Replacing Battery for 2018 Toyota Sienna

I can’t recall if we had replaced the battery for our 2018 Toyota Sienna or not. This must be the first time since we bought the vehicle. The battery lasted 5 years, which was not bad. It was dead this morning when my wife took the kids to school. She picked up a new battery from Costco and I replaced it.

  • Battery: $120.
  • A can of CRC Battery Cleaner: $9

Shutting Off Water Before Leaving for Vacation

While Mr. Điệp fixing our HVAC unit, I sought out his advice on setting the thermostat before leaving for vacation. He recommended setting the temperature to about 67 degrees. Then he also gave me some tips on preventing a water disaster. Here are the steps:

  1. Turn off the the water heater power
  2. Shut off the main water valve
  3. Turn on the sink faucet until all the water drained out then turn it off

If the HVAC unit broke down while we were away, we wouldn’t come back to a swimming pool. When return, we can prevent the disaster even if the pipes busted by shutting off the main valve again. I’ll definitely take his advice whenever we go out of town.

Fixing The Outside HVAC Unit

Since we came back from New York City on Sunday, the temperatures had plummeted. Then we noticed that our heating system struggled to reach 67°F even with the auxiliary heat kicked in. The thermostat could only get up to 64°F. With my mother-in-law and the kids in the house, I worried and couldn’t sleep for the past two nights.

Today we reached out to a friend who is in the construction business and asked for a recommendation on an HVAC service. He referred us to T&J Service. Mr. Điệp Trần and his protégé Việt arrived around 6 pm to diagnose the system. It turned out that the outside unit stopped working. They worked in the cold to replace the fuse, tested the compressor, and made sure the system worked properly.

Knowing that we have proper heating again, I can go to sleep peacefully. Now I know who to call if we run into HVAC issue again. I am thinking of contracting them to replace the whole system in the summer since it is almost 15 years old.

Paid: $100

Lifetime Wheel Alignment for 2018 Toyota Sienna

Yesterday I took our 2018 Toyota Sienna to Firestone to get a lifetime wheel alignment as well. Firestone seemed to do a good job with our 2011 Sienna. As the winter approaching, I need to make sure our 2018 Sienna in good condition so we can travel to Stowe in peace. I hope it will be a good season. I am ready to ski and snowboard.

Lifetime Wheel Alignment with Firestone

A few weeks ago, I replaced 4 brand new tires for our 2011 Toyota Sienna at Costco. They recommended wheel alignment. I was told about the lifetime wheel alignment service at Firestone.

Basically you get free wheel alignment until the end of the vehicle’s lifetime. You just have to pay $200. The deal sounded too good to be true. They must try to sell you other services as well.

I went for it today. I had never done any business at Firestone before. I didn’t make an appointment; therefore, it took about 3 hours. I was fine with that since I could do my work in the waiting area. There was no Wi-Fi, but I could hotspot through my iPhone.

They gave me a list of recommendations, but they did not try to sell me on them. I am cool with that. If this is truly a good deal, I will take my other car for the lifetime wheel alignment as well.

At this time, you can get $20 off for the lifetime wheel alignment. I am not affiliated with Firestone. I just think this is a good deal. So do your research.

Four New Tires for 2011 Toyota Sienna

The right (passenger) rear tired had 4 punctures. It was irrepairable. Since the tread reading for the tires was at 5/32, I went ahead and replace all four. The last time I replaced them was in December 2019. Thanks to this blog, I could pull up the information immediately. The tires were over 3 years; therefore, they needed to be replaced anyway. I ordered 4 new all-season Michelin Defenders at Costco. I needed new tires so I can go to the ski resorts this coming winter.

Tires, tax, and installation cost $880. I am going to need to an alignment as well. The cost of having a car.

Replacing Stove’s Heating Surface Element

The largest heating surface element on our Whirlpool’s stove burnt out. I followed this YouTube video to replace a new one. The process took about five minutes. The cleanup took almost an hour to get all the grease out of the entire exterior of the stove. The new heating element cost $110. The entire stove looks new again. The wife is happy; therefore, the life is also happy.

Toyota Sienna 2011 Inspection

I wen to back Ravensworth Service for an inspection. The inspection took 10 minutes. My brake light burned out. The inspection cost $20 and the brake-light replacement cost $15. It was a fair deal.

I used Ravensworth Service years ago. It looks like the shop has gone through several management. From last year to this year, there are only two older Vietnamese technicians. They both are very nice, but their shop isn’t as busy as it used to be. I actually prefer that over Aalan’s Service. I was thrown off by Khang’s cockiness; therefore, I am going back to Ravensworth from now on.

Neither shop wanted to fix the AC issue. Driving in the heat without AC has been excruciating. Pumping refrigerant is no longer fixing the issue. There has a be a leak somewhere. I am not sure what to do with it. I am just going to drive it in the winter and decide next year what I want to do with it. Since I am now commuting using the Mason’s shuttle, I don’t need a car anymore. We still have the 2018 Sienna as our main vehicle for traveling.

I don’t want to spend any more money on car. It is such a waste, especially with all the maintenances and fixes. I don’t want to have to rely on a car anymore.

Swollen Nuts

No, I didn’t have swollen nuts, but my minivan had. I took my 2011 Toyota Sienna to Costco for rotation and I received a call notifying me that the nuts were very swollen and they needed to be replaced. All 20 nuts were replaced at $1.80 a piece. The total was almost $40.

Removing Caulk

I spent my Sunday cleaning up our bathrooms. I started to get to work around 9 am. I wanted to do a deep clean since I hadn’t done it in a while. Scrubbed the toilets, the bathtub, the shower stand, and wiped down all the floors and the trims on the wall.

The worst part was removing the molding caulk in the shower stand. The process took me about two hours just to finish the square. The best part is that my wife will re-caulk it since she’s an expert on it. I am terrible at that type of handy, crafty job.

I am trying to do everything I can before the winter because I won’t want to do anything else on the weekend besides skiing and snowboarding in the winter. At leas, that’s the hope.