Check engine lights are simultaneously annoying and worrying. If you know why a particular warning light is illuminated on your Toyota Tacoma’s dashboard, then just seeing it there as a constant reminder that you haven’t yet had the time to go to the garage and get the (probably minor) problem taken care is irritating at best. On the other hand, if the light pops on out of the blue – especially if you are in the middle of a particularly long road trip – your mind instantly starts imagining the worst case, most expensive repair possibilities.
We can’t really help you with the second of these two scenarios, but if you own a 2005+ Tacoma and want to shut off your “Maint Reqd” light, then we can certainly be of some assistance. This light, which typically illuminates when you’ve driven your truck 5,000 miles past its recommended engine oil replacement window, isn’t an indicator that something has gone terribly wrong under the hood, but it can still be frustrating to deal with, particularly if you do your own oil changes and can’t rely on the dealership to reset the truck’s service indicator.
Toyota actually buries the procedure for turning off a “Maint Reqd” within the owners manual. In order to do it right, you need to turn the key in the ignition to the OFF position and have the odometer display still showing on the dash. Then, turn the key to ON while at the same time resetting the truck’s trip meter by holding down on the trip meter knob. This will take about five seconds, after which the odometer will show all zeros and the “Maint Reqd” light will extinguish for good – or until the next 5,000 mile interval.
These steps work most of the time, but if you don’t hold the button long enough, or try things out of sequence your truck will let your know by flashing the light or keeping it lit. The light itself will initially flash at after 4,500 miles of driving every time your turn on the truck before it becomes a solid, gleaming beacon of Toyota judging you for not keeping your oil fresh enough 500 miles later. The procedure for resetting the flashing light is the same as for the continuous light.
All in all, it’s not a bad idea to actually change your oil once the light comes in, if you haven’t in the recent past. 5,000 mile intervals, particularly for trucks that work for a living, are reasonable for most non-synthetic oils, and when operating in a dusty or off-road environment even synthetic oils could use a filter change and swap at that point in time. The Tacoma’s “Maint Reqd” light might be annoying, but it’s really just looking out for your best interests.