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Hi all! Normally I post new ideas and dumb things I do to my FJ, but I see a lot of dealership hate on the forums so I thought I'd put my two cents in. I work for a Volkswagen Dealership as a Service advisor, so I'm the guy you talk to when you guys go to get your FJs serviced. I can't speak for all service advisors or dealerships, but I'm not out to get people. I don't want you to spend so much money on your car that you can't afford food. So here's the real low down. Let's say you bring your FJ in for an oil change at 70,000 miles. I am required to attempt to upsell you for a "premium" maintenance. AKA, brake fluid flushes, pollen air filters, engine air filters, spark plugs, whatever the hell is recommended by the manufacturer at that point in the vehicle's life. If you don't want these things done, just say no. Now as far as pricing for repairs; there's two ways to fix a car. There's the OEM way, and there's the way that involves aftermarket parts or cheap fixes. Prior to working at a dealership, I only did cheap fix it my self repairs to my cars. So I understand the mindset, believe me I do. But when you bring your car to a dealer, let's say you have a bent tie rod. The dealership will most likely want to replace the tie rod and both bushings with OEM bushings and a Tie Rod. Let's say that takes them an hour, so they'll charge you an hour of labor. Nationwide, the average labor rate - this includes Ma'n'Pa shops - is $120 an hour. Technicians don't make that full $120 per hour, they make about $25 from it on average They DO NOT make a salary or normal hourly wage. They only get paid by how many hours of Labor they perform. The rest of that goes towards keeping the lights on in the shop and paying other people in the service department, such as me :smile. Anyways, most of the Advisors and Technicians I've met are good people. We have our own families to support too, ya know? But, like anything, there will be some less than reputable advisors out there who are just in it to make as much as possible. I promise they're not all like that. On a finishing note, when you go to a Toyota dealership, you're dropping your car off with people who live, breathe, eat, and sleep Toyotas. All they work on is Toyota. Unlike a Ma'n'Pa shop who has to focus on whatever is coming in for them to work on, a dealership's service department focuses on what you drive. I don't know about you guys, but it makes me feel a little safer knowing that someone who specializes on my car is looking it over, checking it for any issues I may not notice.

And as a PS, Technician's tools are not provided. Did you know that most toolboxes in a service department run anywhere from $15,000-$30,000? That's more than what a lot of our FJs are worth. And these guys only make as much money as they can get labor hours, and that's a pretty hefty monthly payment on just your toolbox.

Just some food for thought. Don't hesitate to ask questions about the job, or anything. Please, no flaming.
 

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I actually like my toyota dealer. They love my TTUE and always comment on my mini-mods like the phone charger I made from the hidden OEM GPS holder in the driver side dash box. They also let me order my own parts like brake pads, oil, and filters because I get them a lot cheaper elsewhere (like half price). They have also been known to price match other dealers on parts when I find a screaming deal online (Hello TRD PART 4 U Toyota of Dallas).

The only thing that really chaffes me is when they fix/change something and then discard the old pieces before they show me. I shouldn't have to ask. I started bringing my own oil filter inserts because they always charged me for a new housing when all it needs is the excellent quality $5 OEM insert. As additional example, another time, I dropped her off to have my windshield replaced and they broke the top trim piece even though I told them to be careful with the clipsbased on this forum. It took them an extra day to get a new one. I asked to see the broken piece and they couldn't locate it. When they recommend new cabin air filters, I want to see the dirty ones, I even want to see the results of the oil analysis, etc...

It's not so much that I don't trust a particular mechanic or advisor, it's just my responsibility to exercise oversight. Plus I just want to learn. Who doesn't want to know these details about their precious? Any thoughts?
 

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BTW, my wife loves VW's, especially vintage beetles. She once had a great Passat and I pressured her into selling her self restored 1968 model a few years back. My first car was a VW Rabbit Diesel. It got a legitimate 50 mpg in 1987, when diesel fuel was just $1 per gallon!

Which brings me to my next point. I read yesterday that they are discontinuing the new beetle soon. Will they have a LEGIT ultimate edition to memorialize the design like toyota did with the TTUE? I hope so. I never understood why they didn't make an "electric beetle" complete with exclusive colors like electric blue, volt green, and orange magma, complete with little glitter flecks to make them stand out (Perhaps I've said too much). Prius owners are so smug about their status as ecowarriors and special HOV stickers. It would be awesome to blow them out of the water with a funky in-your-face Beetle.

Before this latest diesel efficiency ugliness, I proposed a plan for a business class suggesting that VW should do just that in order to capitalize on the cache of the iconic design vs. dumb looking cars like the Prius. I got an A from the prof on the paper and the class loved the idea, but the response from VW was that they believed their diesel technology was awesome and they didn't need electric. A couple years later the scandal hit and all I could do is roll my eyes.

There have been a few guys convert Beetles to all electric, so I know it can be done. If you ever get tired of nitrous and diesel smoke screens, I would love to hear your thoughts in an electric new Beetle mod or production model like I described above.
 

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.... I started bringing my own oil filter inserts because they always charged me for a new housing when all it needs is the excellent quality $5 OEM insert. ...
Are you saying that they were throwing out and removing the OEM black plastic housing and replacing it each time your oil was changed and not simply changing the paper filter cartridge and the two rubber o-rings?

I hope I misunderstood what you were saying, because if a Toyota dealer is this incompetent, I would never trust them with any significant repairs or maint work.

Please explain further.
 

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.... I started bringing my own oil filter inserts because they always charged me for a new housing when all it needs is the excellent quality $5 OEM insert. ...
Are you saying that they were throwing out and removing the OEM black plastic housing and replacing it each time your oil was changed and not simply changing the paper filter cartridge and the two rubber o-rings?

I hope I misunderstood what you were saying, because if a Toyota dealer is this incompetent, I would never trust them with any significant repairs or maint work.

Please explain further.
To be clear, I have been on the original warranty free oil change plan until recently, so I did not pay attention until I had to start paying for it. They quoted me nearly $90 for an oil change. I asked for a breakdown of costs and notice they were charging $9 per quart (x6) for Toyota labeled oil and over $10 for filter. It wasn't clear what filter components their kit included, but if one didn't know better, they could easily think they needed a full kit. That totaled around $64 just for those parts.

I found Mobile 1 full synthetic for about $5 per quart in bulk at Costco/Walmart (free delivery) and the Genuine Toyota OEM element with o-rings for $5 (04152-YZZA5). They would not price match, but my service manager agreed I could bring my own stuff, so I saved $29 and just paid for labor.

Hope that clears it up.
 

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LMAO nice try. Two truisms with dealership service depts. 1) your repair will cost at or near $1,500 most of the time. 2) your vehicle will need to be brought back for another unrelated repair 30 days later coincidentally.

Yes we all understand you have families to feed. What offends me is the cost charged can put your kid thru college. Okay in fairness its the owners who set the prices. But when you hang up your coat and lunch box, you really shouldnt lock your soul in the locker too. My kids need to eat too and if my car doesnt run, I dont work and you know that. And dont forget the times the mechanic "forgets" to put all the nuts and bolts back on, because the owners press them to complete a job as fast as possible. The only thing you can count on is them using oem parts at a massive mark up.

But I must thank the dealerships at large, because of what you charge, I dont feel guilty buying new tools to do the repair and still save a boat load of money even if I have to do the job 3 times TO GET IT RIGHT. LOL
 

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Can you provide insight on how dealers are compensated for warranty work? By either the manufacturer or third party warranty provider?

If a dealer service department knows that you have an extended warranty, is it common for them to look for additional minor issues to charge them more $$?
 

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A few things here . . 1 i have never went and talked to a VW service adviser about doing work on my FJ so you are not the GUY .
2 you would be surprised how many FJs have more than 15-30 into them . and 3 . I do not feel bad in any way that a Mechanic has a tool box that has 15-30 K in tools in it . That was his choice .
 

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I have NEVER gotten ANYTHING fixed in one (1) trip to the dealer. Either they didn't have the part, or they effed up the repair in the first try...every time.
 

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To be clear, I have been on the original warranty free oil change plan until recently, so I did not pay attention until I had to start paying for it. They quoted me nearly $90 for an oil change. I asked for a breakdown of costs and notice they were charging $9 per quart (x6) for Toyota labeled oil and over $10 for filter. It wasn't clear what filter components their kit included, but if one didn't know better, they could easily think they needed a full kit. That totaled around $64 just for those parts.

I found Mobile 1 full synthetic for about $5 per quart in bulk at Costco/Walmart (free delivery) and the Genuine Toyota OEM element with o-rings for $5 (04152-YZZA5). They would not price match, but my service manager agreed I could bring my own stuff, so I saved $29 and just paid for labor.

Hope that clears it up.
Yes that is clearer. Sounds to me like they were simply charging for the filter element kit which includes the paper filter, two rubber o-rings and the plastic drain tube (same thing you bought with 04152-YZZA5) at a rate of $10. As you found out you can buy that filter element kit for $5 from many online Toyota parts retailers. I do the same and purchase the Mobil 1 OW-30 in 5 qt jug from Walmart for about $22-$23.

Its good that your dealer lets you buy the supplies and changes your oil. You might want to do it yourself (if you can) and make sure it is done right. Have read plenty of stories where dealers dont put their best/brightest on the oil changes and they forget to refill oil, strip pans threads, drain transmission and then put 6 qts of additional oil in engine that hasnt been drained and ruin transmission and possibly damage engine, etc.
 

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When I had my Land Cruiser (70 series) I was sponsored by a dealership. I could use their workshops on a Saturday when the mechanics also got to do 'PJ's' or I paid them a very low rate if they did work, I got parts at their cost.... I did my own stuff mostly, I ended up buying parts from a company in Holland where OE parts, inc courier back to the UK were cheaper than the UK dealer could do them at his cost!

I have no particular gripe with the staff, mechanics or fitters etc, the guys at this dealership were great because they knew me and loved the truck, but to me the issue I have is the dealer ethos (any dealer VW, Toyota etc etc).... If I book a car for a service that's pretty easy (yep I can do it so it must be)... so the apprentice gets that job, but I'm paying the same rate, and then he gets a time allowance to do it, but he's on bonus so if he does it quicker he gets more money.... but the manufacturer has worked out a service takes 'x' amount of time, I'm sure they didn't add time for extra care and attention or anything else so if the guy with my car is doing it quicker for his bonus then he must be cutting corners... but I'm paying the same, which generally is 6-10x the hourly rate I earn.

I shan't even mention the times I've been fobbed off and repairs not done because they think a woman won't know any different...
 

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Its good that your dealer lets you buy the supplies and changes your oil. You might want to do it yourself (if you can) and make sure it is done right. Have read plenty of stories where dealers dont put their best/brightest on the oil changes and they forget to refill oil, strip pans threads, drain transmission and then put 6 qts of additional oil in engine that hasnt been drained and ruin transmission and possibly damage engine, etc.
Thanks for the info SLVFX, I was at the point of doing it myself when the freebies ran out, and I would like to get my son involved. But now that I can get it done at the dealer for a reasonable price, I will stay with them for now. If they mess it up, they will be on the hook for repairs. I will check their work, so thanks for the pointers.
 

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Considering my Toyota dealership "couldn't" find my Yellow FJ parked right outside their service entrance parked in a see of white, silver and greys.

They wonder why I don't go back.

Now the My Lexus dealership.....completely different story. They love having the FJ because it is different than their normal fare that passes through.
 

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Umm...that's probably because there aren't any yellow FJs, they're Sun Fusion. LOL
 

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I've had good and bad experiences. Back in 1986 I had started work at the power plant and wanted to get a Toyota pickup so I visited my local dealer which was a family run business with the Dad and two sons. I looked around and just couldn't afford one at the time. The son who I talked to was nice and told me to give him a call when I was ready. Finally in 1990 I had everything come together and I could get my Toyota pickup. I stopped in and got ahold of Dan and told him I was ready and he tossed me two sets of keys which were for identical trucks other than one being a 4 cylinder and the other had the 6 cylinder. I drove both and decided on the 6 cylinder. We worked things out and I told him that I'd like to have my Stepdad look things over when he got home that afternoon and he said no problem. I wanted to do that because this was my first big purchase like that. We went back and looked things over and I bought it. I signed a couple of papers for warranty and emissions and then the sales receipt which was a small like 3"x5" piece of paper from a pad like you would get when buying a quart of oil or something. It was a good experience.

Then it went down hill. A few months after I bought the truck Dan got sick and passed away. I had problems with noise from my clutch which I was all too familiar with as I had owned two VWs. I wanted to get it checked and fixed before the warranty ran out. The brother went for a drive with me and just slammed on the brakes a few times saying it was just dirt in them and wouldn't listen to me. I drove it for awhile longer and it was bad enough people could hear it when I drove by. I called and told that it would be three weeks for an opening, which seemed to be standard even for an oil change. I didn't want to wait so I stopped by the dealership and got the brother again and he said he would go for a ride again acting like it would shut me up and make things fine.

As he got in the first thing he said was how can you hear anything with that stereo? I had a Kenwood system with a removable deck so I reached over and pulled it and tossed it into the back seat. We took off and didn't even go a block and he told me to bring it in the next day. They tore it down and the throw out bearing was so bad that the inner race was coming out and folding back over the bearing. The mechanic told me I should have brought it in for work a lot sooner which I told him that I had tried. If the brother would have just listened instead of being a jerk.

The final straw was when I needed a new exhaust hanger as one of mine had broken on the rubber part. I went in and got the Dad this time. I asked him if he could get me one and he said yes. I asked if it was in stock or if we needed to order it and if he wanted me to pay now or when it came in. He said I don't feel like ordering anything now so why don't you just go home and make something. That was the last time I set foot in that place. Shortly after I got my Toyota questionnaire that I had been getting once or twice a year and I blasted them on it. Toyota sent me a thank you and some gifts and said that they were looking into them.

This was the bad I had with dealerships.
 

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After my troubles above, I was looking for a new dealer to do business with. My sister had moved to Ogden, UT for school so I down visiting and happened to find a dealer there when I needed some work. They were good and got me in and out quickly and explained everything before they did it and also what they had found and I was happy. The parts department was great too.

I went there several times and the only sort of bad thing was when I had a problem one time and I told the Service Manager what I thought it was and I got the feeling he was thinking yeah right la de da.... Later when I went in to pick up my pickup they asked me how I knew what was wrong as I had nailed it right on. I told them I had went to automotive school and had my papers and had worked on my own vehicles before. After that I had no problems and they listened and usually the mechanic would come talk to me about the work and stuff instead of the SM during the time the work was being done.

Over the years the mileage grew and I would have a problem here or there that wasn't real common so they asked me if the students working with the older mechanics could work on my truck to get the experience. I said yes since that's the way I got some of my training and it was a great way to learn. They sponsor the automotive program at Weber and help graduates get jobs with all the Utah Toyota dealerships along with the other sponsors helping with the other brands.

Over the years, about 25+ now, they've been like friends and some even like family. Everyone stops to say hi from the general manager on down to the lot boy when I'm there. They've gotten me in with short notice and stayed late to finish so I could get back home. (I live 180 miles away.). With the high mileage on my old pickup and 4RUNNER they asked if I cared if they used aftermarket parts like bearings to save me some money. My sister is a teacher down there and she needed an exhaust and they told her it would run about $450, but if she wanted to go to a shop they recommended she could probably save about half. She did and paid $180.

I've had all four of my Toyota trucks worked on there and out of the three new ones I bought two, my FJ and my Tundra from them. They did all of the mods on my FJ too. The guy who does all of their optional accessories mounting did most of the work and the wiring and stuff looked factory. He does great work and is picky about getting things right. I'll continue to go there as long as they stay like they are as they are great.

They also do things for the community too such as opening their showroom to a prom when there were problems at the school. They sponsor car shows at the dealership and off road groups, they do stuff at the holidays for the kids. A lot of different things.
 

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Perhaps we should change the title of this thread to, "Not all dealerships are bad".

We have a Toyota dealer in town which no one much likes. They do tons of business and maybe don't think they have to care.

There are two other Toyota dealers nearby which are great. The one that is one town over found my FJ 4 states away, brought it here and even replaced the clutch before selling it to me. I had them install the TRD supercharger for me, I was so grateful.

The other is one state over, but does parts delivery all over the area. They give me a good discount on parts and typically deliver the same day, which is awesome.

So, the big one in town gets none of my business and stays the same.
 

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After my troubles above, I was looking for a new dealer to do business with. My sister had moved to Ogden, UT for school so I down visiting and happened to find a dealer there when I needed some work. They were good and got me in and out quickly and explained everything before they did it and also what they had found and I was happy. The parts department was great too.
Tony Divino. I bought my FJ from them. Drove down from Boise. They were great to deal with.
 

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Yep they're good people. They are getting ready to celebrate their 30th anniversary shortly.
 
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