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Location: Hamilton Square, New Jersey, United States

Tax guy, host & producer of the Consumerism Commentary Podcast, former co-host of the Wall Street Journal E-Report

Thursday, February 01, 2007

So much for my warm & fuzzy

There's a reason I take my Toyota Highlander in to a Toyota dealership to get oil changes done. First of all, I like the feeling knowing that Toyota "experts" are working on my car. Second, have you seen the usual staff at your local Jiffy Lube? Do you really want THEM touching your car?

So I get my oil changed Tuesday over at Lawrence Toyota and after about a half hour, they call me over and tell me that my radiator's cracked. They bring me into the garage and show me that coolant had gotten all over the radiator and that it needed to be replaced. I asked how something like that could happen and they reply it's more than likely the weather. So I get the estimate for about $450 and call my wife who, fortunately, works at an auto body shop. Good news, they can get the radiator for about $180, plus labor.

So my wife takes the car in on Thursday and this is what they find out. When they put the new radiator in, they noticed that the hose attached to it was corroded, thus causing the leaking of the fluid. The old radiator? No sign of a crack. We said, the hell with it, they already put in the new radiator, so there was no sense taking it out again.

So basically, the "experts" at Lawrence Toyota told me I had a cracked radiator, when in reality it was simply a corroded hose. Of course, we didn't find this out until AFTER a new radiator was ordered and installed. Luckily, I had an "in" who was able to get this whole thing done cheap.

And my wife pointed out one more thing...if I *did* take this to Toyota to get the work done there, they more than likely wouldn't have said anything about the radiator and would have also charged me to replace the hose as well.

I plan to head over there on Monday and bitch royally about this. To me, this is a serious disappointment, especially considering what the dealer's supposed to represent in regards to repairing a car. They're usually the last hope to fix serious problems. Here, I couldn't even trust them with a SIMPLE problem.

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