I think I caught a Toyota dealer lying to me today.

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by JoanneR, May 14, 2021.

  1. JoanneR

    JoanneR Junior Member

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    Prius 2013. Mileage: 79,751

    I always bring my Prius in for service before I head up north for the summer (likewise, when I come back down). I use the local Toyota place because it is only a mile away & I bought the car there. Today, I asked for an oil change, tire rotation, and the multipoint inspection. There were several suggestions made from the inspection.

    1. They suggested a brake fluid flush. I asked the service rep "how do you know that?" Her reply was that the tech looked in the fluid reservoir and the fluid was discolored. I told her I had the brakes flushed in September 2020 up north. She froze and said it is not in the database. I asked why it would be discolored so soon and she rambled on about it would depend on how much I drive and some other things I can't remember. When I got home, I found I drove 4,638 miles since September. One service supervisor and one customer rep up north said "no way" the fluid would need replacement.

    2. The technician said the throttle body needed cleaning. I asked "how do you know that?" She said the technician looked at it and found carbon. I told her the throttle body was cleaned back in October 2018. She didn't have much to say except that it was not documented in their database.

    3. Tires. Tech wrote that I would need 4 tires soon. Advisor said it was because of the tread and the wear pattern. Found that Costco was having a good sale on tires so I went up and spoke to them. Guy said let's go out and take a look. Meanwhile, I was talking about my experience today. He checked all 4 tires, measuring the depth and then looking at the wear pattern. His verdict: I have 45 to 50% tire left , good for about 25,000 miles. Last fall, I was having a problem with the tire pressure light coming on during my trip south. It would be good for a couple of days and then come back on. Took it to the dealer because I bought the tires there. They checked the tires & didn't find anything. Said come back if it happened again and it did. They took the tires off and did the bath thing and couldn't find anything. Advisor said it could be the tire pressure sensor. Researching PriusChat, I found that someone said Costco replaces those very reasonably. I went there and they said they would check the tires first. They found a nail in the tire and fixed it for $11.00. I have A LOT of respect for those guys.

    Changing dealers. Will be heading up north in a few weeks and have already spoken to the service manager of the place that did the work. They will take a look at the car. Also, two people told me the service information is available on the national database. Guess they were too lazy to check.

    After this long whining story, I do have a question.

    Can I, an older lady, took under the hood and see the color of the brake fluid in the reservoir? I have looked at a couple of youtube vidoes. It looks like the reservoir is under pressure? Should be a clear or ginger ale color?

    Sorry for the length. I am still a bit upset about them most likely lying.
     
    #1 JoanneR, May 14, 2021
    Last edited: May 15, 2021
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  2. Team_Geek

    Team_Geek Junior Member

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    What a horrible experience. Sounds like they are trying to treat you like a walking ATM.
    Brake fluid is not under pressure. You can indeed open up the reservoir cap and have a look at the fluid inside. New fluid is almost clear when new with just a very slight pale yellow tint. It gets darker yellow to gold color as it ages.
    You can take a small sampling of fluid out to look it over using a small syringe or a turkey baster (don’t ever baste turkeys with that one again!)

    Good luck! Feel free to post a picture of the fluid if you want an opinion from the group.
     
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  3. JoanneR

    JoanneR Junior Member

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    I just went out to the garage and looked at it with a flashlight. Just not confident at this time to take the trim and cover with tabs off. Looks easy, though. I will give it a try tomorrow. The fluid in the reservoir under the flashlight looks yellow.
     
  4. Neicy

    Neicy Member

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    I currently use a Toyota dealer (4th one I've used) that is WAY out of my way because I feel they are as honest as dealers can be and always are willing to show and/or explain why they need to do something more than I request. And I ALWAYS give specific instructions regarding not overfilling the oil and setting specific tire pressures. And I check them both. If either of those is not to my liking they will not see me for service again. Go with your gut feeling: if it seems fishy it probably is.

    I'm currently almost ready to upgrade to a plug-in XLE in blue magnetism. Just want a little more down payment.

    Neicy
     
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  5. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    Less than five thousand on the brake fluid - it is hardly worth the time to look at it. Maybe at 30,000 but most go 50,000 or longer before changing it.

    At many dealers the advisors are on commission just like the car salesmen.
     
  6. JoanneR

    JoanneR Junior Member

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    Wow. It's looks beautiful!
     
  7. sLick415

    sLick415 Member

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    It's a good thing you've kept a detailed record.

    Fwiw, I change my brake fluid every 3 years regardless of how the fluid looks or what any test tells me. Brake fluid doesn't circulate in the system. The fluid at the reservoir tends to stay at the reservoir and the fluid by the wheels tends to stay by the wheels. Just because the fluid up top looks good, doesn't mean the fluid further down will be good as well. You also can't be sure there aren't any contaminants in the system.
     
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  8. JoanneR

    JoanneR Junior Member

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    From the paperwork I was given, it looked like the mechanic wrote the recommendations. In any case, I 100% believe you that the advisors are on commission.

    Interestingly, when I told my story to the Costco guy, he volunteered that they do not work on commission like dealers and said they are paid a good wage.
     
  9. JoanneR

    JoanneR Junior Member

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    Should the brake fluid further down be bad after driving 4,638 miles with contaminants in the system? Did you see where a brake flush was done back in September of 2020, 8 months ago? The dealer today didn't know the brakes had been serviced up north because they didn't check the national database, only checked their own.
     
  10. Fitcious

    Fitcious Member

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    Which Toyota dealer was this?


    iPhone ?
     
  11. Team_Geek

    Team_Geek Junior Member

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    The reservoir itself isn’t perfectly clear and the plastic itself will yellow over time. You’ve really got to pull a little fluid out to be sure.

    Taking that cover off is two plastic tabs, and the rubber trim piece. Give that a little pull towards the outside of the car - that expands the slot a little so it doesn’t tear when you take it loose. I believe the owners manual walks through that process.

    I do agree with others here that the age and mileage since the flush wouldn’t ever warrant another fluid change unless there was some other external contamination happening. But I’d still check to clear my conscious.
     
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  12. JoanneR

    JoanneR Junior Member

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    I don't get the "iPhone ?" reference. What are you asking?

    The dealer is in Florida. I prefer not to name the dealer at this time.
     
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  13. Fitcious

    Fitcious Member

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    Ignore the iPhone comment. I use Tapatalk app and it’s a default signature from them. Don’t know why it’s like that


    iPhone ?
     
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  14. sLick415

    sLick415 Member

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    At 4600 miles, you should be good for quite some time. I wouldn't bother checking it.
     
  15. GabrielD

    GabrielD Member

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    3 years ago, people had this way to disable or change signature...
    Maybe it's still available...
     

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  16. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    I'm confused? You're surprised a stealearship is lying to you about your car's costly maintenance needs?

    More to the point, please don't play into their discolored brake fluid claims as well as all the other ones. And in general, don't ever rely on a dealership for basic vehicle checkup, low grade off brand "OEM" tire purchasing, especially if you're bringing your car in way too often when there's nothing even wrong with it.

    Dealerships, or as we like to call them stealerships are for free warranty and recall work, they're not a reasonably-priced long term car maintenance service. You seem to be going to a dealership way too often for "service" when no service is needed, which is just asking for trouble/an empty walleting in the way that you described.

    Please forgive my perspective, but most Prius I see on the road goes years and years without ever once seeing a mechanic, barely even an oil change. And if your car does need work go DIY or find a neighborhood mechanic that's smart and honest once the work is absolutely necessary not when a stealership says it is.

    As in I work on lots of people's 15 year-old prius that have never had to do any of the maintenance you mention other than tires and the tires are usually covered by the tire store racket, so from the perspective of what I see every year among Prius owners you're literally spending a fortune on unnecessary maintenance that all the other Prius owners barely even spend on an oil change every couple years.
     
    #16 PriusCamper, May 15, 2021
    Last edited: May 15, 2021
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  17. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    There are good and bad dealerships, just like in any profession.
    NO ONE can steal from you unless you let them.
    If you read the owners manual, and the maintenence manual it will tell you what and when you need
    service, for the most part.
    Every 2-3 years is when the brake fluid should be flushed. Unless it's been years and years it will be
    impossible to tell when the fluid has been changed.
    You could have had them call the dealership you had the work done up north. Or you could call them
    and put the phone on speaker and ask them about it.
    Correct knowledge is power.
    Have you cleaned, or had the egr system cleaned yet? How many miles are on the car?
     
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  18. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    But you should NOT because moisture and microscopic dirt are the main "enemies" of brake systems.
    Both can introduced into the reservoir by removing the cover.

    AND you can tell NOTHING about an automotive fluid by it's color.....usually.
    There are many brands of brake fluid and they all do not follow the color scheme described above.
    Many start out pale gray and tend toward black as they age.
     
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  19. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Same here. DIY is about an hour, plus at least another hour fussing around raising the car and removing/installing wheels. Technically I think it CAN be accomplished without wheel removal, and dealership might do it that way, IF they’re not rotating wheels.

    if it’s much more than $100 shop around.

    FWIW Toyota Canada says Tri-yearly or 48k kms. Toyota USA says nothing.

    stick with Toyota DOT3, it’s cheap and readily available, or should be. About $7 a pint. I found two pints a goodly amount. Could not find any guidelines in Repair Manual, recommended replacement qty.

    I AM starting to slack off on maintenance intervals, brake inspection in particular: ours will be 11 years old this fall, and only putting on about 4K kms yearly of late. It’s a museum piece lol.
     
    #19 Mendel Leisk, May 15, 2021
    Last edited: May 15, 2021
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  20. mr_guy_mann

    mr_guy_mann Active Member

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    +1!

    Unless the fluid is REALLY bad or contaminated, visual inspection cannot accurately determine condition. Leave the cap alone. Use the OEM reccomended service intervals. If there aren't any, every 3 years should be fine for most people.

    Vehicle design can influence how we perceive the color of what is inside the reservior. Fill a clear quart jar (a large volume) with clean brake fluid and it can appear moderately "dark" - a deep amber.
    Fill a clear test tube (a small volume) with the same fluid and it appear almost colorless. The more fluid that light has to pass and reflect through, the "darker" it will appear.

    So fluid in a large reservior (esp if it's tucked into a corner where light can't shine from behind) will appear "darker" than it actually is.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
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