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wolfie212003

Rx300 Maintenance

5 posts in this topic

I have a 2002 Lexus RX300 with 21,000 miles. I have been taking it for the scheduled maintenance visits for oil changes like I should, but I was wondering if any other owners out there have tried to save money by taking their cars elsewhere. And if you did take it elsewhere (other than doing it yourself), where do you recommend or not recommend taking it? or should I just suck it up and just keep taking it to the dealer? :huh:

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Dealers aren't all that expensive if you FORCE them to abide by the "book". Only perform those maintainence items specifically called out for by the factory on the NON-ROUGH USE schedule.

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Read around the forums the dealer vs independent mechanic debate has been discussed many times. My stance on it is that there is nothing exotic about a Lexus, its not a Ferrari or a BMW. This is a GOOD thing, meaning anyone really can work on it. Companies like Audi, BMW, VW shut out the independent guys by designing complicated diagnostic systems that require equipment so expensive that independent shops simply can't afford it. Lexus doesn't do this. Lexus DEALERS capitalize on owners preconcieved notion that their new luxury automobile is a marvel of complexity that only the dealer can make heads or tails of. Thats why they get away with the rediculous labor rates (some dealers charge up to $120 an hour, more than some medical doctors) and as wwest mentioned the rediculous maintenance schedule (dealers ALWAYS go by the severe maintenance schedule, if you dont deliver pizzas or do high speed road chases routinely, this is overkill). Fact is, the Lexus is proof that a great automobile doesnt have to be as complex as a fighter jet.

This means, that if you dont need to take full advatage of things like the free loaner and pickup and dropoff, then you need not take it to the dealer. Find a good independent shop you can trust.

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wolfie212003,

I've managed to save a few dollars by taking my SC300 to the Toyota dealer. In a few models, many of the specs and most of the parts are shared. If your local Toyota dealer doesn't stock the Lexus part, they can usually order it. They will need the part # from Lexus as they don't have the ability to look it up. I've gone to Toyota for oil changes, brake work, a/c repair & timing belt replacement. I had 1 problem they couldn't diagnose. It was something unique to Lexus.

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You definately want to follow the severe service schedule (oil changes every 5000 miles or more frequently) for long, troublefree life. In fact, for 2004, Toyota / Lexus made 5000 miles mandatory http://www.saber.net/~monarch/lexoil3.jpg to maintain the new car warranties. You can buy genuine Toyota motor oil and oil filters cheaply at Toyota dealers that will fit the RX300 since the RX300 takes the same filters and all the Camry V6 models. Indeed, Toyota dealers can do nearly all the service work on the RX300. You can also use synthetic motor oils IF you plan to stick with them. Toyota and Lexus say switching back and forth is not advisable. There are some inexpensive preventive maintance things you can do to assure long engine / transmission / brake system reliability: 1. Every 30,000 miles / 2 years buy 3 quarts of Toyota Type T-IV transmission fluid from a Toyota dealer and then tell the Toyota dealer to drain the transmission oil pan and refill it with the fluid you bought. 2. Every 30,000 miles / 2 years buy 2 gallons of Toyota Super Long Life Antifreeze and tell the dealer to just drain and refill the radiator with it. 3. Every 2 years / 30,000 miles buy 5 pints of genuine Toyota brake fluid and tell the dealer to use the fluid you bought to flush the old brake fluid out and replace it with fresh fluid. The dealer may balk at first because these servicing procedures are so quick and simple and don't involved total fluid replacements and therefore aren't very profitable. But they are some of the simple key things that you can do to avoid expensive repairs for many decades and hundreds of thousands of miles.

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