Sign in to follow this  
amanda

My First Date With A Lexus Dealership

Recommended Posts

like most dates, it was rather lukewarm. everyone tried to put his best foot forward but both party knew they were on the date mostly to serve his own selfish needs, not for any altruistic considerations for the other.

so my service guy was very pleasant and gave me an invoice for $95 which i accepted. he took like 2 hours which i also accepted because i was busy booking a vacation. then at the end of the ordeal, he told me some things and handed me a bill for $150. i was impressed with how they were able to materialize so many little incidental charges, some of which i thought were in the 50K mile service. $1.95 for 1/4" of window washer fluid -- and to think i had put in an entire gallon for just that price two weekends ago. but ultimately, i have to blame myself because i for some reason, thought the oil, oil filter, the stupid turn signal bulb and fuse and the labor for the oil change were all included in the service. how naive.

two things came out of this close encounter that annoyed me quite a bit: 1) he told me there's nothing wrong with that pesky vibration (and the wind noise and other little noises i'd mentioned) and 2) he says i have something like gelled goo or something in my engine because the dipstick owner who had the car before me was a dillweed about getting oil changes. he says there's probably no real damage as he was only able to tell when they opened the oil cap for the oil change. so if i really want it for some reason, they can clean my something in the engine (maybe pistons?).

but then an interesting thing happened on my way back home. i decided to park outside for the day and a volvo was in idle in the next slot. and heck if i didn't hear that same annoying vibration from this brand spanking new volvo. i asked the lady driver if she heard that noise and she acted like i was smoking parsley or something. she said she didn't notice it when she's driving so she doesn't pay any attention.

so now i am thinking, maybe i am just crazy about this vibration at idle. i don't know. i can still go to that import mechanic for $65, but it's ambiguous.

can someone give me any info on this goo crap in my engine?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They charged you for washer fluid?!?!?! I've never serviced a car anywhere, at a dealership or an independent shop, not my Explorer, my Lexus, my father's Lexus or my mother's VW that didnt include "top off fluids" as a complimentary service. Thats REDICULOUS!

I suppose its possible that you're hearing some resonation that is just part of the engine's normal operating pattern. Can you describe the vibration again? You say you can hear it, can you feel it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yeah, i definitely hear it.

but i am slightly miffed with the lexus dealer now for that lame gelled oil story and sneaking in extra labor and parts for stupid stuff. i guess that's the way it goes.

back to vibration, it minutely resembles a washing machine towards the end of a spin cycle. i have bosch front load, so i can't completely remember, but it's something like that. it's a dull thwap-thwap-thwap noise and it's coming from the belt area. that import mechanic put a long ear amplifier thingmajig to one part of the car near the engine and it was pretty quiet, but then he put it near the alternator and said, "see how loud it is?" that could have been total baloney (what i mean is that maybe it's supposed to be louder near the alternator). i don't know. but it's some sound that's produced near the altnerator in any case.

but i know i heard it on that volvo. i don't know if she hears it as much as i do in her cabin, but it is definitely there.

i feel it in the steering wheel too, but mostly i hear it. i do feel like it's gotten louder, but that could just be my imagination.

i think i also need a wheel alignment. i am just going to try to think of the car as my third child (after 2 cats). it's just going to keep tapping your wallet, but you wouldn't want to do without it.

would wheel alignement cause vibrations? i think i've read several times that it's responsible only for skewed steering.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wheel misalignment and tires out-of-balance can cause vibration. But you usually feel it in the steering wheel. Sometimes it only happens at certain speed ranges. Other times it will be correlated with the speed of the wheels (likely unbalanced wheels). In all cases the car has to be moving to get the vibrataion from those sources.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Amanda, I thought the vibration was there when it is in park? I hear some sounds like the ones you describe, but not too bad, sounds like its coming from the alternator/belt area, but I always thought that it might be valve lash. Car drives well, so I just leave it alone. But I have been following some of your post and the sound may be a different thing from the vibrations. Did they ever do a rebalance for you? And you mentioned that these are new tires, did it also vibrate with the prior set of tires?

Some of the incidental charges sound iffy to me, like the washer fluid, but the bulbs are definately going to be a separate charge, somewhere about $30-$40?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The story about the engine gelling is legitimate, like I said in the other post.

I suppose its possible that there's a vibration coming from the drive belt...

Does the noise go away when you turn off the A/C? You also be the condeser cycling. The ES and the RX are the only Lexus that use an old style cycling condeser.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hey, everybody. thanks for taking time to keep reading my posts on the boring vibration saga.

yeah, i had the tires balanced. and yes, the vibration's been there all along, before and after.

i think i might have a slight vibration that's different when i am driving that might be related to tire balancing (but sometimes i can't tell if it's just that the road is bumpy). plus, i need an alignment too as the car veers slightly to the right. but i am not as worried about that as i am about this stupid vibration at idle.

so what happens is, i am in drive and come to a stop light and step on my brake pedal and this vibration thing kicks in. it gets much quieter when i take my foot off the brake. it's still there but i don't think i'd complain about it. this boring story has been going on for so long, i can't quite remember, but i am pretty sure it doesn't do it in park or neutral or at least is much less noticeable.

as far as air conditioning goes, i think it gets a tad bid quieter when i turn it off, but i've been driving without a/c all this week and darned if the vibration isn't still there.

i really should get a bike. good for you. good for the air. good for my mental state of health.

p.s. should i get the engine oil flushed? the lexus dealer was of the opinion i would never need to do anything about it except keep a tight maintenace schedule.

the whole thing with that washer fluid and other charges (like fluid disposal) really get me freaking going. plus, as i said he steathily tried to blame the previous owner for the gelling stuff.

======

m2pc, i can't believe that the stupid signal turn thing might have cost me $40. i just never was able to figure out how to get to the turn signal without lifting the battery. even if i were to get past that plastic sheating on top, there was metal barrier beneath. i guess battery remal can't be that hard. is that what i have to do? for $40, it's worth it. the signal bulb costs all of $1.50.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ok, now I am thinking it is in the tranny or torque converter since you say it doesn't vibrate in park but is does in drive with your foot on the brake.

I wonder if a tranny mount is suspect, since the engine mounts checked out ok.

As for comparing to the Volvo, unless you were actually driving the Volvo, I would put it out of your mind. The Volvo may have had the same or a whole different rattle. Remeber your angle of sound is different to the Volvo than to your rattle when you in your driver's seat.

steviej

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very possible that it might be a tranny mount or even the torque converter. Have they inspected the tranny mount?

And the Lexus dealer is right about the gelling being the fault of the previous owner. It only happens on cars that dont have the oil changed regularly.

And $40 for a bulb replacement is run of the mill for a Lexus dealer. They charged me $97 for new wiper blades once, I was utterly shocked. Wiper blades are much easier to replace then a turn signal bulb...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

dc steve, it is not true that the engine gelling is always the fault of the owner. i've looked into this a bit now and there have been several people who sued toyota (hence got them to change their policy on guaranteeing gelled engines) who had perfect maintenance records. one was totally baffling because she went to lexus for every single one of her oil changes. whether they used synthetic is anothe question but there have definitely been engines with perfect oil change records that have gone bad.

i mean, come on, toyota isn't going to guarantee engine gelling for 8 years with complete labor/parts if they can actually say it was because the owner didn't change oil. it's because they screwed up on the design.

if lexus is going to hose me with $40 for signal change and $90 for wipe blades, they sure aren't going to go for $5000 rebuild for missed oil changes. doesn't check out with me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

True, its not exclusively a problem in vehicles with poor maintenance records, but not changing the oil on time exascerbates the issue, the fact that the engine doesn't drain fully (a lot of engines from a lot of manufacturers dont) I'm just saying, get the engine flushed, use synthetic oil, change it every 3 k and use a good Lexus filter, you're going to save yourself a lot of headaches and trouble. Much less likely to have an issue. I would agree with the dealer's assessment that probably the gelling in a car as young as yours has at least in part something to do with the frequency of oil changes. Regardless, the car is covered for 8 years so whats the big deal?

And if the engine requires replacement (which can be the case with the gelling if its bad enough) its gonna cost you more than 5k, probably closer to 10 or 15. A transmission on these things is around 8k.

As for the $40 and $90, while I'm the first to say Lexus dealers charge prices that are beyond excessive and extreme for most if not all services and parts (they markup parts as much as 300%, see Steviej's turn signal bulbs. $10 each at Lexus, $3 each at Toyota for the exact same bulb, dealer charges $80 for a CD magazine when www.lexus-parts.com sells it for $30 and still makes a profit in there somewhere, Lexus charges $120 an hour for labor, Toyota $60 when the training and certification is the same) however, if the customer will pay $40 for a light bulb, or $97 for wiper blades, then thats business. 95% of Lexus owners I know expect these costs, are happy with them, and even get suspicious when they're lower.

Its just the chosen few of us that know better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, in those few cases that proper maintenace is established and gelling does occur, I think that as someone else mentioned, this is going to happen for other makes & models as well. Another thing that we do not know is the driving habit, did the car get in an accident before? Did they use the severe or normal maintenace schedule?

I would do the engine flush with Lexus, as I would do what I can and is under my control.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cadillac's Northstar V8 has a gelling problem for instance, it holds up to a full quart of oil even after it has been drained. Cadillac never bothered to extend the warranty like Lexus did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Check your engine idle speed. It's probably going too low with the A/C on and the car in gear and your foot on the brake.

2. If you have sludge, the oil pan can be removed and cleaned out, then run some new oil for about 500 miles, then flush out the pan again and put in the type of oil you want to run.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

what should the speed be.

car has never been in an accident, though i think it must have scraped some parking concrete blocks.

there's something screwy with the engine oil compartment. why else are they doing the extended warranty on only 97-01 (or whatever years they are). plus, one of the people who changed her oil regularly who sued was leasing the car and it broke down within 2 years and she couldn't even drive the darn thing.

so toyota has bad design and so does cadillac. doesn't mean toyota didn't screw up, right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

it's only a warranty on the engine or something for gelling. it doesn't cover broken a/c or stereo etc.

you've really got a new car if it only has 40k for a 5 year model.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ahhhh, speaking about those "warranties" don't forget that the emissions was also extended (for 1998 that I know of), I think it is even longer than the engine warranty.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
so toyota has bad design and so does cadillac. doesn't mean toyota didn't screw up, right?

No, but Toyota is taking responsibility for !Removed! up, Cadillac doesn't care. Thats the difference.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

to add another, the Dodge Durango had it's share of gelling problems when first introduced.

have the flush done by Lexus to further fortify your standing on an engine replacement if it comes to that. Lexus tried to rectify the situation, and if they can't they must replace.

steviej

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this