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Old 08-27-2008, 07:35 PM
 
1,727 posts, read 4,037,097 times
Reputation: 2201

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hiya -

As a recently transplanted New Yorker I still cannot get used to the fact that there are no full service gas stations around -- the kind that the guy who filled up your tank also checked under the hood to assess your oil, windshield wiper fluid, radiator, and cleaned your windows, etc...

Anyway, I bought a used 2002 Toyota Highlander in April and thus didn't get a warranty or buy a maintenance package. Other than buying new tires at an NTB I haven't scoped out a place to do/check all the other stuff mentioned above.

So today...the 'check engine' icon comes on the dashboard.
In the manual it says when you see this to 'go to Toyota dealer.' Obviously I doubt that I truly have to go there...but I'm concerned enough to want to have it checked out _somewhere. But where? I sure don't want to go someplace that will try to squeeze every last cent out of me by scaring me to death about whatever the icon means. I'm assuming if it were just oil, the oil icon would have come on instead. (FWIW, I bought at 38.9K miles and now have 42K on it.)

Can someone suggest a good, honest car maintenance place? I'm on Highway 6 in Sugar Land and would like to stay somewhat local...i.e. south of say, Westheimer and not farther than Missouri City!

Thanks for any input!
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Old 08-28-2008, 07:16 AM
 
Location: Sugar Land, TX, USA
759 posts, read 3,034,291 times
Reputation: 232
Take to to any Autozone and have them diagnose it with their computer for FREE.


Quote:
Originally Posted by catfancier View Post
hiya -

As a recently transplanted New Yorker I still cannot get used to the fact that there are no full service gas stations around -- the kind that the guy who filled up your tank also checked under the hood to assess your oil, windshield wiper fluid, radiator, and cleaned your windows, etc...

Anyway, I bought a used 2002 Toyota Highlander in April and thus didn't get a warranty or buy a maintenance package. Other than buying new tires at an NTB I haven't scoped out a place to do/check all the other stuff mentioned above.

So today...the 'check engine' icon comes on the dashboard.
In the manual it says when you see this to 'go to Toyota dealer.' Obviously I doubt that I truly have to go there...but I'm concerned enough to want to have it checked out _somewhere. But where? I sure don't want to go someplace that will try to squeeze every last cent out of me by scaring me to death about whatever the icon means. I'm assuming if it were just oil, the oil icon would have come on instead. (FWIW, I bought at 38.9K miles and now have 42K on it.)

Can someone suggest a good, honest car maintenance place? I'm on Highway 6 in Sugar Land and would like to stay somewhat local...i.e. south of say, Westheimer and not farther than Missouri City!

Thanks for any input!
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Old 08-28-2008, 07:38 AM
 
Location: Clear Lake, Houston TX
8,370 posts, read 28,998,865 times
Reputation: 4695
Quote:
Originally Posted by icon7 View Post
Take to to any Autozone and have them diagnose it with their computer for FREE.
Yes, do this. They should print out an informational slip for you too.

BTW, before you do this, check the gas cap!!! If it's not tight it will turn the check engine light on.
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Old 08-28-2008, 09:03 AM
 
5,694 posts, read 9,424,242 times
Reputation: 8256
Autozone might test it for you, but I am not sure about the honest part. I took my car there for a battery test yesterday. The car has trouble starting and I wanted to rule out battery problem, which I was 90% sure not the problem. The test guy looked under the hood and told me the engine is mounted the wrong way. It must have been a test to see how stupid a customer is, and I think I passed. He then tested the battery and 12v was the reading. He told me the battery is bad. Why? Because the machine said "Bad battery" I think his machine is setup to say "bad battery" no matter what.

Although I decline to buy a new battery from him, I still wanted to buy something from his store for the trouble. So I asked him for a really good set of wiper blades. He brought out some Duralast blades and told me they were the best. "What makes them the best," I asked. "They are made from rubber. Other wipers are not made from rubber," he replied. If this was another how-stupid-is-my-customer test, then I passed again.

It's hard for me to find honest mechanics, shops and even auto part stores.

Last edited by davidt1; 08-28-2008 at 09:21 AM..
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Old 08-28-2008, 09:04 AM
 
Location: Houston, TX
1,610 posts, read 4,632,277 times
Reputation: 1473
I am a recent "convert" to Christian Brothers Automotive and they have a Sugar Land location. I can't say enough nice things about them; they are honest, give you a totally itemized bill, call you before the do the work once they've done the analysis, have a shuttle, are priced right and anything else you want. Don't know if you are familiar with Dave Ramsey's radio show on getting out of debt (mid-day on 950 AM) - Christian Brothers advertises on that show and Dave is very careful about who he lets advertise on his show. So it was on the basis of that endorsement that I tried them and could not have been happier.

Here is the link to the Sugar Land location: Christian Brothers Automotive -- Select a Location (http://www.cbac.com/store_home.aspx?view=franchise - broken link)
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Old 08-28-2008, 09:16 AM
 
Location: Clear Lake, Houston TX
8,370 posts, read 28,998,865 times
Reputation: 4695
Dave Ramsey, the anti-car-lease advocate, also has (local) ads for Pro-Lease on his show. I emailed him about it and never got a response.

BTW, good thing you didn't buy those wipers. Duralast blades are garbage. The funky looking Michelin Pylons found at Wal-Mart are the best. $35ish a pair, but completely worth it.
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Old 08-28-2008, 08:18 PM
 
Location: South of Houston
419 posts, read 1,842,995 times
Reputation: 444
catfancier ... I recommend "Sam Tate's Colony One Auto Center". I think you'll find them a great service shop. They are fair and I've used them myself as several of my friends have and still do. They have a shuttle that will take you to/from work if needed. They are on Dulles Ave a few blocks North of Hwy 6. Give them a call.

Sam Tate's Colony One Auto Center (http://www.colonyoneauto.com/test.html - broken link)
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Old 08-29-2008, 11:31 AM
 
1,727 posts, read 4,037,097 times
Reputation: 2201
Default Done deal!



Thanks everyone for the replies and suggestions!

Redrover, I have just returned from the original Christian Brothers in Mission Bend -- two people I know recommended them as well so I gave them a shot.

I felt well-treated -- - -which is good, since the oxygen sensor + labor cost me a total of $326! ! Plus they pointed out my 'serpentine belt' is cracked and that will be $83 when I return to have it done; it would have taken too long to wait for it today. I did chat up a few people in the waiting room and they were satisfied repeat customers, which was also comforting to know. That particular location is no "garden spot" but I didn't feel unsafe.

I truly appreciate this forum and the helpfulness. This is the kind of thing (from car mechanic to hairdresser to computer guru) that can't be transplanted when you move -- you have to slowly rebuild your Rolodex! Thanks again everyone.
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Old 09-27-2008, 12:41 PM
 
1 posts, read 3,106 times
Reputation: 10
Unless the advertisements came from Dave Ramsey's studio, he has no control over them. Radio stations will sell ad time to anybody that wants to buy it. Here in Dallas/FW a local lease company will occasionally broadcast during network breaks during, before, or after his show. So I wouldn't fault him for that if I were you.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tstone View Post
Dave Ramsey, the anti-car-lease advocate, also has (local) ads for Pro-Lease on his show. I emailed him about it and never got a response.

BTW, good thing you didn't buy those wipers. Duralast blades are garbage. The funky looking Michelin [URL="http://www.pylonhq.com/"]Pylons[/URL] found at Wal-Mart are the best. $35ish a pair, but completely worth it.
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Old 09-27-2008, 09:34 PM
 
Location: Clear Lake, Houston TX
8,370 posts, read 28,998,865 times
Reputation: 4695
Quote:
Originally Posted by ad8bc View Post
So I wouldn't fault him for that if I were you.

Or else what?
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