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Lexus dealer vs independent

dev
 dev
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 I have a Lexus that needs brake service and a transmission fluid flush. The problem is it has one of those E-brake actuators that if you try to bleed it, it throws a code and will have to be done by tech-stream at the dealer.  The transmission fluid needs the service tool and there is no way around it. Some people measure and put back the same amount but that is a poor way of not doing it right.  The transmission needs to be at temp and the correct fluid level needs to be filled. 

Anyway I thought I would just have them do the brake pads and rotors for once so I can just drop it off and pick it up. I called the dealer for an estimate and It is as expensive as I thought it would be (dealer prices) but to their credit the guy respected that I do my own work and talked to me straight forward on the pricing and did not beat around the bush. I like the fact that he was down to earth and wasn't trying to upsell me. 

 The independents were terrible. They could not give me a ball park estimate and they spoke to me like a door to door vacuum sales person. They went on about their 24 point inspection and how they need to asses the car for everything it needs before they can write up and estimate. I tried to tell them I know how do the work and just want to know how much they would charge for pads and rotors or per axle. They couldn't do it and they started lecturing me about how beneficial it is for them to go though the whole car on their dime and find parts that need to be replaced. 

 I have had this issue before with independents and other quick brake places and it is a big turn off. I have had friends that have overpaid when they change out parts on a relatively new car that do not need to be replaced. I have also seen them do faulty work, use the cheapest parts to make margins and lack professionalism that you get from a certified dealer mechanic.  

So in the end I cant justify paying dealer prices and find my self in the same situation with independents for the one time I do not want to get my hands dirty to save over $1k in brake pads and rotor work and just have the dealer flush the brakes and do the transmission service.  

 When you do it yourself its not just for savings, you almost always do it just because you are in control.  

 

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Topic starter Posted : April 6, 2021 11:05 am
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LordTakuban
(@lordtakuban)
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Yep.  I do my own service simply because I want to know exactly what is going into my car and what's being done.  The few times I've either had warranty work or some thing that would have been more of a PITA for me to do, I would end up with fewer bolts on the car, dirty interior, etc.  And that was at the dealership (warranty work).

There must be some way around the techstream issue.  At least I hope there is.

Get your Short Antennas, Decals, and all sorts of goodies at:
https://takubanmotorsports.com

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Posted : April 6, 2021 2:25 pm
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dev
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Posted by: @lordtakuban

Yep.  I do my own service simply because I want to know exactly what is going into my car and what's being done.  The few times I've either had warranty work or some thing that would have been more of a PITA for me to do, I would end up with fewer bolts on the car, dirty interior, etc.  And that was at the dealership (warranty work).

There must be some way around the techstream issue.  At least I hope there is.

There is kind of. It involves disconnecting the battery and gravity bleeding or powering the car intermittently and then bleed and start over.

The problem I have with this, is these are hacks from Lexus owners and I have become cynical because I do not want to trust people on the internet that I do not really know what they are doing. There have been some that have had to replace the actuator which is very expensive or it didn't work and the car had to be towed.  I learned my lesson from the BMW when I made my virtual DIS computer and accidentally put the car in dealer mode which costs me $150 and embarrassment  having to face the service adviser which was the worst ownership experience, looked like a total putz when all I wanted to do was save $100 on a battery reset. 

 It costs around $170 which includes brake fluid to do it the right way which opens certain valves and pulses the system to get all of the gunk out. It's worth doing. Same with the transmission flush.  Not worth being penny wise pound foolish. 

 

 

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Topic starter Posted : April 6, 2021 3:12 pm
haloruler64
(@haloruler64)
Prominent Member

I trust my local Lexus dealer. I had them do all the maintenance on my 2017 CT200h when I still had it, and my mother has been using them for ages on all her cars. They always gave her reasonable pricing (it's the Bay Area, independents are expensive and often do crappy work), stood by their work, and even did her favors. She had a timing belt service scheduled for her 2001 RX300 about a week before Christmas, and the day before, her washer pump went out. Easy fix for me, but she asked them how much it would cost. They threw it in for free during the timing belt service. 

2000 Toyota MR2 Spyder, 2020 Mazda 3 Hatchback 6MT

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Posted : April 6, 2021 7:55 pm
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RIA
 RIA
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Tough situation dev. Youve got to find a mechanic you can trust. Easier said than done. Lucky for me, I literally have one down the street. If you're still in maryland, there is a mechanic who adjoins the back lot of the damascus volunteer fire department. I cant speak to his clearness of estimates, but he did a good job on an alignment way back, noticed a loose nut that would have caused an accident, and was straight up about not being able to fully adjust the alignment due to a siezed nut that he did not want to blowtorch due to it being in a rubber bushing.

Ive had experience with both bobby's garage (mentioned above) and county auto center in damascus. Both positive. But that was 6 years ago.

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Posted : April 8, 2021 9:10 am
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dev
 dev
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Thanks for the recommendation. Im doing the brake work myself and its actually not that bad just a bunch of clips that have to be oriented correctly. Just for once I wanted to drop it off and and pick it up like the sheeple but I know too much to be outraged. 

As far as the brake flush and transmission flush I'm only taking it to the dealer primarily because it has to be done right otherwise it can ruin the expensive actuator. They have the correct service tools and most of all the experience of doing it hundreds of times. The service for the transmission is about $300 and the brake flush is $175 which is just fine. They have a VIP lounge with a coffee bar with all the danishes and lattes I can eat so Im going to invite a friend.  The local Toyota dealership looks like a refugee camp compared this. 

 

 

 

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Topic starter Posted : April 8, 2021 4:15 pm
dev
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I got the fronts done. Probably the easiest brake job ever. These newer style once piece calipers with drop in pads supported by pins are very nice and this is the second time doing it, last time was with a BMW.  The only thing you need to know are the orientation of various spring clips and how the sensor is attached but it is far easier than the Spyder.  

 I had a nice look at this big Toyota as far as quality and it follows the same philosophy as their other cars which is easy to work on and simple design which is what American cars from the 60-70s use to be. Parts for this car are way cheaper than any BMW and the bolts although not as fancy looking do not have any corrosion.  The caliper bolts needed to be torqued to 100ftlb. 

 

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Topic starter Posted : April 11, 2021 10:14 am
dev
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I had to remove the front pads again. It would seem I grabbed the wrong tube of grease the first time.  I used black lithium grease that looks similar to the high temp moly grease that I use.  It was easy to slide out the pads without having to compress the pistons.  This time I used some CRC brake quiet and removed all of the grease on the back of the pad.  

If I had to just change pads it can be done in less than 10 minutes.

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Topic starter Posted : April 12, 2021 12:19 pm
FormInFunction
(@forminfunction)
Eminent Member

All of these complicated electronics needing to be reset & special service tools are part of a movement to discourage DIY repairs. they know they don't make money off of selling cars, they make money off of flipping brakes, belts & fluid changes. All of those ppl that go in for an oil change and leave with a $300+ work order keep dealerships afloat. 

Unfortunately the price of convenience has, and will continue, to rise.

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Posted : April 12, 2021 8:39 pm
dev
 dev
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I don’t thing it’s anything too sinister but with newer technology comes sophistication that needs the dealership.  The worst car I ever owned was a BMW which was not only unreliable a lot of it had to be done at the dealer. When I finally understood the rational for the engineering it baffled me why they didn’t do it logically. It was as if they had to over complicate for the sake of it and like a lot of German cars they are leaky.  

 All of the Toyota products are built better with a good deal of sensible engineering and it’s no wonder they hold their value even with high miles. The seals don’t leak, everything is dry as bone. 

 

 

 

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Topic starter Posted : April 12, 2021 9:12 pm
dev
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 Finished up the rears today. Everything was easy but a lot of little things like adding the new sensor and working in the little pins .  The brake pads so far feel smooth and noise free.  I like these Akebono pads.  

 I invited my local Spyder friend to the Lexus lounge when I get the rest of the services done. All you can eat danish fest and I hope they did not close down the coffee bar because of Covid. 

 

 

 

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Topic starter Posted : April 13, 2021 7:55 pm
Uncle Mush
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Posted by: @forminfunction

All of these complicated electronics needing to be reset & special service tools are part of a movement to discourage DIY repairs. they know they don't make money off of selling cars, they make money off of flipping brakes, belts & fluid changes. All of those ppl that go in for an oil change and leave with a $300+ work order keep dealerships afloat. 

Unfortunately the price of convenience has, and will continue, to rise.

I have a family member who recently purchased a luxury SUV that has power everything -- including a feature that she was using the other night -- the ability to push a button from the tailgate of the SUV that electronically lowers the back row of seats so that there is more room in the rear of the SUV to stow cargo.  She would push the button and the seat would go all the way down to the stowing position and then it automatically reversed that action, moving to upright position again.  I watched her do this over and over again because she wanted it to stay in the down position.  Although such a function is very impressive, it was also maddening for her with it not working the way she wanted it to work.  I thought to myself, "Humph . . .  when I want to lower the seats in my Prius V, I grab a handle and I physically push the seats down and they stay down -- easy-peazy."  My Prius V cost about half of her luxury SUV.  I didn't say anything to her as I didn't want to steal her joy of owning a luxury SUV that can churn ice cream and bake a cake while she drives (joke) which is something that is important to her (not me).  By the way, it was my grandson's baseball hat that was in the seat-well that the sensor was picking-up and that is what was forcing the seat to return to the up position repeatedly.  Once the hat was moved, all was well again.

This also reminded me of my choice when I purchased my manual transmission Spyder so many years ago -- long before I knew anything about the extra-challenges that the SMT Spyders often have.  All I knew was the more bells and whistles the car has, the more things that can go wrong.  I know from reading the threads in these hallowed halls by all y'all, that I am grateful for the somewhat simplicity of our Spyders compared to the advances in cars today.  Makes it kinda scary to think about the next car we purchase which will be in 2023 if all goes according to plan. 🙂 

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Posted : April 13, 2021 8:43 pm
dev
 dev
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Posted by: @uncle-mush
Posted by: @forminfunction

All of these complicated electronics needing to be reset & special service tools are part of a movement to discourage DIY repairs. they know they don't make money off of selling cars, they make money off of flipping brakes, belts & fluid changes. All of those ppl that go in for an oil change and leave with a $300+ work order keep dealerships afloat. 

Unfortunately the price of convenience has, and will continue, to rise.

I have a family member who recently purchased a luxury SUV that has power everything -- including a feature that she was using the other night -- the ability to push a button from the tailgate of the SUV that electronically lowers the back row of seats so that there is more room in the rear of the SUV to stow cargo.  She would push the button and the seat would go all the way down to the stowing position and then it automatically reversed that action, moving to upright position again.  I watched her do this over and over again because she wanted it to stay in the down position.  Although such a function is very impressive, it was also maddening for her with it not working the way she wanted it to work.  I thought to myself, "Humph . . .  when I want to lower the seats in my Prius V, I grab a handle and I physically push the seats down and they stay down -- easy-peazy."  My Prius V cost about half of her luxury SUV.  I didn't say anything to her as I didn't want to steal her joy of owning a luxury SUV that can churn ice cream and bake a cake while she drives (joke) which is something that is important to her (not me).  By the way, it was my grandson's baseball hat that was in the seat-well that the sensor was picking-up and that is what was forcing the seat to return to the up position repeatedly.  Once the hat was moved, all was well again.

This also reminded me of my choice when I purchased my manual transmission Spyder so many years ago -- long before I knew anything about the extra-challenges that the SMT Spyders often have.  All I knew was the more bells and whistles the car has, the more things that can go wrong.  I know from reading the threads in these hallowed halls by all y'all, that I am grateful for the somewhat simplicity of our Spyders compared to the advances in cars today.  Makes it kinda scary to think about the next car we purchase which will be in 2023 if all goes according to plan. 🙂 

  I actually think that is a good feature for women and old people that are somewhat disabled.  The Lexus as a trunk that automatically opens and closes with a push of a button.  It actually makes putting in groceries less cumbersome.  Also keyless entry and start is just  a fantastic convince.  Toyota reliability as far as all those motors and gadgets is impressive considering the other makes fail and can cost a fortune.   However there have been cases where the lock can get jammed by something in the way and it needs to go to the dealer.  You cant escape the dealer.  

  

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Topic starter Posted : April 14, 2021 9:23 am
dev
 dev
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Because of the magic of google tacking my searches I received a card in the mail for another independent Lexus service center that I did not know about. The shop is owned by a former Lexus mechanic. They claimed major savings over the dealer so I gave them a call to see how much for a brake flush and transmission flush.  The guy on the phone had terrible communication skills. I told him that I have already done the brakes and asked him if he had the tech stream  to do the flush right so I would not get any codes. 

 He said he was surprised that I didn't have any codes pop up when I changed the pads insinuating that I don't know what I was doing and would need to check my work.  Not this crap again and I got the feeling he doesn't like DIY people and in typical fashion I could tell he was putting the fear or doubt into me. I have come across this confidence technique before and its insulting. His quotes were only a little better than the dealer but not really worth going to this guy over the dealer unless the savings were tempting which they were not and I wouldn't trust him with the car.   

 The dealer although expensive is straightforward and they have a kind of a la carte system which I like. 

 

 

 

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Topic starter Posted : April 21, 2021 11:15 am
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