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Hi guys I have a older 2007 Camry with 180plus kilometres on it. Where do you guys go to service your camry? A Toyota dealer or a private mechanic and why? Thanks , adrian.
290250
 

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Yep, I go to my garage. Since you are asking I'm assuming that's not something your are interested in.

Personally I'd suggest a private shop, dealerships can be difficult to work with on older cars since they want to do everything by the book. Sometimes a cheap fix will last the life of the car and save you thousands. They will also be quick to blame issues on aftermarket parts and claim you need to replace everything with OEM before they can properly diagnose. It's not that they are bad or lazy, but in a lot of ways they have their hands tied.
Source: I used to be a tech at a dealership and I have been maintaining my own stuff for decades.
 

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DIY
Neither dealer or indie shops can be trusted.
 
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Agree. Do the easy stuff your self. You can do it. Start with learning how to do an "oil and filter". change.

Then. Observe. When changing the oil and filter. Look for anything that does not seem normal.

Wet spots on drive way, color of the wet spots, unusual noises, etc.....then think, can I fix myself, or

go to my mechanic. (not dealer). Toyota's are pretty reliable.
 

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DIY'er. 4 cylinders are relatively easy to service. The 6 cylinders are more difficult as there is less space to work around. That being said, there are some excellent threads here to help you do most maintenance jobs.
 

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I do the oil changes myself- as they are very easy and can be done for half the price of what a shop or dealer would charge.

For most other things I have a trusted mechanic that I use for my cars. When I was younger I did a bit more myself, but I'm in my mid 30s, have a family and a full-time job that takes up a lot of my time. I don't get a lot of time to spend with my family.

I've reached the point in my life where with certain things like car repairs- I have to ask myself what is the time/cost tradeoff? Yes, I could save $200 by doing my own brakes, but that's likely going to take a lot of my time. I'd rather spend that time with my family.

If you aren't going to do the work yourself - the important thing is to find a mechanic that you can trust BEFORE your car breaks down. At that point you're in a weak position and people can take advantage of you because if you are like most people, you NEED your car. Finding a mechanic before this happens allows you to do research, ask questions, and if need be, contact some of their current clients to ask for feedback. My mechanic also has a gas station attached to his shop- so I just started asking people who were walking out of the repair part of the station questions whenever I needed to refill my gas tank. Most people were really kind and gave the repair shop a lot of praise for being a family-owned business that had workers that worked there as a career- and not a stepping stone for something else or a minimum-wage teenager saving for an XBOX.

The first time my wife's car broke down, I felt more confident going into request a repair because I had already met the owner and had already discussed our plans for the car- which involved junking it as soon as a single breakdown cost more than $500 to repair. (Her car at the time was an old Dodge with more than 200,000 miles on it) He understood our financial situation at the time and was willing to get creative in his repairs. His shop is nice enough to warn you that something on the car looks like it's going to fail without charging you an arm and a leg in unnecessary repairs. "Hey, this part here is about to fail- you should replace it now or it will leave you stranded. This part over here looks like it's at the end of its life too- but you can wait on that because if it breaks the car will still drive and we'd just address it at your next visit. That's the type of mechanic I can trust.

Now that my wife and I are more financially secure and drive more reliable cars- the situation still hasn't changed. My mechanic's shop still takes the time to go over repairs that are "critical", "urgent", and "when you have time- start saving". The last time my wife's Camry was at the shop he told us that our front brake pads were nearing the end of their life and a rear suspension part was needing replacement soon. The guy looked at our service record and determined, based on how many miles my wife drove, how long before those issues could last in the "when you have time" category and when they would became "urgent". He told me that I should schedule something for the brakes within six months and the rear suspension part within a year.

As for the dealer- I don't have very high opinions of them- at least not in my area. They are too quick to suggest unnecessary services and you never really know who is repairing your car. Once your car leaves the little drop-off area- you don't ever see the mechanic or see the repairs. Is someone with twenty-five years of experience doing your oil change- or is it the high school kid who makes $10 per hour while blasting music through his earbuds doing it? Don't assume that your car is being fixed or serviced by someone who knows what they are doing just because you take it to a dealership. You drive a Camry. Any decent independent mechanic should be able to fix and repair it just as well- if not better- than a dealership. Toyota sold more than a million of the Gen 6 Camrys. Most decent mechanics could diagnose or repair them with their eyes closed.

The only time I have my cars serviced at the dealer is if it is for a warranty repair. That said, I've had too many situations where a dealer screwed up a warranty repair, recommended expensive, unnecessary repairs, or just plain lied to me.

If you want to work on your car yourself- great. If not, find a good, trustworthy mechanic BEFORE your car breaks down.
 

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He understood our financial situation at the time and was willing to get creative in his repairs. His shop is nice enough to warn you that something on the car looks like it's going to fail without charging you an arm and a leg in unnecessary repairs. "Hey, this part here is about to fail- you should replace it now or it will leave you stranded. This part over here looks like it's at the end of its life too- but you can wait on that because if it breaks the car will still drive and we'd just address it at your next visit. That's the type of mechanic I can trust.
That makes him a keeper. Confident enough in his ability to stick his neck out for you a little and save you money.
 
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