Service Rip-Off or Not

I have a 2007 Toyota RAV4 that is due for the 15,000 mile service. The factory recommended service includes an oil change, tire rotation and fluid fill-up (not including the gas tank) for which the dealer will charge $49. This sounds reasonable to me. The Dealer has offered “Plus Service” for $180 that includes the above and adds A/C refresher service and fuel induction service and cleaning of the battery terminals. I can clean the terminals myself! What are these other two items? I’ve never had either done in 50 years of driving.

Those are BP services, which stands for “boat payment”. Unless you are using junk for gasoline, the fuel induction service is totally unneeded at 15K. Not sure what “A/C refresher” is, but maybe it’s checking charge level in the system and adjusting it accordingly (again, it shouldn’t be necessary at 15K) or perhaps it has something to do with deodorizing/disinfecting the HVAC ducts and air box.

Unnecessary services. Pass 'em by. These are tough times for service managers who bought too big a boat.

I third the motion that these extra services are unnecessary. They are very profitable “up-charges.” Meaning, the profit margin on these are healthy and may be part of the service manager’s bonus pay program based on how much he/she can sell.

Well, either the boat payment is due, or a judge increased his alimony payment. You should ask the service advisor which it is.

Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

I’d skip the tire rotation, save some money. If you are really concerned about equalizing tire wear, wait till 30k. Except, if this is AWD, then do the rotation, as the tires need to be matched in diameter for this.

On the other hand $49 is a good deal.

I would only go for the $49 service because the other services can wait until the car has 30K. And, you can probably get the fuel induction service separately and from an independent mechanic. But, my dealer doesn’t charge all that less for a fuel service than the combined price of the other services.

Dealers in general are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics (yours sounds worse) 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 document all maintenance work.

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

The A/C refresher service I do with Wynn’s Air Refresher Kit, $12.95 at you favorite car store. It’s sparayed into the air intake on the cowl outside and then run throught the system, both heater and A/C.

Agree that you only need the $49 servvie, the rest is fluff or things you can do yourself. Just stick to the manual.

What is so amazing, is I bet the salesmen in the showroom are selling customer on how reliable, and little maintenance the car needs, yet down the hall the service department is selling extra maintenance stuff.

Don’t start having them done now either. It’s the old saying that money in your pocket doesn’t do me any good.