Why I hate taking my 200 to the Dealer

lx200inAR

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Looking at the cartoon above got me to decide and chime in. Quite a few years ago, I took my LX470 to the local Lexus dealer for some service. When I picked it up, they informed me that they noticed that the engine was idling a bit rough so they replaced the injection system, including the manifold. And that as service to me, were able to charge Lexus for the “repair”, even though my LX was out of warranty coverage. That couldn’t have been a small charge.

What?!? The engine never idled roughly. I wondered if they’d even done the replacement so I took a look and sure enough, shiny new manifold with new gasket sealer visible in places. So basically they were screwing Lexus.

Fast forward to this month. We took my wife’s GX in for a speaker replacement (under CPO warranty) because the sound was distorted. When we picked the GX up the friendly service writer said that there was a problem getting the radio to communicate with the new speaker so they ordered a replacement radio. Oh, and by the way she said, the technician scratched your radio faceplate by accident but you’re getting a new radio anyway and a new faceplate will come with it.

This is that same Lexus dealer. They ended up charging the parts and labor to Lexus. Again, that couldn’t have been a small charge. Hey, but the scratch is gone! Oh, and the new front speaker was working just fine with the scratched radio. They do think that we are stupid.

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I think this is probably the most important point. I don’t think toyota is to blame for these indiscretions. It’s the US dealer market. I know in my city, the major car dealers own the dealerships for almost all name plates. They are obviously not in business for the manufacturer. It’s actually somewhat surprising that the automakers don’t manage that better.
 
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I am surprised you guys service your land cruisers at the $tealer. The beauty of a 200 is going to a trustworthy indy. My indy is more knowledgeable than any chicago toyota/lexus dealer in my eyes. Pic for toyota/lexus dealers. I went once for some seat belt recall very excruciating dealing with their BS.

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What Chicagoland Indy do you go to?
 

RAYJON

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Toyota corporate has always been good even on covering out of warenty repairs,. Dealers are hit or miss,. If you have a good one be thankful..
 
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I had german cars and dealing with toyota/lexus was always a let down. I believe the joy of a japanese car is taking it to an indy. I believe electric revolution is going to change everything and Im dying for my cybertruck. May buy a VW microbus too, although I wouldnt feel soo safe so close to the ground.
 

bloc

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Try Volkswagen service. An advisor argued with me about whether my Touareg had adjustable caster in the front. When I showed her the bolts on a lift, she still didn’t. I went home to print out the FSM pages, they finally acquiesced. Strangely, the new “before” alignment numbers had changed in 20 miles from when I left. So when I got it home the second time, I checked torque on the bolts. My guess was they were at about 50 ft-lb vs the ~150 spec. An email about this to the service manager was ignored “because you made clear you wouldn’t be bringing your vehicle back for service.” It’s not as though this was a safety issue they might want to learn about or anything. Not to mention a dealer that had been in business for ten years not completely aligning Touaregs. My bet is they still tell customers that.

I know in my city, the major car dealers own the dealerships for almost all name plates. They are obviously not in business for the manufacturer. It’s actually somewhat surprising that the automakers don’t manage that better.

I believe car dealer franchise laws “protect” them from manufacturer interference. I used to be way into Volkswagens and rumors were that VW HQ in Germany considered the US dealer network, especially service, one of the biggest problems of the whole brand in this country. But they have incredibly little legal authority to do anything about it. I’m certain toyota is similar.

I personally believe the franchise laws need to change dramatically for the good of the consumer. They were written in a time when the manufacturers had vast power to decide who survives and who doesn’t, and at the time this was good for the consumer. It isn’t anymore, but dealers still have incredible lobbying power to protect their s***ty business practices from accountability.

Insight:
 
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can you please elaborate?

From the two repairs I know of, but did not personally see, less than stellar piecing of interior back together. I believe the worst of it was poor fitting carpet after the job, around 15 trim pieces and/or fasteners that were damaged or broken, and a gas tank that was not properly secured as it came from the factory.
 
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A lot of interesting stories and they all make sense given the profit models that the dealerships have combined with the varied skills and experiences the dealership employees will have.

For another perspective I worked as a wrench at a John Deere dealership in the 90s and we were encouraged to troubleshoot by replacing parts in many cases. The dealership wanted us to minimize work time so beyond spending a few minutes inspecting and checking specifications we'd typically just replace the next most likely suspect until the problem went away. Often our post-replacement testing was brief and the customer was the one that found out if the repair had been effective and they'd have to make return trips if it wasn't (not as easy for tractors vs. autos). Depending on the customer or if it was a return I would sometimes be encouraged/allowed to take more time to try to get the diagnosis and repairs right the first time.

Simply replacing parts is typically a fast process so overall this approach would keep our work hours well below the stated "flat rate" hours that the customer was billed for, with every replaced part another job to bill for.

There were a lot of good mechanics at this shop and some really good work was done by them but the above approach had evolved over time in that environment and it makes sense from the dealers perspective, especially short-term. If we got lucky, as mechanics, the above approach worked well for the customer but it pushed too much of the costs and risks onto the customer and away from the shop in my opinion. Finding a shop committed to understanding the problem(s) and fixing them fully without wasted time/parts is a lofty goal and rather unlikely unfortunately.
 
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A lot of interesting stories and they all make sense given the profit models that the dealerships have combined with the varied skills and experiences the dealership employees will have.

For another perspective I worked as a wrench at a John Deere dealership in the 90s and we were encouraged to troubleshoot by replacing parts in many cases. The dealership wanted us to minimize work time so beyond spending a few minutes inspecting and checking specifications we'd typically just replace the next most likely suspect until the problem went away. Often our post-replacement testing was brief and the customer was the one that found out if the repair had been effective and they'd have to make return trips if it wasn't (not as easy for tractors vs. autos). Depending on the customer or if it was a return I would sometimes be encouraged/allowed to take more time to try to get the diagnosis and repairs right the first time.

Simply replacing parts is typically a fast process so overall this approach would keep our work hours well below the stated "flat rate" hours that the customer was billed for, with every replaced part another job to bill for.

There were a lot of good mechanics at this shop and some really good work was done by them but the above approach had evolved over time in that environment and it makes sense from the dealers perspective, especially short-term. If we got lucky, as mechanics, the above approach worked well for the customer but it pushed too much of the costs and risks onto the customer and away from the shop in my opinion. Finding a shop committed to understanding the problem(s) and fixing them fully without wasted time/parts is a lofty goal and rather unlikely unfortunately.


Everything you said makes complete sense from a business model. The unfortunate thing is that the consumer pays and looses while the company profits from maintenance. It's just wrong on so many levels and only getting worse. John Deere is a classic example to the point there is legislation being proposed against their practices. It could trickle down to the auto industry especially Tesla-scumbags.

It's a shame when you hear about decent mechanics being ordered to do sub-par work to fill a quota by some greasy manager.

But it is what it is. It's rather hard to fight today if you take your vehicle to a dealer. Just know when you are going that you are rolling the dice. Or find an indy mechanic.
 
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I use the Sac Lexus dealer as well. Incredible service team. I asked Toyota if they would install the spacers on my LX and they told me they were prohibited from taking Lexus, but that Lexus would take Toyota.

But FYI, the service mgr does a walk through when the rig comes in and once he opined that my front shock was leaking and the next time that my front caliper was as well. Well, another 30k later of wheeling and the shock and the caliper fixed themselves. So, the folks above are right, build a relationship but learn to smell the BS.
 

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