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Life with a Toyota Land Cruiser: Month 6
Here’s a handy way to solve a problem we don’t need solving - 29th May 2019
Usually we try to use every feature in a long-termer, but there’s an instruction sticker on the door of the Toyota Land Cruiser that I think will go unneeded.
The Land Cruiser, like all modern diesels, gets a diesel particulate filter for its 2.8-litre, four-cylinder engine. These trap exhaust soot, until such time as it gets burnt off when the exhaust is hot, a cycle the car usually enters of its own accord on the open road so you don’t know it’s happening.
In some kinds of driving, though – if, say, you spend a lot of time at slow speeds, idling or doing short hops, as a utility car might – the DPF never gets the chance to enter, or complete, what they call a ‘regeneration’ cycle. In which case, ultimately, the filter gets clogged and a warning light will come on. Don’t ignore it.
Some cars want you to visit a dealer for a manual regeneration if it happens, but – as the sticker suggests – if you have a Land Cruiser, Toyota apparently trusts you enough to do one yourself and thinks you won’t mind the trouble.
So you park the car and push a button on the dash while the engine’s idling. These parked regeneration cycles work by injecting diesel into the cylinder after combustion, so they go into the exhaust and burn in there, making the exhaust hot enough to turn the soot in the filter into ash.
I wouldn’t recommend standing too near the back while it does it, mind. Not that I’ve seen it in action; Toyota recommends you do 40mph for 10 minutes or more if you want the regen to happen quietly on the road, and I can barely find a day when I don’t have to do one or the other. That means the Land Cruiser is now up to 26,700 miles, just 3300 away from another service.
Now, a couple of readers think I was too soft on the dealer, Inchcape Oxford, after the last service, when 10 litres of AdBlue appeared on the invoice despite me having told them I’d filled the tank the night before. I queried it and they handed over 10 litres to take away with me instead. But it seems 10 litres of AdBlue is included in the price of a service (so it was ‘not taken off’, rather than ‘added to’, the bill), which is how Toyota offers its fixed-price servicing: you can’t do that without accounting for all fluids.
Anyway, I noted it in print, but somebody writes to say I should’ve been crosser. I’m not quite so exercised about it. Toyota says it used to charge a specific amount for AdBlue, but that meant the service price varied, which annoyed customers, most of whom need more than 10 litres anyway. So it just charges for 10 litres, at £12, with most customers winning, some losing, and it keeps the paperwork simple. If you’ve just filled it yourself, which hardly anybody does but I need to, you can always query it, and they’ll give you a container to take away so you don’t lose out.