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Toyota Camry Service Experiences

solaraman2003solaraman2003 Posts: 87
edited March 22 in Toyota
I recently had the most horrific experience I have ever had with regard to automobile repair.

I'll try to make this posting as quick and to the point as possible.

I went to the Toyota dealer where I purchased my 2003 Solara SLEv6 almost a year ago. This is
my first time owning a NEW vehicle and so I'm being extra careful in the early years and am
willing to pay the extra bucks to go to the dealer for maintenance. I know a lot about cars and
repairs and I have relatives/friends that are just as smart as the pros. I've been going to them for the
routine oil changes and tire rotations since I bought the car.

I went in for this dealerships own 15k service and I nearly fell on the floor when first told the cost
was going to be $285, but I was even willing to swallow it. The service included: oil/filter, check/service
battery, top off fluids, air filter, check wipers, etc.

The day after, I discovered that:

1) There were still remains of leaves inside the air filter canister.
2) Several battery cells were very low on water.
3) They never said or did anything about the passenger wiper blade which was obviously in need of
replacement.
4) Cooling system overflow was (still) closer to the MIN mark, as opposed to MAX mark.
5) Brake fluid container was also (still) closer to the MIN mark.
6) Windshield washer fluid container was nowhere near full.

When I went back to the dealer I learned that the mechanic had been working there for several years. I suggested
they fire him.

The service manager of the dealership really acted very calm about this whole thing. He didn't seem very
apologetic or concerned at all. He didn't indicated to me that any steps would be taken to prevent this
from happening again, or that he would take any steps to find out WHY this happened to beging with.

He gave me a fraction of the money back, but I still wouldn't feel comfortable going back there. How do I really
know that ANY of the items/checks on their list were done at all ? How do I know they even changed the oil.
 I'm going to try another dealership near me and hope for the best.

I was thinking of writing to the OWNER of the dealership OR the President of TOYOTA, but I'm not sure I want
any more aggravation. There is a part of me, though, that is so infuriated by this, and now that I've
remembered this website, I've decided to post this and see if anyone else has any ideas as to what other options
I might have and/or find out if other's have had any horrific experiences with DEALER (dis)service.

Is this typical of DEALER SERVICE ? Have you experienced anything as horrific as this ?
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Comments

  • dekesterdekester Posts: 322
    If it was me, I'd definitely write the owner of the dealership. He's the one who ultimately is responsible. Poor service means you won't come back for another car, nor will you reccommend them to friends/family when they're looking, and it hurts him in the wallet.

    If you don't make him aware of your dissatisfaction, he doesn't know what's going on. I'd be curious to see what the ultimate outcome is.

    You might also call Toyota's customer service and let then know about the shoddy service. They want to sell more vehicles and they'll most likely look into your complaint. Just remember to keep it civil....

    Just my $.02

    Deke
  • hank2hank2 Posts: 75
    Keep everything calm and factual, and as documented as possible, and send it to the Manager of the Dealership, the Customer Relations Manager, and to the Owner. Give them full contact info, because I believe they will want to make it right ...

    Because if they don't respond in two weeks, you should nuke them in the best possible way - Contact Toyota!

    Toyota takes customer service Very seriously, and I have heard of owners making personal phone calls within minutes after someone contacted the manufacturer. Try the following:

    Ask Toyota <toyota_cares@toyota.com>
    call 800-GO-TOYOTA

    -Hank2
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    I was passing through when I came upon your post about your unfortunate experience with that dealer's service dept. solaraman2003.

    I've owned 3 new cars (a Camry included) and dealer service always left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I once found a banana peel in my Camry's engine right after service. Another dealer overflowed the engine with oil.

    I'd call Toyota and follow with a letter, and a copy to the dealer. I wouldn't return to the dealer ever. I no longer take my car to the dealer for schedule maintenance. Instead, I have my trusty shop do the work. If warranty repair needs to be done, then that's when I go to the dealer. I'd risk voiding the manufacturer's warranty by not servicing the car at the dealer during scheduled maintenance. I'll go to court if I have to but I refuse to leave my car at dealer service departments.
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    As for the $285 for the 15 mile service, any shop can do the same thing for a lot less. Dealers' shops have a large overhead and some charge as much as $90 an hour labor rate, prorated.

    The key is to have a shop that you trust to do the work. In the almost 8 years that I owned by Camry I never needed warranty repairs. I took it to the dealer the first year because I didn't know better until I wised up and found a private shop.
  • slov98slov98 Posts: 112
    I hate going to the dealership also, didn't have a good experience the first time I was there for simple oil change, left an oil mark on the carpet,adjusted the seat AND the steering wheel, AC left on full blast. It was like getting a different car back. I haven't been there since. I did get them to clean the oil spot. For scheduled maintance I'll go to a local mechanic.
  • glorybgloryb Posts: 1
    I have been to my local dealership 4 times this week and need to go again, but I am afraid to. My check engine light came on, took it to the dealership and they called me and told me that my water pump was leaking, told me my warranty had expired ten days ago, told me the amount to fix the car would be $525.00. After a few phone calls, placed to my warranty company and 800-gotoyota, found out my warranty was good until the 26th of this month. They fixed it with only a $50 deductible. Next day, check engine light back on, they told me it was the EGR valve, they fixed it, picked it up yesterday, light came back on, they told me the vsv valve needed to be fixed that it wasn't under warranty. I called the warranty company, it is covered, they just wanted the dealership to tell them why both valves went out at the same time. Service writer still trying to tell me that warranty won't cover. I haven't let him know that I know he is lying to me. I called Corporate to let them open up the investigation. After I hung up with Corporate, called my warranty company and they have authorized for the vsv valve to be replaced. Dealership still has not called me back.
  • sloganslogan Posts: 1
    I, too, have had a horrific dealer experience. The intermittent wiper switch did not work. I was told they would order the part and call me. They never called me so when I called them they said the part was in. I took the care in and the part wasn't in. This went on for two or three more trips to the dealer. The first time I took my 2003 Camry in for service, I heard a rattle on the way home. When I pulled in the garage, a lugnut fell out. 2-3 lugnuts were loose on every wheel.
    My next experience is when the airconditioning failed. After repeated trips to the dealership from 50 miles away, I contacted Toyota USA, THEN the service manager called me. He had never spoken to me or returned phone calls when I called repeatedly to tell them the A/c wasn't working. It required a new compressor, motor, and other components. I wonder what is next?
  • nardfreenardfree Posts: 1
    what happened and what the heck is a vsv valve and what does it do ? confused!!
  • spup345spup345 Posts: 3
    I was told by my local Goodyear mechanic that the upper & lower radiator hoses are hard in places and should be replaced. 2000 Camry V6 has 70k on it, does the hose thing make sense? Any idea which brand or style hoses I should get (for both upper & lower)?

    Also, on a sidenote, they recommended a bunch of other stuff too:
    -Fuel Filter replacement (Which after scanning newsgroups and this forum, I decided against replacing until 120k along w/ the PCV valve. No noticeable problems while driving)
    -Fuel injector cleaning (I'll just add STP Complete System Cleaner in my next tank. No noticeable problems while driving)
    -Replace Spark plugs (I'm doing this myself with the NGK double-platinum OEM plugs)
    -Tranny full flush (quoted at $149.99, that a good price? I need it, the fluid is very dark)
    -Coolant full flush (don't know if I need this, but at 70k I figure it can't hurt. Is $89.95 good?)

    Thanks!
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,756
    10-15 years ago it was common practice to replace radiator hoses in the 5 yr/70000 mile range. If you're gettting a coolant system flush anyway, it probably won't add much to the cost. Of the items listed, the tranny flush is probably needed and $150 is a reasonable price. I would prefer to have it done at a transmission shop rather than a tire store but that's just me.

    When in doubt about maintenance needs, refer to the owner's manual recommendations for your driving style.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Talk about being taken for a ride! Does the mechanic have a boat payment due?

    The only items you list that are recommended in the owner's manual (for 60K miles actually) are spark plug and coolant changes. I'm not sure if Toyota has a set period for transmission fluid changes for cars in normal service. Also, if the air filter wasn't replaced in the last 30K miles, you should have that done also.

    You can flush the coolant, but I'd just drain and refill the transmission. Granted, that way, you only get about half the dirty fluid out, but if you do it again in say 10K-15K miles, you'd refresh it with another shot of fresh fluid.

    It's not a bad idea to replace the coolant hoses, but not absolutely necessary. Get the Toyota OEM replacements if you do so.
  • loucapriloucapri Posts: 214
    I have a 97 LE 4 cyl. 107k myself and that's what I did.

    tranny flush @ 100k for $139.00

    Spark plugs @ 60K (I know it costs additional $40 for this set while doing my 60k service)

    Fuel unjector cleaning (I used Chervon's fuel system cleaner every time I have my oil change)

    Fuel Filter? I asked the service manager and he told me the fuel filter supposed to last the life time unless I am having problem (which I don't)

    Coolant flush, $59.00 (I have it done about every 30-40k)

    PCV valve, I replaced it once myself @ 60k ($5.00)

    All the jobs were done at TOYOTA dealer.

    I see some people suggest to just do a drain and refill for the tranny. A service like that costs about $59 around the Seattle area but I whether have a power flush that will suck out almost all fluid) that way I am certain the fluild will be flesh instead of mixing with dirty fluid (if you just drain and refill).

    I think the price you got from your Goodyear mechanic is too high because I had the same job done in the dealer and it costs less.

    BTW, I have never replaced any coolant hoses yet but I did have my air filter replaced 3 times (toyota part)
  • 2000er2000er Posts: 2
    Hi all,
    I have a 2000 camry with about 59.5K miles on it. I am planning to do a 60K maintenance. A toyota dealer in my area quoted $445.00 for doing the inspections and checks. Is that reasonable. I live in the washington dc - northern va metro area. That is the lowest quote I got.
    Any advise in this regard is appreciated.

    Thanks
    SK
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,756
    I would ask for an itemized list of what they're going to do. Chances are they have added items that your manual does require, such as fuel injector or throttle body cleaning. Service is very profitable for the dealers because most recommend procedures that Toyota doesn't or recommends them at more frequent intervals.
  • camry2000camry2000 Posts: 6
    Its surprising how car mechanics can do to swindle you out of your money. I found that there is no honesty in this business. Anyways my used camry (bought it used when it was 62K ) needs 60K servicing. I do not use my car much, probably 15-20 miles a week in Seattle Downtown. It gives me arnd 15mpg. I am expecting that since I am driving mostly arnd downtown the mileage will be less (Between my work and my home, in 1.2 miles there are 10 lights). But 15mpg is really less. I think it needs 60K servicing and when I went for qoutes, they went from a range of 300-1200.
    Question is to all the Toyota owners arnd Seattle.
    1) What place do you think is good and least priced for getting the 60K service.
    2) Also, I dont have a owners manual. Can I find it somewhere online.
    3)Can someone lead me to a document that specifies what needs to be changes at the 60K servicing, so that the mechanics can stop cheating me.

    Any inputs will be highly appreciated.

    Thanks
    Amit
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Your gas mileage is really not out of line, considering your trip length is so short and involves heavy city traffic.

    To get an owner's manual, try eBay. But for Toyota, you also need the separate maintenance manual, which lists in detail the items that require servicing, and when. So if you buy from eBay, make sure you get both booklets (the other booklets like warranty coverage, lemon law information, and tire warranty aren't needed).

    Basically, at 60K miles, you should have the air filter, spark plugs, coolant, oil and oil filter replaced. It's also a good idea to drain and refill the automatic transmission fluid (no flush needed). Also the tires should be rotated, brakes inspected, underbody fuel and brake lines visually inspected, and exhaust, steering, and suspension systems inspected. This is from memory, so I may have left out a couple minor items. One item not to get is fuel injection cleaning, unless your engine is not running smoothly. The timing belt can wait till 90K miles for replacement.

    Have you tried getting quotes from reputable independent shops, and instead of asking for a 60K service, try asking for the specific items I've mentioned above? If you ask for a 60K service, you're likely to get any number of items that aren't required by Toyota, as you've already found out by the wide range of quotes given.
  • loucapriloucapri Posts: 214
    I agree with 210delay that you should ask for quote on specific items other than the 60K service.

    In general, a 60K service quotes is different from place to place, I own a Camry and Highlander. I notice that the same service costs less in Everett than in Kirkland. And I like the service department better in Everett, reasonable quote and only perform necessary service.

    Back to the cost for 60K service, it should not be more than $350.00 for a 4 cyl camry. However, keep in mind, most of the stuffs they do is check and inspect certain items and if I remember correctly, they will only replace air filter, oil change, flush cooling system and there will be a ($40-$60 addition) for the spark plug.

    When my carmy hit 60k, I did have the job done in the dealer. SInce you only have your car for a few k miles and I don't know how much you know about your car's maintaince record. You should take it to the dealer at least once so you can set a baseline from then. Next time, you might not need to take it there for a 90K service because you can do most of the job yourself or do only the one that is necessary.

    your mpg is kind of low even you are doing most city driving. Hopefully a tune up can get you better number
  • You are exactly right. No one should go to dealer specially Toyota. I own two Toyota vehicles but do not trust those non-knowledgeable $70/hr labor workers. I took one of my vehicle for 15K mile service all they did was change oil, filter, check this.. check that.. and charged me $251+tax and Also charged me $15 to write my work order. What the "F" I was so shocked that changing oil cost me that much. The guy who repaired my vehicle came to the front desk and asked manager can I take a break...manager said finish this vehicle and then take break then he took my car and start working on it and I goofed around and saw he opened the hood and he was eating changed oil and bring my car back...manager also offered me hay do you want to change cabin filter for $68 I was thinking after all this I still have to pay for cabin filter what the hack...then what was that $250 you charged me was that for your workers lunch.

    I request all of you hard working people who pays their entire one week pay check for oil change DON'T. Try to do stuff for your self if you are old tell your grand children or friends but DO NOT trust these delears. Do you know they charge $70/$90 per hour for nothing? This is 21st century do you think they do everything what is say on the paper that paper is for advertising. If you have extra money doesn&#146;t know where to put please donate but don't make these dealers rich....

    Who say's you can't change oil, Tran oil, coolant, breaks, spark plugs, tires and many more, check out techguys.ca or search Google for things you need... you will be fine…. I have learned everything from these smart people who share their experience on the web so good luck....don't work hard you don't have to...
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    I don't trust dealers myself and try to do as much of my own maintenance as possible. For repairs beyond my expertise, I go to an independent shop, where I receive dependable, reasonably priced service.

    For those who don't want to do their own maintenance (and let's face it, changing oil can be very messy and difficult to do especially if you don't have ramps or even a garage), I'd recommend an independent shop (not a dealer, or one of the tire store or muffler chains, or "iffy lube"). Ask your friends, relatives, co-workers, or neighbors for recommendations.
  • I think the dealer you go to is just one bad apple. I also own 2 Toyota and I have both cars service at my local Toyota dealers.
    I do believe some dealers provide better service than the others. The service manager will let me know what need to be done instead of asking me to do this or that for my car. There are couple times I wonder if I need new plugs and other stuffs and he told me NO, 'unless I am having problem'. He seems pretty honest to me and their quote are reasonable.

    So far both of my cars are free of problem and I have not spend anything more than regular maintaine.

    In your case, $250 for an oil change is a lot and you shouldn't have paid them that much. It costs me only $40.00 for an oil change from a toyota dealer (syntec oil for 5000 miles)
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