Analysis of Prepaid Maintenance Upgrade vs. Paying As You Go

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by The Critic, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    I was talking with another priuschat member tonight about the prepaid maintenance pkg that is available through TFS.

    Several months ago, I was researching the cost of the ext warranty and the prepaid maint agreement and learned that the ToyotaCare Plus upgrade is $980 for the 5/75k plan. This was a discounted quote for the plan; I think the MSRP for the plan is $1760. So when I was at my normal dealer for scheduled service, I inquired about the cost of the various services if you were to pay for them as you go.

    Minor Service with the 0w-20 oil change: $99
    Minor Service without the oil change: $39 (tire rotation and brake inspection only)
    Intermediate Service: $95 (tire rotation and complete vehicle inspection).
    Major Service: $300 (my normal dealer charges $350 but they also include a fuel injection service and a brake hardware cleaning/lubrication service, neither of which are required and would not be covered under the ToyotaCare Plus Plan. The dealers whose 30k services do just the required items ranged between $268-$300.)

    We know that the included ToyotaCare Plan covers all visits up to 2/25k. ToyotaCare Plus, for the $980 I was quoted, would cover maintenance until 5/75k. So, with the prices we know, here is what I found:

    Minor Service with the 0w-20 Oil Change (40k, 50k, 70k): $99*3= $297
    Minor Service without the oil change (35k, 55k, 65k): $39*3= $117
    Intermediate Service (45k and 75k)= $190
    Major Service (30k and 60k)= $300 * 2= $600.

    Total: $1204 + taxes and fees.

    So, IF you were able to buy the ToyotaCare for 1k, then it would be cheaper than paying as you go for each individual service. Of course prices will vary by area and you need to be comparing apples to apples since dealers tend to throw in extra services ;), but those are the average prices for my area.

    Most of us who have some interest in shopping around for service and are willing to tackle on some of the minor service work ourselves (e.g. cabin filters and engine air filters) are not going to pay $300 for someone to do the basic 30k/60k/90k service that only involves an oil change, tire rotation and replacing the engine and cabin filters. Nor are we going to pay $39 for a tire rotation (hint: America's Tire).

    However, for those who are unable to do the work themselves for whatever reason, or cannot be bothered to shop around for various services (i.e. must make a dealer the one-stop shop), then the ToyotaCare Plus can be a good investment but if and only if the plan was purchased for about $1000.

    But for most of us who are willing to do some very minor work ourselves and shop around for stuff we don't feel like dealing with, ToyotaCare Plus is a pretty lousy deal. :eek:
     
  2. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

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    Thanks for the price break-down. Looks like it makes sense for some an not for others.

    Was the Maint plan MSRP price of the result of careful price shopping?
     
  3. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    One Toyota warranty site said the MSRP for the plan is $1760. The $980 price I was given was in fact a discounted price.
     
  4. David6

    David6 New Member

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    I appreciate this breakdown as well. I just bought my Prius and paid $799 for 6 year/60,000 mile coverage, and was beginning to have second thoughts. I think the "MSRP" that The Critic found is inflated based on my price also being fairly low.

    Based on the numbers given, I figure that the 35,000 miles of services beyond the base ToyotaCare would cost me $971. Since The Critic numbers echo what the selling dealer was quoting for services, it seems that the $799 I paid was worth it.

    Although I'm sure that I could get the tire rotation done more cheaply, there is also the benefit of getting these costs wrapped into a cheap interest rate car loan, and some hedge against price inflation over the next several years.
     
  5. itssunnyv

    itssunnyv New Member

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    Excellent Post. Thank you for the breakdown.

    And to @David6 - yes... who knows how much prices will go up for services in the next few years. So it's almost like insurance.
     
  6. 32kcolors

    32kcolors Senior Member

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    Yes, I only take it in every 10k miles and do all the work in between myself (including changing all the filters). It's easy to avoid the pricey intermediate/major services that way.
     
  7. Judgeless

    Judgeless Senior Member

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    Your numbers are a little off.

    - An oil change can be done for $50 at many dealers and oil change places.
    - If you get new tires at 40,000 from most tire places they will rotate and balance for free for the life of the tire.
    - Intermediate Service – Your new tires will be rotated and balanced for free. You do not need all the visual inspection.
    - Major Service is way over priced. 95% of the items are visual inspection.

    Here is the new math.

    Minor Service with the 0w-20 Oil Change (40k, 50k, 70k): $50*3= $150
    Minor Service without the oil change (35k): $24.95*1= $24.95
    Intermediate $0
    Major $0

    Total $174.95 – If you pay $980 it is an $805.05 savings not to buy prepaid service.
     
  8. Judgeless

    Judgeless Senior Member

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    I have a Gen III with this many miles.

    [​IMG]

    This is what I have paid for so far.

    7 oil changes at $50 each, $350
    I have winter tires and swap and rotate them for winter myself, FREE
    I do my own inspection of the brakes when I have the rims off. The rest of the inspection is visual, Free

    Total after 73,000 miles $350. Zero repairs and the car runs like the day I bought. My last car I put 305,000 miles and did the same thing. The first thing that broke was at 170,000 miles and total repairs including a new timing belt was less than $1,000 over the 10 years I owned it.

    [​IMG]

    People can save the $1,000 and pre paid maintenance. They can also save the $1,200 on the extended warranty. You are driving a Toyota the most reliable cars in the world.

    Do some research and you will learn the dealers only goal is to take the money your of your pocket.
     
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  9. Judgeless

    Judgeless Senior Member

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    Are you saying it is better to pre pay rather than keeping the money in your pocket until the maintenance needs to be done? Your money can make 1% a year in the bank rather than paying 4%+ a year for it in a loan.

    Do you think in 4 years an oil change will go up more than 10%? From $50 to $55? I doubt it. You can save $50 an oil change by not taking it to the Toyota dealer. That is a much better savings.
     
  10. vinnie97

    vinnie97 Whatever Works

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    I can foresee it going MUCH higher given the triggering of certain (man-caused) calamities, yes (along with the price of everything else naturally).:eek:

    PS. You haven't changed your transmission fluid in 70,000+ miles?
     
  11. 32kcolors

    32kcolors Senior Member

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    What happened to oil change at 60k? Why even include the 35k at all if you change the engine air filter and cabin filter yourself? I assume prepaid plan doesn't cover filter replacements. Otherwise, add the costs of filters to the $0 intermediate/major services.

    Synthetic?
     
  12. Judgeless

    Judgeless Senior Member

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    I forgot about 3 items. I had the trans fluid done by the dealer. I think it was $50 and I replaced the cabin filter twice at $10 each. And the engine air filter once at $12
     
  13. Judgeless

    Judgeless Senior Member

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    You are right you have to add $50 for the extra oild change and $12 for the Engine filter. Still the savings is huge over the pre paid plan.
     
  14. vinnie97

    vinnie97 Whatever Works

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    In a sense. :) I'm referring to economic conditions that affect pricing...
     
  15. yeldogt

    yeldogt Active Member

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    All of my personal cars go to a local mechanic for basic maintenance -- my company cars (because of logistics) go to a local quick oil change /car wash for the oil changes.

    If you look at the maintenance cycle on most cars .....the Prius included -- they require almost nothing. You don't have to pay $90.00 for an oil change or pay $300.00 for what the dealers call a Major Service -- it is not necessary.

    These are simple items that any good mechanic can do.


    Better yet -- learn to check the oil level and the tire pressure ... and then progress to changing the air filter ... we teach all the employees to do it ..... knowledge is power.
     
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  16. stevemcelroy

    stevemcelroy Active Member

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    I have never given these things much thought - I always just pass when they are offered. The way that I look at it is that a company is in business to make a profit. There is also overhead associated with whatever is being offered - people to handle the claims, the nice glossy brochure that you are given, etc. And only after that stuff comes off the top is the actual work performed.
     
  17. axelator

    axelator New Member

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    I just paid $1355 for prepaid through 5yr/75k. The dealer showed me a list of prices for included minor and major services and also pointed me to the TCO at Edmonds (can't post link!) which lists 5-year maintenance costs at $3150. So that looks a pretty good deal assuming I'll have my Prius serviced at Toyota and don't want to mess around myself? Other posts here seem to suggest that this is a rip off and that the minor/major maintenance prices are inflated. Unfortunately I didn't get a copy of the list of services they used to convince me. I am not even sure I know what I bought but since I can cancel anytime I thought what the hell. I haven't even been able to find out what is covered and what is not. Are parts all included (e.g. brake pads). What if discs need replacing?
    Thanks for comments advice
     
  18. jlim888

    jlim888 Member

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    Hi Critic,
    See attached. I recently bought from Fremont Toyota the 2yr/45K for $299. It covers services for 30K, 35K, 40K, and 45K. As you pointed out the 30K itself is $300. This offer is for North California only. I noticed you are from Walnut Creek, so you should be able to get it too, if you so desire. This offer expires on 12/31/13 or when your Prius mileage is >31K miles.
     

    Attached Files:

  19. jlim888

    jlim888 Member

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    Hi Axelator,
    Search "Jerry Johnson" or "Troy Dietrich" in this forum. Both of them are Toyota dealers who are willing to sell prepaid maintenance contracts at deep discount, if you initiate the contact. You should be able to save ~$375 from $1355. However, good luck to try to cancel your current contract.

    I don't think brake pads and discs are included in the "Toyota Care Plus Prepaid Maintenance". The keyword is "Maintenance" (i.e., oil change, tire rotation, filters, inspection), not "Wear and Tear" (i.e., tires, pads, discs).
     
  20. zebelkhan

    zebelkhan Member in good standing

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    Do not confuse "ToyotaCare prepaid maintenance " with "ExtraCare Vehicle Service Agreement", aka extended warranty. Prepaid maintenance program does not pay for any service or part that is not in its list of scheduled services printed in your manual. Even if your dealer recommends it, it is still not covered. No brake service is part of the scheduled maintenance service that I know of. No transmission service, brake flush, coolant flush, nothing!

    So in my opinion OP's cost analysis, as well as the opinion of others who think prepaid maintenance service is not worth its cost is pretty much on the mark.

    You can request cancellation and refund of the cost of the maintenance program within I believe 30 or 60 days of purchase. After that I don't think you can get your money back. Also, if the cost was rolled into your monthly payments, then your principle will get credited but your monthly payments will not change.
     
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