On Monday night, April 18, I took my 1997 Toyota Camry into Libertyville Toyota to get an oil change. Actually, I just had my Minivan fixed and properly maintained the week prior and I was anxious to get my Camry up to speed for the spring and summer season. My guess was the oil change would take about an hour at the latest. I certainly had the time on Monday night to spare an hour for car maintenance.
On Sunday evening, I was able to register for my oil change appointment, which was convenient. I arrived a few minutes prior to my appointment and thankfully, Libertyville Toyota said the oil change would take about 45 minutes. I proceeded to take a walk around the neighborhood – yes, it was another cold evening in Libertyville in April but I needed to get out in the elements and walk.
When I returned about an hour later, I ran into my service technician (we’ll call her Maria) who had some troubling news. Apparently, the threads associated with the oil pan plug fell out during the oil change. Needless to say, they were unable to change my oil or should I say to add oil (until I gave my approval to add the necessary threads back). I was stuck between a rock and a hard place so I said “OK,” as Maria promised to finish the car within 6o minutes.
My original thought revolved around simply getting an oil change for $19.95 without any additional issues or costs. I guess they had the last laugh or chuckle as my final bill was $100 more than that. They did offer me a loaner car that I didn’t want to hassle with, I’d sit through another hour or so waiting for my car. Hot coffee and the Chicago Tribune kept me company for that time.
I was happy they were able to complete the repair job in about one hour as they delivered on their promise. Add that to the hour oil change and it cost me about 2 hours time. I guess it was Ok as I’m frequently productive finding things to do in the meantime. Even though I was content the repair job took only one hour, I was not happy about the thread issue. Was this a fluke? Was this something which commonly affects older cars? Having never heard of this issue, it was not the way I had anticipated my evening ending.
As I said earlier, I spent about one hour in the waiting area, besides the wobbly table, the time did pass quickly. I’m a big fan of the coffee and tea and I can see many clients appreciate the free popcorn usually available. I did briefly use the men’s room at Libertyville Toyota and thought it was showing its wear. How does the condition of the restrooms affect the reputation of the service facility?
Don’t get me wrong, Maria was very professional and explained the situation well. I also appreciated that the repair took no more than an hour. She was also able to use my other coupon and give me a 10% discount on the repair. As she finished explaining the costs and service, she mentioned Libertyville Toyota was surveying clients that day and asked that I would be kind in my evaluation. I thought that was a little out of place as the friendly female cashiers handled my payment and gave me a coupon for a free car wash. I was relieved to have finished the most recent car maintenance on my ’97 Camry.
My check engine light was on and according to the technician; it was going to cost $80 to connect my car to a diagnostic machine and review. Apparently that was the only way to ascertain if there’s a serious issue with my engine. In the same conversation, the technician told me the check engine light appears for over 200 reasons – some serious and some not so serious. So if you’re super cautious about your vehicle, you potentially have to pay $80 to get that message interpreted every time that light appears? Is there a better way? Sounds suspicious to me…
AREAS WHERE THEY EXCEL…BEING CUSTOMER CENTRIC…Free coffee and Popcorn comes in handy when you have to wait 1-3 hours for your car.
The service technician did offer a loaner car because it was going to take a few hours but I declined. That was a nice touch.
The female cashiers were very friendly and conversational. We actually had a nice chit-chat conversation about the spring weather and spring cleaning. I appreciate their friendliness.
It’s nice Libertyville Toyota gives you a free car wash after your service.
I was able to make an appointment online this past Sunday even though the facility was closed − nice touch!
A USERFUL TOOL WOULD BE…The ability to scan or put all my service related materials in one spreadsheet. Tracking dates, service performed, service provider, cost, etc. This tracking tool would be helpful to have – especially if you own more than 2 vehicles.
If I’m reactive, I’ll rely on the mechanic although If I’m proactive, I can know when I need to get something on my car addressed. This would certainly apply more if your plan is to hold onto your car for at least 6 or more years…