efficiently. It may pressurize the engine more to produce more power for a vehicle like the 2018 Toyota RAV4.

Remember, if you choose the wrong oil, you are about to meet various performance and components issues. Here is an example: oils that are too thick do not flow well, and too-thin oil cannot coat engine parts adequately. Both scenarios can lead to

  • Decreased engine performance.
  • Higher fuel consumption.
  • Engine damage in severe cases.

Engine Oil Types & Recommended Oil for Toyota RAV4 2018 Model

I have studied the oil types and found that there are some common types of motor oil (2, 6, 7):

ConventionalThis basic oil is ideal for light-duty, late-model cars with low-to-average mileage and a simple engine design. You can get this oil at the cheapest price.
SyntheticIt improves engine performance by reducing oil consumption, improving fuel economy, and increasing engine life. Car engines get the highest lubrication levels at high and low temperatures. It costs more than other oil types.
Synthetic BlendAs the name suggests, it blends synthetic and conventional oils. When you use it in your vehicle, it will provide better protection and performance than conventional oil. However, you can save more money than using synthetic blend oil.
High-MileageHigh-mileage oil includes additives like seal conditioners. They help to reduce leaks and oil consumption common in older engines (above 75K miles). Pricing varies for this type of oil.

I guess you have a hint of what type of oil for the 2018 Toyota RAV4 from the table (synthetic oil). However, there are some factors you should consider before choosing any from the table with the correct viscosity number.

Climate Considerations

In winter, like most liquids, oil becomes thicker. In that case, 0W20 would be the ideal choice, especially in lower-degree temperatures. This type of oil thickens slower than other viscosity oils. Some popular brands for this oil type include Mobil 1 and ZEPRO Eco Medalist Engine Oil (9, 10). Again, many people suggest that this oil is also suitable for all other climate conditions.

If you want precise suggestions for hot climates, I suggest you pick 5W30 oils. They are better for withstanding high temperatures. Also, they can handle hotter driving conditions. In a forum, someone suggested using Castrol Edge 5W30 in an RAV4 vehicle (11).

High Mileage

You can consider switching to high-mileage oil for a 2018 Toyota RAV4 with high mileage. Yet, it’s not strictly necessary if the vehicle has been well-maintained with regular oil changes (12).

High mileage oil options include STP High Mileage Full Synthetic Engine Oil 0W-20 (13). AMSOIL motor oil is another option. It offers 75% more engine protection against horsepower loss and wear and 50% more cleaning power than AMSOIL OE Motor Oil (14).

Performance Oils

If you prefer performance over mileage, you can choose oils dedicated to providing high performance in the RAV4 vehicle engine. As a recommendation, you can choose any high-performance oils from quality brands like AMSOIL, Mobil 1, and Toyota Genuine Motor Oil. In this case, check if the oil has the name “high-performance”.

Signs of Engine Oil Problems in 2018 Toyota RAV4

You need to change oil and filter for conventional oil every 3000-5000 miles. If you use synthetic oil, the duration will be 7,500-10,000 miles (15). Will this duration always be the same?

For sure, you will see some signs that may tell you – hey, there is an issue with your engine oil. You may need to change the oil before the average lifespan of it. Some signs you may get are:

  • Engine noise
  • Knocking
  • Oil change or check engine light
  • Dark and dirty oil
  • Oil smell inside the car
  • Exhaust smoke
  • Excessive mileage 

If you notice any of these signs, check your oil. Also, call a professional to inspect your wheels properly.

How to Check and Change RAV4 Engine Oil

Regularly checking and changing your engine oil can increase Toyota’s lifespan. Unfortunately, oil becomes contaminated with dirt, dust, and debris from the engine and the surroundings. In this case, an oil filter can be a primary way to catch oil contaminants. Still, the oil may not work at its fullest potential.

Checking Engine Oil

Here is a simple idea to check engine oil conditions and say whether you need to change it:

Park your Toyota RAV4 on a level surface and wait for the engine to cool down. Then, pull out the dipstick and wipe it clean. Now, reinsert the dipstick and pull it out again to check the level and color of the oil.

The oil should be between the two marks on the dipstick. It should be a clear, amber color. If the oil is dark and dirty, it’s time for an oil change.

Changing Engine Oil

After checking the oil, you can change it easily. Follow this process:

Start by draining the old oil from the oil pan. Then, remove the old oil filter. Next, apply some new oil to the gasket on the new oil filter and crew it into place.

Fill the engine with the new oil (must be recommended). Again, check the level with the dipstick and start your engine to circulate the new oil.

Final Words

So, what type of oil for the 2018 Toyota RAV4? It should be fully synthetic with a viscosity of 0W20 for the best performance in any season. Still, I suggest you use the recommended oil by Toyota.

You can find many brands selling oils for this vehicle model. But before selecting any of them, you should keep what I have discussed. I hope this blog will be helpful for you.

Thanks a lot!

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