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Monday, July 31, 2006

Toyota Vs. Saturn

I took Shadow in for her first service this morning. I'd tried to do it a week ago, but found myself caught in service beauracracy. I figured the Toyota of Stevens Creek would be my best bet, so I called to make an appointment on the Monday after Waltz Week, except they don't make appointments. It's first come, first served. Le sigh. Okay, so I dropped in for a service, and was told as busy as they were that day that it would be 3-4 hours for the 5000 mile service. The 5000 mile service is an oil change. Right, so, I came back. Finally this morning I got up extra early and made it there a little after opening and got my 5000 mile service in just about an hour and still made it to work relatively on time. This was good. But it wasn't like a Saturn service. You take your car to Saturn, they always wash it and vacuum it. It's a tiny detail, but you get your car back looking fresh and new every time. I'm going to miss that. Also, if I had needed to go to work instead of waiting (which will likely be more important on bigger service appointments), they don't loan you a car. You could rent one. Or, they provide a one-way shuttle service for up to 10 miles. Now how a one-way shuttle is useful is beyond me, because ultimately then I'm at work with no transportation other than relying on the kindness of my coworkers, but okay, whatever, if that's your policy. Ultimately I asked, "So is this how Toyota does things, or does it vary from dealer to dealer?" And the answer was, it varies, at the discretion of the particular dealer. That's the other thing I'll miss about Saturn - consistency. Oh well. Shadow is a great little car, so I guess I'll get used to dealing with the Toyota dealers since she'll be mine for the next 10 years or so, and next time, I'll research what other dealers policies are prior to crossing the 10,000 mile mark so that I know where, when, and how I should approach the next service appointment, rather than having it wait til another thousand miles passed.


  • It does vary from dealer to dealer, but also the service you get depends on the client rep as well. I used to take mine to Fremont Auto Mall and client service was always great until the guy in charge of Prius customers quit. The replacements (high turn-over) were less than fact I ended up getting one $500 maintenance for free because I complained to the manager about how poor the service had gotten. They also replaced my $7000 transaxle for free because it seized when they forgot to replace the transmission fluid during maintenance. Nice they replaced it, but it was kind of they last straw so now I take it to Dublin. Oh, FYI don't buy tires from the dealerships. They don't last as long and cost much more than regular old tires from Big O (and Big O can do a Prius alignment just fine).

    By Blogger wendy, at 11:10 PM  

  • Definitely varies from dealership to dealership. Toyota Concord does take appointments and washes your car. Toyota Berkeley rocks, but they're kinda out of our way. The only reason we go to the dealership is because things are under warranty....otherwise, I avoid dealerships like the plague...they overcharge and are generally creepy.

    By Blogger BlackSheep, at 12:40 PM  

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