What are These Extra “Auto Services our Toyota Dealer Recommended?”

by | Nov 27, 2012 | Auto Questions

Recently a customer asked me about a whole list of automotive services that a Toyota dealer was recommending. These services did not show up in the preventive maintenance recommendations in the vehicle hand book. The customer was concerned that if he did not do these services his car would not be covered under warranty or that there would be damage. I answered his questions and decided a blog article on the topic would be a good idea.

The most important thing you can do to look after your car and to keep it covered under warranty is to follow the vehicle manufacturer recommendations.  Sometimes this matches what a dealer recommends, but other times dealers have their own list and suggest a variety of different services like…

  1. Fuel Induction Service – $190 – Not needed, I have found that adding a carbon cleaner every 15,000 miles helps keep the valve clean and only costs around $20.
  2. Mass Air Flow Service –  $140 – Not needed.
  3. Mist service – $90 -Not needed.
  4. Evaporative Mold Flush Service – $100 – Not needed as long as you don’t use the heating and AC air recycling button in the cool months.
  5. Engine Flush Service – $225 – If you have not changed your oil on time and there is a sludge build-up there could be a case for this. I have found performing oil changes every 1000 miles or so until until the sludge is removed works much better. It cost less too.
  6. Transmission Flush Service – $325 – This is a hard one because a lot of manufacturers do not recommend transmission fluid changes (see blog on CVT transmissions). From our experience it is better to change the fluid before it gets so bad that it needs a transmission flush. In general, changing the transmission fluid when it becomes discolored and has an electrical odor is the best time to do a transmission flush. This can be anywhere from 30,000 to 80,000 miles (or even higher depending on the car).
  7. Coolant Flush Service –  $195 – Most new cars come with long life antifreeze. With long life antifreeze you can go up to four years or 60,000 miles. Regular antifreeze should be changed every two years or 30,000 miles.  The condition of your coolant should be checked every 15,000 miles.
  8. Power Steering Fluid Flush $165 – This should be inspected every 15,000 miles.  If it starts to get dirty and/or has an electrical odor then you should have the fluid exchanged or flush the system.
  9. Brake Fluid Change and Flush – $155 – It is a good idea to do this every 30,000 miles or every three years.  Sometimes it is okay to wait until the first brake job, and flush the system then.
  10. Transfer Box and Front and Rear Differential Fluid Changes – $… Four wheel drive vehicles have many different recommendations.  These fluids should be checked every 15,000 miles and the condition of the fluid evaluated. The manufacture normally has recommendations for these systems.

Maintaining your vehicle is important to keep it safe and reliable, BUT it’s only important to perform maintenance you need, NOT performing a whole list of add-ons that are unrelated to the manufacturers’ recommendations and the way you drive your car.  That’s why it’s important to establish a good relationship with an auto service provider you trust. If your auto shop makes recommendations that aren’t in your handbook, be sure to ask why they are recommending the service.  Then, if you still don’t feel comfortable, follow-up with a trusted provider.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About the Author

About Brian England

Brian England, the current president of BA Auto Care (formerly British American Auto Care), got his start with an auto apprenticeship in a small town in northwest of London. He came to the U.S. in 1972 to work for a Land Rover dealer in Rockville, MD. A few years later, he started British American Auto Care with his wife, Jennifer. Brian is a big believe in preventative maintenance, and his philosophy is to encourage and educate drivers on the benefits of a regular maintenance plan.