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A Toyota dealership wants to charge me $130 to change my transmission fluid. A local service shop wants to charge less than $ 50. This repair shop has a excellent reputation. It is so frustrating to understand this discrepancy. Since my car is not under warranty is there an overriding reason that I should use a Toyota dealer?

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Amanda J. Pierce, MBA Jeanne, It really is a preference to you on where you take your vehicle for service, the $130 from the dealership is a flush machine that is hooked to the trans cooler line and force fed fresh transmission fluid. The $50 from the local shop may be a fluid drain and filter replacement.

Amy Mattinat, Owner and Author at Auto Craftsmen Ltd Hi Jeanne Imwindering if they are quoting you 2 different types of transmission services. The dealerships price indicates a transmission service. Booking the vehicle up to a special machine that not only flushes out all the transmission fluid but cleans the transmission too. The $50 price indicates to me this May only be a drop and fill service. They drain out as much of the fluid that will come out of the drain on its own and then put in new fluid. I personally don't like the drain and fill as it's like dumping out 3/4 of sour milk from a gallon jug and filling with freah milk. Once finished it's still sour milk. I recommend you ask more questions if each quote to make sure they are offering the same service.

Gail Dunn, Owner at Women's Automotive Connection Jeana Dealerships charge more because of their larger overhead costs. If you trust the repair shop that has quoted $50, let them do the work. Most independent shops with a good reputation have earned it. No reason to spend the additional money.

Gelina Aquilina, Service Advisor / Mechanic at No reason to go to the dealership, but make sure this other shop is using the correct fluid.

Maryann Croce, Owner at Croce’s Transmission Specialists Hi Jeanne, About your 2006 Rav4: Kudos on doing the maintenance on your vehicle. A complete transmission service is an hour labor, plus parts. Some transmissions have a filter and pan gasket, besides the fluid and some are sealed units requiring just fluid for a service. Quality of parts and fluid is important. Make sure when comparing prices you are comparing the same services, then you can do the math.

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