Car Doctor Q&A: Is It Illegal to Reset Your Oil Change Indicator?

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You go to a mechanic for good advice, but sometimes, the advice is so bad it’s almost criminal. That’s the case with the owner of this 2015 Toyota Avalon.

Q. I have a 2015 Toyota Avalon and when I get the oil changed, exactly 3,000 miles later the information screen is blocked out with a message that tells me it is time for an oil change.

Until I’m able to go in for an oil change, I can’t see the information screen that displays some of the ancillary information like miles per gallon, miles to empty.

I asked if the dealer would not reset the on-boar computer and I’ll come in for the work when needed. The dealer told me that by law the mechanics are not able to not set the “reset” button. Is this true?

A. I thought I heard just about everything, but this is a first.

There are some indicators that can’t be disabled by law, such as safety warnings, airbag lights, and tire pressure monitors (TPMS), but maintenance reminders? No.

To start with, in your owner’s manual, Toyota recommends changing the oil and filter at 10,000 miles not 3000 miles.

You can set the interval warning yourself and although just a bit complicated if you follow the steps you should easily get through it.  While pressing the trip meter, turn the ignition switch to the on mode. Continue to hold the knob until the “A” trip meter displays all zeros. Then press the APPS button on the dash, select maintenance and select the desired item.

In this screen you can select dates, mileage, condition of items and if you want to call the dealer.  After you set everything where you want it press ok.

We’ve included a video showing the process below:

Whatever you do, find another place have your car serviced, because your current tech isn’t giving you honest advice.

John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England. A certified mechanic, Paul tests dozens of new cars each year and also hosts a radio show on AM 950 and 550.