Long-term update: Toyota FJ Cruiser cheap to maintain? We go for dealer service

Long-term update: Toyota FJ Cruiser cheap to maintain? We go for dealer service


One of the reasons people buy Toyotas in the UAE, aside from resale value, is that they’re supposedly cheap to maintain. We finally got to put that theory to the test when we went in for dealer service at 10,000 km.

We booked our appointment at the Al Badia service centre, because it is ultra-modern and is the most convenient location for us. Service centres for actual luxury brands feel like slums in comparison, the only issue being you have to wait for the shuttle bus to Dubai Festival City mall and then catch a taxi there.

Anyway, after the service was done by afternoon on the same day, we went to pick up the car. When we bought the car last year, we were promised by the salesman that we get one free service as compensation for long delays on delivery, and that it’ll be on record at the Al Badia service centre. Of course, there’s no paperwork to prove that, and calls back to the salesman led to a dead phone. The service advisor said he can’t do anything if no one from the showroom emails them about it.

We fully expected this “free service” to never materialise before we even went in. It’s the way of the land after all. So we didn’t drag on the issue and just paid the bill.

The luxury-grade service experience cost about Dhs 870 for an oil and filter change, a/c filter cleaning and propeller-shaft greasing. So is a Toyota cheap to maintain? Well, we could get all that done for half the cost elsewhere, which is exactly what we’ll do after the generous 5-year warranty is up. And we fully expect the FJ to be reliable even after the warranty is over.

So wait, Toyotas actually are cheap to maintain. Eventually.

Original Mileage When Bought: 5,500 km
Latest Mileage To Date: 10,500 km
Latest Average Fuel Economy: 14.5 litres/100 km
Cost of Latest Problems: Dhs 0
Cost of Latest Maintenance: Dhs 870

Total Non-Fuel Running Cost Since Bought: Dhs 870

Read all 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser long-term updates

What do you think?



  1. waste … and not practical vehicle … just for 18 years old to have fun when in University …

  2. And the service interval is 5000kms? A true exotic it sure is…lol

    Just to keep you in the loop, my 2009 G37 which also needs servicing every 5000kms, costs me less than AED 400 to service at Arabian Automobiles.

    Seriously, all of them Al-Futaim, Gargash, Naboodah, Arabian Automobiles bla bla, are STEALERships.

    Someday they will not have a monopoly for brands in this country….probably the same day it starts snowing in Dubai

    • Author

      I believe this is the “intermediate” service. I’m not sure what the cost for basic service is.

    • This is the normal cost for a basic 5k service.
      However, Mash, you have options.
      1. You can do one serice at the dealership and one outside. Major ones always at AFM.
      2. I was told that I can do synthetic oil change every 10k for 1300 dhs. However my car is 3yrs old and reached 50k kms. Not sure if this one applies to brand new cars straight away.

    • Mohamad,
      Infiniti also does synthetic oil change. You can do that every 10k. I do it for my G35.
      If you do it outside, synthetic oil change will cost you only 500dhs. For G37, synthetic is highly recommended.

    • Author

      Mitch, so the warranty stays intact if you skip the minor services at the dealer?

    • Yes, warranty stays valid. You can alternate services, one with agency, one outside. You can’t do 2 in a row outside agency.

  3. I serviced a new Yaris (10,000 km) in Futtaim in Abu Dhabi and paid 670 AED for oil replacement and oil filter!!!!! 380 AED were for workmanship!!!! Imagine if a bigger vehicle. Toyota is not my choice anymore.

    • Or maybe dealers isn’t a good choice?
      independent mechanic or DIY

    • my new corolla 2015 cost me dhs.600 for first 5000kms service. When I checked with service man why it cost this much when they r using Total quartz 20w-50 oil which cost dhs.60 he just simply said its from AFM. I also insisted him to replace with full synthetic 5w-30/40 grade oil but he refused saying Toyota recommendation, I showed him the Toyota manual stating 5w30 grade oil he said AFM don’t recommend then I came to know the profit margin using synthetic oil is less for stealership. so they compromise on quality for their profit.

  4. I bought my X5 three years ago and now 67K kms on the odo, spent zero on maintenance till date. Well, they charged me AED 27 for some break discs cleaning material once. Owned a ford edge for four years before this and paid zero for maintenance for first three years which included a free battery change. Owned a Nissan Xtrail before that, don’t even dare to think how much I paid for service and maintenance of that. Japs are cheap to maintain, good in resale, American n German the opposite, these are all myths..I think.

    • Author

      It just means the cost of maintenance was included in your initial purchase price. The real test comes once the free service package is over. The Toyota will definitely be much cheaper to maintain than any BMW. Had one of those too.

  5. The best place to do the oil and filter change in uae is at the adnoc lube. It is cheap and the best. They charge for oil and filter only. Oil costs on the type of oil (5000/10000). I use 10000 oil and changes it every 5000km. My car uses 8 liters of oil coz its a V8. It costs me around 370 AED for an oil and filter change. They also cleans the air filter and tops the fluids. I recommend ADNOC.

    • seems like you have been duped. V8 does not mean 8 litres. It is closely linked to cc of the engine like 5.0 V8 will need approx. 5 litres and 3.6 V6 will need approx 3.5 litres with filter change.

    • Nabeel so by that logic my 1.2 liter yaris will need only one bottle of masafi ? Lol but it takes 4 liters i have been duped.

  6. Guys, always use factory mentioned oil grade for your car, any brand oil of the same grade is OK. Do not use synthetic oil instead of normal 5k oil. The viscosity is different so it will affect your engine.

    On the other hand for automatic transmission use only the gear oil from the car manufacturer

    • Factory recommended oil 5w30 is not for hot weather, all hot weather countries in 40c 50c degrees weather use 10w40 20w50, cars engines keep cool and last longer, less viscosity gives quicker higher revs more power more heat, more heat damage engine, as safety precaution we use 20w50. Keeps things slow and cool.

  7. I stopped dealer maintenance as soon as my warranty was over. Saving a lot of money. Plus I think FJ is not a complicated vehicle car to work on.

    And I sure hope pple think I am 18yrs old.

  8. Dealer maintenance is total rip off everywhere, just get it done outside forget warranty i bought my car 60k waaranty, did 2 services at dealer and then all services at dynatrade saved a lot. never had any problems in the car. My Warranty went void at 10k service but any new car from reputed manufacturer will not give any problems. So i took the risk. My 2cents advice dont fall for unlimited 5year warranty game you will pay more in service fees in the long run. Im at 80k 2.5years in and no problems mashallah.

    • Author

      I wouldn’t recommend skipping the warranty. Everyone might not be as lucky as you!

    • Actually, I was advised by the Bahrain dealer to do a free check up before the warranty expired. And I was quite glad that they changed something in the shocks . In addition I found that my spare tire cover color was abnormally fading, so they changed that free too.

  9. FJ is the best in it’s class but it’s interior ………………

  10. Wait so you plan on keeping the FJ till past the 5 year warranty?!

  11. Toyota’s are good cars, but they are very expensive to buy and maintain it at the dealer. For instance, the prices of Land Cruisers are insane when you compare it to similar cars like Nissan Patrol which has better power, features, ride quality and most importantly the braking power. As for maintaining it with the dealer, a normal oil change and spark plug change costs around 800-1200 depending on the car. If you add up the cost of maintaining you car at the dealer, in five years time the total cost will be more than half of your car. Even if you think your car will have a higher resale value than the one maintained outside, all that you can get would be around AED 3000-5000 more than the market value of the car. Another thing to consider is that Toyotas are basic motoring machines with no complex electronics or modern technology that goes into the car. Any road side mechanic can fix Toyotas. Have you ever heard of any Toyotas breaking down, engine failures, transmission failures, electronics failure?( think about the taxis, desert safari cars, rent a cars, illegal taxi camrys from imported from the US) No..it doesn’t happen, unless you have no basic knowledge about cars and don’t do any regular servicing. The dealer is just using scare tactics to extract as much money out of you as possible.

    • with toyota you can probably get away from having the warranty / dealer service scare factor.

      With other cars will less than stellar reputation stick with the dealer…

      My guess if you have a Toyota vehicle particularly Japan made, service at the dealer for first 2 years… if nothing has gone wrong, then skip the dealer… The resale value the marginally hit, buyers only look at the condition of a Toyota vehicle, they usually have confidence in it;s durability.

      For the record I have never seen a regularly maintained Toyota ever go wrong, they are such forgiving cars to own and maintain.

      Another scam which dealers use is rust proofing.. unless you are into heavy off roading, sand and sea water, you don’t need it. The initial batch of Australian camry had that issue mainly bcos they were not galvanised during production, That matter is no longer an issue.

  12. Can I get a second opinion on Dynatrade? The first time I tried to be smart and service outside the dealer, they charged 1000+ for oil and filter for a Lexus IS.


    • Would strongly recommend Dynatrade. Have been using them for my IS300 since I bought the car (from Oman) in 2008. Service every 10k using synthetic oil costs around 800 with major servicing costing around 1200 aed. They always give me a 10% discount for major repairs done (which are rare since it is a Lexus). No complaints.

  13. I couldn’t agree more. It’s getting very expensive to maintain. Everytime I’m charged a minimum of 1000 for small repairs and never I was given special discounts despite 100 visits to the same service center over the past 8 years. I could’ve pain the price of a new small toyota have I made the service else were. I just feel stupid I couldn’t realize this early. Thanks for posting this.

  14. Will the service costs be higher for Lexus? If Toyota services are so high, then I’m guessing Lexus’ service costs should be even higher. I am planning to get a Lexus in around 6 months time and wanted to know your opinion on the service levels at AFM.

    The comments I see above are making me a bit nervous.

    • Lexus has a lot of parts in common with the Toyota, but the engine is usually of a higher capacity so it’s likely to need more engine oil. Apart from that, everything else is the same between the two so your maintenance costs would also be the same.

  15. Hi Guys,
    The above comments are mostly for Toyotas.. Whats your opinion about Nissan vehicles. I intend to buy a second hand Nissan Pathfinder SE(2005 model) or a Nissan Patrol Super Safari. I am into photography, and would also be travelling off-roads (on weekends/holidays). Otherwise it will be used mostly for city driving. Wht would be the maintenance cost for servicing the Nissan Pathfinder SE and/or the Nissan Patrol Safari?
    Your valuable comments… pls..

  16. Agency maintenance over here is just rip off. I’ve been going to Badia center regularly since I bought my Land Cruiser and even have a contract with them. For last three services their washing facility was not working and they didn’t had courtesy to give coupons to wash outside. Maps on navigation system expired and instead of uploading with the latest one, they just reset the previous one. Even after lodging complains they don’t improve. But what to do … we don’t have any option. If we do service outside, we loose the warranty ….

  17. Does AFM update the maps in navigation system? Or do they charge extra for it during service?

  18. Hi all, I bought an FJ 2014 which has a 72 liter tank. I’m tired of the frequent refills and I want to install an auxiliary tank. Can anyone help me find one? Cheers

  19. I have been to Toyota service Al Badia for my 90k service for my FJ -2011 model. This time they provided a discounted pricing but they says for 100000kms there is charge of AED 2600/- for general service.
    It seems like Toyota has increased the price for all the services,i had a GMC yukon which i do 10000km service at agency for AED 530/-

  20. isn’t just following the service maintanence [email protected] yea toyota recommends 5w30 and the engine is specifically designed for gcc countries as per the owners manual.

  21. Fully agree with writer, i have this problem & many others with them at every service. they don’t respect there client they never answer the question, and when there is a problem its the system! i will not wait for the warranty to be over!

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