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CARING FOR YOUR TOYOTA - SELF-SERVICE

If you are wondering what tyres to buy for your Toyota, please watch the YouTube video below:

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CARING FOR YOUR TOYOTA INTRODUCTION​

You don’t always have the money to take your car for a service at the nearest CFAO Motors Dealership.

Do not fear! Your Toyota is still in safe hands, yours! While you are waiting for the finances to take your Toyota for a proper and top-quality service, you can take care of your Toyota yourself.

In any case, vehicle self-care is very important. Why? We have compiled a list of seven reasons why caring for your Toyota yourself is important.

  1. Ensures the safety of your Toyota by identifying and addressing potential safety issues.
  2. Improves the reliability and longevity of your Toyota.
  3. Prevents small problems from escalating and evolving into major expensive issues.
  4. Maintains your Toyota’s resale value.
  5. Instills pride and satisfaction in responsible vehicle ownership.
  6. Helps keep the roadworthiness of your Toyota.
  7. Promotes a proactive and responsible mindset towards vehicle ownership.

Caring for your Toyota can be a monthly or even an everyday task. It all depends on the extent you are willing to go to take care of your vehicle and the type of task you want to perform.

Read on as we explore how can care for specific sections and parts of your Toyota.

CARING FOR YOUR TOYOTA’S INTERIOR

The interior of your Toyota is where you spend most of your time. Keeping it in top condition will not only be essential for your car but will improve your mental health and overall driver satisfaction incredibly.

The first step to caring for your Toyota’s interior is keeping it clean. A lot of dust, pollen, hair, crumbs and more gather up in your car causing it to be filthy. It is not nice to sit in the middle of such a mess. This is why it is important to keep your car clean.

Contrary to popular belief, cleaning your car is not that hard. It is actually quite easy!

Some products that you can use to clean your car include disinfecting wipes, ammonia-free window cleaner, leather cleaner and carpet cleaner. Reliable alternatives can also be used!

Before you start, gather the following equipment which will help you with the cleaning process:

  • Microfiber cloth
  • Vacuum with attachments
  • Sponge
  • Stiff-bristle scrub brush
  • Bucket
  • Duster
  • Spray Bottle
  • Crevice cleaning tool

The below process is simply one example of how you can clean your car's interior.

  • Remove any trash and non-relevant items from the vehicle. After this step is done, then the real cleaning can start.
  • Remove and clean your floor mats. Depending on the type of mats you have, you will clean them differently. It is recommended that you do this step first to give the mats enough time to dry.
  • Vacuum interior. Remember to use the different attachments to clean all the corners and crevices thoroughly.
  • Clear dust and disinfect the dashboard. A duster or a microfiber cloth is ideal to use for this situation as they do not scratch easily.
  • Carefully clean the console. Do not use any ammonia-based products to clean your Toyota’s infotainment screen, as it can potentially damage the screen.
  • Clean cup holders, door panels and steering wheel. Disinfect these services properly to avoid the transference of germs as these places are touched the most by dirty hands.
  • Wipe interior windows. Use designated alcohol-free glass cleaner to firmly clean the inside of your windows making them literally squeaky clean.
  • Clean your seats. Start by vacuuming them using the various attachments to suck in all the crumbs in the nooks and crannies. Use the right type of cleaning product for the types of seats in your Toyota (Fabric or Leather).
  • Deodorize the cabin. A dirty car just doesn’t smell nice. All musty and almost suffocating. Give your Toyota that fresh smell using, baking soda, activated charcoal and air fresheners.

Besides cleaning, you can also make sure that the interior of your car stays in good condition by regularly checking for any rips in fabric, stains or overall dirt and then acting on it. Keeping air fresheners in the car will come in handy when any unwanted smells enter your vehicle.

Now that the interior of your Toyota is nice and fresh, let’s move on to the exterior.

CARING FOR YOUR TOYOTA’S EXTERIOR

You want your Toyota to look presentable, don't you?! What looks better than a clean and fresh Toyota? Regular washing and waxing help to keep your vehicle in tip-top condition and if you do it yourself, you save a lot of money!

We have created a process to clean the exterior of your Toyota. Please find it below:

  • Gather the needed supplies. If you have the relevant supplies already at hand before you start washing your Toyota, you will not have to run around in chaos looking for the right supplies. What you will need is buckets, car wash soap, car wash mitt or relevant cloth, wheel cleaner, wheel brush or mitt/sponge, clay bar, car buffer/polisher or appropriate alternative, auto polish (if necessary), car wax, microfiber towels and rubber/vinyl protectants.
  • Wash wheels and tires first. Why wash them first? Most of the worst dirt and grime is accumulated on the tires as they are always going through mud or bad road conditions. Work one wheel at a time by spraying with it water, then washing it with relevant tire wash and lastly spraying the wheel with water again.
  1. Wash the rest of your Toyota. Washing your Toyota regularly is good for your car and for your own self-esteem. Driving a clean car just do something miraculous to your everyday mindset.
  2. Dry your Toyota. Do not simply leave your Toyota in the sun to “drip-dry”. Use soft, clean towels or shammies that are designed to soak up water more efficiently.
  3. Apply Rubber and Vinyl Protectants. Use vinyl and rubber protectant with a clean rag and wipe it on all the vinyl and rubber parts of your Toyota’s exterior.
  4. Polish your Toyota. If your Toyota has swirl marks, light scratches and bird-dropping stains or there are oxidized and dull-looking spots, polish it either using a polisher correctly or your hand. Important to note: If you have a car wrap, please only attempt to use a polisher if you know that your polish compound is wrap-safe and you can do the proper technique.
  5. Wax your Toyota. What exactly is the purpose of wax? Wax is basically a sacrificial layer on top of your Toyota paint finish. The wax protects your car from corrosive substances such as bird droppings which can damage your clear coat and paint layer.

Keep your Toyota out of the sun. The sun can be harmful to your Toyota’s paint job, Try to always keep it in the shade or under cover to protect it from any harmful sun rays.

There are a lot of different ways to clean and take care of your vehicle. The above process is only one of the thousands out there that you can use. You can also personalise the process by adding your own flair and order to it, just remember to take care of your Toyota.

Let’s move on to how you can self-service your Toyota’s engine.

CARING FOR YOUR TOYOTA’S ENGINE

What keeps your Toyota moving? It’s not only your foot on the accelerator pedal. No, it's the engine! Keeping your engine clean and serviced is detrimental to keeping your Toyota purring with the power it's built with.

We have compiled a list of processes you can follow to essentially self-service your Toyota’s engine and inner mechanics.

Washing The Engine

Have you ever cleaned your engine? A clean engine is a happy engine. To continue to run smoothly it needs to be washed properly and regularly. Learning how to wash your engine yourself can save a lot of money. A professional engine cleaning although reliable is not always necessary.

Follow the steps below to help you clean your engine yourself!

Step 1: Prepare Your Materials - Gather a water hose, a bucket, soap or degreaser, a scrub brush and rags. Make sure your engine has cooled down before you start washing it!

Step 2: Wet The Engine - Use cool water to wet the whole engine.

Step 3: Apply Soap Or Degreaser - Apply soap or degreaser to the wet engine and let it sit for a few minutes to break down the dirt and grime.

Step 4: Scrub The Engine - Use the scrub brush to scrub the entire engine. Focus especially on the areas that are the dirtiest.

Step 5: Rinse The Engine - Rinse the engine with cool water again. Make sure that there is no soap left on the engine before moving on to the next step.

Step 6: Dry the Engine - Use either a microfiber cloth or an old rag to wipe down the engine until it's completely dry.

Let’s move on to changing your own oil.

Check Your Oil

Instead of driving all the way to the petrol station to check your oil, do it yourself at home!

Follow the below instructions to check your oil yourself!

  1. Firstly, park your car on even ground and wait until the engine has reached operating temperature.
  2. Open the bonnet and let your Toyota sit for a minimum of ten minutes to ensure that the oil has enough time to drain back into the sump.
  3. Locate your engine’s dipstick. It typically has a bright yellow ring on the top. Find the dipstick and remove it.
  4. Wipe the dipstick clean using a clean rag or a fresh paper towel and re-insert it into the engine for a few seconds before removing the dipstick again. You will now be able to see the correct oil level of your Toyota.
  5. The dipstick will have at least two markings on it indicating low and full, normally shown by an L and an F or “Add” and “Full”. Anywhere between these markings is a safe operating range for your engine.
  6. If the oil level is in the top half leading to the full mark, it means your Toyota has a healthy oil level and you have nothing to worry about. If the oil level is close to or below the low mark, you need to add oil to your engine as soon as possible.
  7. Lastly, ensure that you insert the dipstick back properly into its housing.

Next, we will show you how to replace your Toyota’s filters.

Replace The Air Filters

Before you can replace your air filter, you must first know what exactly a filter does! An air filter is essentially there to keep dirt and debris from entering your Toyota’s engine. A clogged filter can cause the engine to work harder than it should and in turn can cause loss of power, dirty smoke and even engine failure.

Do not wait for your engine light to come on before replacing your filters! Use the process below to guide you to replace them yourself.

Step 1: Park your Toyota on a level, dry surface. Open your hood and secure it.

Step 2: Locate the air filter housing and open it. It will most likely be secured with clamps that can be undone with your hands, otherwise, have a screwdriver or small ratchet nearby to help remove the housing.

Step 3: Remove the old air filter and any debris that might be on it. Focus on how the previous filter is installed and replicate the same method when installing the new one.

Step 4: Install the new air filter. Match the direction and placement of the old housing. Close the air filter housing and secure it tightly. Done!

You just replaced your Toyota’s air filter by yourself!

Next! Spark Plugs!

Change Spark Plugs

A spark plug can be defined as an electrical device used in internal combustion engines to ignite compressed aerosol gasoline by creating an electric spark.

Why is it important to change your spark plugs?

Changing your Toyota’s spark plugs are very important because they are essential to the optimal running of the combustion engine. Without a proper functioning spark plug your Toyota’s fuel mileage can be messed up.

Your Toyota’s fuel economy, start-up performance and carbon emission are also influenced by spark plugs. When you change faulty spark plugs, you will experience the astounding smooth drive that Toyota’s are built for.

By following the steps below you can change your spark plugs efficiently as if it is done in a major service. If you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself, book a service at your nearest CFAO Motors Toyota Dealership today!

Step 1: Acquire the precise spark plugs for the year and model of your Toyota. Stay safe and use top-quality Toyota Genuine Parts to source your spark plugs!

Step 2: Safety first! Park your vehicle on a level, dry surface and make sure that your Toyota’s engine has cooled off. It is a good idea to also disconnect the negative post of your engine battery. Always ensure that you follow the vehicle repair guide or other reliable resources before touching your battery.

Step 3: Find the spark plug. If there are any parts in the way, remove them carefully and remember where and how they were fastened.

Step 4: After you find the spark plug, you will have to remove the spark plug wire first. Its end will be inside a metal terminal. Be careful not to damage the wire and the surrounding engine parts.

There will be an engine part called the ignition boot that connects the ignition coil to the spark plug. This needs to be removed simultaneously with the previously mentioned metal terminal to avoid damage. If damage does occur or if the spark plug wires are 5 to 7 years old, then the spark plug wire must be replaced. Our Toyota experts can replace it for you!

Step 5: Next you have to remove the Coil On Plug (COP). This part is directly connected to the spark plug end and uses a long rubber insulator boot. Start by removing the electrical connector from the ignition coil. Next, remove the hold-down bolt and carefully twist the coil a quarter turn or so back and forth until the bond is broken. Pull is carefully up and out.

Step 6: You are finally at the step where you can change the spark plugs! Use a spark plug socket to remove the spark plugs. Avoid damage to the threads by blowing air down the spark plug well hole. This will prevent any dust particles to linger causing the aforementioned damage.

Next, loosen/turn the spark plug approximately half a turn counter-clockwise and shoot a small shot of penetrant fluid to the base/thread area of the spark plug. Give it a few minutes to soak. Check the repair check if there are any extra removal steps particular to your Toyota model.

Step 7: Now it is time to put in the new spark plugs! Before you can do that, make sure that there is no damage to the new spark plugs. Install the new spark plugs while being careful not to cross-thread and damage the spark plug and cylinder head threads. Tighten them to the proper appropriate amount of torque. Use a torque wrench, which you can buy at your local hardware store.

Step 8: After you have installed the new spark plugs, it’s time to re-install the spark plug wires and ignition coils. Start by applying a small amount of plug wire grease to the plug wire and COP boots. Then re-install them. Make sure to connect the plug wired to the appropriate spark plug for each engine cylinder. Next, Re-install the coil hold-down bolt(s) and Re-attach the electrical connector(s).

Put back all the other engine parts that had to be removed to gain access to the spark plugs. Safely reconnect your engine battery.

Step 9: Start your engine and go on your way with freshly replaced spark plugs!

For more information on this process, you can click here.

Windscreen Washer Fluid


If you know Toyota, you know that safety is very important to the brand. With storms, dust and pollen, your windscreen can easily become dirty and non-seethrough. This is extremely dangerous. Windscreen washer fluid was designed to help out when you can’t see the road clearly anymore. Your Toyota’s washer fluid needs to be checked and topped up monthly.

It is quite easy to check your windscreen washer fluid, as it is similar to checking your oil.

Step 1: Locate the fluid. The windscreen washer fluid will usually have a brightly coloured lid with a windscreen symbol on it. It is typically located near the front of the engine compartment, behind one of the headlights.

Step 2: Open the lid and fill the reservoir with the appropriate amount of water.

Quick and easy! Let’s put the engine back together.

Put The Engine Back Together

What exactly is meant by putting your engine back together? After you have done all of the above checks and changes make sure you put everything you removed back into the engine the right and safe way. It is very important that everything is where it is supposed to be for the engine to work properly.

Along with this step comes the cleaning up part as well. Pack away all your equipment and cleaning supplies in a place where you can easily find them for your next self-service.

CARING FOR YOUR TOYOTA’S TYRES

What is the most essential part of a vehicle? Most people will answer the engine. It is not entirely wrong. The tyres are the most essential to the moving of your vehicle!

Without tyres, your Toyota will not move forward and take you to your desired destination, even if you have a working engine. Thus, taking good care of your tyres is detrimental to your journey and the well-being of your Toyota.

Please find a list of various ways you can take care of your tyres yourself, without taking your vehicle for a service:

  • Maintain Proper Inflation Pressure In Your Tyres. This is very important in giving your Toyota the best tyre performance, safety and fuel economy. Do not be tired and check your tyre pressure at least once a month!
  • Maintain This Inflation Pressure At The Recommended Level. The recommended pressure level can be found on a sticker near the driver's seat or in the Toyota manufacturer's manual.
  • Avoid Excessive Tyre Spinning. When your Toyota is stuck in the snow, ice, mud or sand, you can often default to spinning your tyres excessively. This can cause tyre overheating and irreparable damage.
  • Check Your Tyres For Any Signs Of Wear. Stay safe on the road by always changing your tyres when they reach 1.6mm tread depth.
  • Check Your Tyres For Any Signs Of Damage. Inspect your Toyota’s tyres at least once a month for damage. If you think your tyre is damaged, please visit your nearest CFAO Motors Toyota Dealership as soon as possible.
  • Don’t Attempt To Mount Your Own Tyres If You’re Not Qualified To Do So. Mounting your own tyres when you’re unqualified can lead to not only damage to your vehicle but serious injuries to you as well.
  • Before Tyre Replacement, Always Check Your Toyota Manufacturers Guide To Replacement Tyre Recommendations.
  • Don’t Overload Your Toyota. Always check your Toyota owner’s manual to find its load limit. By overloading your Toyota, you place extra stress on your tyres and other vital vehicle parts.

If you do not want to do all of this yourself, you are welcome to book a service at your nearest CFAO Motors Toyota Dealership.

CARING FOR YOUR TOYOTA FAQS

How long do a Toyota last?

Toyota has always had an exclusive focus on reliability. This means that its vehicles will last for a long time, it all depends on how well you treat your Toyota.

When should you wash your Toyota?

Depending on how dirty it gets, the period can stretch from every two weeks to every 6 months.

What maintenance do your Toyota need?

Basic maintenance includes checking and changing spark plugs, tyres, all the engine fluids and sometimes even your battery.

RELATED SEARCHES

  • Toyota Major Service Checklist
  • Toyota Service Plan Prices
  • Toyota Maintenance Plan
  • Toyota Service Price List South Africa
  • Toyota Recommended Maintenance Schedule PDF

SELF-CARE EXTENDS TO YOUR TOYOTA!

You don’t always have the money to send your Toyota for a service. This is where taking care of your Toyota yourself comes into play. This will keep your vehicle’s interior, exterior and engine in good condition until its next service. Taking care of your Toyota will also build a sense of pride and self-satisfaction when you start your Toyota and know that it runs smoothly because of your handiwork.

All vehicles still need their recommended services. Book a service now! We also have parts and service specials for your convenience. You are welcome to contact us below if you have any queries:

Email: autoteam@cfaomotors.co.za