How to Drive Your
Car [Toyota] 250k+ Miles

Keeping your car for many, many years and driving it for 250k+ miles, and more really isn’t as difficult as it may seem.

In this iDriveSoCal Podcast West Coast Toyota’s Service Director, Shannon Eckel, shares;
–The simple secrets to your car’s longevity.
–Why only factory trained techs should work on your car.
–How buying a new [West Coast] Toyota means only paying for gas for 2-years.

Click play below to listen and learn even more about maximizing the miles from any car!

 

Tom Smith talks w/ Shannon Eckel @ West Coast Toyota as part of iDriveSoCal 157 podcast banner

***Transcription***

Recorded @ West Coast Toyota in Long Beach, CA

Toyota Vehicle Maintenance

Shannon Eckel: Bringing it to the dealership on its recommended maintenance schedule is key. A lot of people think that new car dealers only see the new cars that are still yet under warranty.

We’re actually seeing vehicles well into the high two-hundred-thousand miles consistently here.

Make sure that your vehicle’s safe for your family, and we’re going to make sure, right along with you when you bring your vehicle in as part of our health check.

Shannon Eckel on how to keep your Toyota for 250k+

Shannon Eckel on how to keep your Toyota for 250k+

Tom Smith: Welcome to iDriveSoCal, the podcast all about mobility from the automotive capital of the United States, Southern California. Tom Smith here, and I’m excited to be at West Coast Toyota in Long Beach.

West Coast Toyota Long Beach is our newest partner of the iDriveSoCal program, and joining me is Mr. Shannon Eckel, who is the service director for West Coast Toyota Long Beach. Thank you so much for joining me and thank you and the whole team for joining our team.

Shannon Eckel: Absolutely. Happy to have you here and thank you for coming down today.

Tom Smith: Toyotas run forever. Everybody knows that Toyotas are everywhere in Southern California, and one of the biggest brands probably throughout the United States market by market.

“Bringing it to the dealership on its recommended maintenance schedule is key…”

The run forever thing is key for lots and lots of people, and one of the things that the podcast listeners love to know is, “How do I keep my Toyota on the road for hundreds of thousands of miles?”

Shannon Eckel: That’s a great question right there, and Toyota’s actually taken it and made it real simple for you. They’ve actually went ahead and put right into the owner’s manual, the maintenance guide, of exactly what your vehicle is going to need to achieve exactly that goal.

Drive Your Car for 250,000 and More!

If you’re sticking to that particular maintenance package then you’re definitely going to get that out of it, out of your car.

Bringing it to the dealership on its recommended maintenance schedule is key to that. We’re going to go ahead and give it a health check every time it comes in, a multi-point inspection, letting you know exactly what it is your vehicle is looking like, what you may be looking at in the future.

“…AdvantageCARE we call it for $119.95.  Three oil & filter cahnges and tire rotations.”

We do that again with a multi-point inspection, and we’re going to let you know if something needs to be done.

We’re going to let you know, “Hey, this is red. It needs to be done right away.” If it’s yellow in a caution zone, we’re going to let you know this is something that we should be thinking about.

Either “Yeah let’s get it done this time, or maybe the next service visit,” and also keying up a few things for you for the future, just letting you know what it is.

Tom Smith: And you mentioned red and yellow. Does that pertain to, kind of, coding that you guys talk about internally, or does that also pertain to the lights that pop on on the dashboard?

Jaime Garcia & Shannon Eckel | West Coast Toyota

Jaime Garcia & Shannon Eckel | West Coast Toyota

Shannon Eckel: I’m actually glad you asked that question. It actually pertains to both. We actually, in our multi-point inspection, we have a green, yellow, red process that we’re going to show you on all your multi-point inspections.

Tom Smith: Sure.

Shannon Eckel: Red obviously meaning something needs to be done currently, right now, today, it’s imperative. Yellow meaning it’s in the caution area, and then of course green, “Hey, this thing’s perfect. Happy to give this information to you.”

What Your Dashboard Lights Mean

When you talk about the lights on in the dash, red is definitely a stop, no go, no more, this is absolute. Yellow is definitely a caution.

Typically, your check engine lights are orange and yellow in color, and green, obviously, is letting you know that something’s actually on in the vehicle.

“Red obviously meaning something needs to be done currently, right now, today, it’s imperative.”

Tom Smith: The everything’s okay alert.

Shannon Eckel: Exactly.

Tom Smith: You mentioned following along with the vehicle’s manual. Now, the vehicles these days, will the car tell me when I need to address something?

Or is it a combination of the car telling me that I need to address something, as well as following along with the log in the owner’s manual?

How does it work these days for the majority of Toyotas that are being purchased new?

Shannon Eckel: It’s absolutely a combination, which actually gets us back to the requirement of getting it into the dealerships for their recommended intervals of service because we actually reset that light.

“Yellow meaning it’s in the caution area…”

So that you’re going to be hitting on the key componentries in exactly on the times that the odometer and time is looking at through the vehicle.

The vehicles are very, very intuitive and smart in the way they’re computer programming now.  And, they’re going to see that.

So that’s how we know for sure as a consumer sitting in the driver’s seat of a car, that, in fact, the car needs to be serviced.

“…of course green, ‘Hey, this thing’s perfect.'”

When that light comes on, it’s definitely telling you. Sometimes, if we see that folks are going to other aftermarket repair facilities, the oil change outlets, things of this nature, they’re not resetting those lights and so it’s really throwing it off.

Why Factory Trained Techs Matter

Getting back to the importance of having a factory-trained technician work on your vehicle, there’s just so many different things. And then, of course, that absolute health check that we’re running when you bring your vehicle in, just making sure that there are no updates to the vehicle through Toyota.

Because they’re sending that, very similar to your smartphone, Toyota sends those exact updates out to us; however, we pick them up when we log in to do that health check with a computer to your car.

“We’re going to… give you the most accurate and up-to-date software for your computers…”

We’re going to pick that up, give you the most accurate and up-to-date software for your computers and everything like that, including right up to your radios. As we know today, these radios, they’re a mini computer themselves.

Tom Smith: The cars are rolling computers.

And, you just brought up something that we were talking about off-mic and that was going somewhere other than the Toyota dealership, the West Coast Toyota in Long Beach for your Toyota service is… I’m going to say it.

I’m not even going to ask you to say it. It’s not a good idea. I think you probably have a more politically correct way of phrasing that, but I’m just going to say straight out.

Me personally, my car only goes back to… That manufacturer’s professionally trained, not only service technicians but the professionally trained service technicians to deal with my brand with the computers that are in my car.

And, the computers that they use to talk to my car to figure out what’s wrong with it, because, I’m sorry but the Jiffy Lubes of the world, and all the other various places that you can take your car to get serviced, they ain’t got that.

Only Your [West Coast] Toyota Dealer Should Touch Your Car

Shannon Eckel: Yes, they candidly don’t. No, you’re absolutely right. It’s the old analogy, “I’m in a pinch for time,” something of this nature.

You know, we’ve even made a commitment to our folks that we’re doing our absolute best to get to our goal of forty-five minutes for a lube, oil, filter, tire rotation down here, which is basically a minor service inside of your owner’s manual, that’s our goal.

“…our goal of forty-five minutes for a lube, oil, filter, tire rotation down here…”

That’s where we’re taking this dealership to, and we are right on that number right now, and we’re even trying to get to the point where we get a car wash in there in that same amount of time.

So, yeah, we’re always striving to be better so that we can take that thought process that someplace like a Jiffy Lube, or someplace like that, may, in fact, be faster. I can tell you for a fact they’re definitely not less inexpensive.

We actually have a program here for a hundred nineteen dollars, you’re going to get a lube, oil, filter, tire rotation, you’re actually going to get three of those for that a hundred and nineteen.

Tom Smith: Three?

“…AdvantageCARE we call it for $119.95.  Three oil & filter cahnges and tire rotations.”

Shannon Eckel: Three. Absolutely three.

I’d price match that against anybody. I guarantee it’s not going to happen. We’re doing everything we can to dispel that thought process in folks and get rid of that old stigma of car dealerships because we are absolutely much better.

Again, back to the factory-trained technicians. I can’t tell you how much value that has with guys looking at just strictly Toyotas, Scion vehicles, even right into the other brand, our luxury brand the Lexus.

We know those vehicles as well, and we’re actually doing everything we can to make sure people know that, and again, this is another nice process to do through iDriveSoCal.

Toyota Profesional & Enthusiast

Tom Smith: Thank you. Another venue to spread the gospel. So, speaking of Toyotas, another thing we were talking about off-mic, and I love this. You are a hardcore enthusiast of the brand yourself.

Shannon Eckel: Oh, I am. Absolutely.

Tom Smith: And, tell me about, again you mentioned it, you’ve had Toyota in your blood since, it sounds like, high school.

Shannon Eckel: Yeah, absolutely. My first vehicle was a Toyota truck. Don’t want to date myself but it was a 1988 Toyota truck, four-wheel drive. Loved it.

Drove that thing right up until it decided it couldn’t match up against a vehicle of a larger size. Let’s just say, right? It lost in the crunch race, I will tell you that, but hey, we all ended up okay. The bottom line, right there.

Tom Smith: Fast forward from high school through… you said that you started off detailing cars at a Toyota dealership and worked your way through service departments to actually running the service departments.

A lot of people don’t know that running a service department at a car dealership, I mean, you have how many employees?

Shannon Eckel: Underneath my direct supervision I have fifty-nine.

Tom Smith: Fifty-nine employees. That is a big operation. That’s a business unto itself-

Shannon Eckel: -Absolutely.

“My first vehicle was a 1988 Toyota truck, four-wheel drive.  Loved it!”

Tom Smith: And a tremendous amount of responsibility, yet it’s Saturday. You’re here, and you weren’t here to see me, we just met this morning like “Hey we’re going to do this, okay?” “Okay, cool!” So obviously, dedicated professional.

You’re here on Saturday, you’re working with your team and your customers, and you guys are extraordinarily busy out here; which is a great thing to see because this store is quite new to this particular location.

The Secret to Your Car’s Longevity 

West Coast Toyota of Long Beach is a brand new facility, absolutely beautiful, almost cathedral-like with the beautiful tall windows and whatnot.

But you guys are rocking and rolling here, got a busy crew, and I really appreciate your coming on the podcast without any heads up really.

Let me ask you this. What’s the average range of age of the vehicles that you guys are servicing here?

“…it’s amazing to see the longevity that we get out of this product.”

Shannon Eckel: That’s actually a great question.

A lot of people think that new car dealers only see the new cars that are still yet under warranty.

But, our average vehicle that runs through our service department has over seventy-five thousand miles on it.  And it’s over six years old. So, it’s amazing to see the longevity that we get out of this product.

We actually alluded to it a little bit earlier, what’s the best way to keep the car on the road, right?

Well there it is, that’s just the facts right there. While, in fact, we do see the new cars, obviously, Toyota care when you purchase a brand new vehicle, two years, twenty-four thousand miles worth of complimentary paid maintenance through the factory.

Yeah, we’re seeing those vehicles as well, but we’re also seeing people stick with the brand and continue to service at our car dealerships.

“…AdvantageCARE we call it for $119.95.  Three oil & filter cahnges and tire rotations.”

Obviously, one of those great tools that we talk about to keep your vehicle was the maintenance, that AdvantageCARE we actually call it for a $119.95 for the three oil, filter, and tire rotations.

Tom Smith: That’s a phenomenal deal.

Shannon Eckel: It’s incredible, it absolutely it. So, we’re actually seeing vehicles well into the high two-hundred-thousand consistently here at the dealerships, like I say.

Tom Smith: That’s not a surprise, right?

Shannon Eckel: No.

2-Year/24-Month Free Maintenance 

Tom Smith: And, on that note, I lease, and everybody that listens to the podcast knows that.

But, I love to lease my cars because I have something new, the latest, greatest, every two to three years, whatever the term of the lease is.  And, that includes the safety of the vehicle, the latest technology, and safety concerns, and I love that for my family.

I love not having to worry about maintenance items, but that brings me to a question. You mentioned two years, twenty-four months maintenance?

Shannon Eckel & Jaime Garcia | West Coast Toyota

Shannon Eckel & Jaime Garcia | West Coast Toyota

Shannon Eckel: Yeah. Complimentary, from the factory.

That is part of when you buy a new Toyota, that is exactly what you get as a purchaser. You’re going to get complimentary maintenance for two years, or twenty-four thousand miles, and that’s again, back to that owner’s manual-

Tom Smith: -Every model?

Shannon Eckel: Every model, absolutely.

Tom Smith: That’s a great deal. I didn’t know that.

Shannon Eckel: Yeah, yeah.

Tom Smith: Get you down and get you into Toyota.

Shannon Eckel: You know, I got my eyes to tell you the truth, as does my wife.

“You’re going to get complimentary maintenance for 2-years, or 24,000 miles…”

Tom Smith: I just lost my train of thought. Literally, I can tell you the models that we’ve been thinking about. We have a lease coming up in May. So that means I buy a car, I lease a car, buy it, whatever, the only thing I’m paying for, for two years or twenty-four thousand miles, is gas.

Shannon Eckel: That’s correct. Yeah.

Tom Smith: That’s awesome. I didn’t know that. Huh. Well, you really got my wheels turning now. You can see the wheels turning.

Shannon Eckel: There it is, there it is.

Your Car to Your Dealer = Your Mouth to Your Dentist

Tom Smith: I’m going to mention that to my wife. She’s like, “Oh yeah, we’re definitely getting the Highlander.” My wife likes the Highlander a lot.

I’m a little bit more of a 4Runner / Tacoma guy, but, you know, we got the family started and I got a fourteen month at home now, but anyway. Well, Shannon, hey, thank you again. Is there anything else that…

“It’s invaluable to bring your vehicle to a dealership just for that particular reason…”

Shannon Eckel: Well, I actually want to hit on something that you actually mentioned about you personally, and that is that you’re really into the fact of safety with your family.

That was one of the biggest concerns you just brought up about why you lease a vehicle. You also brought up technology, right?

Again, getting back to why it’s so important to be at a car dealership and having a, in our instance, Toyota actually services your vehicle at the recommended maintenance intervals because we’re actually looking at all of those things.

Making sure that all of those components with our Toyotas, our PCSS system which is our pre-collision safety sense.

“…make sure that your vehicle’s safe for your family, and we’re going to make sure, right along with you…”

All these things, any type of a miscalibration in that is not going to allow for that system to work and those are those health checks that I’m talking about that we look at when you bring your vehicle into us to make sure that you’re always running optimally.

It’s invaluable to bring your vehicle to a dealership just for that particular reason. You’re looking to get that investment and make sure that your vehicle’s safe for your family, and we’re going to make sure, right along with you when you bring your vehicle in as part of our health check.

Regular Check-ups = Longevity

Tom Smith: You know, that’s a good point. It really goes right inside the whole concept of iDriveSoCal because… it’s because I love cars.

And, it’s because I hate traffic. It’s because I love the idea of the future of what the car’s going to become/  As well as what it already is; because a car is way more than a car to me. It always has been.

“It’s only going to work properly if it is properly maintained and checked…”

I think a lot of other people on the planet as well. I’m not alone in that, but the increased technology in the increase of the safety component of it.

It’s only going to work properly if it is properly maintained and checked from time to time and going back to what we said before, only you guys have the computers to do that. Only you guys have the techs to do that!

Free [new] Toyota Maintenance Explained

Free [new] Toyota Maintenance Explained

Mr. Shannon Eckel, thank you again so much. Again, Shannon is the service director here at West Coast Toyota Long Beach, and West Coast Toyota Long Beach we’re so, so excited to have you guys on board as a new partner on iDriveSoCal, so thank you-

Shannon Eckel: -and thank you.

“…AdvantageCARE we call it for $119.95.  Three oil & filter cahnges and tire rotations.”

Tom Smith: And, we look forward to doing lots more of these and helping spread the word of Toyota, and West Coast Toyota Long Beach, and making sure that everyone keeps their vehicles in tiptop shape.

So, Shannon, thank you again. For iDriveSoCal, I am Tom Smith, thank you, as always, for tuning in.

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