“How much is your oil change?” Part 2

Our shop car was purchased new from Novato Toyota in December of 2006, a decision I partly regret for its consumption of natural resources. One of the benefits, however, is getting original owner documents like service soliciations, which, as you can imagine, I find very interesting.  The one I got yesterday was especially interesting given my recent blog on scheduled maintenance and the dealer double-talk that surrounds it.

The shop car is an 07 Prius, identical to 04-08 Priuses as far as maintenance goes.  Here is what the “Scheduled Maintenance Guide” (published by the factory, found in the glove box) calls for every 5k:

* Replace engine oil and oil filter
* Rotate tires
* Visually inspect brake linings/drums and brake pads/discs

Now here is the list for the 15k:

* Replace engine oil and filter
* Rotate tires
* Visually inspect brake linings/drums and brake pads/discs
* Inspect the following: Ball joints and dust covers; brake lines and hoses; drive shaft boots; engine and inverter coolant; exhaust pipes and mountings; radiator, condenser, and intercooler; steering gear box; steering linkage and boots.

Now here is the flyer I received from Toyota:

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The company producing these promotional materials has rightly calculated that my mileage is around 15k (currently 15,300, to be exact).  Here is the description of this “important service”:

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They also have a coupon for the “Express Lube Plus” with price and description as follows:

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The problem here is that, assuming the Express Lube Plus “Multi Point Inspection” includes the list from the 15k in the maintenance guide, then shouldn’t the 15k be the same price?  What does the 15k include in addition to the one hour ELP to warrant the additional $115?

To make clear, it’s not that I don’t respect the dealer.  I have many friends who work at the dealer, LG buys the majority of its parts from the dealer, in fact I need the dealer to honor my factory warranty.  It’s the marketing BS that I don’t like, and I know all of my friends would agree. 

At Luscious Garage, we charge the same thing for both of these services, because we perform the same thing.  And what we perform is spelled out clearly, in accordance with factory specifications.  We call it “The Vitals” and it costs a bit more than the ELP because we aren’t waiting to make more money when you come in for a glorified 15k.  We’d rather be upfront, and comprehensive, all the time. 

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