For those that are unfamiliar, ToyotaCare is Toyota’s “free” maintenance plan that comes with the purchase or lease of a new Toyota. It covers all factory scheduled maintenance for 2 years or 25k miles. Sounds good, right? Free oil changes for a couple of years, a few tire rotations, etc. Except for when the dealership doesn’t do the work.

I’ve bought 3 new Toyotas that were covered under the ToyotaCare program. I’d go to the dealer, drop off my vehicle, wait, then pick it up, all fresh and maintained. Maybe that happened most of the time, but not the most recent time. When my 2019 4Runner was due for its 5k mile service, which is merely a tire rotation and a check of fluid levels, I scheduled the appointment at a nearby dealership I’ve taken my other Toyotas. I showed up at the appointed time, left my car in the service bay, and did what I normally do, wander the dealer lot and take a look at what they have.


I happened to be right near the service entrance when they pulled my 4Runner out, looped around into the parking lot, and parked it. I watched the tech/advisor lock it an walk away. I kept sneaking a peek at my truck as I walked around. 15 minutes passed, then 30, then finally exactly at the one hour mark, I watch the tech walk back out, get in the truck, and pull it into service entrance. One minute later I get a text that my truck is ready. I was skeptical when I saw my truck get pulled into a customer waiting parking lot area. Then really skeptical when it never left the area for an hour, then blown away when I got the text that it was ready. I was 100% positive my truck never left the spot it the tech parked it. I was not a happy camper.

When I went into the service area to pick it up, I mentioned my truck never left the parking lot, and asked at what point were the tires rotated. Their response was that they had multiple blue 4Runners in that day for service and I must’ve seen a different one parked in the lot. At that point, I wish it would’ve crossed my mind to take pictures and have them time stamped. I did take one picture, and it was parked all buy it’s lonesome, no other blue 4Runners to see other than what they had on the lot for sale. I’m not one to make a scene, so I just decided to leave and never go back to that dealer.

My story isn’t alone. I’ve heard from a few other local people that have had similar stories with their Tacomas. That got me wondering if my Tundra or Tacoma ever saw an oil change until I started doing them after ToyotaCare expired. Because of that, despite still being in the “free maintenance” period of the 4Runner, I went to Walmart, bought some oil, and did it myself this morning. At least now I’ll have piece of mind that it was actually done.

PS, I’m not a huge fan of cartridge filters. Oil changes on the Taco were easier and didn’t required the removal of the skid plates to access the filter. Boo!


PSS, don’t forget to use the Mobil 1 rebate if you use Mobil 1! Walmart has dropped their price to $22 for a 5qt jug, so with the $12 rebate, that ends up being $2/qt.