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Dealer recommended services

Bought used toyota matrix 2004 an year ago with about 35k miles on it in GA. Since then the car has spent winter in NJ and Spring in PA. Replaced battery already. During last service trip, dealer recommended the following services:

1) serpentine belt $85 + tax

2) transmission fluid service $150 + tax

3) clean and adjust rear brakes $45 + tax

4) air induction cleaning $100 + tax

5) fuel injection cleaning $110 + tax

6) brake fluid flush $110 + tax

Yes all of that for a 45k mile toyota car in one visit (my first visit with this dealer as I have moved and second ever). So I am wondering how critical all of these are, whether they are common for 50k toyota car, reasonably price for PA, could be done at home w/out voiding mfg warranty …? Should I take to non-dealer mechanic for better look?

A visit to car mechanic is like to dentist. Always something is wrong and you feel like crap!

What does your owners manual say?

#4 and #5 are just dealer profit makers. Forget about them. #6 seems too soon to me. The others are probably right.

What a load of nonsense! “air induction cleaning”??? Right after you get your frambulator aligned!

Do you have the owner’s manual for this? You need to find out what the factory recommended services are, and do them. NONE OF THESE ITEMS ARE NEEDED, I’ll bet!

Look in your owner’s manual maintenance schdeule for all the necessary maintenance and when it should be done. If it isn’t in there, it isn’t needed.

35,000 miles sound too soon for item #1, 2, and 6.
Items 3, 4, and 5 I doubt very much are in the maintenance schdeule, especially 4 and 5 which are unnecessary revenue generators…and your rear brakes are likely self-adjusting (again, read your manual).

the Toyota 45K maintenance is just another routine 5000 mile oil and tire rotation …minimal…the big ones for most toyotas is 30,60 and 90…

Thanks everyone!

@mshugna, you are absolutely right! Nothing major!
@texases, what is frambulator???
@the same mountainbike, I bought it at 35k, its almost 50k now!

From the responses so far, I wonder if the following information would make any difference. I have made couple of 800 mile trips, a 400 mile trip, couple 120-mile trips, and several 85-mile trips. 120-mile and 85-mile trips have been in last six months. The miles are for one-way. So, would the long-trips or frequent medium-trips have any effect in speeding up the need for these services, especially #1,#2,#3,and #6?

Thanks once again for the help/info!

usually around 50-60 thousand miles the routine service is to check all of the fluids to see what condition they are in and to check the belts and hoses for signs of wear, check the brakes,etc… A good shop will do this every time your vehicle rolls in. it’s called preventative maintenance.But always ask to see whatever part they want to replace before letting them do anything. An honest repair shop will be more than willing to show you anything and everything and explain anything you don’t understand.

Depending on your driving habits and where you drive the car (city or highway) the suggested service interval for certain maintenance items can change.

Do a lot of stop and go driving in the city and it will drop, a lot of highway driving and it will usually match up to the suggested service intervals in the manual.

basically, just tell them that you want to be shown why these things need to be done…and always shop around for prices.


painful lessons no matter where you go for service.

sort of like getting drilled in the pocketbook huh?

#1, OK
#2. look in your manual what mileage is recommended there?
#3. no charge, the brakes are either working or they aren’t. an inspection will show (on your age car) no problem.
#4. attach vaccuum to your wallet. remove cash
#5. if there is more cash, watch out, it is going to get sucked out of the purse too.
#6. what does the manual say? i doubt your car needs this, but, possibly.

you have to understand the difference between recommended and and required.

i have found ‘recommended’ is usually a code word for the dealer wants MORE $$$$$.

do find an independent mechanic. ask around fo recommendations, friends, co workers, and church members.

having work done at an independent (or by yourself) will not void any warranty. (just save receipts, to prove the work was done if there ever comes a dispute.)

well, the transmission and brake fluid might need changed if it hasn’t been changed before. the car is 4~5 years old and that stuff degrades over time as well as mileage so it might be a good idea to change it. If they’re gonna clean and adjust rear brakes, you might as well have them do the fronts too.

Sorry, my sarcasm at the dealer was showing - here’s my take by item:

  1. serpentine belt-Check it out yourself, see if it looks dry/cracked. Find a trustworthy mechanic (use the CarTalk mechanic finder) and have him do it, if needed, it’ll probably be less.
  2. transmission fluid service - Check the manual, don’t need to spend $150, have your mechanic drain and fill it periodically.
  3. clean and adjust rear brakes - probably not needed - are they disc?
  4. air induction cleaning ABSOLUTELY NOT NEEDED, I don’t even know what this is!
  5. fuel injection cleaning - DITTO, just put in a bottle of Techron if you want.
  6. brake fluid flush - Don’t do this, but do replace the fluid in the reservoir once a year, cheap and easy.

Guess I’ll be the odd man out again here. The belt, transmission fluid service, and brake fluid flush are quite likely needed at 5 years of age. The belt is 5 year old rubber, trans fluid should be changed about every 30k miles, and flushing the brake fluid ever so often is much cheaper than rebuilding brake hydraulics; especially ABS hydraulics.

As to number 3, maybe. It depends on if it’s rear shoes or pads, park brake adjustment, amount of wear, how often the car was driven with the park brake engaged, etc. At 35k miles it’s possible that it needs this anyway.

As to number 4, that’s also a maybe. The car has low miles on it and this generally means a lot of short hop driving, etc. This kind of driving can contribute to deposits in the intake tract, EGR passages, etc. Air induction cleaning will remove these deposits. If the car is apparently running fine with no pinging or occassional stumble at idle, etc. then I’d say you could pass on this for now.

As to number 5 I’d say skip that if the car is running fine. If you ever think that you may have a problem with a dirty fuel injection system you will notice this by the car having a slightly rough idle or a stumble at idle. If it idles glass smooth then pass on this.

I agree with OK, but I will add that dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics for almost anything you might need done on your car. They will almost always charge more per hour and often more for parts and supplies. They also tend to look at repairs a little different than the independent.

A dealer may well recommend work that strictly may not be needed, but could be connected to the problem or maybe replace a part when a little repair would fix it ALMOST as good a new.  

There is no need to bring your car to the dealer for any service other than service that is going to be paid for by a recall or original warrantee.  During the warranty period be sure to have all required (as listed in the owner's manual) maintenance done and to document all maintenance work.

I suggest that most people would be better off finding a good independent (Not working for a chain) mechanic. 

Note: Never ever use a quick oil change place. They are fast cheap and very very bad.