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Car servicing

By jay 13 March 2010 27

Just got myself a new Toyota Camry Hybrid in Sydney and finding that I’m doing 1,072km on one tank of fuel – honest truth! Amazing.

Need to know if anyone has a strong recommendation about any of the (few) Toyota dealerships in Canberra for their service ability.

That is, I want service with a smile and the knowledge to do the job right.

Prefer a Toyota dealership whilst the car is under warranty, then happy to consider the quality generic mechanics in town.

Thanks for your advice.


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Holden Caulfield 11:04 am 17 Mar 10

…or manufacturers thinking we don’t have the market to bring in the full complement of their cars, possibly not helped by our sometimes spurious ADRs.

Anyway, using the Golf as an example, then, plenty of anecdotal evidence tells me you should reasonably expect a 2.0 TDI to get 150-200km more from its 55 litre tank in city traffic when compared to a 2.0 turbo petrol GTI (which is already a very efficient engine for its market segment and power). That’s quite a bit better than “marginal”.

JC 4:42 am 17 Mar 10

Holden, what I said is spot on. Around town a modern diesel car is only marginally better on fuel than a petrol equivalent. On the open road the diesel shits on petrol cards. That is not a criticism of diesel technology, just a simple fact. And of course there are car models like the mini which have adopted other methods of saving fuel, though of course stop start doesn’t apply to diesels. The same can and does apply to petrol cars too.

Don’t get me wrong I am all for diesels, when I lived in the UK a few years back I used to hire cars about once a fortnight and often got a diesel. I really liked the the VW Golf and Ford Focus in particular, but also got cars such as Skoda’s and even Kia’s that were good on the juice too. It really surprised me that we in Australia don’t have as much choice as Europe. But you know I reckon that is down to our insurance companies equating turbo cars to high performance cars and whacking a premium on them, when for a diesel it is almost an essential thing.

Holden Caulfield 9:33 pm 16 Mar 10

JC, time you went and did some research on the efficieny of diesel cars. The MINI Diesel, for example, like an increasing number of cars now, uses stop-start technology to reduce the burden on wasting fuel while idling in city traffic.

Okay, if you’re talking a huge arse SUV then maybe you have a point. But, then, any engine lugging around close to (or over) 2 tonnes in city traffic is going to be working hard.

Diesel engines and the gunk they emit from their exhausts aren’t perfect, by any means (few cars are), but they are a damn sight better than they were 10 years ago. To the point that they are genuinely viable options for fuel conscious buyers.

The Prius and its brethren are a good start, but Honda’s Clarity and its ilk are more likely to be the saviour of the car as we know it.

jay 8:29 pm 16 Mar 10

JC said :

Hybrids on the open road are not going to be all that efficient, but in suburbia tend to be the most efficient of the lot, not by much though. Hence why I personally wouldn’t be in a rush to get one.

I thought the same JC, but my trips (every week) to and from Lake Macquarie (north of Gosford, south of Newcastle) and Canberra (586km return) has so far shown I can do about 1.75 trips on the one tank of fuel. That is, fill up in Lake Macquarie, I can drive to Canberra, and back to Lake Macquarie on that on tank of fuel, needing to fill up again near Goulburn on the return trip.

The fuel economy read out gives me 5.1 litres per 100km on that trip. For the statisticians out there, I’m sure you’ll note a hole or two in those figures so allow me to state that they are indicative.

johnny_the_knife 4:14 pm 16 Mar 10

I’ve had nothing but negative experiances with Canberra’s car dealers when it comes to after sales ‘serviceing’. I reccomend you call CWC Auto Services in Ainslie. They advertise on here, I personally use and reccomend them to my friends. Also, they’ll give you a free car to use for the day.

JC 6:24 pm 15 Mar 10

Even the car manufacturers know hybrids are an interim solution. Fuel cell cars are the future, but are some way off being released as mass production vehicles.

Now with hybrids one thing to remember, they work best in stop start traffic. So it is a tad unfair to compare fuel efficiency figures in the traditional way, especially to diesel vehicles as Holden Caufield did. Diesels are great on the open road for sure, around town they tend to be just a bit better than a conventional petrol car. Hybrids on the open road are not going to be all that efficient, but in suburbia tend to be the most efficient of the lot, not by much though. Hence why I personally wouldn’t be in a rush to get one.

sloppery 4:32 pm 15 Mar 10

It’s a good thing that manufacturers are developing hybrid vehicles, but I must admit I wouldn’t buy one.

Thoroughly Smashed 2:49 pm 15 Mar 10

troll-sniffer said :

Price difference between hybrid and ornery camry auto according to an online discount new cars site is $6812.00. Allowing for a generous 400 extra kms per tankful, a quick calculation on my humble $3 calculator indicates that at $1.35 per litre for fuel you just break even on the cost of fuel at around 150,000kms. If the difference is closer to 300kms per tank, which I think is more realistic, you’re up over 200,000kms before you break even.

Based on your fuel cost assumption and the ADR82 combined cycle fuel consumption ratings for the base auto Camry and the Camry Hybrid, I get a break even point at ~135,000km.

For a proper economic analysis (we’ve assumed above that the value of a dollar never changes), take your pick as to which of inflation or fuel prices are going to increase more quickly over the next ten years. And what interest rates are going to do if you have to finance. And which of the two you think will depreciate more quickly…

troll-sniffer 12:28 pm 15 Mar 10

Price difference between hybrid and ornery camry auto according to an online discount new cars site is $6812.00. Allowing for a generous 400 extra kms per tankful, a quick calculation on my humble $3 calculator indicates that at $1.35 per litre for fuel you just break even on the cost of fuel at around 150,000kms. If the difference is closer to 300kms per tank, which I think is more realistic, you’re up over 200,000kms before you break even.

I’m not a toyota service agent so I don’t know how reliable the toyota hybrid system is, last I heard it’s not bad but can be rather expensive if you get a ‘not so good one’.

I’m not posting this as a judgement call on the merits of buying a hybrid, but prospective purchasers all starry-eyed about economy figures would do well to consider their usage and type of driving, and the length of time they intend to own the car, as well as potential maintenance further down the track, before settling on a hybrid choice.

harvyk1 12:02 pm 15 Mar 10

My suggestion is you avoid the dealerships and get it serviced by a privately run garage.
I personally use CWC autoservices in ainslie (I also believe they are an advertiser on this site).

It won’t affect your warranty and IMHO they do a much better job than any of the dealers in Canberra.

Give Nat a call on (02) 6247 3601.

jay 11:40 pm 14 Mar 10

Holden Caulfield said :

Haha, fair call, I was probably a little bit harsh.

But, to me, it seemed the OP was fishing for pats on the back for buying the Hybrid … I was simply highlighting the Camry’s economy is nothing unique, especially for a Hybrid with a 65 litre fuel tank.

Good grief – you ask for some advice for servicing centres (and thanks to those who have provided really helpful advice) and you get comments like this! No – I wasn’t fishing for “pats on the back” – in fact, I couldn’t care less what fuel economy others get, I just thought some might have been interested in the mileage given the recent release of the vehicle. It may be nothing special for petrol-heads, but for someone who rarely got much more than 700km out of a 70litre petrol tank, I’m over the moon to get more than 300 more kilometres.

Again – thanks for the constructive advice from most RiotACT folk on the servicing options.

ChrisinTurner 11:03 pm 14 Mar 10

I have had my Prius serviced at Toyota in Belconnen for years and have zero complaints.

Woody Mann-Caruso 8:47 pm 14 Mar 10

It still generates more smug per liter than any other car, though.

Holden Caulfield 2:54 pm 14 Mar 10

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

You must be a blast at parties, Holden. Somebody asks for a service recommendation and you call them a styleless lemming who should buy one of four completely different cars instead.

Haha, fair call, I was probably a little bit harsh.

But, to me, it seemed the OP was fishing for pats on the back for buying the Hybrid, and while there’s some merit there, on green aspects alone, there are plenty of other more interesting options out there than a Camry. I didn’t actually say the OP should buy any of the cars I mentioned, either, for all I know the cars I mentioned may not be suitable. I was simply highlighting the Camry’s economy is nothing unique, especially for a Hybrid with a 65 litre fuel tank.

imhotep 2:10 pm 14 Mar 10

Holden Caulfield said :

If you want a good (car) buy a Lexus/Volkswagen Golf TDI, MINI diesel/Ford Fiesta ECOnetic/

What, and no mention of the VY Berlina??

In my experience with Toyota in Canberra (Prius/Pious since 2004, throw stones I don’t care) Belconnen is a little better than Phillip in the service department -at least in terms of friendliness, reliability and providing pick ups and drop-offs. As to the mechanics, who knows what goes on? It’s a bit of a lottery once they’ve got it.

And congratulations on the Camry. At last Australia builds a modern car!

Mr Waffle 11:23 am 14 Mar 10

If you’ve got a Camry Hybrid, it’ll probably need specific servicing. My advice is to call all the dealerships and see if any of their mechanics have done the training for it. Toyota trains up its mechanics to deal with everything they sell (eg the 2ZZ-GE engine in the old Celica/Corolla Sportivo needed a specific training course for its mechanics to service).

If you want a good service experience buy a Lexus.

Not that it’s really relevant, but quoting for truth. I can’t speak highly enough of Lexus Phillip.

Woody Mann-Caruso 10:41 am 14 Mar 10

You must be a blast at parties, Holden. Somebody asks for a service recommendation and you call them a styleless lemming who should buy one of four completely different cars instead.

Holden Caulfield 12:44 am 14 Mar 10

If you want a good service experience buy a Lexus. Otherwise you’re just another of the vast number of beige lemmings that Toyota caters to.

As for getting 1000kms+ to a tank, if that’s what floats your boat, you’ve been able to do that for years in a Volkswagen Golf TDI, with a tank capacity 10 litres less the Camry’s. More recently you can have style, and a genuinely good driving experience, in a MINI diesel and get similar mileage from just a 40l tank and CO2 emissions about two thirds of the Camry Hybrid. Then there’s the Ford Fiesta ECOnetic as well.

Indeed, the MINI Diesel managed to do 1000kms around Mt Panorama from its 40 litres in a controlled test prior to Christmas.

indigoid 11:54 pm 13 Mar 10

I’ve owned nine Toyotas (a Camry, a Celica GTFour and eight Corollas) thus far and have always used Canberra Toyota at either Phillip or Fyshwick. Both have consistently delivered excellent service in all respects. Highly recommended.

Glad you like the Camry.

Power Protect 11:14 pm 13 Mar 10

bd84 said :

The only Toyota dealer in Canberra is “Canberra Toyota” and the 4 are owned by the same people

That is true, but the staff can make a huge difference, in this case it would be the service manager for each site.

Given its a hybrid I would have a tendency to stick to the dealer network. If you are going to sell/trade the car in a few years time the money you save on servicing you may loose on your trade because you haven’t had dealer servicing. Not to mention the difficulty in finding someone who is competent and has all the gizmos required to service the car.

If you’re worried about dealers pulling the wool over your eyes it can pay to find a ‘your model of car’ forum and there will usually be enough info there to know whether you’re being fed a line.

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