Why Is It So Hard To Work On a Toyota Yourself?


As vehicles have become more complex, the skills needed to repair them have also significantly advanced. 

With sophisticated technology now controlling many aspects of a car’s basic operation, fixing a modern vehicle requires not only specialized tools, but a deeper understanding of the software involved.

Exacerbating matters are design choices that prioritize efficiency, performance, and aesthetics rather than repairability, making it more challenging to access certain parts of the car.

This complexity and difficulty is having a real world impact. MarketWatch recently reported that there’s a serious auto mechanic shortage in the U.S., partly due to the increasing need for advanced technology skills in the profession.

The aforementioned labor shortage and other factors, such as supply chain issues, have made car maintenance increasingly expensive.

The cost of car repairs has been rising faster than the overall rate of inflation, as reported by CNBC. From November 2013 to November 2023, the cost of motor vehicle maintenance and repair increased by 4.1% per year, whereas the overall consumer price index rose by only 2.8% annually.

Therefore, many car owners choose to deal with the repairs themselves—though, as one TikToker recently learned, it often proves to be a challenging task. 

Toyota DIY gone awry

In a recent TikTok video, creator @theboojmeister shared his experience of taking his new SUV to an authorized dealership, but ultimately deciding not to use their service.

“They said the spark plugs were almost worn out, the water pump needed replacement, and the tie rods needed replacement as well,” shares the TikToker. “They wanted $200 for spark plug replacements. I said, ‘Fudge that, I’ll do it myself.’”

But, once the TikToker opened the hood, he realized this job might be more difficult than initially thought. 

“There’s just one problem. What the Sigma, Toyota?” he asks. “The first three spark plugs are easy to access, but the other three are behind the engine manifold!”

“I have to take apart the whole dang thing just to access the spark plugs,” he continues. 

Replying to commenters, @theboojmeister reveals he managed to replace the spark plugs with the help of online tutorials. 

Responding to one commenter who wrote, “bro $200 is nothing for that job. but by all means risk ur car. job secruity for me,” the TikToker stated, “I can see paying $200 if I owned an expensive car. I spared no expense on spark plugs. I already go it done…Thanks to YouTube.”

Other commenters shared their frustrations with similarly designed engines.

@theboojmeister In all my years, I’ve never seen an engine that made it complicated to access spark plugs. Before my father passed away, he owned a 2013 Toyota Tacoma and his were easy to access the spark plugs. Oh well, let’s see how this goes! #fyp #foryou ♬ original sound – oli

“Done it on a Camry,” wrote a user. “not fun but not the worse thing I’ve done.”

Another shared that this task would be even harder on his Toyota, writing, “my toyota sienna has same engine so its the same thing but even tighter space.”

Other users commented that the repair cost was relatively reasonable, with one stating, “$200 is cheap my GM dealer ship runs about $500 for 6.”

Toyota has recently been put under some scrutiny over quality. An auto mechanic who specializes in Toyotas pointed out how thin the motor oil is in the new 2025 Toyota Camry. Another owner showcased the rattly interior of his Toyota, wondering what’s been going on with the Japanese manufacturing quality lately.

Elsewhere, a Nissan driver called out automakers for just this sort of design that she believes is intended to deter independent mechanics and corral drivers back to the dealership.

We’ve reached out to @theboojmaster via TikTok comment, and Toyota via email. 

*First Published: May 19, 2024, 4:00 am CDT

Ljeonida Mulabazi

Ljeonida is a reporter and writer with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of Tirana in her native Albania. She has a particular interest in all things digital marketing; she considers herself a copywriter, content producer, SEO specialist, and passionate marketer. Ljeonida is based in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Ljeonida Mulabazi


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