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. Valiant V

    Valiant V Member

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    Having worked for a dealership (Buick) a couple of lifetimes ago - I don't recall the service writers being paid on commission - but that may vary by dealership.My guess would be that the service writer is most likely just going by miles and recommendations rather than actual "needs". That would be exacerbated by being lazy and not checking "the database" for work you had recently had done.

    As for things not being in "the database" - I find that a little hard to believe that had the service writer looked - he wouldn't have found it. When I was looking into my pre-owned Prius - I was pleasantly surprised to see how much data WAS in the database. Not only dealers - but even many "Quick-lube" kinda places report on mundane oil changes and the like. I found my data on CarFax - but that data from another Toyota dealer wouldn't be in the Toyota dealer database is about inconceivable. (I even found a record that showed a Quick-Lube place messed up an oil change and the previous owner had to go the dealer to get it fixed. Including what parts that took.)

    On the other hand - mechanics (ahem, "technicians") essentially ARE usually on "commission". Many dealerships pay mechanics based on "Book time" - that is - the amount of time the factory says that performing a given operation takes to do - as opposed to the actual time a mechanic spends working on your car. This can sometimes tempt a mechanic to replace parts or perform tests that he feels he can make some extra $$$ performing. I've even met mechanics who would intentionally break or damage parts so that they could be paid to replace them. When a mechanic can "book" 60 hours in a 40 hour week - and increase his paycheck by 50% - it's a powerful incentive to sell repairs you may not need.

    As always - an informed consumer is the best defense against being sold a service you don't need. YOU knew what services HAD been performed on your vehicle - so you were prepared to counter the service writer's suggested maintenance operations.

    Unfortunately, the days of mechanics and repair shops taking advantage of car owners is not a thing of the past as recent hidden-camera "sting" operations demonstrate. A mechanic assisting with the sting will "plant" a simple problem on a car - like a spark plug wire or vacuum hose pulled off - and they take it around to various shops. Often, the mechanic will tell the owner they need expensive repairs - often hundreds or thousands of dollars. Happily, there's usually an honest mechanic or two in the mix who will quickly spot the problem, remedy it, and send the motorist off for a modest fee or even for nothing.

    It's common for women to feel they are easy prey because they often don't know much about cars. The truth is that a lot of guys know as little about their cars as gals do - especially with technologically complex cars like the Prius. All you can do is know as much as you possibly can about your vehicle, it's service history, and maintenance schedule.

    I used to be down on dealerships (probably from having worked at one and seeing how much they charge) but the truth is that independent shops are even more likely to overcharge either through desire to make more money - or - just being poor diagnosticians. "Factory Training" is one area where dealerships have an advantage over independent shops. There's no way I'd take my Prius to one of the local guys around where I live. I'd be asking for trouble and a larger repair bill down the road to repair the stuff they messed up.
     
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  2. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Yeah being a dealership mechanic you’re walking a tightrope I would think, with someone on your tail, rushing you.
     
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  3. Kenny94945

    Kenny94945 Active Member

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    Yes, a lady can look under the hood at the brake fluid reservoir.
    The reservoir is not under pressure, you can remove the cap at ease.

    Noting brake fluid is corrosive and can damage paint, so if you spill some, just dilute the spill with water and wipe the spill up.

    Clear color is brand new, ginger color is slightly old, but not an issue.
    Black is an issue.

    As above, flushing the system every 3 years is excellent maintenance.
    Time over mileage, is typically the maintenance schedule.

    PS Auto parts store sell "test stripes" to test the fluid condition; stripes are like the stripes one uses to test spa or pool water condition, easy to use.....but changing the brake fluid every 3 years is my recommendation.

    FWIW If on a budget, flush the fluid when you get your brake pads replaced.
    Many I have read rarely flush brake fluid on a schedule or at brake replacement and have no issues.

    Have fun under the hood :)
     
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  4. JoanneR

    JoanneR Junior Member

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    "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."

    I go twice a year for an oil change, tire rotation, and multipoint inspection, things I cannot do myself, prior to long road trips. Practically everyone knows more about cars than I do.

    I don't plan on touching the brake fluid reservoir.
     
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  5. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    we're their lips moving?:cool:
     
  6. Kramah313

    Kramah313 Active Member

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    “Practically everyone knows more about cars than I do”. This clearly isn’t true to me. If it was, they wouldn’t be using tactics like this. As posted above, some poor quality mechanics and dealerships see a woman, especially an older one, and think that she won’t know anything about a car and that she will want to keep the car as “safe” as possible. Add in what Valiant said above about using the recommended miles for these things so if someone googles it then it make sense and you have the perfect recipe for what you encountered.

    Unfortunately for them, you know more than the average customer regardless of gender. Especially when you add in your records of what’s been done. You win. Time to find a new dealership, and I’d advise you to tell anyone you know that goes there to do the same.
     
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  7. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    Depending where in Florida you are, Todd at Tampa Hybrids is a trusted Prius expert used by @jerrymildred and others here.
     
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  8. JoanneR

    JoanneR Junior Member

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    She had a mask on. It was the blinking of the eyes and the frozen posture, clearly uncomfortable. ;)
     
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  9. JoanneR

    JoanneR Junior Member

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    I'm not in Tampa, but it's not very far away. I respect PriusChatters and will definitely give him a try in the fall.

    Edited: I just went to his website and I couldn't find any mention that he services hybrids. Looks to be a seller. People here use him for repairs, etc.? Also will be trying another place local to me for the routine oil change and tire rotation that a few people have recommended.

    Thanks!

    (Sorry, I have not figured out how to multiquote yet.)
     
    #29 JoanneR, May 15, 2021
    Last edited: May 15, 2021
  10. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

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    o_O
     
  11. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Yes, he does repairs. He does not do tire changes or oil changes, though. Too many disposal issues for a smallish business, I guess. But anyone can do that stuff.

    There was a time when he thought he might have to limit repairs to just people who had bought their cars from him because he couldn't keep up with demand. I haven't checked with him lately to see it that's the case these days. He's getting ready to move to a new place with more room. It'll be interesting to see what changes he makes if any.

    Also, it looks like the crazy market for used cars has reduced his inventory, especially for newer models.
     
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  12. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    Thanks for the update Jerry.
     
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  13. MelonPrius

    MelonPrius Active Member

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    I'm reading my manual for maintenance on my '14. I have 88k miles. I don't see any timeline to change or flush my brake fluid. There are recommendations on checking and inspecting fluid levels- but not changing, other than oil. When I reach 100k miles, I'm supposed to change my engine/inverter coolant. But I don't see a time table for any other fluids (except oil) before then- or even after in my maintenance schedule.

    Is the brake fluid supposed to be lifetime, like the tranny fluid? I know that many here change the tranny fluid, regardless. But I'm just checking if the brake fluid is treated by some here as unscheduled maintenance, like the EGR cleaning and transmission fluid.
     
  14. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    @Mendel Leisk can say but I think some people change the brake fluid every few years because it absorbs water.
     
  15. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    Brake fluid is NOT lifetime. It absorbs moisture from the and the brake system on a car
    is not a seals system. 2-3 years, depending on where you are. Florida is very humid, so 2
    years would be better.
    Like the engine oil, you "should" change it before it completely brakes down.
     
  16. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Toyota Canada says change brake fluid tri-yearly or 48k kms. Not sure when they started that policy: for 2010 they said nothing, but in the 2014 Owners Manual Supplrment (rough equivalent to US Warranty and Maintenance Booklet) they say the above.

    FWIW Honda Canada has said tri-yearly, regardless of mileage, for as long as I can remember.

    Ive DIY’d a couple of times now, and had dealership do it a first time. It’s not hard, but you do need to be on your toes, put the car in “invalid mode”. @NutzAboutBolts has a video on it.
     
  17. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    mine is 9 years old, i hope i don't have to do any emergency braking :eek:
     
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  18. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    In the States Toyota says delay inverter coolant change to 150k miles or 15 years. Follow the subscripts; it’s convoluted, poorly written. Also, there might be a sticker on your inverter reservoir, saying “don’t change until 150k miles”, something to that effect.

    after first changes, both are 50k miles or 5 years thereafter.

    FWIW, Toyota Canada makes no distinction, says first change for both is as you described. I dutifully changed mine (both) at 10 years, around 88k kms.
     
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  19. Mdv55

    Mdv55 Active Member

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    I always wondered what kind of magic makes the same fluid last so long for the first interval and then suddenly needs to be changed much more frequently after that :whistle:
     
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  20. Mdv55

    Mdv55 Active Member

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    Repeated braking that puts heat in the system is the bigger issue. As the temp keeps going up the water boils off and the result is a soft pedal and eventual failure to provide enough pressure to stop. Think trucks with cooked brakes going down hills. Different failure mode but same idea.

    Changing out brake fluid also prevents the moisture absorbed from causing internal corrosion problems that can lead to replacing calipers/master cylinders etc....

    I'd rather swap a $10 bottle of brake fluid every so often then have to change out a caliper.

    Short term owners aren't effected as much. The longer you keep the car, the more the "light" maintenance required affects people.

    I always say there is a difference between Toyota's interests in keeping maintenance simple and costs low while having the car last long enough for most people to be happy with the car's lifespan vs. those of us who want to run them into the ground.
     
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