Auto Repair Experts
Since our inception in 1997, TLC has been dedicated to serving San Diego's Toyota and Lexus owners with a quality option to the dealerships. Here are a few of the commonly asked questions that our customer ask.
Why limit ourselves to one manufacturer?
It's our belief that with the complexities of newer cars it's not possible to be an "expert" on every vehicle on the road today. Staying current with all the imports, or more narrowly just Asian or European vehicles is exceedingly difficult as each manufacturer has their own diagnostic equipment and tools. Generic diagnostic equipment will only get basic information from a vehicle, to gain total access a factory scan tool is required and most manufacturers also require a subscription to their web-based information site. Purchasing every manufacturer's scan tool plus subscriptions would be prohibitively expensive. Devoting ourselves to one manufacturer and their three brands (Toyota, Lexus and Scion) gives us the ability to acquire the necessary equipment and just as important, the necessary training, to service and repair your vehicle properly.
Why is it so important to use Toyota parts?
In a word, Quality! We've yet to find an aftermarket part that matches a Toyota part in quality. Very few independent garages use original Toyota or Original Equipment (O.E.) parts to the extent that we do. Car manufacturers, like Toyota make many of the parts necessary to build their cars themselves but they also rely on outside suppliers for most parts. For example, Toyota uses transmissions and various engine parts made by Aisin, Denso supplies most of the electrical components (starters, alternators, fuel systems, switches), KYB makes many of their suspension pieces. These companies make many of their parts available to us through their distributors at a somewhat lower cost than what we can buy them from Toyota for. This allows us to keep our costs down and pass the savings on to our customers.
What's an aftermarket part and why shouldn't I use them?
Aftermarket parts are made by someone other than the original equipment manufacturer. In our experience with Toyota vehicles, NO one makes an aftermarket part that matches O.E. quality. Most independent shops use aftermarket parts extensively as they cost considerably less and offer a better profit margin. As I'm writing this we currently have a Lexus IS300 in the shop for an engine replacement. The oil change facility that last worked on it used a cheap aftermarket oil filter and six months later the gasket that seals it to the engine block failed. Within seconds all the oil in the engine was pumped out past that failed gasket, the engine suffered extensive damage. The facility refused to help out the customer as they only warranty their work for three months. Not to say we haven't had to warranty a Toyota part from time to time but it's rare and they warranty their parts for one year, unlimited miles. We do occasionally use aftermarket parts with our customer's approval, radiators and catalytic converters for example, because of the large difference in price. Koyo radiators are very well built, offer a lifetime part warranty and cost considerably less than a Toyota unit. Aftermarket catalytic converters are not even close to Toyota in quality but the price difference can be so great that it makes a good option. In general though, we highly recommend using only Toyota or O.E. parts on your vehicle.