Routine Maintenance

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Apr 20, 2013
Seattle, WA / Homer, AK / Scottsdale, AZ
I've had my 100 for 15 years now and have always had the service performed at my local Toyota dealer. I'm considering having my local car maintenance / tire place do the work next time as the dealer is a long ways from my house and I'm not a fan of needing to rent a car from them. Things like oil and other fluid changes, general mechanical maintenance, etc. Timing belt changes would still go to Toyota. What have been your experiences with having a non-Toyota mechanic work on your vehicles? The 100 doesn't seem all that complex mechanically.
Well I used to take my truck to my local gas garage but they wouldn't tell me everything that was wrong with the truck, they just waited until I had a failure and did the expensive fixes. First time I took it to ACC they told me everything that was wrong and was able to fix all of the issues with my truck. Seems that they're more honest than any old garage and they know what they're talking about specifically with cruisers. I don't really trust other shops anymore just due to being cheated out of money. Obviously I'll still take it to a cheap place to have the oil changed or something simple like that but nothing mechanical.
I take both my trucks to an independent shop for maintenance, but all of the techs there worked at Lexus at one time. I say if you can find an independent shop that works on Toyotas, go for it and try them out. I stop by the Toyota dealer and have oil change and rotation done if I'm out of town, costs about $55 and takes an hour. It would cost $150 at Lexus (but could get a loan car and they'll pick up and deliver). The Lexus dealer does a good job, but I can't value a base service at $150. Plus, I'm sure to receive a call about an upsell for driveline fluids, power steering, alignment, etc. If I get rich I'll return to the dealer....
Independent Mechanic - at the end of the day you are shopping for a service - right? It is no different that seeking out a competent attorney / financial advisor / real estate broker / indian chief / psychic. Ask your friends / neighbors / read reviews on line - interview the shop.

I started using the independent shop after learning that he had the specialized tools & hired away the dealership mechanics from the local BMW dealer. As I got to know them, I realized that he had a guy that specifically was trained and primarily worked on English vehicles. The rest are capable of working on both American and Japanese vehicles.

I don't think there is anything particularly difficult about working on these vehicles. That said, it isn't a bad idea to listen to the shop's diagnoses + remedy and then search the threads here to confirm their thinking. Lastly when they give you the remedy - confirm with them that they are going to use genuine factory parts.

Good luck
Same experience here. I used to only use the dealer for service cause that's how my parents trained me. But now where I live there's a great shop I was referred to that only works on Toyota/Lexus/Honda/Acura and the owner and his techs are all certified and defected Toyota techs. Moral of the story, find a place you trust and there should be no difference in experience from the local dealership. I also like to make it clear at the start of a relationship with a shop that I know plenty about cars and do not intend to be up-sold or cheated in any way.

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