Preying on a good name

A local Toyota dealer is preying on the good name of Toyota by implication. Its mailed flyer lists various maintenance items and services offered. Among them is this: “Transmission Flush $129. … Recommended every 15,000 miles.”

The implication is that Toyota Motor Cars recommends this service. It’s NOT true, people!

Every dealer everywhere does this. It’s not unique to Toyota. BUT it is good to point this out - the only services required are those contained in that little black book (or whatever colour it is) in the glove compartment, called… wait for it… the OWNERS MANUAL!!! The least read bestseller in the world!

Just curious… if a Dodge dealer mailed a similar flyer, would you be equally distraught over a dealer “preying on a good name”?

Like lprocter sez, they all do this. Your local Toyota dealership is no better, no worse, than any other dealer.

Why is this a “Toyota” problem. I get mailers from GM, Ford, dealers with that kind of service all the time…And we don’t even own a GM or Ford.

The dealers typically cut the service intervals in half. WHY??? If everyone followed their recomendations over the manufacturers they’d DOUBLE their service revenue.

This notice isn’t for me. I know better. It’s for people who trust their dealer too much. I’m sure you say, “Oh, they’re (fill in derogatory term) to do that!”.
I want to highlight this practice of implying that a service is sanctioned by the auto maker (of whichever brand), when it’s not, by dealers. A specific service is more readily understood than a blanket accusation. People don’t always realize that their trust in the auto maker is used nefariously by dealers. They trust their dealer to be truthful with them. Not everyone has the decades of experience, and (assumptively) greater wisdom, that some of the regular respondents have. Is altruism “inappropriate”?

Do you know for a fact that Toyota doesn’t recommend a 15,000 mile interval for any of its transmissions? Have you checked the intervals for both Toyota’s automatic and manual transmissions? Have you checked the maintenance schedules for what they call “severe conditions?” It might be that Toyota recommends a drain and refill at 15,000 miles for its manual transmissions on its “severe conditions” maintenance schedule and that the dealer is simply misleading you rather than flat out lying. Is this possible?

I did some research on a few Toyota models… 05 Camry, 05 highlander, 99 Camry. No where in the maintenance schedule (severe or normal service) does it say to flush the transmission. In fact the newer models that use the ATF-WS do not require a fluid change. In fact this is the quote from the manual… “100,000 Maintenance Interval - Inspection only; ATF-WS does NOT require any flushing or changing during the life of the vehicle.”

Now on the 99 Camry they do have a mileage interval for the fluid to be changed, “severe service” is changed at 15,000 miles, “normal service” the fluid only has to be checked every 15,000 miles. This model uses Dexron II or Dexron III. The catch is that when the fluid is checked and it appears black or burnt it says to “replace” the fluid not to flush.

This is where I believe the dealer makes it’s own definition of “replace”.

I believe that a flush is needed sometimes depending on how the vehicle is driven (towing for instance) but not every 15,000 miles.

My Toyota dealer is a reputable firm, but they still pester me with mailouts.

The transmission service requirements for a 2007 Toyota (ALL MODELS) are every 6 years or 60,000 miles REPLACE FLUID & filter… No mention of FLUSHES which we do not recommend. The flushing machine is a dealer add-on to generate revenue. Toyota does not recommend flushing.

The dealer is an independent businessman who can make money anyway he wants, within reason. This dealer is walking on the thin edge, since flushes can damage transmissions still under warranty, and Toyota would be liable.

I don’t call them STEALERSHIPS for nothing.

As I understand it, a dealership is made up of four or five departments: 1) new car sales; 2) used cars sales; 3) service; 4) parts and possibly 5) body shop. Each department has a manager and each manager is responsible for his/her department to show a profit.

You have probably encountered an aggressive service manager who wants his department to show a profit. I know a dealer whose used car department farms the work on used cars out to independent shops because he can show more profit than running them through the service department at the dealership.

A friend of mine bought a used Chevrolet Cavalier with a warranty from a new GM car dealer. When there was a transmission problem with the Cavalier, the dealer took it to an independent shop, rather than send it through his own service department. This was the call of the used car sales manager. When I needed transmission work, I went to the independent shop. The owner showed me a list of appointments from various dealers in the area.

Sometimes a drain/refill doesn’t get all of the used fluid out. In fact, sometimes it only replaces between 2/3 and 3/4 of the old fluid. In cases like this, a flush is the only way to replace all of the fluid. If I had a car with an automatic transmission, I would probably alternate between the drain/refill and the flush service.

Jeremy, you do ask pertinent questions! My Toyota manual has a severe service paragraph on transmission service, which calls for “Special Operating Conditions”, such as:

  1. Short trips of less than 3 miles (less than 5 miles in below freezing temperatures)
  2. Trailer towing or frequent mountainous driving
  3. Driving on dusty or muddy roads

Under these conditions, the follwing apply:

  1. Inspect brakes, steering & suspension components every 6 months/5000 miles
  2. Inspect driveshaft boots, propellor shaft and body/chassis bolts, every 6 months or 5000 miles
  3. Change MANUAL transmission, transfer case, and differential fluids every 24 months/20,000 miles.

I have quoted the book verbatim.

Not a word about automatic transmissions or flushes!

So, the dealer takes “poetic license” and tries to bully the owner into unnecssary, and possible engine damaging service work.

Mazda does it too, I get flyers in the mail every so often for my RX-8 . . . if they have a good deal on an oil/filter or tire rotation . . . I take it in and have it done. Allows me to look at new cars while they’re doing the service. Just read your owners manual and use THAT as your service recommendation Bible, and don’t fret over the deals you receive. This is called a free market economy. Rocketman

I have never gotten anything from any dealership around here. usually it’s Jiffy Lube sending out mailers for $10 for an oil change, which puts it on par with what the Honda dealership charges me for an oil change($25). JL even had one guy standing outside in the cold holding a sign a couple weeks ago for an oil change for $20.08