Your Toyota or Lexus came with a maintenance schedule, found in your owner’s manual, that is designed to keep your car in good working order for the lifetime of the vehicle. Cars that follow the maintenance schedule generally have better fuel economy in the short run and suffer fewer major repairs in the long run. The saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” couldn’t be more true for your Toyota or Lexus when it comes to maintenance and repairs. Let’s break down some of the more common maintenance items, one by one.


Oil and Filter Change

The oil and filter change is straightforward – oil lubricates your engine’s moving parts and reduces wear.  The oil filter removes impurities in the oil as it ages and collects gunk, keeping the oil circulating in your engine healthier for longer.  Toyota has used multiple grades (10w30, 5w30, 5w20, and 0w20) and two standards (conventional and synthetic) across their models.  Using the correct high quality oil and a Toyota genuine filter (the only kind CARspec uses) keeps your engine’s insides healthy.  This is due every 5,000 or 10,000 miles, depending on model and usage.  Read more about severe service and your vehicle in this article.

Tire Rotations

Your tires wear differently on the front than on the rear of the vehicle.  Rotating them regularly equalizes this wear and lengthens the life of the tire, reduces the chances you’ll develop a pull to either side, and keeps you safer by keeping grip on all four corners of the car the same.  Toyota and Lexus recommend rotating your tires every 5,000 miles.  CARspec includes this service in all minor and major maintenance unless the vehicle has staggered tire or wheel sizes (like the IS-F).

Brake Inspection

After your tires, your brakes are the most important safety system on the car.  Keeping them in proper working order is important.  Inspecting them regularly helps prevent more expensive and potentially dangerous repairs down the road.  CARspec offers brake inspections at no charge, checking the pads, rotors, shoes, drums, calipers and wheel cylinders over for wear or failure.  Not familiar with brake lingo?  We’ve got you covered.  You can read more about common failures we see like seized front calipers here and seized rear calipers here.  Inspecting your brakes can help prevent these costly repairs.

Full Inspection

A full vehicle inspection is the best way to spot and correct issues before they become more severe and more expensive.  Included with any major maintenance like a 15,000, 30,000, or 60,000 mile service a full inspection covers all of the vehicle’s mechanical, drivetrain, suspension and brake parts.  CARspec additionally runs a digital diagnostic on the owner’s battery, Toyota Techstream complete module health check via the diagnostic port and lubrication of all drivetrain zerk fittings, hood latches (as needed) and door latches (as needed and applicable).  If you’re considering purchasing a used Toyota or Lexus, CARspec offers a full inspection at a flat rate (call us for more details) and estimates on everything we find.

Engine Air Filter Replacement

An engine air filter removes dust, bugs, pollen and any other air pollutants before they enter the engine.  Normally replaced every 30,000 miles, CARspec inspects the filter with every minor or major service.  Keeping your engine air filter clean is one of the best ways to keep your fuel economy where it should be.

Cabin Air Filter

Cabin Air Filter

Cabin Air Filter Replacement

The cabin air filter does the same job as the engine air filter, this time for you.  Incoming pollen, dust and debris are filtered out before they enter the vehicle’s fan.  Toyota and Lexus recommend replacing them every 15,000 miles, maybe less if you drive an LS460 or frequently commute on dusty roads.  Got a foul odor?  You might be in need of a cabin air filter replacement and air conditioning cleaning too.


Timing Belt and Water Pump Replacement

If you’ve got an older Toyota or Lexus at 90,000 miles or more you may want to consider having your timing belt and water pump checked and replaced.  The timing belt is responsible for keeping the camshafts and crankshaft running in timing with each other.  The valves and pistons do a high speed, precision dance as your engine runs.  If the timing belt fails it’ll leave you stranded.  Sometimes this can result in complete engine failure too.  The water pump is also a good idea to replace while doing the timing belt, saving you money in the long run if it were to fail.  It can be a challenge on older cars and trucks but CARspec’s technicians are up to the task.  Up to 2006, most Toyota and Lexus V6, all V8 and some 4-cylinder engine were equipped with a timing belt.

Brake Fluid Replacement

Lexus requires that the brake fluid be replaced every 30,000 miles.  Toyota offers no specific change interval, only routine inspection.  CARspec inspects the brake fluid quality on both models with any major service and recommends replacement depending on moisture content and particulates in the reservoir.

Coolant Replacement

The engine’s coolant keeps the temperature in check, prevents freezing in the winter and overheating in the summer.  Pre-2004 models require the coolant be replaced every 30,000 miles.  2004 plus models use a new, updated coolant called Super Long Life that last for 100,000 before it’s first change and then 50,000 thereafter

Transmission Fluid Replacement

Contrary to what many other auto repair shops will tell you, Toyota and Lexus don’t require you flush your transmission or replace the filter ever, only routine drain-and-fills of the transmission fluid at appointed mileage.  If your car uses DEXRON-based fluid, Toyota recommends you replace your fluid every 30,000 miles.  If you have a T-IV equipped model, this mileage rises to 60,000 miles.  If your vehicle uses Toyota’s WS fluid there is no set replacement interval, only routine inspections and replacement as needed.  CARspec recommends a drain and fill of some hybrid WS fluids at 100,000 miles, but otherwise does not recommend replacement.


Spark Plug Replacement

Toyota and Lexus have used three types of spark plugs with a varying change interval.  Replacement depends on the model, as does price.  CARspec stocks the majority of Toyota and Lexus factory replacement spark plugs.

Differential and Transfer Case Fluid Replacement

All wheel, four wheel, or rear wheel drive vehicle require periodic replacement of their differential and/or transfer case fluid.  Toyota’s used various fluids over the year, especially more recently with the release of specialized, synthetic LT, LX, LF, and LL80 fluidCARspec recommends replacement every 60,000 miles of these fluids if you drive normally, every 15,000 if you tow or drive off road, and yearly if you launch a boat with your vehicle.  Replacing your differential and transfer case fluids is the easiest, most cost effective way to prevent expensive bearing failures.

These cover almost all of the maintenance needs of your Toyota or Lexus.  As Eden Prairie and Chanhassen’s Toyota and Lexus specialized repair shop we’re happy to help an owner understand the particular needs of their car.  We use only Toyota or Lexus genuine replacement parts at cheap prices.  Call us to day for any of your maintenance or service needs today (952)426-4798!