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Business is slow = throttle body cleaning!

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Leadfoot, Nov 11, 2009.

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  1. Leadfoot

    Leadfoot Yoda On Steroids

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    Just thought I'd give everybody on Prius Chat a little heads-up. Seems that in tough economic times even a Toyota dealer will resort to pushing unnecessary service.

    My staff accountant owns an '07 with 13k miles. I try to give her some maintenance guidance whenever possible (her husband is not very handy with cars). She showed me a coupon for some simple $48 service. It looked like a good deal, so I gave it my blessing.

    She gets there in the early-AM and the service rep pushed the daggone "throttle body service" on her. What a waste of another $100. I highly doubt they pulled the air filter to even inspect the innards. Probably just dumped some gas treatment in her tank.

    So beware out there, my unsuspecting friends. You go in for your $19 coupon special oil change and leave feeling pickpocketed.:eek:
  2. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Nadir of Wrongness

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    You forgot to name the dealer, how can we avoid them if we don't know them?
  3. Leadfoot

    Leadfoot Yoda On Steroids

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    Nah, didn't forget. What they did was neither illegal or unethical, really. Besides, it was not my vehicle and I was not there when the service rep made his pitch. So rather than single out this dealer for what is likely a common practice, my strategy was to alert others wishing to save a few bucks before the holidays.:wof:

    Honestly, it seems the throttle body cleaning service could go to 50k or more, if even necessary. Take the air filter off and inspect it yourself at routine intervals. It takes less than five minutes, for goodness sakes.
  4. ceric

    ceric New Member

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    It is not illegal to over-maintain your vehicles or pursuade others to do so.
    It is up to you to make a judegement. After all, someone relies on those "extra work" to make a living.
    You can change oil and filter every 1000 miles if you feel like it.
    I am not going complain.
  5. Mr.JMC

    Mr.JMC New Member

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    Sorry I didn't catch your post a week earlier. Same thing just happened to me at an "unnamed" dealership in the LA Area. They get my car in and call me back to tell me the car needs Throttle body cleaning for, get this $148! I had never heard of it but after some discussion on the phone, I was assured it was necessary. Reluctantly gave the okay.

    So maybe or maybe not necessary, but it sounds like I got screwed over for that amount of money. Just got on this site to see what other people had to say about it.

    Next time I'll figure out how to do it myself. But the biggest rub was they also said a license plate light needed to be replaced. I denied that service immediately and on the way home I stopped at AutoZone and picked up the part. Walk to the back of the car and 'presto,' both license plate lights are working! Okay, maybe, just maybe it was a mistake or a 'loose bulb' that magically came on. But I'm thinking you are right. Business is slow and they're jacking people even more than usual. Ugggg. The same dealer always tries to hit me for $70 to change the cabin air filter. Fortunately, I'm already hip to that one and do it myself in 2 minutes for $3.90. Really left me feeling ripped off by these guys. Not a good thing. I like bringing the car to the dealer every now and then but this really turned my stomach.

    What we need is a single page that advises what you should let a dealer or mechanic do and verses the things that almost any simpleton is capable of doing on his own. Would be very helpful.
  6. dalton2

    dalton2 New Member

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    throttle body cleaning is a great service for a higher milage vehicle they can get gummed up.
    60k mi. or more maybe but is a waste of money on 13k mile hybrid IMO
  7. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    I think it is Bob Wilson who posted pictures how to check for free throttle body movement. It takes two minutes to check, and at least on my 94k mile Prius, was just fine.

    btw, cleaning is a bigger chore. That probably takes 5 minutes.
  8. oortega

    oortega New Member

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    Sagebrush, can you talk about *how* to clean your throttle body yourself. You say it takes 5 minutes. I also just ordered my Chilton book from amazon.com. I've been relying on my dealership a little bit too much.
  9. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Nadir of Wrongness

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    Cleaning Prius Throttle
    dyuill, GeorgeGarman and bisco like this.
  10. Duffer

    Duffer Member

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    Thanks JimboPalmer. I had cleaned the throttle body in our 2007 RAV4 4 cylinder a couple of months back. The RAV had been a real dog for a while and the clean up really made it run like new. Now I will clean the Prius at 45,000mi to see if it makes a difference. The RAV did not have a stuck butterfly (65,000mi), but the dirt seemed to inhibit smooth throttle opening and the resulting lag.
  11. PriusV

    PriusV Junior Member

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    50k, 60k miles? The service advisor on my last visit for a 20k mile oil change service recommended it a few mins after I got out of my car. I said no thanks to $69.99. Thanks for saving me a lot of money.
  12. sktn77a

    sktn77a Member

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    Does dumping a bottle of Techron in the gas tank do the job just as well?
  13. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    No, because Techron will clean the fuel injectors. The throttle body has air flowing through it. If the throttle body needs to be cleaned, that is a separate exercise.
    cwerdna likes this.
  14. vroom

    vroom New Member

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    My local Toyota dealer was going to charge $250.00....times are indeed slow. Eeek!
    2004 Prius owner
    Souther Cal, Northern San Diego County
  15. Troubadour

    Troubadour Junior Member

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    Personally, I think it is unethical to recommend service if it is not needed. It is rampant in many businesses, even the medical profession. It is a serious problem in this country.
  16. maestro8

    maestro8 Nouveau Member

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    Unethical does not always imply illegal.

    I don't *need* a dental cleaning every six months as I take good care of my teeth, but I don't tell my dentist he's a scam artist for recommending it.



    If it helps keep a business afloat, it doesn't seem much of a problem for the business owner, nor for the happy customers of that business. It's a double-edged sword. There are likely blissfully unaware owners of Priuses getting cleanings every 30k mi and are happy with their service advisor.
  17. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    I agree that the practice is not illegal. However I would say it is unethical.

    The recommendation for dental cleaning every six months is not a very good comparison since that procedure is typically covered by dental insurance. Presumably the insurer, who has an interest in minimizing total long-term dental costs, offers that coverage because such cleaning provides a long-term benefit with regards to reducing the incidence of more expensive remedial dental work in the future.

    Throttle body cleaning is not shown on the Toyota maintenance schedule. If there were no driveability symptoms justifying that procedure then I would say that recommendation was highly unethical especially since the OP indicated the car in question only had logged 13K miles.

    Further evidence of an unethical practice can be found in post #14 where a price of $250 was cited for a procedure that might take the technician 10 min and require a can of throttle body cleaner whose wholesale price is probably near $5.

    This thread dates back three years and it appears that Prius owners must continue to look out for unsavory business practices.
    Troubadour likes this.
  18. maestro8

    maestro8 Nouveau Member

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    No, it's a great comparison. I don't have a single cavity, and I only go in for a cleaning once a year.

    Don't go shooting others down just 'cause you can't understand them, Pat. It's not very friendly.

    Care to speak to the happy customers who're getting their car serviced unethically? No harm, no foul, right?
  19. John H

    John H Senior Member

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    off-topic .... but just performing something because it is covered by insurance is why our health care system is the most expensive in the world. 60 minutes covered part of the subject this last weekend. medical practices are admitting patients into hospitals and automatically ordering any remotely defensible test and procedure to raise revenues from medicare and insurance payers, raising insurance and health care costs for everyone that can pay.
    ftl likes this.
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