Best Oil and Oil Filter for a Third Gen Toyota MR2?

Making sure your third generation Toyota MR2 is properly serviced is important. Failure to change the oil and oil filter at the correct intervals with the right products can lead to increase wear and in extreme cases, possibly even total engine failure.

In this short guide you will learn what oil and oil filter to use in your W30 MR2 and when to change them. Additionally, we have also included some answers to some other oil related questions as well.

Before we start we thought we would give you a quick rundown of the different names the third gen MR2 goes by:

  • MR2 Spyder – North America
  • MR-S – Japan
  • MR2 – Roadster Europe

How Does the Oil Classification System Work & What Does it Mean for my MR2?

In this section we are going to quickly cover what the different numbers and characters of the oil classification system mean and how they affect your third generation Toyota MR2.

The letter and number combination at the front of the “XW-XX” systems shows the viscosity of the oil at – 17.8 degrees Celsius (0 degrees Fahrenheit). If the number is lower it indicates that the oil will thicken less in cooler temperatures, which is usually better for engine start-up and cold weather driving.

The two numbers (XX) that come after the XW bit indicate the viscosity of the oil at 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit) and represent the oil’s resistance to thinning at higher ambient and operating temperatures.

If we compare a 5W-30 vs a 10W-30 oil, we find that the former will thicken less in cooler, however, they should perform roughly the same at operating temperatures. Alternatively, if we take the same 5W-30 and compare it against a 5W-40 we will find that the two will perform roughly the same at start-up, but the 5W-30 will thin out quicker at higher temperatures.

If we look at a 5W-30 vs a 10W-30 oil, we find that the former will thicken less in cooler temperatures, but they should be roughly the same at operating temperatures. Alternatively, if we take a 5W-30 and compare it to a 5W-40 we find that the 5W-30 will thin out quicker at higher temperatures.

The main downside to a 0W-30 engine oil over a 5W-30 is that the former is usually a bit more expensive. This goes for other oil weights such as 0W-40 vs 5W-40.

Along with the above you need to consider what sort of driving you do, where you live and most importantly, what the manufacture (in this case Toyota) recommends.

So, What is the Best Engine oil for a Third Gen Toyota MR2?

Toyota recommends using a 5W-30 weight engine oil in the W30 MR2 that is rated A3/B3 or A3/B4. Many owners like to use 0W-30 weight oils as they perform better in cold weather and on engine start-up (as we mentioned above). However, sourcing a 0W-30 engine oil can be quite difficult, so 5W-30 is still the preferred option of many.

Owners in hotter climates may use a 0W-40 (new formula 0W-40s are quite similar to 0W-30) or 5W-40, however, the increased weight can possibly lead to more wear.

On the extreme end some owners like to use something like a 5W-50, but this should only be considered if the car is regularly tracked/is running some bug performance modifications (not recommended for street use).

Our Recommendations for the Best Engine Oil for a Toyota MR2 W30

Below you can find some of our top recommended oils for a third generation Toyota MR2.

Castrol Edge 5W-30 A3/B4 Advanced Full Synthetic – Best for General Use

If you are looking for an excellent synthetic oil and want to stick to Toyota’s recommend oil weight, Castrol Edge’s A3/B4 Advanced Full Synthetic is an excellent option. It will be perfect for pretty much all normal driving conditions and is available in a wide variety of locations and countries.

Find out more here.

Amsoil Signature Series 0W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil – Great for Cold Starts and Cooler Environments

Amsoil is one of the most trusted brands in the business and their 0W-30 Signature Series Motor Oil will be excellent for general driving conditions, while providing slightly more protection when it gets cold.

Find out more here.

Castrol Edge 0W-40 A3/B4 Engine Oil – Good for Hotter Climates & General Use

If you are looking for something with a bit more performance at hotter temperatures, but still want protection on engine start-up, Castrol Edge’s 0W-40 engine oil is a perfect option. It meets Toyota’s recommend rating and will be good for hotter operating temperatures and climates. A 0W-40 weight oil is also quite similar to 0W-30, so many owners use them interchangeably (although 0W-40 is much more readily available and as a result, usually more reasonably priced).

Check it out here.

What is the Oil Service Interval for a Third Generation Toyota MR2?

Depending on who you ask, you will get a range of different answers to this question. The general consensus seems to be to replace the engine oil every 8,000 to 12,000 km (5,000 to 7,500 miles) in a third generation MR2 if a synthetic oil is being used.

Some very enthusiastic owners will change the oil every 5,000 km (3,000 miles), but this is really not necessary with modern synthetic oils. If your MR2/MR-S doesn’t get much use, make sure to replace the engine oil every 6 – 12 months.

For those third gen MR2 owners wondering if the oil in their car can go a bit further, we recommend that you send the old oil off to a lab where it can be assessed. The laboratory should then be able to tell you if the oil can go a bit further or if you need to change it more frequently.

How Much Oil Do I Need for a W30 MR2?

With a filter change, the 1ZZ engine inside a third generation MR2/MR-S should take around 3.7-litres or 3.9 quarts. Some owners have found that their cars have taken a little bit more, but stick with the 3.7-litres and add more if necessary.

Best Oil Filter for a Toyota MR2/MR-S

There are loads of different oil filters that will fit the 1ZZ-FED engine in the third generation MR2, but the most recommended is Toyota’s own OEM filter with the part number 90915-YZZF2. Mobil 1 and K&N also make some great filters (K&N HP-1003 for example), but if you do go for an aftermarket filter make sure you read up any reviews of it first and make sure it fits properly.

When Should the Oil Filter Be Changed on a Focus RS Mk2?

It is usually recommended that you change the oil filter in a Focus RS Mk2 with every oil change. Oil filters are cheap to purchase and overtime the filter material can break down. If you are replacing the engine oil every 5,000 km (3,000 miles) you may get away with changing it every second oil change.

If you want to know more about the third generation Toyota MR2 and any common problems with the car, make sure you check out our buyer’s and history guide here.


  • Ben

    From his early days playing the original Gran Turismo and with his Hot Wheels car set, Ben has had a long interest in all things automotive. His first foray into the world of automotive journalism was way back in 2009 and since then he has only grown more interested in the industry. Ben also runs and heads up the video production side of Garage Dreams, focusing on small informative documentaries about some of the world's most legendary cars.

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