2013 Lexus GS 350: 15,000-Mile Service Complete
May 10, 2013
I'm late in bringing you this update, but on the last day of April, our long-term 2013 Lexus GS 350 and I strolled into Santa Monica Lexus unannounced.
"I'd like to get a 15,000-mile service for the car," I told the porter.
After a five-minute wait, a service advisor came to help me. I'd already consulted the GS 350's separate maintenance booklet, so I knew the action items for this maintenance visit, or at least I thought I did. I pointed to the booklet and told the advisor I wanted all these services performed.
Full disclosure: Last week was a tough week, and my head wasn't fully in the game at this moment. So, I hadn't read the relevant page of the booklet carefully enough to realize that a full synthetic oil change wasn't actually on the list (Lexus only calls for an oil change at 10,000 miles, 20,000 miles and so on).
I also hadn't fully appreciated the fact that one of the service items has you paying parts (and potentially labor) for the service technician to replace the battery in whatever keyless remote you bring with you to the dealership. It's ridiculous, really, and if I'd realized, I would have at least brought both remotes with me to the dealership.
So when the advisor showed me the initial estimate of $195, I was surprised, but only because I'd half expected this service to be performed free of charge (turns out only the very first service at 5,000 miles was free). I recovered with, "Uh? I forgot to check your Web site for coupons."
"We have a 10-percent-off coupon," said the advisor. "I'll apply it when I take the paperwork to the cashier." He had me initial his copy of the repair order to confirm I'd been offered the coupon.
A couple of other points I should mention: The advisor was polite. Appropriately, he didn't get flustered when I firmly declined an alignment ("that the car should have had at 10,000 miles"), which would have cost us an additional $189. And before we'd even started talking about the maintenance items, he offered me a dealer courtesy car to drive for the day. As far as I can tell, Santa Monica Lexus is one of the few dealerships on the west side of Los Angeles that bothers to offer this convenience to regular maintenance customers.
But I figured I'd just get a ride back to the dealer with a coworker, so I asked if I could just hop on the dealer shuttle to go back to the office (about 2.5 miles away). An RX 350 shuttle was waiting for me as soon as I wrapped up my exchange with the service advisor, and the driver whisked me off to my destination right away (we didn't have to wait for other customers to pile in as you often do at non-premium brand dealerships).
The service advisor had verbally promised the car at 3:30 or 4:00 p.m. I got antsy and gave him a call around 3:50 p.m., and he advised me that he was just walking the paperwork to the cashier at that moment and to come by any time before 6:00. We showed up a bit after 4:00, and the staff had us out of there quickly and our Lexus GS 350 was washed.
Total bill: $178.84
Expensive? You bet. Had I been sharper that day, I at least would have tried to save us the $6.99 they charged to replace the key battery. And if I'd actually bothered to negotiate, maybe I could have shaved another 50 bucks off the total. I know, it's lame that I paid this much, but we all have our bad days.
If you scrutinize the paperwork, you'll notice the dealer performed a recall/service bulletin free of charge: The tech replaced the internal trunk release (the federally mandated, glow-in-the-dark plastic thingy on the inside of the trunk lid). I wasn't able to pull up the bulletin on NHTSA's Web site, however.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 15,527 miles