Dealership claims only they can do transmission flush - Toyota Sienna Forum - siennachat.com
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-06-2017, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
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Dealership claims only they can do transmission flush

I have a 2011 Sienna SE with 100K.

I had it to the dealership yesterday. Their recommendations for needed service at 100K was a transmission flush, brake fluid change and coolant change. I told the service advisor that I have another mechanic do some of the maintenance work on the vehicle. She told me that they probably won't be able to do the transmission because it is A) sealed; and B) it requires Toyota's computer to sense the proper temperature and level.

They want $172.00 to do the transmission, which sounds like a half-decent price to me. But I am just curious if anyone here knows if what they claim is true.

Thanks, Videot
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-07-2017, 09:17 AM
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Re: Dealership claims only they can do transmission flush

What does the maintenance schedule say? Do you have the Warranty and Maintenance Guide that came with your Sienna? If you don't, you can view it in the Owners section at Toyota.com.

Hard as it is for us old-timers to believe, a brake fluid change is not in the maintenance schedule which goes only to "120,000 miles or 144 months". I guess we're supposed to push it over a cliff at that point!

A transmission fluid change (not flush) is shown in the maintenance schedule as being required at 120,000 miles or 144 months and only for "Special Operating Conditions" which include "Driving while towing, using a car-top carrier, or heavy vehicle loading". My interpretation of these Special Operating Conditions is that they mean if the vehicle is routinely subjected to them and not just once in a while.

The coolant change appears to be the only maintenance that the dealer got right. It actually is in the maintenance guide for the "100,000 miles or 120 months" service.

Car dealer service writers love to "up-sell" unnecessary services and make a lot of money doing it. When they get pushy, I just show them the car maker's maintenance guide and that always shuts them up.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-07-2017, 10:07 AM
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Re: Dealership claims only they can do transmission flush

At 6 years and 100k miles, I'm going to weigh in (also as an old timer) that it's prudent to go forward with the recommended service. Lifetime fluids is a nice idea, but in reality individual use patterns vary so widely that it's tough to say whether degraded chemistry can begin to do harm. On my last Sienna, I did all three as the van approached 90k. It's not that terribly expensive to get it done, and the potential payback could be big.

At least when you do these services at Toyota, you are practically guaranteed that the right fluids will be used. Mixing coolant types can cause sludge buildup in the heater core. And I don't like mixing Toyota WS with Valvoline, etc.

Getting the fluid level right on the tranny can be tricky. There is an on-board thermocouple that is read out, and the tranny fluid must be at 114' (IIRC) when the overlow is capped. Guessing here isn't what you want to have happen.... If you get it done by an independent, make sure they REALLY know how it's done.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-08-2017, 11:16 PM
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Re: Dealership claims only they can do transmission flush

That's an outright LIE!!! Any shop should be able to perform a transmission fluid exchange. There isn't anything special to it and going anywhere but a dealership will save you money. Check out NTB's website (not recommending NTB just showing you an example): https://www.ntb.com/services/transmi...fluid-exchange. You can tell it your van specifics and it'll give you a price. Mine is $130, plus you can usually get coupons to save another $10-20.

I'd seriously consider reporting whoever you spoke with to the dealership management--telling them you're not coming back because of these lies. Chances are they'll give you a decent coupon which you can then use now or in the future.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-09-2017, 08:09 AM
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Re: Dealership claims only they can do transmission flush

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmscho02 View Post
That's an outright LIE!!! Any shop should be able to perform a transmission fluid exchange. There isn't anything special to it.
Really? Thank you for adding a bit of levity to my morning!

As I said above, it does require more knowledge and equipment, as there is no dipstick. I also don't like some of the 'supposedly' compatible fluids and would prefer (personally) to stay with WS. It's not impossible for you to even do this yourself if you have a scan tool that can tap into the transmission internal temperature readout, but this isn't a place for guessing. So go into it with eyes wide open if you choose to go aftermarket.

A few other tidbits. Toyota has issued a TSB recommending against the use of flush/exchange machines due to cross-contamination concerns. But even some of their own dealerships push back on this. They need to keep WS and T-IV separate, and I really don't know how they can guarantee this.

Now about that website! I though it was rather comical that after putting in all the particulars it asked if my Limited Premium had a manual transmission!! And then it asked me to call for pricing for the CVT service!! I don't think they put too much research, thought or care into it. RED FLAG.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-10-2017, 01:57 PM
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Re: Dealership claims only they can do transmission flush

Don't take it to just any auto-repair shop but look up the ones in your area that deal exclusively with trannies. They should be able to do a full flush and also warranty their work.

$172 at the D(S)tealer isn't that bad. I have been quoted more for just the brake flush
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-12-2017, 09:34 AM
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Re: Dealership claims only they can do transmission flush

you get what you pay for.

save a few bucks now and a lot of times you pay more later.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-12-2017, 03:05 PM
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Re: Dealership claims only they can do transmission flush

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedStage View Post
you get what you pay for.

save a few bucks now and a lot of times you pay more later.
That's not necessarily true particularly when dealing with service prices at dealerships. Their hourly rate is usually way over the top. Toyota dealerships in my area run at $110-140/hr. Second they go by the book units even if the service time taken is less. e.g. if a brake rotor replacement is listed at 4 units/wheel (1unit=15mins), you are going to be charged for 2 hours plus sundry charges (disposal, shop supplies etc). In actuality, the mechanic may finish both wheels in 45 minutes. Lastly they make a killing with OEM parts.

A decent mechanic shop will usually cost you less and if you have a relationship with the shop, they can offer further discounts or compensate you another way. Personally, I always consider the dealer as the last option if it is not a warranty related issue.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 12:18 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Dealership claims only they can do transmission flush

Thanks to all for your input! I decided that $172 wasn't a bad price, after all, and I am getting it done at the dealership on Monday.

Take care,
Videot
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