Tag Archives: toyota

Toyota Repair: How to Change the Door Lock Mode

Toyota Repair - How to Change the Door Lock Mode

If you own any recent Toyota model that has power locks and an automatic transmission, you have the ability to change the sequence for the locking and unlocking of the doors – as determined by the current mode.


This adjustment is not really a repair but will help you to “fix” the issue if the car is set in a mode that you do not like.


Your choice is between four modes that are preprogrammed into the vehicle:


  • Mode 1 – This mode connects the shift position with automatic door locking – but notably not unlocking. When the key is in the ignition and in the “On” position, and when all doors are shut, they will automatically lock when you move the shift lever out of “Park.”
  • Mode 2 – This mode simply turns off the feature. Automatic locking and unlocking will be nonoperational.
  • Mode 3 – Similarly to Mode 1, this mode ties both locking and unlocking of doors with the shift position. With the key in the “On” position and with all doors shut, you will auto-lock them whenever you move the shift lever from “Park.” In turn, the doors will auto-unlock whenever you bring the shift lever back to “Park.”
  • Mode 4 – This mode connects not just the shift position but also the key position to the automatic locking and unlocking system. With the key set to “On” and all of the doors shut, you will auto-lock the doors when you move out of “Park” with the shift lever. In turn, all the doors will auto-unlock when you turn the key to “Off” while the shift lever is in “Park.”


Switching between modes


Now that you know what your options are, how do you change from one to another? Here are the six steps:


  1. Look at the control knob for the dome light. Change the position to “Door.”


  1. Make sure all the doors are shut and that your shift lever is set to “Park.”


  1. Put the key in the ignition, and turn it so it is set to “On.”


  1. Once you are in the “On” position, and before 5 seconds has passed, push down the door lock switch on the driver’s side, keeping it down for 5 seconds.


  1. The number of flashes that come from the dome light will tell you the mode to which the automatic locking system is currently set. One flash tells you that you are in mode 1, while two, three, and four flashes signal that you are in modes 2-4, respectively.


  1. Push the switch to change to a different mode. It will flash to let you know the new mode. Keep pushing the switch until you get to the one you want.


You now know how to switch your Toyota car into any of the four different modes for automatic locking and unlocking – one of which (Mode 2) shuts it off completely, if that is your preference. Again, although not a Toyota repair, this project will allow you to have better control of the car and to fix the situation if you are frustrated by the way that this automatic feature is currently configured.


Note that your choice of auto-locking and auto-unlocking mode will be forgotten by the car computer if the car battery dies or becomes disconnected. If that occurs, the vehicle will be reset to Mode 1.


Toyota News & Information


Now you know how to switch your mode so that you are in control of how your automatic system is set to lock and unlock your doors. With that tutorial complete, we can turn to recent news stories that may be of interest to you as the owner of a Toyota:


  • Toyota wins 4 crowns in 2018 Consumer Reports list
  • Toyota develops more sustainable EV magnet


Toyota wins 4 crowns in 2018 Consumer Reports list


Each year Consumer Reports ranks the best cars, and the 2018 list amounts to an impressive display for Japanese carmaker Toyota.


Not all news has been positive for Toyota lately. It no longer has the planet’s leading volume of sales, eclipsed by Volkswagen and Nissan/Renault/Mitsubishi. Nonetheless, this Consumer Reports ranking shows that the carmaker is a strong choice for buyers, with critical assessments (drawing on many thousands of perspectives) that do not consider where a car stands in the popularity contest.


Consumer Reports is taken very seriously because it does not allow any potential bias to be introduced either by advertisements or by getting cars from automakers – instead purchasing cars directly from dealerships. Related to performance, that information is gathered from its subscribers, so that all its information is as scientific as possible (both objective and derived from a large sample).


Within the magazine’s 2018 Top Picks, 4 of the 10 categories saw Toyota at the helm. The categories and victors were:


  • compact car – Corolla
  • midsize car – Camry
  • midsize SUV – Highlander
  • minivan – Sienna.


The basic reasons that the carmaker was successful with this 2018 list, according to Consumer Reports, were threefold: reliability of the car; the focus on safety features; and the accessible, mainstream design.


The magazine’s director of automotive testing, Jake Fisher, stressed that “really impressive reliability across the board” was essential in setting the brand apart from its competition.


Fisher also mentioned that the automaker was excelling in applying safety technologies – particularly forward-collision warning systems and automatic emergency braking – standardly throughout its lineup.


Toyota develops more sustainable EV magnet


Electric vehicles (EVs) are embraced as a way to cut down our reliance on fossil fuels, at least creating a new format of automobile for which fueling at the pump is unnecessary. One key issue with zero-emission electric cars, though, is that they require a rare-earth element (REE), neodymium. Toyota has become concerned that we are mining this mineral too quickly to supply the growing demand. It is currently developing magnets for its motors that cut in half the amount of neodymium needed to build one of its hybrid or electric models.


This decision is exciting news for environmentalism, both because of Toyota’s scope and because it has announced it will offer an electric version of all its cars within seven years. To reduce the amount of neodymium, the carmaker has turned to lanthanum and cerium, both more affordable and currently in more abundant supply.


The reason magnet engineers have typically used neodymium is that it can maintain magnetization to an incredible degree and also has extraordinary heat-tolerance. The simple act of including more cerium and lanthanum instead of the neodymium would have been insufficient, since the important magnetic capabilities would be reduced. Because the project was not a simple task, Toyota invested substantially to innovate breakthrough technology that would allow the motor to perform just as well with only 50% of the neodymium.


Perhaps the most compelling aspect of this new magnet technology is that it can be applied to electronics beyond automobiles. Appliances, robots, and any other objects that might have use for an affordable, sustainable high-temperature motor could utilize this new technology. These more environmentally friendly motors will be used in production cars starting in approximately 2020.


Honest Toyota repair in Boulder


Toyota cars are owner-friendly, as suggested by the ease of switching between locking modes and the great ratings from Consumer Reports. Plus, the brand is easy to like, with its sustainability strides. Nonetheless, Toyota repair and routine maintenance is sometimes needed. For those tasks, you want a mechanic who is credible and straightforward. At Independent Motors, Boulder’s neighborhood auto repair shop for 35 years, 90% of the work we do is repeat business. See our Toyota repair philosophy.


Common Honda Repairs and Toyota Repairs to Extend Their Usage

Common Honda and Toyota Repairs

When shopping around for a vehicle, you have certain criteria you’re looking to meet. Unless you have a specialized need that needs to be met with your vehicle, like a lot of storage room or horsepower, you’re probably looking for a vehicle that has serviceable enough performance for a commute, decent mileage, and durability so you don’t have to worry about replacing it for years. That last point is important because cars aren’t cheap. Unless you always want the latest and greatest, and you can afford it, you’re going to want a vehicle that could easily last you up to a decade or so.


When looking for an economically sensible option that is well-rounded and won’t require an excessive amount of visits to the mechanic, the general public tends to look towards Japanese cars. Honda and Toyota especially have carved out a nice reputation for themselves as being the makers of vehicles that get the job done and are reliable for a long time.


But, just like with any machine no matter how well crafted, things eventually do break down. It’s not uncommon to eventually need to talk to your mechanic about Honda repairs or Toyota repairs. While it may not be as frequent as with other brand names, issues will arise and need to be addressed eventually.


While it’s hard to make blanket statements about brands because each one releases a full line of makes and models each with their own issues, enough Honda vehicles and Toyota vehicles have come in for repairs that it’s possible to get a sense of what the most common repairs are for these vehicles. Here is some information on what makes Honda and Toyota so popular with so many people along with the common issues you should keep an eye out for. While issues may not happen early in the vehicle’s lifecycle, major repairs could be required eventually. Remember, you can lower the chances of needing major repairs if you stay on top of your regular, routine maintenance.


Why Honda and Toyota are So Popular


Let’s start with Honda first. Honda has been a popular automaker since the late 1970s. The Honda Civic has been a mainstay when it comes highly rated vehicles that retain their value over time. In fact, the Civic consistently gets high marks. Just last year, Kelly Blue Book’s Best Buy of the Year was awarded to the Honda Civic. The Accord was at number three for Best Resale Value the same year. The Accord has consistently been a high seller and a family friendly car for the 40 years it has been in production. Additionally, Honda as a manufacturer goes above and beyond when it comes to safety regulations. They far surpass what is required of them. Honda has also been a leader in environmental concerns and technology since the beginning of the company.


Toyota isn’t far behind when it comes to popularity and sales. The Camry was the number one car in America in 2014. Toyotas are also known for being reliable and lasting a long time. Toyota has long been an environmentally conscious brand. This was only reinforced with the release of the Toyota Prius, which was the first mass-produced hybrid electric vehicle. It remains the top-selling hybrid in America.


These workhorse vehicles are certainly reliable and offer a lot of bang for the buck. But, they will eventually need repairs. Here is what you need to keep an eye out for.


Common Honda Repairs


Clearly, not all Honda vehicles are the same. They all have their own individual quirks or things that can go wrong given enough years and mileage. While Honda overall as a brand puts out vehicles that tend to last longer than a lot of the competition, there are some common issues that can be found across many of the makes and models put out by the company. While it may be awhile before you encounter any of these issues, here are the ones you have a good chance of seeing at some point during your ownership.


Keep an eye out for worn ball joints, axles, head gaskets, transmission issues, and the need for valve adjustments.


If your eyes immediately went to the transmission, no one can blame you. No one wants to hear the transmission needs to be replaced. There is good news and bad news here. The good news is if your Honda was released in the past 12 years or so, you’re probably okay. Actually, if you’ve made it 12 years with a car of any kind without a major issue, you’re pretty lucky. However, Honda vehicles got a bad wrap for their transmission issues in the early 2000s. The 1999-2004 Accords, Odysseys, and Civics had notoriously unreliable transmissions that started to fail around the 70,000-mile mark.


Since we’re so far removed from those years at this point, you probably don’t have to worry too much about early transmission failure on your vehicle.


Typical Toyota Repairs


Toyota consistently gets high marks for reliability. However, just like with Hondas, there are noted weak points that eventually tend to fail just like any mechanical system does eventually. Again, just because Toyota vehicles tend to have similar issues doesn’t make them bad vehicles. Many other brands have more issues, more often. But, if you’re a Toyota owner you are more likely to experience a failed water pump, damaged steering rack bushings and steering rack assemblies, and worn out struts and shocks.


Struts and shocks tend to be the repairs that make people raise their eyebrows when they hear it has to get done because the costs can add up quickly. While struts need to be repaired in pairs, it’s common to have all four replaced at once. That’s because, for most people, the first time they need to worry about replacing them is somewhere north of 50,000 miles where even if one fails, all four are probably worn down anyway. Many manufacturers recommend replacing struts at 50,000 miles, but like with changing the oil, you may be able to get more out of them. You shouldn’t go too far beyond 70,000, however. You can start experiencing serious wear and tear past that point.


As for the water pump, it’s not very subtle when it’s on the way to failing. Coolant leakage, steam, and an overheating engine are all telltale signs that there is trouble. It’s important that you bring your vehicle in right away if signs of water pump trouble are appearing because a failed water pump can eventually destroy the engine. 




There are many reasons why you’re the happy owner of a Honda or Toyota vehicle. Whether it’s the good mileage, durability, value, or any of the other many reasons why these cars and SUVs are so popular, you intend to keep driving your vehicle for many years to come. While Honda and Toyota are known for their ability to be driven for years and years, even the most durable vehicle runs into problems eventually. Whether it’s routine maintenance or serious repairs, we’re here to help. Call us today to schedule an appointment to bring your vehicle in. At Independent Motors, we value our customers. That’s why we offer the best service at an honest price. Bring in your vehicle and we’ll help you keep it on the road for many more years.

What You Need to Know About Getting Your Jeep or Toyota Ready for 4 Wheel Driving

4-Wheel Driving

At Independent Motors we specialize in Jeep repair and  Toyota repair services, amongst many other popular brands. We don’t just focus on repairs, though. Ongoing maintenance is an important part of owning a vehicle. Not only does it help prolong the number of years you can keep your vehicle, it also helps save you money over time by preventing situations where serious repairs would be necessary. Of course, your safety is another concern that can be addressed with regular maintenance.


One of the things you’ll think about if you’re the owner of a Jeep or Toyota SUV is the 4 wheel drive capabilities. It can come in very handy in a few different situations. In the summer, it would most likely be off-roading or driving through difficult terrain, like a muddy area. In the winter, it’s almost required if you live somewhere with a lot of snow. So, preparing your car for 4 wheel driving is of the utmost importance so you can take advantage of this feature safely.


If you haven’t taken your Jeep or Toyota in yet for the season in order to get it prepared for 4 wheel driving, you should. There are some routine repairs that need to be done and things to look for in order to be ready. We’ll look at what you need to know about 4 wheel drive and how to get your vehicle ready to engage 4 wheel drive.


First, let’s address what 4 wheel drive actually is and how it differs from all wheel drive which is something that people sometimes use interchangeably. They are quite different from one another.


What is 4 Wheel Drive?


Vehicles typically come with 2 wheel drive, 4 wheel drive, and all wheel drive. The last two are often confused, so we’ll address that in a bit. Most vehicles have 2 wheel drive, with the vehicle either having front wheel drive or rear wheel drive. If you’re someone that lives in a pretty moderate climate without significant snow accumulation, extreme weather, or demanding driving conditions, then two wheel drive is probably fine. As far as the difference between rear wheel drive or front wheel drive, front wheel will generally handle better in demanding conditions and is often less demanding fuel wise. Performance will take a hit, however. Then again, you probably don’t really need any kind of performance if this is the family sedan. Rear-wheel drive offers better handling but isn’t good in the snow.


4 wheel drive, however, is the best choice for difficult driving conditions including snow or mud. In fact, 4 wheel drive was designed with off-roading in mind. Basically, if your vehicle is listed as 4×4, all 4 wheels will turn when the steering wheel is engaged, instead of just the 2. But, isn’t that what all wheel drive does? There is a difference, actually.


How Does 4 Wheel Drive Differ from All Wheel Drive?


The two types have different use cases, though they are pretty similar. Essentially, 4 wheel drive is disengaged on your vehicle by default. You have to turn it on when you feel like it’s necessary. So, if you find yourself in a blizzard all of a sudden, hitting the switch or pulling the lever that engages 4 wheel drive is something you’re going to want to do.


All wheel drive, on the other hand, is an automatic process that your vehicle handles for you. It’s always “on” basically, but your car does all the thinking. It does this through the use of sensors. The sensors will alert the car’s computer that your wheels are having difficulty getting traction, so power will be redirected to the appropriate tire.


All-wheel drive is convenient if you don’t deal with heavy snowfall and you don’t intend to go off-roading. However, the sensors tend to not be able to keep up in harsh conditions, so you have a higher chance of getting stuck. That’s why 4 wheel drive is the best choice when you need all the power you can get to control your vehicle. Sure, you’ll need to manually engage, but it’s simple enough and you’ll be able to better navigate the conditions you’re in.


Your vehicle having 4×4 capability is one thing. Safely engaging is another. Your vehicle has to be properly tuned up for it. Here is what you need to know regarding proper maintenance and why you should bring your vehicle in to be seen by a mechanic.


Tune-Ups and Maintenance


There are a few things you want to be sure of in order to make sure your vehicle can handle the demands of something like off roading.


The first thing you’ll want to ensure that your Jeep or Toyota has is the proper ground clearance. You’ll need a fair amount of space between the underside of your vehicle and the ground below. If you don’t raise your undercarriage far enough from the ground, you’re risking serious damage if you drive over something like a large rock or impacted ice.


You’ll also want to get your wheel travel looked at. Traction and stability are key when it comes to dangerous conditions, whether you’re driving through them for fun or necessity. Getting your axles inspected along with your suspension is highly recommended.


Low-end torque is also useful when intending to drive over difficult terrain. Unless you’re a gearhead who enjoys fiddling with the engine, you’ll need a mechanic to optimize the engine for this. A combination of improving flowing exhausts and intake systems, replacing spark plugs, and more all goes into this. Basically, low-end torque allows you to better get over obstacles with a touch of the pedal compared to having to floor it.


You’ll also want to protect the underside of your vehicle with skid plates. Skid plates can protect vital parts of your vehicle like the gas tank. Different skid plates cover different parts of the undercarriage where a sudden jolt can break things.


Finally, there are your tires. It’s so important to make sure your tires are in good working condition. It’s always recommended you get your tires checked once a year, regardless of 4 wheel driving or anticipating extreme driving conditions. Checking tire pressure, tread, and alignment are all important. Additionally, you want the right tires for the right weather conditions. Having snow tires is a must if you live somewhere where you need 4 wheel drive to get through the snow accumulation.



If you have a Jeep or Toyota vehicle that has 4 wheel drive as a feature, you have to make sure that it’s in good condition to take advantage of the capability. Driving in tough conditions, whether it be serious snow accumulations or muddy off-roading, can be both dangerous and damaging to your car if it isn’t in the proper condition to handle it. Just knowing you have 4 wheel drive isn’t enough. If you haven’t had your vehicle inspected recently, contact us today to schedule an appointment. The team of experts at Independent Motors is here to provide you with the tune-ups you need at a fair price so you can enjoy your vehicle to the fullest.