The warranty tells you that its your responsibility to maintain your Toyota according to the suggested maintenance schedule in your maintenance manual.What that means is you have the choice where, when and how your Toyota is serviced.
Your Toyota dealer is best suited to give your investment with Toyota the best care possible. The expense is always the issue since no one will willingly try to run down their vehicle. I have found that some dealers add many items to each service so that it takes a weeks pay or more to do routine maintenance. This is what I will be addressing and how to use the Toyota dealer service department to your advantage.
In 1997 Toyota suggests that you change the oil and filter each 5,000 (5K), prior to this 7,500 was suggested. We have modified the frequency of oil changes to 3.500 miles as a precaution and since we have almost no engine failures seems to be a good practice. As a note when a Toyota is towed in with an engine or transmission failure it is never one that has has been vehicle serviced at our dealership. The tires should be rotated every other oil change or 7.500 miles. The 15,000 mile service is a tire rotation, oil change and several small items serviced. The 30,000 mile service is the same as the 15,000 some models getting spark plugs and air filter. The 60,000 mile is the same but spark plugs are changed on all models. This rotation is repeated with anti freeze and transmission fluid changed at 2 year or 45,000 mile interval.
These maintenances do not need to be above $260.00 for even the most major services. If a dealer says that the 60K service is $400-$500 then be wary, since nothing of that magnitude is needed. The timing belt should be replaced at the 60K mile range, but it is your choice, front end alignment is not always needed at each mileage interval unless tire wear is noticed. The fuel filter is lifetime unless contaminated by some bad gasoline.
The dealer may say that they have tailored their service to that particular locale but beware of extra's that may do some good but are not needed on a set frequency.
Your best investment is to see the same dealer on a regular schedule and be wary of very expensive services. If asked, the dealer service personal, can tailor the service to your needs and budget if asked, most are glad to accommodate your needs.
These are some questions I've gotten that may have some interest to you as you service your Toyota.
Q: I just had my 96 Corolla in for the 30,000 mile service. The service department suggested that i have a fuel injection service performed. I declined do you think that was a good idea.
A: You were correct in declining the service. It probably not needed at this time although adding a professional strength cleaner to the tank is a good idea.
Q: Questions of Comments = It has been more than a year since I bought my car, but it has barely 7500 miles on it.
Do I send it for a 7500 maintenance or 1-year maintenance? thanks.
A: Just go in for an oil change and tire rotation. They will check the air pressure and fluid levels. If you don't need and air filter thats all that is involved with a 15,000 mile service.