Broken roll bar end link & Lexus Dealer

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Jan 8, 2016
Figured I'd post a little anecdote or my recent run-in with Lexus dealer service. TL;DR Stealership story.

So the day before leaving on a weekend trip the front feels very loose and I can hear a metal grinding sound during right turns. I call up Lexus and make an appointment because I don't have the time to troubleshoot and order parts. I bring the car in, sit down with the service advisor and tell him about the problem. His chunky gold Rolex yacht-master, bigger than the wrist it sat on, should have been the warning sign.

So he calls me an hour later and tells me that the front anti-roll bar endlinks are broken on one side and the other side, while not broken, needs to be replaced. Makes sense. I'm relieved that's all it is, while kicking myself that I didn't take the 5 minutes to get under the car to look. Avoiding Bromberg's Second Law of Auto Repair while dressed for work seemed like the prudent choice.

So while I'm thinking I could have saved all the trouble by looking, but reasoning 'what the hell, let's just get it done', he drops the bomb. 'Tech says it's going to start at 4 hours of labor and go from there'. Estimate? About a $1,000 dollars.

I was dumbfounded. So much so that I literally couldn't get words out of my mouth. I unintelligibly get the service rapist advisor to text me pictures of the problem. Confirm I'm not crazy, pictures are of a broken endlink. So I call him back. I ask how it's possible that it can cost that much. 'Well there's a lot of rust', 'we want to do that job right', 'we can't leave it like this', 'my kids need to eat and I really like smokey single malts', ect. So I ask him nicely to go back to his tech and double check, as it seems a tad unreasonable.

He calls me back. Tells me the parts are over $300 and that maybe, maybe, the tech can do it closer to 2 hours. He's doing me a favor here. So I ask him if he has the part number in front of him.

'Yes, I do.'
It's part 48820-60032?
'ummm, yea'
It's $19 to order from Toyota, how much are you charging?
'ummm, I can't say'
I'll be by to pick up the keys in 10 minutes, please don't touch the car.

Little did I know I had the parts at home, along with poly bushings. I didn't need to jack the car, just turn the wheel fully the opposite way. Jump in with a 14mm wrench and they pop right out. A very casual 15 minutes per side, the old are out, the new are in, and with a beer in one hand I'm back on the phone leaving a very polite voicemail for the service manager. Now, as mad as I was that they would have ripped off my wife or mother without a second thought, the voicemail to the service manager was polite, but I never heard back. He must have a two gold rollies.

That is ridiculous. I'm SM at a Toyota Dealer and in CDN dollars we would have charged 188 taxes in all said and done. That part number is triple the price up here to boot.
Good decision declining the work, and taking the initiative to do the job yourself.

Did you happen to get a written estimate, or was it just a verbal quote?

That estimate was so far out of whack that I'd be inclined to meet with the GM, and send a love note to the regional/zone office and cc Lexus headquarters describing the attempted gouging and making the point that your wife or mom wouldnt have known any better and prob agreed to a terribly over priced repair. Lexus is measured closely by Customer Satisfaction and situation like this when reported and recorded can make a difference, which will prompt the zone service manager to audit or monitor the dealership. Who knows you might save some one else some grief.
abuck, I've thought about escalating for that reason. Maybe I'll write a letter to corporate and the auto group as they own 20+ dealerships in the area. It was just a verbal quote, things moved too quickly to get anything in writing.

01LC, I was thinking afterwards that they were including a new bar, but that would still be gouging.
Such an easy fix... its amazing how expensive dealerships can be. I have a broken AC hose... Dealership quoted $322CAD for the part, and almost $1000CAD with labour. I bought the lexus genuine part online for $105USD + $10 to ship... when it arrives it will take about 30mins to repair, and maybe $80 to refill the AC...

Moral of the story, do all the work you can at home, unless your time is worth $1000/hr...
I think many here would agree; if you wanted done right do it yourself. Beside the savings can be used for tools;)
I think many here would agree; if you wanted done right do it yourself. Beside the savings can be used for tools;)

Absolutely true!

Or savings put towards better stuff than overcharged labor rate, like paying off your truck, or buying more spare parts, or bumpers and other useful (fun) hardware.

Granted some don't have the tools, space or inclination to self service their truck, but being knowledgeable on a repair before you invest in service can save you some heartburn $$ and is easily done with a little research here, along with the friendly advice of many good (and qualified) folks on this forum.

Hail, Mud!

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