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vilmosz

90,000 Mile Service: Dealer Or Non-Dealer Service?

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Our 2002 RX-300 (85,000 miles, still under extended warranty) is about due for its 90,000 mile "major" service at the dealer. They are quoting us abou $900 for a laundry list of items and I'm wondering if we'd be better off going to a non-dealership reputable service station. Here's what they say is needed:

  • Replace filters.
  • Brakes.
  • Rotation.
  • Timing belt.
  • Water Pump.
  • oil service
  • engine air filter
  • trans service
  • engine coolant
  • brake fluid
  • Diagnostic on the engine.
  • Additive to windshield washer.
  • Emergency brake.

I'd appreciate any insights into the best way to go. We purchased the care CPO from the local dealer and got the extended warranty in light of the imminent transmission issues. Otherwise, the car has been fine and we're almost paid off. I was tempted to trade it in, but after looking at the numbers and the fact that we so far have had no problems, I decided to hold it maintain it as best I could.

Thanks again.

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The "laundry list" looks about right but do you know if the brake pads really need to be replaced? Rear brake pads last far longer than front pads and it isn't necessary to change pads until wear sensors (assuming your car has them) trigger a warning alarm/light. IMO, premature brake pad replacement is the #1 repair shop scam.

Follow the maintenance schedule in your maintenance manual and you will be "golden" - no more, no less.

By "service station" do you mean a "gas station"? I wouldn't take our Lexus or Toyota to a shop that isn't experienced in working on those brands and models and which is not highly recommended by people I know. If there are not acceptable independent Lexus repair shops in your area, you may be better off staying with the Lexus dealer. Supply a location in your profile and maybe forum members can point you to a good independent repair shop in your area.

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The service-list appears correct and at a fair price (I wish my dealer charged me that..). Perhaps consider new plugs and cleaning out the throttlebody too.

In my opinion, if you still have extended warranty and perhaps jeopardize that by servicing the car at another service station, I would reconsider.

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Perhaps consider new plugs and cleaning out the throttlebody too.

If you check your RX maintenance schedule, I think you will find that the spark plug replacement interval is 120,000 miles. Some models, like intakerGS's car have shorter spark plug replacement intervals. There is no gain in replacing spark plugs early. The original factory installed iridium spark plugs replaced for the first time at 120,000 miles on my 2000 LS400 last year looked like new and the engine didn't run any better with new spark plugs -- in theory, the iridium plugs could last far longer.

IMO, the throttle body shouldn't be touched unless there is a problem - cleaning it is not on your maintenance schedule and improper cleaning can do damage.

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ANY vehicle with more than 50,000 miles on it will benefit by a PROPER cleaning of the throttle body. The caveat is that you need to know how to do it correctly, and that varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. All of our vehicles' engines have always performed better with improved MPG after I've thoroughly cleaned the throttle body, usually for the first time at 50,000 to 60,000 miles....

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ANY vehicle with more than 50,000 miles on it will benefit by a PROPER cleaning of the throttle body. The caveat is that you need to know how to do it correctly, and that varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. All of our vehicles' engines have always performed better with improved MPG after I've thoroughly cleaned the throttle body, usually for the first time at 50,000 to 60,000 miles....

I can't agree with that (and neither does my Lexus trained mechanic) but "proper cleaning" is the key phrase. Throttle bodies are usually very expensive - $1,000+ for my LS400 not including installation. The use of incorrect solvents and improper tools and techniques can ruin a throttle body in a few seconds. If you are not mechanically inclined and do not know how to check a throttle body to see if needs cleaning, consider having a Lexus mechanic check it and clean it if necessary.

Maybe throttle bodies don't deteriorate here in "Clean Kansas" like they do where RX in NC lives. <_<

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Where I live has nothing to do with it, pal. This is all about residual contaminant build-up in the throttle body after tens of thousands of miles. Happens to ALL vehicles regardless of location. Notice I emphasized "proper cleaning". That is absolutely crucial. Before undertaking any throttle body cleaning, one must do some thorough research to find out what components need to be removed, what solvents (if any) can be safely used, and exactly what procedures to follow when doing the actual cleaning. It's not rocket science, but it does require some research. And if there are gaskets in place between the throttle body and the engine, replace them - do not reuse them. They are usually just a few dollars, and new gaskets can make a huge difference. The primary culprit in ruining most throttle bodies once they get a little age on them is moisture in the system. It only takes one degraded gasket to allow just a tiny bit of moisture inside. And once moisture is present, all hell can break loose including the engine shutting down into limp home mode....

So do your research and learn about your throttle body before you undertake the cleaning procedure. And be sure to refresh those gaskets while you're at it....

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It wasn't my intention to suggest to clean the TB self, when not mechanically inclined. I'm sorry if I wasn't clear on that.

I just referred to it, because my dealer suggested to have it cleaned after inspection @102K miles. As I'm kind of suspicious re. unneeded service (for example jim's statement re. premature brakepad replacement), I asked to have a look. It wasn't a pretty sight.. Interesting to hear some different conceptions from lexus repair mechanics, as my one stated that it was better to clean it to avoid future issues... :wacko:

Anyway, some dealers offer a better price, combined with other major maintenance. But I agree, if it ain't broke..

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Anyway, getting back to the actual topic ;) I live in Santa Monica, CA -- so if anyone knows of a reputable Lexus repair shop that might be less expensive than the actual dealer, please let me know. Thanks for all the other great in-depth information. In the meantime, I'll explore the good advice to ensure that maintaining at a non-dealer repair shop will not void my warranty.

Thanks.

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I'm not knowledgeable about cars, but here is my experience with the 90K checkup. The timing belt seemed to be the big labor item when my RX330 had its 90K checkup. I had the work done by a former Lexus mechanic who now has his own shop, and replacing the water pump was included (which was recommended being done in conjunction with all the labor needed to replace the timing belt). My price in the DC area was $1100. After the work was done the car seemed noisier and had a slight vibration that I could feel under my foot. When I took the car to the dealership and asked what the cause might be, the head mechanic said sometimes the belts aren't tightened enough. I then called a friend who is a former Lexus mechanic, and he said the timing belts are self-tightening. So, to get to the point, if the timing belts really are self-tightening, maybe a Lexus-knowledgeable mechanic, rather than the dealership might be less expensive and just as good. As for your brakes, could it be that they are checking them rather than replacing them?

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I am the OP. I just spoke with the dealer/service. There must have been some miscommunication or misunderstanding. They did NOT replace the water pump or the timing belt. The 90,000 mile service was $695 and included

* Replace filters.

* Rotation.

* oil service

* engine air filter

* trans service

* engine coolant

* brake fluid

* Diagnostic on the engine.

* Additive to windshield washer.

* Emergency brake.

They are now quoting me the following for additional work:

Battery replacement: $210

Rear shock strut is leaking: $650 each -- $1300 for both.

Alignment: $140

Power steering: $130

Front Brakes: $350

Rear Brakes: $350

Timing Belt and Water Pump: $1300

Total additional to the 90,000 service (which they already did): $3980.

I have no idea how to proceed.

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They are now quoting me the following for additional work:

Battery replacement: $210

Rear shock strut is leaking: $650 each -- $1300 for both.

Alignment: $140

Power steering: $130

Front Brakes: $350

Rear Brakes: $350

Timing Belt and Water Pump: $1300

Total additional to the 90,000 service (which they already did): $3980.

I have no idea how to proceed.

To give some perspective, the independent I use in Denver (www.toycarcare.com/specials -- just in case you want to check some prices) charges $189.95 to replace the timing belt (they add another $200 for the water pump, but check it first to make sure it needs to be replaced. They also did a four-wheel alignment and charged $69.95.

I got a battery from NAPA for $85 and put it in myself.

If the brake price include rotors, that isn't a bad price. Otherwise, it would be about $100-$150.

I guess what I am trying to say is, shop around ... find a shop that specializes in Toyota/Lexus and save a lot of money.

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900 bucks for a 90k service is steal.....thats what i would charge if i did it on the side but im in CT.......i'd say go to the dealer.....we use factory parts and we warry our work for a 1yr .....but if you do go private it will not void your CPO

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Thanks for all the input. It's good to know that doing some of the work at a non-dealership shop will not void my warranty. That said, the dealer service rep apparently forgot to factor in that I'm under warranty so the struts ARE covered. Yay and woo hoo. I'll probably get the brakes, pump/timing belt handled at the local certified mechanic who will do it for half the price of the 'ship. Thanks again and hope you're all's New Years are off to a good start. :cheers:

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* Replace filters.

* Rotation.

* oil service

* engine air filter

* trans service

* engine coolant

* brake fluid

* Diagnostic on the engine.

* Additive to windshield washer.

* Emergency brake.

They are now quoting me the following for additional work:

Battery replacement: $210

Rear shock strut is leaking: $650 each -- $1300 for both.

Alignment: $140

Power steering: $130

Front Brakes: $350

Rear Brakes: $350

Timing Belt and Water Pump: $1300

Total additional to the 90,000 service (which they already did): $3980.

I have no idea how to proceed.

What the hell is "additive to windshield washer"? Sounds like deduction from your wallet and addition to dealership profit to me. Nothing needs to go into the windshield washer reservoir except windshield washer fluid. I checked with the dealership (Lexus and Toyota) near me here in Canada, and they both said they would not change the water pump unless it was weeping and needed replacement. When I had my timing belt done, the water pump didn't need to be replaced, but I did need the idler pulleys and tensioner for the timing belt, which was an additional $300.

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