If you’re like most Toyota and Lexus owners, you love your vehicle. It goes far past basic transportation, and almost becomes part of the family – You take pride in keeping it clean, and staying on top of routine maintenance, and think twice before loaning it out to friends. Toyota is one of the most reliable vehicle brands on the road, and those who don’t own one simply don’t get it. So when it comes time to bring it in for service, make sure your mechanic understands the obsession as well. Let’s take a look at some of the common customer questions we have encountered over the years while providing Toyota service and repair at Highline Car Care in beautiful Mesa, AZ
What Scheduled Services Do Toyota & Lexus Need?
Toyota’s are reliable creatures, and they will run as long as you would like them to(with a little love). Here are come common maintenance items you will encounter along the way:
- Oil Change Service – Most Toyota vehicles prior to 2012 require this every 5,000 miles. Newer Toyota cars and trucks require a long life 0W20 synthetic oil that is good for up to 10,000 miles.
- Tire rotation service – It is necessary to swap your tires front to rear (and vise versa) every 10,000 miles to keep them wearing evenly
- Wiper blades – This overlooked item needs to be replaced just about as often as it rains here in Mesa. The summer heat is pretty rough on these little guys.
- Engine air filter replacement – Here in the Mesa area, we see these commonly needing replacement every 10,000-12,000 miles. Other less dusty areas might see a longer interval.
- Cabin air filter replacement – This cabin filter is responsible for cleaning the air you breathe while inside your car. We also see these getting dirty every 12,000 miles or so.
- EFI service – Electronic fuel injection service is one of the most commonly overlooked service items for your Toyota. This is very important to maintain fuel economy and proper engine performance. Newer Toyota vehicles have direct fuel injection, and this service is even more important to keep intake valves from gumming up. We recommend a 3 part fuel injection service every 30,000 miles for this reason.
- Brake fluid replacement – Your brake fluid will become contaminated with moisture over time and will require replacement to keep your brake internals safe from corrosion. We recommend looking at this fluid for service every 30,000 miles
- Power steering fluid replacement – Much like your brake fluid, this system will become contaminated over time. We typically see Toyota cars and trucks in need of power steering flush service at the 60,000 mile marker.
- Drive belt replacement – Your engine drive belt is responsible for keeping all of your accessories turning, and should be looked at by 60,000-70,000 miles. Replacement is cheap and easy.
- Transmission fluid – Toyota does not recommend servicing newer vehicles until 100,000 miles. Here in Mesa, we see the fluid start to darken as soon as 70,000-80,000 miles and recommend service accordlingly.
- Spark plug replacement – Spark plugs are an easily forgotten service item. They do their job day and night, and are good for 90,000 miles. Make sure to keep up on these to keep your fuel economy and engine performance at its best.
- Brake pad replacement – While service intervals vary significantly from driver to driver, you might expect to replace your front and rear brake pads by 80,000-90,000 miles – Sometimes sooner with aggressive driving.
- Shock and strut replacement – Your shocks and/or struts are responsible for absorbing all the bumps and dips in our roadways. They typically begin to require service anywhere from 80,000-110,000 miles here in Mesa.
- Engine coolant service – You are safe to use your Toyota long life coolant for 100,000 miles here in the Valley, we see no reason to address this fluid any sooner.
What Repair Services Do Toyota & Lexus Vehicles Need?
A repair item is categorized as any type of part breakdown that does not have a standard service interval. Some items we have seen commonly fail on newer Toyota cars and trucks are as follows:
- Alternator failure – This alternator is responsible for keeping your battery charged to run your vehicles electric accessories. Your first sign of an alternator issue will be an illuminated brake and battery light. Find a place safe to stop (in the next 3-5 miles), because this will eventually leave your car immobile and in need of repair.
- Water pump failure – We have seen water pumps fail as soon as 60,000 miles in the Mesa area. Perhaps the desert heat is a little bit hard on them. A failed water pump may first show itself as a faint “sweet” smell emitting from under your hood. As coolant levels get low, your engine will begin to run hotter, and will eventually overheat. Do not drive when your temperature gauge is on HOT! This will result in certain engine damage. Pull over safely and call for a tow to a repair facility.
- HVAC blower motor failure – You blower motor is responsible for moving that air through the vents on a hot summer day. When it has failed, you will feel NO airflow coming through the dash. Sometimes a quick smack to the glove box will temporarily get this guy back up and running until you can get it in for repair.
- Ignition coil pack failure – Ignition coils are responsible for sending the spark to your spark plugs. When one or more have failed, you will notice a very poorly running engine and a flashing check engine light. Get down to the repair shop as soon as possible. On older Toyota vehicles a failed ignition coil can eventually cause a catalytic converter to fail, which can become quite an expensive repairs.
- Catalytic converter failure – We have seen a handful of failed Toyota catalytic converters, or “cats”. These are responsible for scrubbing your vehicle’s exhaust of harmful carbon monoxide. When a cat has failed, you will get a check engine light, and likely will not notice anything further. If you have your codes scanned, you will likely get a P0420 or P0430 that means it is time to have one or more cats repaired. These are a rather expensive part of your exhaust system, as they are filled with platinum that acts as the catalyst.
- Valve seal replacement – This was a common failure on Toyota’s prior to 2002. Failed valve seals will result on smoke coming from the tailpipe at first start up, that will dissipate within 10-15 seconds. Failed valve seals require repair before other items become damaged as well (see catalytic converter)
- Engine mount replacement – All front wheel drive Toyota cars or trucks will require new engine mounts at some point in their life, it is unavoidable. Engine mounts are filled with rubber, and will dampen engine vibrations as you are driving. One or more failed engine mounts will result in vibration in your dash while at a red light, and eventually will cause a clunk on acceleration.
- Power steering rack, pump, or hose leak – Your Toyota power steering system can develop leaks over time that will require repair. It will usually start off very small, and progress over the months. If you hear a whining noise when turning your steering wheel, there is a good chance you have developed a power steering leak, either from your steering rack, pump, or one of the rubber power steering hoses.
How Much Does Toyota Repair Service Cost in Mesa AZ?
As we said before – Toyota’s and Lexus’s (Lexii?) are one of the cheapest vehicles to keep on the road, but they will require attention from time to time. Toyota service pricing will vary from shop to shop and by specific service or repair. But remember, it’s always cheaper to invest in preventative service before it turns into a costly repair. Even the most reliable vehicles require attention, so don’t be afraid to show your Toyota or Lexus a little love. When it does come time for repair, the best value will be found in a shop that provides a complete and consistent history for your vehicle. Recommendations will only be made after inspection of your vehicle, as this is the only way to provide an honest value. Do not bounce around from shop to shop, it is much easier for your mechanic to keep your vehicle reliable if he knows its entire history – Kind of like visiting a Doctor.