Friday, September 4, 2009

Do it yourself car stuff.

As you know, we ended up buying a used 2005 Toyota Sienna approximately one week ago. This vehicle was in beautiful condition and had everything that we needed and more.

Unfortunately, when we purchased the vehicle it came without any door remote controls and didn't have a spare key. We inquired at the dealership and it would have been approximately $300 for a single remote control, taxes in. It would've been fairly pricey as well for an extra spare key (45 for the key).

The last time we purchased a vehicle keys did not have transponders and it cost less than three dollars for key. Nowadays, all keys seem to have transponders and therefore are much more expensive to duplicate - at least 10x more expensive (4 dollars vs 40).

So, what to do?

I looked on the Internet and found some original equipment manufacturer dealers on eBay and essentially went to their storefront. I found a local supplier in Canada and ordered a couple of remotes as well as a spare key from them. The remotes costed me $30-36 each depending on whether or not they were used or brand-new.

The key was less pricey than that offered at the dealership; however, I can't program this or cut it myself unfortunately. The dealer will charge me approximately 45 dollars to do so.

Prior to purchasing the remote controls, I located some programming instructions on the Internet by doing a Google search for my vehicle. Armed with instructions and the remotes, I sent in my vehicle and played along with the instructions. After approximately 60 seconds, and a strange song and dance with the doors and ignition switch, my vehicle was fully programmed to recognize the two remote controls.

I did the same thing for the cabin air filter that the vehicle has. The dealer was going to charge me approximately twice as much for the air filter with installation. Again, I looked this up on the Internet and the air filter was purchased through a Canadian original equipment manufacturing website at much less cost (around 40% less). The installation of the cabin air filter took approximately 30 seconds as it was easily accessed in the glove compartment. Our filter had not been changed probably since the car was manufactured, and so it was heavy, black, and full of leaf debris. I'm glad we're breathing much cleaner air now!

So, we saved several hundred dollars in parts and labor by just doing it ourselves. Of course, much more complicated issues such as accessing the engine block or doing major mechanical work really for the dealer. Otherwise, anything that is easily accessible by our own hands and is very simple to do, we end up doing.

Please share with us any of your car stories.

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