courtesy toyota is a fraud

A couple of weeks ago we were told (and I told you) that we needed a new transmission for our ’96 Toyota Camry. That was because after dropping our car off one morning at our local Courtesy Toyota dealership (located at 225 N Semoran Blvd. Winter Park, FL), it was their opinion that we needed a new transmission.

Our options were to get a used one for about $1600 or a new one for $3200 from them. When we asked them what tests they ran to determine this and they told us they took it for a test drive it was their intuition.

We decided to talk to a few people and found out there is an electrical test that can be performed on a transmission to see if it’s gone bad. Courtesy Toyota does not do this test. Instead, it’s either their intuition or they begin taking apart the transmission for a minimum of $400 until they determine if the transmission is bad or not.

We wanted a second opinion so we went to our local AAMCO, located at 6304 E. Colonial Dr, Orlando, Florida. We talked to Jeff, the manager there. Jeff told us he’d run the electrical test and do a test drive and let us know what they thought. He also said that usually the dealer is accurate.

Within a few hours Jeff from AAMCO called us with good news: the air intake tube was ripped and needed to be replaced for about $100. We stopped by and he showed us. This tube is on top of the engine and the rip was obvious. Did Courtesy Toyota even look?!?!

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only problem causing our hesitation in acceleration and automatic gear shifting problems in the car. So they did a basic tune-up. The tune-up was actually the secondary reason we took the car to the dealership in the first place!

After a tune-up, they found that the timing mechanism (belts, pulleys, etc) were messed up also. They needed a specialty part they had to order and was able to get all the timing issues cleared up.

All of this took about a week. It was a pain, but we managed. Total bill was around $900. That gave us a needed tune-up, fixed the entire timing system, and replaced the air intake tube; all three of these services were needed on the car no matter the condition of the transmission.

Oh, and the transmission was fine. After the fixes AAMCO performed, the car is now running strong, accelerating and shifting gears properly. It’s back to being a solid car for us again.

What really ticks me off is that Courtesy Toyota just guessed and didn’t even look around. They didn’t test. And they were dead wrong. In fact, if they replaced the transmission, we’d still need to replace the ripped air intake, get a tune-up, and still get the timing system cleared up!

Moral of the Story: when dealing with your car, get a second opinion. And don’t trust Courtsey Toyota on Semoran Blvd in Winter Park, Florida.

UPDATE: On their website it says:

In Florida, Courtesy dealers are committed to your complete satisfaction. Over the years we’ve built our gratifying success on trust, customer approval and, quite simply, the best auto service anywhere. Just tell us what you want to do and we’ll help make it possible.

So far I can’t find a way to email them to tell them. Only a phone call. Bummer.

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  • just think of all the $ you saved 😀

  • rob

    that is true indeed!

  • Aren’t blogs good for achieving a sense of justice? 🙂

  • rob

    yeah, kinda sorta. actually, i’m really interested if toyota will even find out about this. i wanted to email them about it but can’t find a way to do that on thier site.

    it’s a shame, really.

  • J A Greer

    Does Orlando have a AAA Auto Center? Best quality auto repair center I have found. Try it out.

  • We might have to mail them this as a letter.

  • Oh, and they’re now on our “banned” list!

  • rob

    Yeah, a printed letter. Sigh.

  • I’m glad this turned out well. I’ve taken a car once in my life to a dealer – never again.
    I’ve never trusted Aamco either, because I don’t like chains, but your experience may have changed my mind.
    I’ll think about it for my transmission.

  • Thats some scary stuff.

    Second opinions on cars are tough to get. They take so long and logistically its tough to delay a car repair for it.

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