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Maintenance Required Light | What it means and Easy Ways To fix it


Maintenance Required Light 
Maintenance Required Light    [ Image Courtesy Of ChrisFixed]
This Maintenance Required light comes on in Toyota cars, and it will be abbreviated on your dashboard as “MAINT REQD.” Most drivers usually think it is the check engine light, but they are different. 

“Maintenance required light is a signal that warns you whenever your car needs new oil. This light turns on after a certain mileage.”

How does the maintenance require light work? will also

This light stays on so you can remember to change the oil of your car. Oiling prevents the wear and tear of your car components which might be costly to get. 


After you exceed 5,000 miles, the light will switch on as a warning sign, indicating you need to change your vehicle’s oil. However, you don’t need to panic because your car can still run smoothly if the “MAINT REQD” light is on. The light doesn’t signify damage; it’s just a warning, so you don’t need to stop your car and get paranoid. 

For the maintenance required light to work, the odometer must be functional. It is the odometer it uses in counting if you’ve reached 5,000 miles. 

If you took your vehicle to the technician, there is the possibility that after changing the oil, they forgot to reset the maintenance required light, so you will have to do it yourself. We will show you how to do this step by step in an easy way.



How to reset the maintenance required light?

After changing the oil, the maintenance required light doesn’t turn off, so you’ll have to do it manually. The technician who changed the oil in your car should do that for you, but they might not for one reason or the other. So you’ll have to do it yourself. 

Here is how you’ll go about it —

1. Turn on the ignition of your car 

To reset it, your dashboard must be functional, so you need to turn on your car. Your odometer should show you the miles. 

You’ll turn the ignition and wait till the odometer displays the miles. 

2. Turn off the ignition of your car 

You’ll turn off your car, and then you’ll press and hold the trip meter reset button. 

3. Turn on the ignition of your car 

Make sure you’re still holding the trip meter reset button, then you’ll turn on the vehicle again. Take note — the vehicle should be “on” and not in “start.” 

  1. Let odometer reading appear

Wait for a while, and the odometer will start displaying zeros on the screen. Keep holding the button until the regular reading of the odometer appears on the screen. 

5. Stop holding the reset button 

When the readings are now standard on the screen, that is when you’ll stop holding the button and then start your car. You shouldn’t see the maintenance required light on your dashboard anymore. 

Note: if the maintenance required light hasn’t turned off, you’ll have to repeat the steps until it leaves your dashboard. 

This method here might be a bit different from some Toyota vehicle models. Some models might require you to press the button for about 20 seconds without turning on the car. It’s after 20 secs that you’ll start the car. 

Other models might require you to hold it for more than 20 seconds.  


Difference between check engine light and maintenance required light

Maintenance required light 

This light comes on after a particular mileage (5,000 miles), and the underlying issue that makes it activate is not that serious. Your car can still work for a long time if you don’t solve the problem immediately. 

No special equipment is required to spot the issue. Just visit the mechanic, and they will fix it for you. 

Check engine light 

The check engine light, on the other hand, is different in the way it functions. 

Unlike the maintenance required light, it doesn’t turn on based on mileage; instead, it activates only when there is a particular issue with your vehicle. For instance, when your car starts running hot, it will activate, signaling that you stop the vehicle and have it inspected. 

Another difference between the two is that to know the underlying issue that made the check engine light activate, you’ll have to make use of a particular “code reader.” You can get this at an auto parts store so you can know what triggered the check engine light. You can either buy or borrow code readers at an auto parts store. However, most people buy them nowadays due to how cheap they have become. 

Here are the significant issues that can trigger your check engine light — bad catalytic converter, bad oxygen sensor, overheating engine, among others. 


How to change the oil of your car

changing car oil
changing car oil

1. Warm up the engine

The first thing you’ll do is warm up your car for about 2 – 3 minutes. Warming up the vehicle allows the oil to flow out of the engine with ease. Two to three minutes is enough so that the engine doesn’t get too hot and burn you. 

2. Find the drain plug 

To make this easier for you, jerk up your car securely. Then look under your car; you’ll see it under the oil pan. To spot the drain plug, look for a large pin or nut. When you find it, that is the drain plug. 

  1. Find a container

You’ll place this container directly underneath the drain plug. This container is where the oil will drain into. Make sure the container is spacious. 

4. Unscrew the drain plug

If you can’t get a glove, you can make use of paper towels or a rag. After unscrewing it, the oil will start pouring out of your engine. The container will collect the pouring oil. 

5. Wipe it 

You’ll wipe the hole and edges of where you just took out the drain plug. 

6. Remove oil filter cap and unscrew

At the top of the engine, you’ll see an oil filter hole with a cap. You’ll first remove the lid, and then you’ll unscrew the filter. For the unscrewing, you can use a wrench. 

Unscrewing the oil filter is a bit tricky. To successful unscrew it, you’ll twist it anticlockwise. Make sure you turn it carefully, so the oil in the filter doesn’t pour out when you remove it. 

After removing it, there is the possibility that the oil filter seal remnants will still be stuck. You’ll have to remove them. 

7. Empty the oil into the container 

That container where you poured the drain plug oil is also where you’ll run excess oil in the oil filter. 

After you empty it, you will have to recycle it. Throwing it in a trash can is unacceptable due to environmental reasons. Wrap it inside a paper (newspaper, cardboard, etc.), then take it to the recycle centre.

8. Buy  new oil and a new oil filter 

After buying the new oil, you’ll first use it to moisten the oil filter gasket. You’ll find the gasket at the top of the oil filter. You can use your finger or a ball of cotton wool to moisten it. 

9. Screw the oil filter 

You’ll screw the new oil filter into the hole where you removed the old one. The oil filter should come with directions on how to fit it inside the recess. 

10. Install the drain plug

Before installing it, check to see if your vehicle makes use of a drain plug gasket. If it does, you’ll have to remove it and lay a new one. Now you can install the drain plug. 

You’ll need an adjustable wrench to make the drain plug tighten inside the hole. 

11. Pour in the oil 

You’ll need about 1 quart of fresh oil. You’ll use a funnel to pour it into the oil filter hole. Pour it slowly, so the oil doesn’t get clogged. After running it, you can cover it with the cap. 

12.  Start the engine and check for leaks

Let the engine runs for 30 secs to about 60 secs. While the engine is running, you’ll look for leaks from the oil filter or drain plug. Then cut off the engine. 

Wait for about 5 – 10 min so the oil would have settled.

13. Check oil level

To check the level of the oil, you’ll remove the oil dipstick then check the status of the oil. Wipe it with a lint-free rag, then shove it back in. Keep adding a small amount of oil every time you check the oil level on the dipstick until the oil has reached the dipstick “full” line. 

14. Test drive your car 

You’ll remove the oil drain pan/container from underneath your car. Then you will take your car out for a test drive. You can drive around your block for a few minutes. Then return to your garage and turn off the engine. 

15. Let the oil settle

Leave the car for about 5 mins – 10 mins so the oil will settle down. Then recheck the dipstick. If oil is still at the “full” lime, you’re good to go. 

16. Dispose of the old oil

A quick search online will show you places where you can dispose of the oil. If it is stressful to take the oil with you, you can bury it in your backyard. However, check your community’s rules to know if this is acceptable so you don’t land in trouble. 



How long does it take for my car to need an oil change? 

It takes about 5000 miles before an oil change is needed. You don’t need to keep track of it because the maintenance required light will remind you. Once you’re reminded, you can still drive your vehicle for some more mileages without having any issues. But as time goes on, your engine will start deteriorating. 

Can I drive with the maintenance required light on?

Yes, you can drive with the light on without experiencing any issues whatsoever. However, as time goes on, this will have some effect on your engine. It will make it start overheating, and then some of its components will start to wear and tear. This light comes on after 5,000 miles. It is possible to drive your car without changing it for another 5000 miles. However, you’ll be causing severe damage to your vehicle, which is expensive to fix. 

How many miles can you drive a vehicle that has maintenance required light on?

Without changing your oil, you’ll be able to enjoy about 30 miles up to 100 miles, depending on the model of your car. To get up to 100 miles, you need proper maintenance of your vehicle, such as how you drive, the road conditions where you go, and so on. 

After 10,000 miles of not changing your oil, what will happen?

Regardless of the vehicle type or model, you will notice some drawbacks. The stipulated mileage for an oil change is 5000 miles, so going 10000 miles is overdoing it. Your engine will start deteriorating, and it won’t last as long as it should. You will have to replace your machine, and replacing it isn’t cheap.  

How do you know if you need your oil changed without maintenance required light? 

If your maintenance light is not functional, other obvious symptoms will present themselves. They are — Engine knocking, engine noise, dirty and dark oil, excessive exhaust smoke, and oil smell inside your car. 

Can you replace the oil without the oil change light? 

Doing this will mess up the maintenance schedule for you, making it hard to know when the following 5000 miles maintenance schedule will be. If it remains just 50 miles for the light to come on, and then you change the oil, the light will still come on after the 50 miles. This is because it’s the odometer it uses in tracking the mileage your car has driven. 

Can I change the oil myself? 

It is possible to change the oil yourself. However, your vehicle’s oil drain plug (commonly called drain plug) and oil filter must be easy to reach. If they are not, you’ll have to visit your mechanic to get it fixed for you. 

How long can you drive your car without servicing it?

Regular servicing of your car is paramount if you want to enjoy your vehicle to the fullest. If your car is an old model, you should service your car every six months, while for newer models, you can use your car for about 30,000 kilometers without having to service it. 


I made this article as in-depth as possible to get all the necessary information in one place. I also made sure the steps to resolve the maintenance required light are easy to understand and follow. If you follow all that I suggested, you’ll enjoy your car to the fullest. 



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