Is This a Dealership Maintenance - Scam or Real?


In the past 2.5 years, every single time I go to my Toyota Dealership to get the standard maintenance or oil change, they tell me other things that are wrong with my car and need to be maintained, effectively doubling my invoice.

For instance: I just took my car in for the scheduled 30,000 mile maintenance. List price: $359. They just called and told me I needed my fuel injector system flushed, my power steering flushed and my transmission flushed. Final cost: an additional $330 over the original quotes price for the 30,000 mile service.

Am I just imagining that they’re always trying to “up-sell” me, or is it normal for service people to find other problems once they get the car up on the lift?

Is this happening to other people or just me?


I’m no expert but,

It seems like transmission fluid doesn’t need to be changed until 60-70k. Seems suspicious to me.

Do you have an independent mechanic you can go to? Dealerships are mainly concerned with maximizing profit while a smaller mechanic generally cares more about building a base of loyal customers. Also you can get all your basic maintenance done there without voiding your warranty, if applicable.


Not all newer cars have a plug to drain, just something to flush the system out. Most likely due to inept Jiffy Lubers draining tranny fluid and doubling the amount of motor oil in the oil pan. 30k is about right to have it changed.

1: fuel injector flush; what are they flushing? Skip it. you could “flush” it out by doing an Italian Tune-up on a back road that’s long and straight(and doesn’t have many cops patrolling :stuck_out_tongue: )
2: PS flush; as far as I know, it never needs changed
3:tranny flushed should be performed if it can’t be drained and refilled.
4: go find somewhere else to take your car to.


Scam or real? Call it a little of both. A few customers may actually benefit by some of these services. The trouble is that many shops will try to sell them to everyone who comes through the door. They don’t even inspect. You may have had all these services performed a week ago and you will still be told you need them done now. My advice? Just say no.

BTW, there is no need to go to a dealership for any maintenance or routine service other than warranty work. You will usually get a better price at an independent shop.


They’re flushing your wallet.

Look at the detail in the recommended service portion of your owner’s manual. You only need what’s listed in there.


I strongly echo mountainbike’s comments, and I would suggest that you find another venue for your car maintenance. Unfortunately, it seems to me that Toyota, despite having a great product, suffers from more sleazy dealerships than most other brands, and your dealership is definitely sleazy.


Steve and Mountainbike are right. You don’t need all those things. Some might be nice and others are at total waste of money. Please remember 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. 

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


The only one of those I could see having done would be the transmission service. I believe trans fluid should be changed every 30k miles and it’s the cheapest transmission insurance policy you can buy.

The other does not hurt, but is also not likely needed either.

A quick tip here to let you know when, or even if, the fuel injectors may need servicing. “May” is the operative word.
What will usually happen in the beginning stages of a dirty (bad word actually) fuel injector, or worn injector pintle, is that the engine may develop a very slight miss that is noticeable only at idle. Once the throttle is opened the problem goes away.


Yes, you are being scammed. I believe the fuel injector system flush, power steering flush, and transmission flush are not called for in your owner’s manual. Of those three, just get your transmission fluid drained and refilled, save the $330 and go somewhere else next time.


I asked my mechanic the fuel injector flush question; he smiled and told me he just had a car in with 250,000 miles where the owner occasionally put some’ “fuel injector cleaner” in the tank; cost about $11. That is all you need. OP’s car needs the flush about as much as he needs an enema. Toyota dealers play God and use scare tactics to flush wallets, as Mountainbike pointed out.


this happens all the time to each customer.

when they ask your phone number they can instantly see your past history, and know you pay through the nose, and wallet, for your past repairs and maintenance. so… that means you are just waiting for the next big bill, and will (apparently) gladly pay up.

this is really scummy, but dealership service writers do this ALL the time. as a couple of other guys have said, find a local mechanic. get some input from friends, and co workers and even the mechanix files on the home page of this website. once you find a good local guy you will be able to TRUST them, and that would probably be worth more than any other “feeling” you may get from your Toyota.