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Toyota Solara Care and Maintenance

carole618carole618 Member Posts: 1
How safe is the top on convertible when entering the car wash????? Will it clean fairly decent>>



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    solaraman2003solaraman2003 Member Posts: 92
    I have a 2003 SLEv6.
    I now have almost 92k miles and want to bring the car in for a new timing belt. Should I insist that they do some other additional work (i.e. replace water pump, replace tensioner, etc.)? Do I need to be crystal clear with them and tell them explicitly to put in NEW anti-freeze?

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    sjk183sjk183 Member Posts: 1
    Hello. I have a 2003 Solara - coupe. I need to have my transmissions fluid replaced. I need to know if there is a filter where my transmission fluid is because that will determine if I take my car to jiffy lube or the dealer.

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    dchevdchev Member Posts: 38
    Dealer will flush your transmission for $99. Flushing and then replacing your fluid will ensure excellent maintenance of your transmission. Also, Toyota manual recommends to replace (flush) your transmission fluid every 60k Miles.
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    saxman911saxman911 Member Posts: 9
    My maintenance light on my Solara 2007 SLE convertible just started to go on whenever I start the car in very cold weather. After I pull out of the garage and ride for 1 block, it goes off. I get a free oil change every 5000 miles, the car has 4600 miles. Should I wait 5 more days to the free oil change or get one right now and pay for it?

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    solaraman2003solaraman2003 Member Posts: 92
    YES, there is a filter there. The filter/screen will last the full life of the car. If/when they take the pan down, they should CLEAN the filter/screen, and simply put it back on.

    There are several ways to do a "transmission fluid change". The way I do it (myself) is that every few oil changes (perhaps every 4th/5th) I open up the two drain plugs and let whatever fluid can come out drain. This is usually about 4-5 quarts. I then replenish that fluid through the top. I have the 101k miles on the car now, and only once (perhaps at 50k) did I take down the pan and clean the filter/screen. Now that I've read this post it reminds me I should do it again.

    Personally, I am VERY big on preventive maintenance. You might hear different answers from different people on this, but for me, I like to drain/replace my fluids as frequently as possible.

    If I had better facilities to do this work I would probably replenish my transmission fluid (4-5 quarts) every OTHER oil change. But that's just me being anal I suppose :)

    Remember, draining/refilling the tranny fluid the way I metioned by opening the two drain plugs will only get SOME of the fluid out. That is why I like to do it so frequently.

    Also, I would NEVER take my car to a place other than the dealer OR a garage that I fully trusted. You have no idea what kind of fluid they're putting in (regardless of what their tank/pump labels read), and their filters are INFERIOR to OEM.

    That's another reason I do this myself. I ALWAYS use CASTROL oil and transmission fluid. The best !
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    tomjadgtomjadg Member Posts: 1
    My wife's '03 Solera had a "check engine light' come on.
    The dealership told me it needed a vacum switch valve, and cleaned the filler neck housing.
    Part cost.....$48.59

    How do I know for a fact that anything was wrong? Do you trust your dealership to 'tell the truth, and nothing but the truth?

    I have to wonder with a $239. bill, and the car was running fine.

    Things that make you go hmmmmmmmmmm.
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    njexpressnjexpress Member Posts: 170
    I have had fellow forum members on S2KI.com report leakage on their S2000s from car washes but I have not heard anything about the Solara. However, I wouldn’t recommend a car wash with any convertible. I don’t just say this because I detail all my cars myself but the seals are generally not good at resisting pressurized water jets. It even says not to go with commercial car washes in owner manuals of most models. I bought wolfstien’s Raggtopp convertible care kit and I couldn’t honestly say yet if the cleaner and protectant are good enough – Maybe it didn’t make any visual difference since my solara is spanking new plus I am not sure if the protectant dried enough overnight in 40 degree weather. I am waiting for the first available 50+ degree weekend day so I can do a full detail and test wolfstein’s out more properly. I will post my experience then.
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    toy4life72toy4life72 Member Posts: 3
    The same thing happen to me with the VSV. All you need to do if you don't trust the dealership is, go to Autozone and they will do a diagnostic for free. Ask them for the trouble codes and BUY a Hanes Manual inside the store for your car $15, and fix it yourself takes about 30 min.
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    d9157d9157 Member Posts: 1
    Hello, We have a 1999 Toyota Solara, runs great and gets excellent gas mileage. We took it in for service and they tell us we need Electronic Fuel Enjection (EFI) service. Can anyone tell me what is done exactly for EFI service? Is it really necessary if we are already gettng good mileage?
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    meegwellmeegwell Member Posts: 67
    This A.M. I dropped car off for its 30K service. Service advisor just called to say we need new brake pads & that front rotors need to be machined. Pads, fine. But machine the rotors, why? Advisor claims, hot spots. He says the pads Toyota installs are semi-metallic (asbestos pads no longer legal). Pads still had 2% on them.

    Advisor says I was not at fault, semi metallic pads always produce hot spots. According to service records at the dealership (where we always get our service done) at 25K mile service we had 25% left on the front pads. Advisor said today, that even if we had changed our pads then, there were hot spots produced by the semi metallic pads back then. If I'd changed the pads @ 25% he would have advised machining the rotors.

    I've asked the Service Mgr. to review this and if necessary contact Toyota to pick up the expense of machining the rotors. Questions:

    Does this happen with all cars that use semi-metallic pads or should Toyota have upgraded their rotors to better match their pads?

    Should I just forget about it and agree to pay for the machining or is Toyota at fault for not installing compatible the rotors?

    Thank you,

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    moranosmoranos Member Posts: 1
    Having the brake rotors turned (machined) isn't an unusual practice, though there's some debate as to whether it's worthwhile. I usually won't do it, personally, unless there's some unusual wear, and even then, only once I've found the cause of that wear.

    The reason for it is fairly simple: when the pads grip the surfaces of the disc, they wear both the pad and the disc, generate heat, create loose particles of metal and brake pad material, etc. The process is imperfect, and the wear is not totally even or smooth. That's why you can see grooves, like the grooves on a record, on your brake discs.

    So, when you change the pads without resurfacing the brake discs, you put a new pad (smooth, theoretically), on the worn surface of the brake disc. This will supposedly cause higher braking temperatures and less uneven wear, and poorer braking performance.

    So, your dealer isn't really trying to scam you, and 30K miles isn't an unreasonable interval for a disc resurfacing. If they insist, I'd go ahead and have it done, but if you're still not sure, take a look at a good shop manual (Bentley? not sure what you toyota folks use) and see what it recommends. It's probably listed under the 30K mile periodic maintenance...
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    solaragreensolaragreen Member Posts: 2
    Posted: Wed May 21, 2008 5:06 pm Post subject: HELP!!!! MY SOLARA 99 SLE CAN NOT START

    (1999 solara V6 SLE)
    Today i start my car,but the engine rotates but will not start.
    The shop said it may be the fuel pump problem.
    I found out there are a few of the problem that may cause this problem.
    1.Fuel tank empty
    2.Faulty fuel pump
    3.Leaking fuel injector
    4.Pressure regulator
    5.Ignition components damp or damaged
    6.Spark plug
    7.Broken,loose or disconnected wiring in the starting circuit.
    8.Faulty CAS sensor
    9.Broken ignition wires at the ignition coils.

    THANKS :sick:
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    moms_maxmoms_max Member Posts: 62
    Hi meegwell...

    What did you end up doing? The reply by moranos was an excellent explanation (thank you, moranos!) but I'm wondering how it turned out for you.... I'm filing all these issues away for future reference! ;)
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    izabella1180izabella1180 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 04 Solara SE, and dealer has been tellin me since 30K miles that i need to flush my transmission fluid. My Owners manual says nothing about "flushing" just changing and at 65K miles. My mechanic said that just changing will be ok. I heard if you flush your transmission fluid, your pushing all that dirty fluid through all small moving parts in your transmission and chances are something (small rust piece or something) can get stuck in one of your parts in tranny. Is that true or a myth or can you get away w/just changing the fluid? Also, do you need to check/change the tranny filter as well? I'm at 72K miles and doing this for first time. I couldn't afford to get the filter changed/cleaned this time, will I be ok until next time I service my vehicle w/my mechanic in 10K miles? :confuse:
    Any suggestions will help! Thanks!!
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    curious19curious19 Member Posts: 2
    My 2008 has the leather interior. Does that mean just the seats or all the surfaces like door panels, dash, etc.? My guess is some is leather and some vinyl.
    If some is leather and some vinyl, how do I know the difference and how do I protect the surfaces?
    On cars with vinyl I used Armorall and was happy with the results. Now I am concernted putting Armorall on the leather is not going to protect it. On the other hand, I don't want to waste expensive leather care products on vinyl.
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    solaraman2003solaraman2003 Member Posts: 92
    Only SOME parts of the seats are truly leather.

    The door panels, dash, and side wall panels are NOT leather. They are some form of plastic.

    They do this often with leather furniture for the home as well. It's too costly for them to make the entire seat/chair/couch in leather, and so in order to provide it to you at a more reasonable cost (or save the manufacturer money) they only make those parts that actually touch the human body out of leather.

    You have to look closely at the seats. The parts that are NOT leather include:

    1. The very front of the seats underneath your knees (behind your shins).
    2. The left and right sides of the seat (near your hips).

    I have to believe that the upper end Mercedes and BMWs would have ALL leather seats and even perhaps leather door panels. Next time I see a dealer I might stop in to see for myself !
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    meegwellmeegwell Member Posts: 67
    We've always had our car serviced by the Toyota dealer we bought our car from. Today, while getting a new set of tires, our Goodyear dealer pitched me on having our service done at his shop. He assures me he'll use genuine Toyota parts. He also assures me he'll use the same check-list as the dealer will & I'll pay less through him.

    I know Goodyear will charge me less than Toyota because the price the dealer quoted me for a pair of new (Original Equipment) front-end struts (which always gave us a squishy ride) was three times higher than what Goodyear wants for a pair of KYB struts.

    Any thoughts on any of the above would be welcomed.

    Thank you,
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    meegwellmeegwell Member Posts: 67
    What's the best oil to put into my `06 Solara? In the old days my mechanic used to swear by, Kendall oil. Is that a good choice for my car?

    Is Synthetic a better way to go?

    I used to just take my car to the dealer for these things but I'm making a change.


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    solaraman2003solaraman2003 Member Posts: 92
    Generally speaking, I don't believe you get anything more from a dealer than from a Goodyear, Sears, or any other chain store.

    THE most important thing is the competency of the human being doing the actual work. If you can find a mechanic (human being) that you can trust, OR an owner/manager of a shop that you can trust, then that's the person to go to. A good owner/manager would only hire competent mechanics, and should oversee the work of his team.

    I wouldn't care if the mechanic had a small one-car garage. I wouldn't care if he had no garage at all. If he were competent, and I had a lot of trust in him/her, I would use him/her.

    And YES, there is no question that the dealer is going to charge more. He's being backed by his chain and he has much more overhead to deal with. But it absolutely DOES NOT mean you're getting more value for your money. You are definitely going to get a bigger bill, however.

    There are probably some very special situations where I would advise that someone go to a dealer. The one benefit I can think of with the dealer is that they might have access to other resources that the average mechanic does not. The other reason you might want the dealer is if the car is still under warranty and the problem item might be covered under that OR covered under a TSB from the manufacturer.
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    solaraman2003solaraman2003 Member Posts: 92
    I believe CASTROL is the best. I won't buy anything else, regardless of how cheap it might be or if it's on sale. I just buy the CASTROL when it's on sale and throw it in my garage for when I need it.

    Also, I would NOT go to any of those quick-lube places - EVEN IF they have a big CASTROL sign outside. Why? How do you REALLY KNOW that the oil they're pumping into your engine truly IS CASTROL?

    I use CASTROL right from the plastic container !
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    crazedcommutercrazedcommuter Member Posts: 281
    edited November 2010
    I just replaced the stock Michelin 215 60 16's on my 2008 Solara with Goodyear Eagle GT's. At 38k the Michelins were worn past the wear bars even with 6k rotations. I hit a good sale at Sears and opted to try the Goodyear's since they were $45 a tire cheaper than the stock Michelins.

    First noticible difference was how light the steering felt on my first road test. The car seemed quicker to respond to inputs and stuck like glue through the twisties where the stock Michelins would let loose and squeal. The tread pattern is more aggressive so the ride is a bit rougher but I can't notice any increase in cabin noise. Gas mileage has decreased 2mpg in the first 350 miles. Not sure if it will get better after break in. Ran them in heavy rain last week on the interstate up to 80 mph with no hydoplaning or loss of road feel.
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    moms_maxmoms_max Member Posts: 62
    Wow... great post! I am facing replacement in the near future ~ will keep my eye on the Eagle GTs. Altho if I get any worse gas mileage with my '06, I'm gonna spit.... :mad:

    Thanks for the info!!!
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    crazedcommutercrazedcommuter Member Posts: 281
    I just had the tires rotated for the second time at the 11,000 mile mark. Handling and traction are still excellent with the Goodyears with very little wear. MPG is still 2 mpg less than the stock tires. They do ride stiff but cornering is much improved over the stock Michelins. I made it through 5-6 inch snows last winter in the DC metro area. We got hit pretty hard but the Solara made it through ok. My son also got these tires for his 08 VW Bunny and has had no issues with traction or wear. Am very satisfied at the 11,ooo mile mark .
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    crazedcommutercrazedcommuter Member Posts: 281
    I just replaced the Goodyear eagle GT tires on the 08 Solara. They were worn to the wear bars at 36,500 miles and losing wet traction quickly. They were rated for 50,000. I decided after researching several sites to go with the BF Goodrich TA Advantage in size 215 60 16. These tires are much quieter than the Goodyear's and my mileage has increased over 2 mpg for the last 2 tanks of gas.

    These BF Goodrich's are also a softer, more compliant ride than the stiffer Eagle GT's. I drove the Advantage TA's at highway speeds in the rain last weekend from NJ to WV and they handled fine. No hydroplaning and no sliding around at the toll plazas. Right now I have about 1,000 miles on them and they are rated as a 65,000 tire. I'll report back after I run some miles on them.
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    crazedcommutercrazedcommuter Member Posts: 281
    I just replaced the front brake pads on my 2008 Solara at 82,000 miles. Am very pleased with the wear I got from the stock pads. Rotors were ok and did not need turning. I ordered the OEM replacement pads and hope to get another 80k miles out of them too. Just changed the oil with 5w20 Castrol Synblend and a Purolator pure one filter. Car is running like a top and averages 30 mpg combined city/Hwy.
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    nikhorsenikhorse Member Posts: 1
    I need to change the front disk and brake pads out of a 07' Solara and was wondering if any special Toyota tool was needed?
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    crazedcommutercrazedcommuter Member Posts: 281
    I had a coupon for brake service from a local garage plus one for an extra $25 off any service so I had them do the work. I was watching thru the shop door and the pads took approx 20 min to replace and looked like no special tools were needed.
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    crazedcommutercrazedcommuter Member Posts: 281
    I just replaced the factory spark plugs at 92,000 miles. Did the job in my driveway which took about 30 minutes. I bought the specified iridium tipped NGK plugs from Advance Auto along with the boot grease for about $32. The job was very easy if you're careful. Afterward I noticed a 2 mpg increase and quicker throttle response.
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