Maintenance advice for Toyota RAV4 2011

I receive free oil changes from the dealer as a perk when I bought the car. I even have this convenient “maintenance required” light that goes on to remind me to go. However every time I go they recommend a bunch of other maintenance items (filters etc.) that usually add up to around a hundred dollars or so. are all their recommendations necessary and/or should I go somewhere else that might be cheaper? My vehicle is a 2011 Rav4 with 20,469 miles on it. Thank you

You need to take an aggressive approach to maintaining your own car. You have a manual with the maintenance requirements in it. Based on mileage, you decide which items are to be done. Use the regular and not the severe use schedule. The dealer makes a substantial amount of profit selling things people don’t really need. You need to be proactive and not feel that only the dealer can do general service. Free oil changes aren’t really free if they get you to buy things you don’t need.Educate yourself on what things you really need done and when. Keep you own records and shop around for different services. Some Independent mechanics can give you good service for a decent price but it’s still buyer beware regardless…

Dagosa worded it quite well.
There’s a reason the dealer offered you “free oil changes”. In the long run, they end up with more money in their pocket.

I agree with Dagosa, except that the OP needs to be more proactive with transmission maintenance than the manual specifies. Toyota, like most mfrs, has removed transmission fluid changes from their list of required services. In fact, when my friend told the local Toyota service people that he wanted his trans fluid changed, he had to argue with them for several minutes before they would agree to do it.

Because of my “educating” him, my friend knew that the trans fluid needs to be changed every 3 yrs or 30k miles (whichever comes first) in order to prevent premature transmission death. You would think that the service writer would have jumped at the chance to add this service, especially when my friend declined some of the other services that had been pushed by the service writer.
Induction system cleaning? No!
Cleaning dust from the disc brake system? No!!!

“It has lifetime fluid!”, was their mantra regarding the transmission.
Yeah, right.

I think what they mean by "life time fluid " is that any transmission fluid will last the life of a transmission…it will just be a much shorter life if not changed.

Change the oil when according to the limits of time or mileage in your owner’s manual. Change the oil filter at the same time. You should also inspect the engine air filter and cabin air filter at the same time. You probably need to change both of them every other oil change, or every 3rd oil change if your oil change intervals are short. If the dealer recommends changing the cabin air filter or engine air filter, ask to see it and make your own decision. Those are the only service items you need until around 30,000 to 40,000 miles. Changing transmission fluid iand brake fluid are worthwhile at this point. Brake pad replacement may be needed, but that is based on wear. I had my car in for a recall and the Honda dealer recommended replacing the rear brake pads. I said no, and did it myself. But the pads probably had another 10,000 miles or more left on them. You might consider another shop that doesn’t upsell at every opportunity. Or just get used to saying no. Another advantage of a free standing mechanic’s shop is that the price could be lower when work is really required.

It should be pointed out that the free oil changes aren’t free. You paid for them when you bought the car. The dealer was probably always going to throw them in, and had that in mind as he negotiated the price.

Nothing wrong with using the free oil changes. You can just say no to the stuff they try to upsell you. My son has a Hyundai Sonata, when he was in for a free oil change the dealer tried to sell him a new air filter for $30 for the filter and $30 for installation. My son declined, went to a parts store and put in a $21 dollar filter. The next day he got a call from the dealer asking him nicely why he declined having the filter changed.
My son told him he could see the filter needed changing and would not have minded paying $30 dollars for the filter, but couldn’t see $30 for the installation when the technician had to old filter in his hand. Surely he said, it is no more work to put in a new filter than the old one.
The dealer thought a while and said, I see your point, you are absolutely right.
I might add this was a small town dealership, which in my experience are much more honorable in dealing with their customers than suburban chain dealerships.

Sweet. Tech shows u dirty filter. Putting it back is free. Putting in new filter is 30 labor?