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Servicing Your Toyota Vehicle: Saturday Writing Essential

July 28, 2014

This Week’s Challenge:

Let’s see if you’ll make a good technical writer. Write a set of step-by-step instructions on how to do something. What? Anything you want, but I’d ask that you include at least five steps.

Challenge guidelines: how to participate in the challenge 

  1. Post a response to your own website or blog. If you do not have one, you can set up a WordPress blog for free here
  2. Tell me that you responded.You can do this in a number of ways:
  3. Include a link to your response in a comment below. See the comment link at the bottom of this article.
  4. Include a link in an email to
  5. If you use WordPress, tag your response with WESat (Writing Essential, Saturday)

Find more detailed instructions here-> How to participate in the challenge

= = = =

Because summer has me a little heat-addled, and because I’m frustrated with my car and want a new one, I decided to answer this prompt with an overflowing tablespoon of sarcasm (and maybe a little cynicism).

July 2009. I got in the car, closed the door, turned the ignition key and fired up my brand new Toyota Corolla. I rolled the window down and drove off the lot and in perfect Springstonian fashion as I let the wind blow back my hair. This was living. I had a brand new car. A Toyota. The most reliable of the reliable. Safe and steady. The cream of constant. Just change the oil every few months and fill it up with gas and I can drive to the moon and back without ever needing service.

So maybe I sipped a little too much from the Toyota Kool-Aid pitcher? Regardless of that I was happy with my new car.

July 2014. I got in the car, closed the door, turned the ignition key and fired up my not-so-new Toyota Corolla. I rolled the window down and drove out of my driveway heading back to another service appointment at the dealership.

What a difference five years can make.

Service through my local Toyota dealership is child’s play. Simply follow these basic steps. I don’t know anything about cars beyond where the gas goes. I can’t tell you the difference between a head gasket and head cheese, but trust me, if I can do this, so can you.

Step One: Receive letter from Toyota announcing latest vehicle recall.

Step Two: Call the dealership to make an appointment for service to fix recall issue.

Step Three: Remain on hold waiting for service department to answer.

Step Four: Continue to remain on hold waiting for service department to answer but taking comfort from hearing – for the 500th time – that your business is important.

Step Five: Try not to say what’s really on your mind when the service ‘advisor’ takes your call and tells you in a voice so sweet it would make a honeybee vomit that he appreciates your business.

Step Six: Make your service appointment.

Step Seven: Drive to your service appointment on the scheduled day.

Step Eight: Arrive 10 minutes early to your service appointment because you still believe in the concept of worker efficiency.

Step Nine: After waiting 10 minutes past your service appointment to be helped, and while silently mourning the loss of worker efficiency, raise your eyebrows questioningly and silently repeat your calming mantras when the service ‘advisor’ tells you that he doesn’t show you in the computer as having an appointment but, he assures you, he’s sure he can squeeze you in if you don’t mind waiting.

Step Ten: Smile and nod your head as you agree to the service ‘advisor’s’ kind offer while wondering what it would look like to have that person drawn and quartered between the Toyota Tundras you saw as you drove past the showroom floor 20 minutes ago.

Step Eleven: Arriving home in your once-again reliable Toyota Corolla from your two hour and fifteen minute service appointment, stop at your mailbox to pick up your mail.

Step Twelve: Receive letter from Toyota announcing latest vehicle recall.

“I love what you do for me, Toyota!”

10 Comments leave one →
  1. July 28, 2014 9:49 am

    Uh-oh, that was more than five steps. Guess I won’t be cheating by looking at yours and I know even less about cars, than you do. 🙂


    • Michael B. Fishman permalink*
      July 29, 2014 7:08 am

      It was lucky that I stopped at 12 because I could have gone on longer!

      Liked by 1 person

      • August 7, 2014 6:39 pm

        Please do go on – you’re making me feel so much better.

        We had, ‘bought” in 1999, two identical Hyundai Elantra’s. Right down to the features and color, though one did have stripes (it came with “em) and the other didn’t.

        ONE – got recalls and the other didn’t. ALL the time. They’d only touch the one that got recalls – remember – same car here x2. We never did figure it out, but we no longer get recalls, though we moved a few times and sold one (which? Who knows), but we still have the other one.

        Besides, during one of the moves, the place we’d originally bought them from, went out of business – another no surprise there. 🙂

        Love the writing!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Michael B. Fishman permalink*
          August 12, 2014 5:01 am

          Thanks katinhat! And I could go on, too! I just had my car in for an oil change last Friday. Yesterday I got a follow-up call from the dealership asking me if I’d be willing to answer a few short questions. Sure, I’m happy to. Question 1: on a scale of 1 – 10, how likely am I to recommend this dealership to a friend of family member? I tell him maybe a four or a five. He asks me why I’d rate them so low and I suppose I should have told him what I really thought but I told him it’s because I’m less than happy with dealership. “Thanks,” he said and hung up. I guess he lost interest in my answers to his other questions.

          It seems odd to get a recall on one vehicle but not the other one and it almost makes me wonder if the dealer wasn’t creating the recalls just to get you in the building but I don’t know how they’d profit from that? Unless they can charge back the time and materials to Hyundai?


  2. July 28, 2014 12:57 pm

    Bravo! I don’t believe you missed one step. I like your writing style.


    • Michael B. Fishman permalink*
      July 29, 2014 7:09 am

      Hi Pam and thank you!


  3. maadmaax permalink
    August 2, 2014 11:59 am

    That is priceless and is there anyone who hasn’t gone through something similar? Thanks so much for sharing this with us.



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