Toyota Auto Service Problem

After buying a Toyota RAV4 we needed to take that car in for service when needed.  After calling the dealership prior to each visit I soon discovered that when I call the dealership, I am actually talking to someone in a Texas call center.  This posses a problem for me because after making an appointment and arriving at the dealership, the person who greets me at the dealership has utterly no idea that I have an appointment.  So what is the purpose of the call center?  When you drive into the dealership, there are two dedicated traffic lanes.  One if for no appointment and the other is for appointments.  I always pick the appointment lane.   But, I figure there is utterly no difference in both lanes.

The last week in March, 2019, I tried to call my local dealership at about 10:15 am to see if they could do the service in time for my daughter to get the car at 5 pm. She had work at 6 and I needed the car ahead to make sure she would not get fired from her job.  Problem for me is I could not talk to anyone at the dealership service, only the call center.  The call center would not have the answer to my question.  I requested that someone call me from the dealership so I could ask how long the work would take.  The call center lady took my call back number and told me someone would get in touch with me.  I have yet to get that call!

So, why does Toyota have a call center in Texas which, from my experience, has no communication with the local dealership?  Why not allow the customer call the dealership service department?

Posted March 2019

Windshield Wipers For Hook Arm Type Of Attachment For Automobiles

This review is going to be very short.

Goodyear wipers are simply awful to install.  I had to view a YouTube video to get half the job done which required using a screw driver to force two parts to separate.  I then had a near impossible time sliding on the small plastic part that fits into the hook.  The design of this product is simply awful.  Not Recommended. 

If you are stuck with these Goodyear retarded blades, I recommend you view this YouTube video.  Problem for me is this video is incomplete and only showed half the process.

Michelin wipers are very simple to install.  Strongly Recommended.

There are other wiper blades available.  A review of the best can be found at Best Windshield Blades.

Ford Escape, 2006, Cargo Mat Replacement

Our family has a 2006 Ford Escape which my daughter picked out in a used car lot.  I wanted a Toyota but my daughter liked the dash of the Escape.  Personally, there are a lot of thinks I do not like about the Escape.  One of the many deficiencies is the back trunk cover rug.

Original-Mat-flat
Original Ford Escape cargo mat.

It, more than any feature of the car indicates the engineering cheapness.  It should stand as an indicator of the car company screwing the customer with cheap product.  November, 2015, I finally got fed up and replaced the cargo mat.  I went to Home Depot and purchased a 3 foot by 5 foot medium duty mat made from 94% recycled material.  It is made by Apache Mills.  Barcode: 086364028249.  I laid the existing car mat upside down upon the new mat which was also laid upside down.

Mat-being-cut
Image shows the Ford Escape cargo mat upside down and placed on top of the Apache Mills mat, also upside down prior to cutting.

I used the original car mat to cut the new mat.  I good heavy duty scissors is all that is needed.

Mat-final-cut
Image shows the original car cargo mat on top of the new Apache Mills mat cut to exact size.

It took less than ten minutes to cut the new mat to size.

Car-Mat-Finished
Image shows finished cargo mat in place.

In the above image, you can see that the mat looks way better.  The mat will not slide around like the original mat which was our main complaint.  When we placed items on the former mat the mat would slide around when we made turns. The new mat is heavy and stiff and because it is cut exactly to fit the cargo walls, it will not slide around.

AAA Battery Roadside Service Is Shockingly Impressive.

My wife and daughter tell me that our Toyota Camry will not start up.  I ask them to turn on the head lights and they look dim.  I get my volt ohm meter and read just over 9 volts across the battery terminals.  I tell them to use another family car and I will go get another battery.  I have changed out car batteries in the past and it is very easy, should take a couple of hours to shop for a replacement and swap it out.  I look at the date code sticker on the battery and it shows being over 6 years old.  But, all of a sudden I remember seeing AAA battery service vehicles from time to time.  Our family has AAA Roadside Service (California) and I call their number (800-AAA-HELP).  They can get a person out within 30 minutes, I was told.  The battery cost is just over $100 and the service call is included in us paying for AAA roadside service.   The local company who contracts with AAA, Brea (California) Towing, service technician shows up in about 10 minutes.  He checks my AAA card and pulls out two test equipment boxes, analyzer and I think a battery.   He uses the large analyzer to scan the car VIN identification tag in the drive door frame and knows the year of the car immediately and thus the battery needed for my car.

Camry-Battery-Being-Tested

 

He hooks up the analyzer and quickly determines that the battery has a bad cell.  He then checks our charging system and finds that it is working fine.  The tester prints out two paper reports, one he keeps and the second he hands to me.


Below is partial copy of the print out form the tester that I was given showing that our battery has a bad cell.

AAA-Battery-Service-Test-(cropped)

 

He removes the analyzer and inserts a backup battery across the car power terminals while he replaces the old battery with a new one.  The reason he does this is so we do not loose the saved radio stations stored in the car radio.  The technician has our battery in his truck and installs it.  Their batteries all say AAA but I am told they are made by Interstate Batteries.  The battery we received had a CCA (cold crank amps) of 700!  The whole process is completed within the time they told me the service technician would arrive, 30 minutes.  I was shocked at how fast this whole repair process took.

My analysis:

  • The whole process was incredibly, shockingly, fast.
  • I was guessing that the battery was bad (good guess).  For this company to come out with a very sophisticated tester and pinpoint the problem to be the battery and not the charging system is very important.
  • The battery cost was very reasonable ($119.88 total).  I checked and my research shows that I actually saved money by using this service, about $30.
  • I got a CCA rating that is impressive, 700.
  • The battery has a 3 year free replacement and a 6 year limited warranty.
  • The car radio saved stations do not get erased.
  • I did not have to drive to a store and pick up the battery.  I did not have to drive back to the store to return the bad battery.  I did not have to do the installation.