Is all of this necessary?

I have a 2007 Toyota Sienna with 123,000 miles. Bought it 3 years ago with 55,000 miles on it. Have had to replace tires and battery (tires one year ago, battery < 2 years ago). Car runs great and gets decent gas mileage (23-27 mph mostly 100 mile trips). I take the car in for regular service, always at a Toyota dealership, mostly because I can get in and out in a reasonable time and they have nice waiting areas. I used a new Toyota dealership recently, impressed that I got a same-day 4:00 pm appointment. About 30 minutes in, service mgr comes out with a list of about $1,000.00 in maintenance that he says was identified by technician. List included new battery, complete fuel service (“decarb” at $189.95), sparkplugs ($371.70), and full transmission service ($189.95). Also mentioned brake work and wheel alignment. My questions are: do I need a “decarb” ever?? Service manager says it’s needed to improve mpg, but I’ve had the same mpg consistently for 3 years. Is close to $400.00 high for sparkplugs? Is it recommended to get sparkplugs other than at a Toyota service center? What exactly is a “Type IV” transmission service? I left with just an oil change and tire rotation and went to Advance Auto since my battery was still under warranty. Battery checked out fine. Could the fact that this dealership has same-day appointments available at a convenient time for me be the underlying cause for all these recommendations??

Unles it’s something new I haven’t hear of (which I doubt), a “decarb” is a total scam. Also, I don’t know what area you’re in, but in my area most of the prices you listed would be outrageous.

Rule of thumb: If it’s not causing you problems, and it’s not recommended in the owners manual, don’t do it.

And find a good independent mechanic.

And a battery is not a routine maintenance item…unless it tested bad, there is no reason to replace. Run far away from that dealer and never look back.

As has been stated many times on this board, your owner’s manual is the best guide as to the services needed. I don’t think you need the “decarb” service. As you have already discovered, you don’t need a battery. I don’t know what the interval is for spark plug changes, but if your spark plugs haven’t been replaced in 127,000 miles, it is time to replace them. If the transmission has not had the fluid replaced in 127,000 miles, I think that should be done. I prefer having any transmission work at an independent shop in my community. In fact, if you can find a good independent shop, that might be your best bet for spark plugs and other work.

Good for you ! There is a reason the dealer waiting room is so nice and they have an attendant
whose only job is to police the area and keep the coffee pot full. They shaft enough innocent unsuspecting customers with unnecessary service to pay for it.

I concur w/ @dagosa , the OP did a great job. The fact that the battery load tested OK after being told it needed replacement – if I was subjected to this spiel anyway – would send me packing, never to return to that shop, waiting room niceties and 4 pm same day appointments or not. By the way, if a shop is able to offer a 4 pm same day appointment, wouldn’t that give you pause? I mean a well-respected shop, being pressed to service all the customers, would rarely be able to ever offer same day appointments, let alone 4 pm ones. It’s like if a heart surgeon said to a first time patient after a brief exam “My schedule is completely open this afternoon, see you at the hospital.” Me, I’d be a mite bit worried about the quality of care being provided.

There’s no need to use a dealership for this kind of routine service anyway. The OP should seek out personal recommendations from friends, relatives, co-workers for a local inde shop that specializes in Toyotas. If during the interview process the shop says they routinely do same-day service without appointments, find another shop.

You have a lot of issues posted so I will only generlalize. As to your question about needing a “decarb ever”, I will say that yes it can be a needed maintenance procedure. It all depends on a number of factors and exactly what is involved in the service. This may involve the cleaning of EGR ports and so on and that can be not only time consuming but necessary.

The transmission service can be necessary if the transmission has never been serviced before. Same goes for the spark plugs and the price could be about right depending upon the plug type and shop hourly flat rate charge. Hopefully these items have been serviced in the past.

The battery part of this could be due to sheer fraud or a recommendation based on a test that was not correct. It’s impossible to know.
Don’t put much faith into what service managers or writers tell you. Most are not mechanics, have never been mechanics, and their advice even on an honestly handled problem can be misguided at best. Sometimes it can be downright loopy…


Your transmission requires WS fluid, so I don’t know what that Type IV service is all about

I suspect the dealer was going to use Type IV fluid, which would be incorrect for your transmission

According to your maintenance book, plugs are due at 120K

I recommend getting the plugs that are called for in the maintenance book

As far as the decarb, as long as you have no driveability complaints, no misfires, etc., forget it

As far as wheel alignment goes, if your tires are wearing evenly, you’re getting normal tire life, the car doesn’t pull, and the steering wheel is centered, the alignment is fine

Forget the “decarb” and follow db4690’s advice on alignment. Transmission on a Sienna should NOT be flushed (which is what the dealer is probably offering) and should simply be drained and filled. A drain and fill should be much cheaper. The spark plugs are iridium and run around $20 each ($120 total) plus labor and it is a pain in the ass to get to the rear plugs so the labor tends to run high. I don’t know what the book says but it looks like he wants to charge you two hours for the plugs, which seems slightly high.

My suggestion is that you take this vehicle to a good local mechanic that you can trust. Labor rates will be lower and they will not try to aggressively sell you unneeded services. My Toyota dealer (who I really like) wanted $1400 for front struts on my 04 Sienna. My local mechanic quoted me $1,000 for front struts, rear shocks, 4 wheel alignment, rotate tires and re-balance. When my exhaust started leaking the dealer wanted $900 for pipes and a new catalytic converter. My local mechanic welded a sleeve around the leaking section of the exhaust pipe for $80 since the rest of the exhaust looked good.

This sounds like my sister-in-law’s visit to her Dodge dealer. They wanted to do an injector cleaning for $400 and 4 new tires (at $225/tire-at least 40% too high). Fortunately she called me and did not have the service done. Her tires have at least 5000 miles left going into the dry season.

At a recent visit to a tire store, my wife overheard a women up-sold to 4 new shocks for $500, a trans flush and 4-wheel alignment. I saw the car on the hoist with nice dry shocks and even wearing tires. Hmmm, I call BS!

Independent or dealer, both tried to up-sell unneeded work to the uninformed.

Many places (Dealers, Chains and Independents) are always trying to find new ways to generate revenue. Some are NOT satisfied with doing what is required and needed and going beyond and finding work that ISN’T required or needed…all for the sake of generating income. Some people think it’s just fine…Hell - they’re generating income for the business…so it’s fine. I’ve ran across a few of these places…and I’ve never visited them again…and tell every one I know NEVER to visit them.

Right off the bat, the $1000 is a big red flag. When shops give you the come on for a lot of unneeded maintenance, it always seems to be about $1000.

A Grand Cherokee or a Grand Wagoneer will cost a Grand to repair . . .


If you go for new plugs, I’d pass on the $20 iridium and go with the $3-$4 platinum models…

Get at least 2 more estimates from independent shops. They will probably charge less than the dealer. Ask everyone you know for recommendations on repair shops. If a few people mention the same shop, they are worth a try.

If you haven’t changed the transmission fluid before, get that done with Toyota recommended fluid. Any shop can buy it at the dealer and maybe their favorite wholesaler. Also, replace the plugs with original equipment. The shop will know what they are. If the van runs well, forget the rest of the fluff.

Caddyman, I sure wouldn’t go with the $4 plugs. Do you know what is involved in accessing the rear plugs on a Sienna? The 120,000 mile replace recommendation depends upon the good plugs. That would be totally false economy.