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September 18, 2012


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You must not drive much - 40k in almost two years is not a ton of miles.

You saved more than money, you saved despair by being in a powerless situation against someone telling you, "I don't know what you're talking about." That is truly satisfying.

Troy - to a road warrior perhaps not much. But most people drive far less than this. Insurance companies typically default to 12,000 miles per year, and leases are usually based on about that many miles as well. I drive more than just about anyone I know and I put about 18k miles on my car per year (in Los Angeles, where everyone drives everywhere).

I record everything about my car too. I'm not sure it's saved me much money yet (other than being able to look up when the most recent specific service occurred), but it's fun to track. I know what the incremental cost of driving a mile is, both in direct gas/maintenance cost and indirect costs like insurance, depreciation, etc. I can tell immediately if my gas mileage fluctuates, indicating a potential problem. Plus I have lots of charts and graphs which make me happy as an engineer.

I had a wheel bearing issue on my Honda civic too! The 36,000 mile everything warranty had expired but the wheel bearing was covered on the 60,000 mile drivetrain warranty luckily. Glad you got the work done for free. I had to take the same risk with the diagnostic though. Mine would have been $99 yikes!

"I keep this information as a contact in Outlook so it's always on my computer and phone."

@FMF - Sorry to get out-topic a little bit, but I'm struggling to figure out how you track this in Outlook. Do you record appointments with this contact? Do you just type everything into the notes field? I've always recorded this stuff in a spreadsheet, which I'm guessing is what @Jonathon does. Both of the smartphones I've owned included some freebie MS Office functionality that allowed me to at least view docs and spreadsheets. These days I'm using Google Drive for documents like this so I always have access to all of my cloud stuff.

40k in 2 years is a lot of miles. We put on less than 20k in two years. Anyway, great job with the record. I'm not very good at that. I depend on the Mrs. to keep the records, but sometime miscommunication gets in the way.

"I don't know what a wheel bearing assembly costs, but I probably could have gotten it cheaper elsewhere." is a good site to look up such stuff.
Repairpal says that a single rear wheel bearing on a 2011 Toyota Highlander would cost in the range of $314 to $930. So a $554 bill isn't bad for a dealer.

I had a wheel bearing go out on my civic at about 85,000 miles (not under warranty) and it cost me $200 to get fixed at the local brake and wheel shop where I get my brakes done.

My car was broken into about 6 months ago. The police officer advised me to keep a record of all purchases in a personal file. It really does help for any unknown event.

Man I must have missed that you only had 40k miles on the old set of tires. That really sucks. The lowest I have ever gotten out of a set was 55K. You lost out on 15K in tire life.

I say manufacutrers defects happen no matter who the car manufacuter is and road conditions do matter.

Jeff --

I created a contact in Outlook titled "Highlander Repairs" and record my details in the memo section of it.

Great story. I always keep a copy of anything I have done to my car because of this very reason. Fortunately, I have never had an instance where this has come into play, but I just don't trust car people enough to not have these records.

Great story.

I used to drive a VW that had all sorts of problems, from electrical to mechanical. Not only did I keep good records but also did a lot of research on the vwvortex forums- so when I had problems like check engine codes, I could research the likely problem and also found out some people got items repaired at VW's cost even after being out of warranty.

This involved calling the dealershio and VW customer care with a bit of soft selling, telling them I am a fan of the brand and am likely to be a repeat buyer if they would be so kind as to stand behind their quality and help me out. I got a new engine motherboard and several automatic window regulators replaced out of warranty and free of charge this way. Savings was about $3K, so it was worth the time spent researching this.


You may be driving too much with 40K in two years! We only had 20K in our previous car, considering that we also use it at work and family trips. At any rate, you did a great job on keeping a record or repairs and researching for the possible cause of the trouble. Congratulations!

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