200k Mile Previa Gets An Oil Change For the 100th Time

Surprising a car mechanic with a car that they don’t know about, would be like going to the doctor’s office with an illness they haven’t heard about– it just doesn’t happen that often.  So when I pulled into to my local oil change shop with my metallic green 1996 Toyota Previa LE S/C All-Trac and asked for an oil change.  I was surprised that I needed to educate the mechanics a little bit on what the inner mechanics of my minivan.

When my minivan crossed the 200,000 mile marker it was around the same time it needed an oil change.  Please note that this is not its first oil change, more like hundredth, but it is the first oil change under my ownership. Here’s a breakdown of what it takes to change the oil in a 1996 Toyota Previa and why it’s different that other cars.

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The Previa is getting ready to have its oil changed

 

Previa ready for an oil change
Previa ready for an oil change

“That’s supercharged?” One mechanic says to another. “All-wheel-drive? I didn’t even know this car existed.” The man in a blue jumpsuit tells me.  “Mid-engine? Did you say this is an Audi R8?”  It still surprises me to find out how many people don’t know about my minivan, even mechanics who see a wide variety of cars everyday.

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Driver’s seat tilted back exposing the engine cover
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Front seat pulled back to expose the engine
Supercharged Previa engine
Supercharged Previa engine

When changing the oil in a Previa, it’s not your typical car. Remember this is a mid-engine supercharged “supervan”. The engine is located just under the drivers seat, so to change the oil you have to lift the drivers seat.  You can see from the picture below, that it is not an easy to reach the engine location and some mechanics complain when the have to work on a mid-engine “supervan.”

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Unsuspecting mechanic adding oil to the engine, that’s UNDER the driver’s seat
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Engine hole under the seat

My mechanic was a younger gentleman and the older mechanics had to show him where the engine was located. He just couldn’t believe that it was a mid-engine minivan. None of the mechanics knew that it was supercharged, and had a laugh when I told them it was.

The Previa takes just over 6 quarts of regular motor oil, 5W-30. The Previa has an oil reserve in the front of the car, just in case you get low on oil there’s backup oil ready.

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Extra Oil Reserve in the Toyota Previa

The Previa was in and out in little over an hour and it cost me around $50. The mechanics told me that they don’t see Previas come into the shop to often. They figured most are off the road by now, destroyed by little kids and sent to the junkyard for scraps. I’ll do everything I can to keep this Previa going, it needs to keep educating people that minivans can be cool.