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Recommendation for good car service in Canberra

By 6 February 2014 28

My Toyota car is due for 80,000 km car service. I’ve been going to Toyota for car services previously. For this major service, Toyoto gave me a quote for $750. It is going to be a huge bill for me. I am wondering if anyone knows any good cheaper auto service in Canberra who are good with Toyata cars. Thanks a lot!

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28 Responses to Recommendation for good car service in Canberra
#1
Mordd2:04 pm, 06 Feb 14

Personally, I cannot recommend anyone more highly than Jaws Automotive in Phillip – they are a family friendly mechanic who will actual give you real honest advice, and doesn’t charge through the nose to tell you something can’t be fixed. They have saved me hundreds of dollars on servicing my old car the past year and a bit and you will not find anyone more reliable, trustworthy and competent on the southside. Call and ask for Jay – he is the boss man and the best to deal with.

4 Salamander Ct, Phillip ACT 2606 – (02) 6285 3455

#2
Paul00752:58 pm, 06 Feb 14

Ringer, I can recommend the guys at Metro Car Care in Mitchell.

They’re about as good as you will find in Canberra for price, and always busy, and come well recommended by a few work colleagues. I have had them do work on my Commodore, and they always do what is required, and don’t do work that isn’t required. They’ll also show you the fault, if visible, and will even return your old parts if you want.

5/19 Essington St, Mitchell ACT 2911
Phone: 6241 7029

#3
towerofsoup3:25 pm, 06 Feb 14

I have almost the exact situation Ringer! Except my Toyota has only done 65k, and Toyota belconnen is trying to make me do the 80k $750-1000 expensive service! Anyone got a recomendation for a good mechanic on the northside?

#4
Rollersk8r4:23 pm, 06 Feb 14

Well I’ve tried a couple of other places in Belconnen but have ended up going back to Toyota. You might pay a bit more but their customer service is well ahead of most places – and I once had an $1100 job done for free because it was a known defect. Plus I’ve always been able to pop straight in to get minor stuff looked at.

Having said that, the cost of some genuine Toyota bits is absolutely outrageous. My remote has died and they want close to $300 for a new one. The stereo doesn’t work very well either – and they told me not to even bother investigating a fix, just go to car stereo place and replace the whole thing…

#5
JC6:08 pm, 06 Feb 14

Rollersk8r said :

Well I’ve tried a couple of other places in Belconnen but have ended up going back to Toyota. You might pay a bit more but their customer service is well ahead of most places – and I once had an $1100 job done for free because it was a known defect. Plus I’ve always been able to pop straight in to get minor stuff looked at.

Is it Aprils fools day? By the post above it looks like. Customer service yeah right only place I know of where you book a car in for something specific to be done and rather than ringing to see if you wish to go ahead and have it repaired they tell you when you pick it up then ask if you want to book it in to get it done. So yeah great customer service.

Services, I have a Camry that by their own book has a 15,000km or 9 month service interval but every 6 months they send me an SMS advising it is time for a service and then claiming the world will end and the car will be zapped up by the good ship enterprise if I don’t get them do it. I emailed them about it to be told the system doesn’t know my model has a 15k service interval. After the 3rd time it happend I called Lisa Grey and had a discussion about the wording, suggesting it was a tad over the top and borderline against the trade practices act. They stopped after this of course. The only reason I kept going back was the car was covered by a fixed price service plan, at $130 a pop so quite reasonable.

As for getting a ‘free’ repair because it was a known defect, well ummm one can but hope that was the case. It is called a warranty job (and Toyota themselves pay). I had them fix a known dash rattle on my car, took 3 attempts and lasted 1 month before it started again. For my efforts I can see where they used screw drivers to pry the window frame trim pieces off.

The remote are a pain and expensive for sure, but you know it is that die, just that the battery goes flat. Toyota of course in their wisdom made them sealed units. You can get replacements from the key cutting shops much cheaper and instructions for coding them to your car are freely on the net.

I thought Canberra Toyota is a rather expensive injector clean. A bottle of injector cleaner is much much better.

PS I am now done with them, my car has had its last fixed price service and its last visit to Canberra Toyota.

#6
echoztrip7:07 pm, 06 Feb 14

For the Tuggeranong side of town, I’ve been quite happy with Kambah automotive and exhaust centre

#7
laraeddy8:09 pm, 06 Feb 14

Over the last five years or so, I’ve taken my two Subarus up to Nat & team at CWC (Ainslie Village)(http://canberramechanic.com.au/), and both thrived ! (Well, the first one thrived until I buried it into the back of someone else’s car, but that wasn’t Nat’s fault ! ). And they have free courtesy cars.

#8
Richard Bender8:34 pm, 06 Feb 14

NRMA in Tuggeranong did the major service on my Aurion for $500. That was two years ago, so it might be a bit more now.

Rollersk8r – was your known defect perchance a VVTi oil line? $1100 is highway robbery, but if it was the oil line, at least you got Toyota to acknowledge it was their fault.

#9
dungfungus10:44 pm, 06 Feb 14

JC said :

Rollersk8r said :

Well I’ve tried a couple of other places in Belconnen but have ended up going back to Toyota. You might pay a bit more but their customer service is well ahead of most places – and I once had an $1100 job done for free because it was a known defect. Plus I’ve always been able to pop straight in to get minor stuff looked at.

Is it Aprils fools day? By the post above it looks like. Customer service yeah right only place I know of where you book a car in for something specific to be done and rather than ringing to see if you wish to go ahead and have it repaired they tell you when you pick it up then ask if you want to book it in to get it done. So yeah great customer service.

Services, I have a Camry that by their own book has a 15,000km or 9 month service interval but every 6 months they send me an SMS advising it is time for a service and then claiming the world will end and the car will be zapped up by the good ship enterprise if I don’t get them do it. I emailed them about it to be told the system doesn’t know my model has a 15k service interval. After the 3rd time it happend I called Lisa Grey and had a discussion about the wording, suggesting it was a tad over the top and borderline against the trade practices act. They stopped after this of course. The only reason I kept going back was the car was covered by a fixed price service plan, at $130 a pop so quite reasonable.

As for getting a ‘free’ repair because it was a known defect, well ummm one can but hope that was the case. It is called a warranty job (and Toyota themselves pay). I had them fix a known dash rattle on my car, took 3 attempts and lasted 1 month before it started again. For my efforts I can see where they used screw drivers to pry the window frame trim pieces off.

The remote are a pain and expensive for sure, but you know it is that die, just that the battery goes flat. Toyota of course in their wisdom made them sealed units. You can get replacements from the key cutting shops much cheaper and instructions for coding them to your car are freely on the net.

I thought Canberra Toyota is a rather expensive injector clean. A bottle of injector cleaner is much much better.

PS I am now done with them, my car has had its last fixed price service and its last visit to Canberra Toyota.

I had it with that mob too.
I am still waiting for the “free” movie tickets from a service deal 4 months ago. I don’t know if it is a scam but they repaired a puncture while it was there without referral. They claim the car had a flat tyre when it arrived which it didn’t – it was inspected by the reception guy in the driveway. Also quoted for $1200 of repairs and charged a bomb for a service that was really an oil change.
I later had the same repairs done for $400 by LubeMobile at my home less than 24 hours after I phoned them.
Don’t know why I haven’t used LubeMobile before but I will be from now on.

#10
c_c™11:01 pm, 06 Feb 14

Richard Bender said :

NRMA in Tuggeranong did the major service on my Aurion for $500. That was two years ago, so it might be a bit more now.

Rollersk8r – was your known defect perchance a VVTi oil line? $1100 is highway robbery, but if it was the oil line, at least you got Toyota to acknowledge it was their fault.

ha, yeah they were doing repairs on that as standard, but trying to keep it quiet. It was technically a recall, but they decided to let it be repairs at service intervals instead. It’s itemised on invoices as ‘VVTI Upgrade” because they replaced the plastic part with something more robust.

#11
Ringer9:01 am, 07 Feb 14

Thanks everyone for your recommendations. I enquired Jaws automotive and the quote is a lot cheaper than Toyota. That really helped me with my tight budget. Thank you!

#12
Postalgeek9:26 am, 07 Feb 14

Whether the vehicle is under warranty or not, something anyone can do is go to an auto shop and buy oil, oil filter, fuel filter, and air filter suitable for their vehicle. Check your service book and it’ll let you know what you need. Leave them on the front seat and let the auto service know they are there for the service. Maybe just give them a ring first to much sure they’re okay with you supplying consumables.

The mark-up on consumables can significantly add to a bill.

#13
dtc9:38 am, 07 Feb 14

towerofsoup said :

I have almost the exact situation Ringer! Except my Toyota has only done 65k, and Toyota belconnen is trying to make me do the 80k $750-1000 expensive service! Anyone got a recomendation for a good mechanic on the northside?

Dynotune in Mitchell are good.

If you just want a standard service (ie oil change, filters etc) then most places will be fine, Kmart in Braddon or Ultratune in Belco etc etc.

#14
EvanJames9:39 am, 07 Feb 14

Useful info here. I’m running out of places to try in Braddon, so the mention of CWC at Ainslie Village was a good reminder. Jaws at Phillip also gets added to the list.

#15
Rollersk8r10:08 am, 07 Feb 14

JC said :

Rollersk8r said :

Well I’ve tried a couple of other places in Belconnen but have ended up going back to Toyota. You might pay a bit more but their customer service is well ahead of most places – and I once had an $1100 job done for free because it was a known defect. Plus I’ve always been able to pop straight in to get minor stuff looked at.

Is it Aprils fools day?

Well I have nothing to gain by defending them. However, I know what a warranty is and the car was out of warranty when I had the $1100 steering issue fixed.

Plus 15,000km is the standard service interval for most Toyotas – but of course the logbook and Toyota themselves recommend you go in every 7500. It’s not that big a deal.

#16
Mordd10:29 am, 07 Feb 14

dtc said :

towerofsoup said :

I have almost the exact situation Ringer! Except my Toyota has only done 65k, and Toyota belconnen is trying to make me do the 80k $750-1000 expensive service! Anyone got a recomendation for a good mechanic on the northside?

Dynotune in Mitchell are good.

If you just want a standard service (ie oil change, filters etc) then most places will be fine, Kmart in Braddon or Ultratune in Belco etc etc.

Never ever go to Kmart tyre and auto – see my post above – they are the worst possible option for a good mechanic ever.

#17
dtc11:33 am, 07 Feb 14

Mordd said :

Never ever go to Kmart tyre and auto – see my post above – they are the worst possible option for a good mechanic ever.

Why?

Your post doesnt say anything other than you have found someone else is good. Who is no where near where I live or work.

#18
Mordd1:02 pm, 07 Feb 14

dtc said :

Mordd said :

Never ever go to Kmart tyre and auto – see my post above – they are the worst possible option for a good mechanic ever.

Why?

Your post doesnt say anything other than you have found someone else is good. Who is no where near where I live or work.

yeh, I wrote a really long post that for someone even though submitted twice kept dissapearing from the pending post queue, I emailed admin about it and he is going to manually post it for me, it will make sense once you read it, it was originally posted before that comment I made about see post above because it *should* have posted before that comment but yeh….

#19
Mordd2:29 pm, 07 Feb 14

Ringer said :

Thanks everyone for your recommendations. I enquired Jaws automotive and the quote is a lot cheaper than Toyota. That really helped me with my tight budget. Thank you!

Hey that’s great, I am sure you will be really happy with their service. Any issues just always speak to Jay – he is the best one to deal with there (his other mechanics are great mechanics but he has the best customer service being the boss – hey not every mechanic can be great with customers too lol – it’s a skill to learn). Do let us know what you think afterwards, I am very confident you will be very satisfied with them though.

Just to add to what i said before, this is my sad car story:

My mum gave me her old Ford Festive Trio which had always been serviced by Kmart tyre and auto in wanniassa and always passed services no issues. In order to change the rego, I had to spend 1 grand on replacing the muffler/exhaust due to leaks in it, replacing all four tires with new, and replacing the windscreen to repair a crack on the drivers side. I thought this was a reasonable investment at the time.

Fast forward a few months and car starts conking out all the time. Due to a faulty oil light and my inferior engine knowledge at the time, I thought it was completely out of oil and ended up over filling it with oil, which resulted in all the gaskets and seals bursting and oil pouring out all over the place. I took it to kmart tyre and auto in wanniassa where it had always been serviced, $300 later they replaced all seals and gaskets, oil filter, air filter, and the oil and tested it and told me all was fine. They couldn’t do the rego check though (i got pinged by roads inspector with oil leaking all over engine and got yellow slipped – truly bad luck) so I took it kmart tyre and auto in phillip who charged me $120 for the rego (they claimed there was still oil on the underside of the car and that had to be cleaned as well to pass rego meh) and I drove it away thinking all was fine, only to have it start conking out on me again about 5KM out from woden.

Drove it home and rang kmart tyre and auto in phillip again, who told me they couldn’t get it back in for a week but recommended Jaws in phillip, which is how I first heard of them. Went in there after calling them and being told to bring in right in straight away (no waiting! this was the first of good experiences with jaws) and told Jay @ Jaws my sorry story. He told me he would get to the bottom of it, and true to his word, called me 24hrs later to tell me I had what i’ve heard termed “major blowback / major blowby” or in laymans terms, a major blockage in the engine that keeps forcing oil up and out where it shoudn’t go causing the pressure in the engine to go too high and making it conk it.

Now at this point Jay could have charged me good money to tell me my car engine was f****d and I needed a new engine, instead he turned around and said: I can’t fix it, and you’ve already sunk a lot of wasted money into the car, so I won’t charge you anything. That blew me away, could this be an honest mechanic I thought? So a few days later I went hunting for a new 2nd hand car from the dealerships around the place, and found what is now my current car at sale in a dealership in phillip. Took it into Jay and he gave me 25% off the full inspection check on the car then gave me a very honest report on the condition inc. taking time to explain some things in laymans terms for me so I understood properly being not a big car person to start with which I really appreciated.

I ended up buying that car and have been very happy with it since. Paid Jaws for a full service on it as it was needing one, and compared to the other quotes I got at the time Jaws was among the better prices and faster service than the others even though I was going to go with them anyway. On top of that, I have had had 2 minor situations, one where I closed the boot too hard and it got stuck shut, and he fixed it for me for free even though it took them almost ten minutes to do it, the other being a flat tyre I took in to have repaired, it couldn’t be repaired so he gave me 10% off a replacement he had in stock which happened to be identical to my other tires which was nice.

Since getting my new car I have educated myself a bit better on engine stuff through some net reading and long chats with friends who are more experienced, and I have come to see how rare it is to find a good mechanic like Jaws, and my mates who are car-heads agree with me. I hope you have such a pleasant experience with them as I did, the one thing I learnt as Jay told me is that Kmart Tyre and Auto will just take your money and not tell you your car is actually f****d whereas Jay told me that for free even though he’d just spent hours working out what was wrong with the car, that’s really good service in my book any day of the week.

#20
Roundhead894:52 pm, 07 Feb 14

dtc said :

Mordd said :

Never ever go to Kmart tyre and auto – see my post above – they are the worst possible option for a good mechanic ever.

Why?

Your post doesnt say anything other than you have found someone else is good. Who is no where near where I live or work.

I did go to Kmart for new tyres once and had a very bumpy ride. I connected the pressure gauge and found they had been blown up to 41 PSI (recommended pressure 29PSI). The name is a giveaway. Going to Kmart and expecting a good service for your car is like going to Maccas and expecting fine dining.

#21
JC7:30 pm, 07 Feb 14

Rollersk8r said :

Well I have nothing to gain by defending them. However, I know what a warranty is and the car was out of warranty when I had the $1100 steering issue fixed.

Plus 15,000km is the standard service interval for most Toyotas – but of course the logbook and Toyota themselves recommend you go in every 7500. It’s not that big a deal.

Fair enough, but two points, most Toyotas are actually 10,000 service intervals but they, the dealers suggest getting the oil changed every 5,000. The Camry and Aurion (since at least the mid 2010 facelif) and maybe now some of the newer model imports are 15,000.

Where it is a big deal as I mentioned is where the fools cannot even get their computer systems to recognise what their OWN maintenance schedules are and then send out reminder sms’s that are incorrectly timed and borderline threatening and against trade practices laws.

As for warranty clearly this will surprise you as you know what one is apparently, but if the manufacturer finds a fault that can be traced to a manufacturing or design issue, regardless of their advertised warranty they are actually obliged to fix it at their cost no matter how old or how many KM’s the car has been driven.

The advertised warranty covers abnormal/premature wear to parts where the wear or fault is not an inherent design or manufacturing issue.

So if your fault was a known issue, then clearly it was a design or manufacturing problem so even if
your car was “out of warranty” then they are still obliged to repair it for free. They then simply bill Toyota Australia. So don’t think that in itself is a sign of good service.

The same applies to more or less everything you buy actually.

#22
Masquara11:17 pm, 07 Feb 14

Postalgeek said :

Whether the vehicle is under warranty or not, something anyone can do is go to an auto shop and buy oil, oil filter, fuel filter, and air filter suitable for their vehicle. Check your service book and it’ll let you know what you need. Leave them on the front seat and let the auto service know they are there for the service.

Maybe just give them a ring first to much sure they’re okay with you supplying consumables.

The mark-up on consumables can significantly add to a bill.

You are under NO obligation to go the dealer for servicing. You can go anywhere you want and they are not allowed to void your warranty.

#23
EvanJames12:16 am, 08 Feb 14

Add me to the list of people who’ll tell you never to go to Kmart for a car service. I used the mob in Manuka twice, the second time I knew I was making a mistake. Their upselling is pathetic, the service on both occasions was poor, second time the car came out with a squeak that it has to this day. They’re the one Braddon outfit I won’t be trying.

#24
Ben_Dover9:57 am, 08 Feb 14

Call me Mr Contrary, but I have used the Kmart garage in Hawker for servicing my cars for many years, and am more than happy with the service.

#25
Deref12:51 pm, 08 Feb 14

I’ve been using Repco City Car Care in Braddon for years. They’re excellent.

#26
JC5:24 pm, 08 Feb 14

Ben_Dover said :

Call me Mr Contrary, but I have used the Kmart garage in Hawker for servicing my cars for many years, and am more than happy with the service.

Herin lies the danger of labelling all franchises with the same brush. Just because one doesn’t measure up doesn’t mean they all will as Ben Dover points out from his own experience.

Especially as many of the Shell servos the garage portion are separate small business people who just happen to rent space in what Shell in their wisdom have called Kmart Tyre and Auto, due to their co-branding exercise with Coles.

Will be interesting to see if the co-branding exits after shell offloads their retail assets.

#27
EvanJames10:57 pm, 08 Feb 14

Deref said :

I’ve been using Repco City Car Care in Braddon for years. They’re excellent.

Hmmm. I’m trying to be enthusiastic too but casting around for other options, again. What is it about them that you’re really happy about?

#28
Deref8:46 am, 10 Feb 14

EvanJames said :

Deref said :

I’ve been using Repco City Car Care in Braddon for years. They’re excellent.

Hmmm. I’m trying to be enthusiastic too but casting around for other options, again. What is it about them that you’re really happy about?

The quality of the service, basically. They’re conscientious, always helpful and do a good job. I’ve got confidence in them. :-)

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