Numerous warning lights become illuminated on the dashboard when the conditions that meet their trigger are met. Most of these lights warn that a part of the car has a fault, while others indicate that the vehicle needs service. One of such lights is the Maintenance Required light.
What does the Maintenance Required light mean for your Toyota? Can you drive with the Maintenance Required light illuminated? This article discusses what this light might mean for your car.
- Why does my Toyota say Maintenance Required (MAINT REQD)?
- How do I reset the Maintenance Required Light on my Toyota Prius?
- Can I drive my car if it says Maintenance Required?
- How long can I drive with a Maintenance Required light?
- Is Maintenance Required the same as Check Engine?
- Should I worry if the Maintenance Required warning pops up while driving?
- How often should you change the oil in your Prius?
Why does my Toyota say Maintenance Required (MAINT REQD)?
The Maintenance Required light alerts the driver that the car requires an oil change at a qualified workshop. The light is automatically set to come on every 5,000 miles or six months, so you don’t forget to change your oil.
However, the light might be a nuisance if it comes on despite a recent oil change. This might occur if the light was not reset after the oil change.
An oil change ensures your Toyota stays in prime shape by increasing fuel efficiency and preventing deterioration of engine parts by making the parts work smoothly.
Since most warning lights indicate one problem or the other, knowing what the light means places your mind at rest that the car is not faulty; hence, you can still drive the vehicle despite the light being on.
How do I reset the Maintenance Required Light on my Toyota Prius?
Knowing how to reset the Maintenance Required light saves you a trip to the mechanic. However, considering the Prius has been on the market for so long, there are different procedures specific to each model.
I will cover the reset process for each Prius model.
Toyota Prius 2016-2022 Maintenance Required Light reset
Here’s how to reset the Maintenance required light using the control pad on the right side of the steering wheel.
- Find the Settings icon on your information display.
- Scroll down to Vehicle Settings
- Find the Maintenance System section
- Choose Oil Maintenance
- Select Reset and confirm when the vehicle asks you
Toyota Prius 2008-2015 Maintenance Required Light reset
Here’s the reset procedure as shown in the owner’s manual:
- Turn the Power switch OFF while the Trip Meter A shows on the dash.
- Turn the Power switch ON while pressing the MPH or KM/H button.
- Keep holding the button until the trip meter shows “000000” (that’s six zeros). The information display will also confirm that the reset procedure is complete.
Toyota Prius 1997-2007 Maintenance Required Light reset
- Turn your car on and check the odometer for the total mileage. The trip meter should not be mistaken for the odometer.
- Turn the car off and press the trip meter reset button. Hold the button for a while to reset the Maintenance Required light.
- Then gently turn the key to the on position without starting the engine. You mustn’t mistakenly turn the key to the start position while holding down the reset button. As you do this, observe the odometer.
- Continue observing the odometer while holding down the reset button. The odometer will start showing dashes which will change to a couple of zeros, then the regular odometer reading will appear. The button should not be released until the regular reading shows.
- Once you release the button, you can start the car. The maintenance light should have cleared by then. However, if you still see the light, repeat the process. This mostly clears the light.
After the manual reset, the system will resume the automatic counting and still remind you at the 5,000 miles mark.
If your technician still forgets to reset it after your next oil change, you might need to reset it yourself again. It might not hurt to remind the technician to reset it after each oil change.
As you can see, the newer the model, the easier it is to reset the warning light and make the notification message disappear.
Why bother resetting the Maintenance Required light?
The light might be a distraction while driving, especially if you just had a recent oil change. Besides, if someone without proper knowledge of a Prius drives the car while the warning message and light are still there, it might cause unnecessary worry seeing it staying on.
Can I drive my car if it says Maintenance Required?
Yes, you can still drive your car if the Maintenance Required light comes on. The light primarily reminds the driver to change the oil every 5,000 miles.
If the light is not reset after each oil change, the lights might not accurately indicate an oil change.
Bear in mind that the illumination of the light does not indicate the presence of a fault. Instead, it is a reminder for an oil change in your Toyota Prius. Therefore, you should not fret over the illumination.
How long can I drive with a Maintenance Required light?
You can drive with a Maintenance Required for as long as you like. The Maintenance Required light is set to come on every 5,000 miles on the odometer; hence, it might not be an accurate estimator for an oil change.
For instance, if you get an oil change before the system alerts you at the 5,000 miles mark, the system is unaware that you’ve gotten an oil change and will still activate the light automatically.
Therefore, the illumination of the light might be an inaccurate measure for an oil change, especially if the technician forgets to reset the light after the oil change.
Is Maintenance Required the same as Check Engine?
No, the Maintenance Required light is quite different from the check engine light. Most people often assume that both lights mean the same but do not. The Maintenance Required light is triggered based on mileage.
The mileage set for each car brand differs. Toyota is set at a 5,000 miles mark. The light will remain on after the mark has been reached and will remain that way if it is not manually reset after an oil change.
The check engine light is only triggered if the system discovers any fault in the engine. There is no specific issue that triggers the light. However, you can perform a diagnostic scan to check the exact reason for the light activation.
Common triggers for the check light include; overheating engine, bad spark plugs, low oil pressure, faulty catalytic converter, etc.
The Maintenance Required light should not be in any way treated as a check engine light. A simple reset or an oil change will clear the Maintenance Required light; meanwhile, a check engine light needs way more than that as it indicates an actual fault.
Should I worry if the Maintenance Required warning pops up while driving?
If the Maintenance Required notification comes up while you are driving, you should not worry at all. This is just a reminder that you should take your car in for a service. It is not a serious issue, and you can keep driving the vehicle.
More and more studies show that the properties of synthetic oil maintain lubrication for longer periods of time. Therefore fewer and fewer mechanics recommend changing the engine oil every 5,000 miles.
However, you must soon book the car for an oil and filter service.
How often should you change the oil in your Prius?
Toyota recommends changing the oil every 10,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first. However, depending on your driving style and conditions, you might want to change the oil earlier, especially if you do most of your driving in the city.
The illumination of the Maintenance Required light is very annoying and might even be a bother. However, it helps to remember that the light is just a reminder to change the oil. If you changed the oil and the light is still on, you might have to reset the light manually.
The technician that changed the oil mostly takes care of this but if this step is skipped, you might have to reset it yourself. The reset process is simple and can be done using the trip meter reset button.
If you found this guide useful, here are some more to ease your Prius ownership:
Every since I was a little boy, I can remember spending the afternoons in my dad’s repair shop. I got my first car at 16 and it was the best feeling ever!
I have contributed to various automotive publications but decided it’s finally time to settle for something constant.