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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Folks -

First off, I'm just a basic car user with little to no technical knowledge so need your expert advice.
I own a 2010 V6 RAV4. For the first year or so I religiously followed the maintenance schedule set by Toyota which was pretty damn expensive at the dealership.

Then one of the guys I know (who knows about cars a lot) suggested that I just go with the regular oil and filter change and that's about it. According to him, these cars are made solid and don't need regular maintenance unless something breaks such as wipers, battery, brake pads etc. He believes this is all a scam to rip off people. So I stopped following the maintenance schedule (which saved me thousands of $$$ until now). I've been changing oil and filters regularly though. The car has around 120k and running perfectly fine.

Each time I go for an oil change, the dealership asks me to get it checked and fixed according to the maintenance schedule which I politely refuse to do. Now the car is 7 years old and it'd me thinking that it might need some sort of maintenance (tune up or something) or it might start breaking down sooner or later.

Please help me understand which one is the right approach? Follow the maintenance schedule at the dealership and spend thousands of $$$ or just wait until something breaks down and get it fixed?

Thanks for your help!
 

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Dealers typically have their own maintenance "schedules" which involve a lot of items which are simply there to enhance their monetary bottom lines. But Toyota's official maintenance schedule as printed in the Owner's Manual is there for good reason - the engineers who design the vehicle believe that those items are needed to keep the vehicle operating safely and reliably. When I take my RAV in for service I have the dealer stick to the Owner's Manual service schedule except that I have them do the extra service of changing brake fluid after I've tested it and found that it has too much water. The dealer always tries to sell expensive and unneeded services which I always refuse.


One obviously can do a lot of their own maintenance if they wish to avoid dealer prices.
 
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I follow the owners manual schedule, change your coolant if you haven't by now and check your brake fluid too, both really cheap and easy to do yourself if you want to save more money.

Sent from my SM-G900T using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I apologize for not being clear but I was referring to the maintenance schedule printed in owner's manual. Every 16000km or so, it costs around $800-$1000 to follow it. I wanted to be sure that it's actually worth it.
I did have them change the brake oil since the pads were replaced at around 100k. Didn't replace the coolant yet.
At 120k do I need some sort of engine tuneup even though there're no apparent issues with it?
 

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The OM schedule is NOT excessive service, but you are paying too much if it is costing you $800-$1,000 every 16000km (25,000 miles)
In that time, you should have had five oil changes ($35 with synthetic and a Toyota filter if you DIY) and 5 tire rebalance/rotations ($80 for FREE lifetime rotation and rebalance at Discount/America's Tire, even if you didn't buy the tires from them)

Brake fluid and coolant changes, personally I go 3 years regardless of mileage.
Air filter and cabin filter are under $50 DIY for both combined, I generally do both once a year whether they need it or not (manual says 36mo).
Most other maintenance items at that mileage are "Inspect" and adjust/replace at your discretion. Most costly would be brakes, but routine maintenance is just a quick visual inspection.

You have an older model, so more long-term wear items are going to start showing up such as CV boots, belts, hoses, water pump, etc... but once these are replaced, you're going to be good for another 100-150,000 miles. The 100,000-150,000 mile area is probably the most costly time to own a vehicle as that is around when many factory parts have reached the end of their life and the car needs a "refresh"

Vehicles really are low-maintenance compared to 40 years ago when we had to replace our plugs and ignition parts every 10k.
 

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The following should be done:
ATF change, Transfer case oil change (4wd), rear differential oil change (4wd), coolant change, and brake fluid (replace whats in the brake fluid reservoir). Would be good to lubricate the caliper slider pins with fresh silicone grease to prevent the calipers from seizing. Also clean the throttle body. The air cleaner and cabin filter needs to be changed.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I thought they're charging me excessively as well. Oil change is at 8,000km which is great but as soon as I hit next 8,000km I'm presented with a copy of the OM schedule that's due. Which should mostly be a quick visual inspection as you said. However, I'm always told one or two items need to be repaired or replaced and given an estimate of $800-1000 for those.
Being non technical with the car, I've no idea how to verify what they're saying is true or not. So far, it seems a big lie since even without doing any of what they suggested, the car runs great. As mentioned, I do get regular oil and filter changes plus the brakes and tires had been replaced. The brake replacement cost me $1800 for both front and back, seems I'm being taken for a ride at the dealership.
 

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So far when I've taken my RAV to the dealer for a routine oil and filter change they always try to upsell me. One example: Two years ago they said that my battery tested weak and they would install a new one for US $100. I had load tested it myself beforehand and while it didn't meet new specs at 4 years of age it still was nowhere near dying.. The same battery is still in the RAV two years later and works fine. The dealer has tried to sell me fuel injector system supposed disassembly and cleaning for about $450, throttle body cleaning for something like $250, engine oil system flush and then add some sort of alleged cleaner, another something like $250, etc., etc. When I've confronted the dealer service writer with the Owner's Manual schedule the reply was something like that the schedule is just to keep the RAV running, but then he gives up. My RAV runs fine and has had no problems.


I had the same sort of battle about my wife's CR-V. I finally got aggravated enough to phone Honda corporate and they connected me with a design engineer, who basically said that the dealer's proposed "services" were a rip-off. Several yeas later her CR-V still runs fine and has been trouble-free.
 
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Change dealerships. Toronto must have a lot of choices. If still concerned, avoid dealers completely and find a quality independent mechanic. Dealer repair is sometimes a necessary evil if a recall is warranted, but that's the only time you need to go there.

Avoid the upsells. If suspicious about a charge, decline to get it done, and post the specifics on this forum to see if it is valid. $1800 for brakes is a huge rip off.

Though not that mechanical yourself, become knowledgeable about some of the basic maintenance for the RAV. For example, you could learn to change the engine air filter and the cabin filter, for which dealers charge triple for about 5 minutes of work. YouTube has lots of good videos on these as well as on this forum.

My first year with the RAV I had a rip-off dealer like you describe. When I found this forum, I knew just how much! I was lucky to be able to find another dealer (for the warranty work) and they seem knowledgeable and honest. The only upsell they did was for rear brakes. When they gave me accurate readings on the brake pad thickness (which I learned how to measure myself), I knew they were being honest and let them do it for their $200 special. That's still a little high but I knew it was almost time and I didn't have time to DIY. The more you know, the less likely to be taken advantage.
 

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.......The brake replacement cost me $1800 for both front and back, seems I'm being taken for a ride at the dealership.
I always buy good used vehicles & often flip them with 300,000-335,000 Km...never used a $teelership once.
- and I just had my rear brakes done, on wife's 2008 RAV4 Limited v6 .... total spend $300

................Does anyone have a reputable place to buy parts from, such as washers, that would ship to Canada?
I'm also from ON. to and have a fantastic source for premium brakes kits / got of the Toronto GTA area.

From RAV4 Forum: Quote:
Originally Posted by Beaumont67 View Post
--------------------------------------------------
I bought the premium brake kit (G3500 cast iron rotors & ceramic pads) last year / rears installed.
- this product ships out of the GTA-Toronto area / so Canadians save large / currently 50% off
- rotors are drilled, slotted & coated / I broke the brakes in hard, for 15 minutes
- my garage friend charged me $150 labor, to do the rear axle / include lube calipers, pins & shims
- still using original calipers, that came on the 2008 RAV4 v6 / one was sticking, mechanic fixed it

^^ Probably saved $700-800 per axle avoiding Dealership, and end up with great parts.
- could not be happier / improved stopping distance & zero noise
- brake dust on alloy rims, almost nothing
- will have the front brakes done, this fall
- since I ordered a 4 wheel kit, just a labor charge next time

MaxBrakes ELITE xDS Series Kits, shipped out of Ontario, Canada:
Brake Kits - ELITE xDS Series Kits
^^ Company also ships to USA customers.

First time I bought a 4 wheel brake kit, saved $500 in parts (for Jimmy), not purchasing from local NAPA/UAP.

They are the best quality for the $$ & currently 50% off sale / the MaxBrakes rotors, are a nice precision product.
- the RAV4 brake job got treated to ceramic brake lub (caliper pin maintenance)
- the rotor castings are thick and the G-3500 grade of cast iron says shinny / no rusting away, like the cheap "white box" brands
- the ceramic brake pads, don't come with the shims / go to reuse the original ones
 

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