2011: Toyota Sienna: A Bath, A Bag And A Bill
January 20, 2011
In our last episode, our 2011 Toyota Sienna was showing "MAINT REQD" and "Replace Engine Oil" warnings at 5,000 miles, even though the first change isn't apparently due until 10,000 miles.
I happened to be passing by a Toyota dealer in Corona, California with a couple of hours to spare, so I pointed the swagger wagon into the service drive to see what a random dealer said about the 5k service.
I told the service writer about the warning lights, including the engine oil message, and I expressed my confusion over the 10,000 mile oil change interval that seemed to be called out in the maintenance log.
My service advisor at Quality Toyota, a friendly guy named Paul, didn't hesitate with his answer, confirming my suspicion that an oil change wasn't needed and explaining that the 5k service was "basically a tire rotation."
"Do you have your coupons?" he asked. He was referring to the Toyota Care program that made this kind of visit a freebie.
"No," I said. "There are coupons involved?"
"Yeah, but that's OK. We can look you up in the system. Sometimes it takes a few weeks for them to come in the mail," he said as he logged into a website with our VIN.
We weren't listed there. He called the program office and spoke to a human. No luck there, either.
"The dealer you bought this from must not have filed the paperwork." That's why we weren't in the system and that's why I didn't have any coupons after 5,000 miles and 8 weeks of ownership.
He explained my two choices. I could have the 5k service done, but I would have to pay the $20 cost. Or I could wait, get the paperwork issue straightened out with my dealer in Santa Monica and then do the 5k service at some unknown later date when it would be free.
I had no idea how long it would take to get my dealer to sort out the paperwork. I was already there and stopped, I had the time (a rare commodity for me) and $20 didn't sound like a lot. So I told him to go ahead.
Thirty minutes later I had the van back, with a wash, a receipt for $20 and a decent little cheapie promotional tool kit for the car in a zipper bag.
As I started the van, the warning lights came back on as before. The guy who had brought it to me was still standing there, so he stepped in and handled it in a few seconds.
This morning we contacted Santa Monica Toyota about getting the paperwork sorted out, but the individual who is thought to be the one handling this sort of thing (no one on the line seemed to know for sure) will not be available until tomorrow. So we're waiting.
Still, it seems odd that buying a car and completeing the mountain of paperwork that goes along with the process isn't enough to immediately gain access to the Toyota Care free maintenance program. A seperate enrollment makes it seem like a short-term promotion of some sort, not a standard warranty feature.
And while $20 is tolerable -- just this once -- you can bet we won't be paying for that first 10,000-mile synthetic oil change. We're going to make sure our local dealer fixes this before we get there.
We'll let you know how it all turns out.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 5,171 miles