CHOICE membership

Vehicle Service Schedules


Thanks for the info, much appreciated :+1:

split this topic #22

A post was split to a new topic: Australia’s weaker emission standards


Having been retrenched and suddenly using my Toyota Corrola much less, Toyota continued to undertake the service regime appropriate for a car being driven many more kilometres. With the car out of warranty and after a very expensive service, I shifted locally and was told Toyota should have been following the much less expensive servicing for lower kilometres which is indicated in the back of the servicing booklet. My mechanic maintains that the oil needs to be changed 6 monthly.


Toyota or the Registered Motor Dealer who had a Toyota dealership agreement?

The car makers or the importers are one step removed from the customer. It would be interesting to hear from Toyota Australia on the behaviour of the dealer/service agent.

This highlights one of the great challenges for consumers in changing the motor vehicle industry. There is a firewall between the importer (who may be an extension of the manufacturer) and the customer, created by a sales and marketing focused organisation, the motor dealers!

Any call for change needs to target both layers directly.
The dealers would seem unlikely to ever agree to anything different to what the manufacturers/importers accept. And perhaps the vehicle importers or manufacturers have no desire to involve themselves in any way in the day to day operation of the motor dealers, to ensure the degree of separation remains?


Mark it was the Toyota dealership under Toyota’s name, but they were paranoid about getting positive reports from customers as anything less than near perfect feedback wasn’t seen as acceptable by Toyota they intimated. It’s a while back, but I stopped the feedback questionnaires as I didn’t want to deal with all the texts and emails. It was my impression they were under considerable pressure from Toyota to maintain Toyota’s reputation.


Those asset management /engineering off-campus maintenance postgrad programs were developed in MonashU days but continue from Federation Uni from Gippsland Campus. Students are engineers and senior technicians in the workforce all around Oz and overseas.


Harsher conditions do indeed cause more wear. We are all familiar with the instructions to “replace every xxxxx kms or yyyy months whichever occurs first”. It is incorrect to assume low mileage car does not need to comply with the time period. A good example would be timing belts. Even if a vehicle has had “local shops only” use, fumes and atmospheric conditions will compromise belts and failure can be catastrophic. Find a local mechanic with a good reputation and be guided by him.


A bad example would be platinum spark plugs. Whether 12 or 120 months old, at 22,000 km they do not need to be replaced just because their time is up. They might need replacing if the get damaged or degraded, but not time - unless an expert can correct me on that.

Most service schedules assume 15K or 20K km p.a. and schedule such replacements accordingly. I had to replace a perfectly good set just because and was not happy, but the choice was to void the remaining warranty or not.

Some bits degrade with time or environment such as belt and hoses and rubber-ish type things, and others don’t. Some bits such as cam belts can be costly if they fail so prudence is warranted, others such as spark plugs don’t have the same gravity.

I subscribe to that good advice.


Ray, that’s good to know. I’ve since moved on to semi retirement. I twice had the opportunity in the 90’s to have the insights of TK providing business support.

There is a growing diversity of opinions evident in this discussion thread.
It is also a very challenging topic in the complexity of the competing interests.
From a Choice consumer perspective consumers are seeking solutions that provide better value.

Competing interests include businesses seeking profit, manufacturers and service agents desires for legal certainty or protection in warranty claims, and regulators driving firstly safety standards or secondly fuel/emissions requirements. The mix of vehicle designs, usage and condition (age/wear) add to the complexity.

Consumers being able to reliably choose a competent, experienced and and fair service provider might be one way forward. This is also likely a separate topic/discussion.

With one group of consumers seeking to be better informed on key maintenance needs. I wonder if it would be possible to provide a definitive answer on many aspects given the diversity of conditions and design?


Quite simple it’s a way to make more money on servicing and parts. Once the car is out of warranty you could revert back to the once every 12 months or every 15,000.


Hardly surprising given Toyota’s brand comes with a price premium, as does Subaru mentioned in the first post in this topic.

Hopefully the change to an independent mechanic continues to save you money. For our Toyota we have not used a dealer (aside from recalls) for nearly a decade. Prior to that we had to direct the Toyota dealership on several occasions to perform only a basic service. It takes a strong will to do so given the reactions from some of the service personnel.

I’ve also had a very negative experience with Ford and their dealerships when the Work Ute went for it’s first post warranty service, and received a long list of required repairs, that would have been evident at the previous in warranty service (at a different dealership). Given I was self employed and working remotely, pursuing Ford more directly over the issues was too much to take on at the time, although I did try to bypass the dealerships. It is an exercise in frustration and time wasting, and not aided by organisations such as the RACQ. Subsequently Choice remains one of the few organsiations I have any respect for. If we ever buy another new vehicle it will go for a full independent inspection separate to the service provider towards the end of the warranty period.

Note only:
I’m still able to do a basic service at home and have some complementary skills plus the spare time.
For any major services or repairs we continue to rely on local mechanical services. We also have located a reliable brake specialist and a tyre service centre. This work is typically subbed out by many of the dealerships, so that you pay twice when you go to a dealership service centre. A reliable local mechanical service will often recommend other dependable locals if you choose to arrange other work independently.


Perhaps not family friendly some of the time nor for overly sensitive folk, but John Cadogan of AutoExpert TV has many of the automotive answers most are asking.
Just a couple of his links relating to service intervals below:


I have people having heated arguments over services premium fuel, etc on YouTube and forums. So this is not a topic that I want to discuss typically :slight_smile:.

I’m not an expert, this is just the information that I have received.

I also drive a Subaru. You must services the car as soon as the recommended milage or the time (6 months) has passed, if you want to maintain the car in good condition, that’s what my friend ( who works at a Subaru service centre) told me.

You don’t have to take the car to a Subaru dealer for the service. That’s enough for to satisfy any warranty conditions.

I would not wait 12 months for a service, personally.


My now-elderly Suzuki Ignis gets serviced at the time its rego is due, so every 12 months which is what the manual recommended. I bought it late in 2002, and since then, it has only required a couple of high cost fixes. It has served me well, but would have been costing a lot more had I done the 6 monthly services as requested by various mechanics over the years.

It should be noted that I drive my car infrequently these days, probably <5000 km p/a and even now its only done just over 125,000 km. And its going great.


Entertaining @V8Snail, and informative for the everyday driver in an everyday more modern vehicle.
A good find and great contribution to the discussion.


Yes, very interesting and answers @timetaxi question why, even though it may be rather colourful commentary.

What he says about drivers/owners not checking fluids/lights/tyres etc regularly is so true. My last job the fleet manager would send out regular emails to remind staff to check vehicles before and during company vehicle use as they were getting reports from the servicing mechanics that many of the fluids were low/empty. At the end of his reminder email he also said that an empty windscreen washer bottle could render a vehicle unroadworthy and the driver (not the company) would be responsible should a fine/defect notice be issued. I never new if it was true, but it did make one check the vehicle regularly.


Not as colourful as some of the comedy on the ABC TV after 8:30pm at night.
Certainly very pointed and at times highly critical.

His clear messages include ensuring all servicing in the warranty period is done to schedule. Post warranty the servicing options, key points to consider and risks that can arise, as presented by John, I found easy to follow.


Sometimes that which may perceived as a step forward in design may lead to unforeseen problems and indeed be a step , or two , backwards . Many petrol fueled vehicles available now use a GDI engine (Gasoline Direct Injection ) This has been adopted by auto mobile manufacturers replacing the more familiar MPI (Multipoint Fuel injection ) system .

Older drivers may remember the expression "valve grind or head and valve de-coaking " The adoption of fuel injection and better quality fuel and lubricants virtually made these procedures a thing of the past .

Most vehicles 20 -25 years ago required a service interval of 12,0000K or 12 months . Honda at on stage went to 15,000K and 18 months . Proved a disaster as some motorists never dipped their oil and seized their motors .

Around 2004-5 various manufacturers started looking at if the common rail diesel injection system could be adapted for petrol motors .The diesel common rail injector system divided truck operators at the time . I remember the controversy and arguments between the pro and con factions regarding it . The jury is still out in some quarters . That’s another story .

Ok enough of the preamble . The GDI motor has one inherent fault . It injects the atomised fuel underneath the intake valves whereas the MPI motors injector is mounted above the intake valve .

In a nutshell then the MPI motor cleans your intake valves on every induction stroke . Petrol dissolves any oil or carbon deposits on the back of the valve . The GDI motor on the other hand injects the atomised petrol beneath the intake valve thereby negating any cleaning properties the petrol may have and leading to carbon and other build ups on the back of the valve .

This is where more regular servicing comes in . The car manufacturers found that changing the oil more frequently , every 6 months , helped retard but not eliminate the build up . They were relying on the cleaning properties of , especially , synthetic oil .

I have a car with a GDI Turbo Engine . It is a Suzuki Baleno GLX . The servicing schedule runs as follows . 6 month services capped at $175 for three services then the fourth service costs $475 .

When I had the fourth or $475 service done I asked two things . Why so dear ? Why did you have to have the car all day . The car had done 14,000 K’s . I was told they had to adjust the valves on the fourth service . At 14,000 K’s a valve adjustment . I know them very well at the dealership and started to laugh .

It was an intake valve clean . They probably needed the car all day as once the the valve cleaner , there are quite a few on the market ,CRC GDI is a popular one . the car has to wait a given period of time for the cleaner to work on the carbon deposits and other grunge . Unless you know what you are doing do not attempt to use any off the shelf cleaners yourself as you will void your warranty . Some mechanics will offer , at a price , to fit a bleed off can to the engine which virtually eliminates the build up on the valves and also keeps your Turbo charger clean if fitted . Be careful as the manufacturer will most likely void your warranty .

It is no surprise that the correlation of shorter service intervals goes hand in hand with the adoption of the GDI motor by various motor vehicle manufacturers . My dealer will still not openly admit that GDI motor is basically a flawed design but they also sell Toyotas at the dealership .

It is strange Toyota have developed and are fitting a new engine to some of their Lexus line up with a second injector added on each cylinder . You guessed it . Above the intake valves . They acknowledged the problem with GDI motors .Daimler- Benz have developed a similar engine .

Why was the GDI motor so widely accepted by the motor industry . Economics . It is cheaper to produce than the MPI equivalents

I’ll put a c ouple of links below to a Suzuki Dual Jet MPI motor and a Suzuki Booster jet GDI motor animation .Look carefully at the induction stroke and you will see that GDI intake valves are not cleaned by the fuel on on induction as the injector is below them…



It is certainly a long, techie and complex chain of events.

The observed build up of carbon on inlet valves in GDI engines is a good explanation of why vehicles fitted with that type of fuel injection system require regular expensive decoke or decarbon treatments as part of regular servicing.

It certainly makes a strong argument for not skipping or stretching between services!

It is debatable that Direct Injection is an inherent fault in GDI engine designs? The root cause and inherent defect could, alternately be considered as due to a 1960’s solution for pollution control of excess crank case gases, or leakage/bypass of combustion gases in each cylinder, also inherent in the engine design?

As a contrast Direct Injection has been the norm for Diesel engines for most of the history of the engine type. This includes older designs with Indirect Injection which utilise a precombustion chamber and also injects fuel against closed valves. Diesel engines operate reliably for extended periods of heavy duty use using direct injection.

There is no fuel cooling effect or cleaning action on the inlet valves in a GDI Petrol engine.
There is no fuel cooling effect or cleaning action on the inlet valves of a Diesel engine.

Does this explain why the service requirements for the same model differ by a factor of two between Australia and OS? Not likely as the propensity for carbon build up will be similar with similar use!

Does this explain why there may be differences in recommended maintenance intervals for vehicles that appear to be similar? If one is a high tech turbo GDI and the other naturally aspirated MPI fuel system, likely yes.


An aside about integrity of servicing, back in the 2000’s an RACV/VACC repair shop recommended and sold me on a chemical treatment. I later realised it was part of a GDI service regiment but almost assuredly unnecessary with the MPI engine in my vehicle, excepting to add $ to the service invoice. Did not go back to that shop afterwards. Who knows if it was a dodgy sale? It could have been offered with good intentions. But knowing what one does and does not need at a basic level can be helpful to the pocketbook.