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130K miles 1999 Toyota Corolla worth replacing fuel injectors & timing chain?

My mechanic did a full diagnostic today because the check engine light was on in my 1999 Toyota Corolla with 130K miles. He suggested the most likely cause was the fuel injectors & cost estimate for 4 fuel injectors was $1K. Also a bad rattle on start up, suggested slack in timing chain to be fixed for another $1K. He said these aren’t immediate but will need to be done to prolong life of car in the next few months. Kelly Blue Book value is only $2400, is it worth fixing?!

You need a second opinion…BAD.

How confident are you that the diagnosis is correct?

What are the symptoms in regards to the fuel injectors?

Regarding the timing chain, and if that diagnosis is correct, a worn chain and/or tensioner problem can often be due to an irregular oil change regimen and the possibility exists that the chain is not the only thing worn in that engine.
The mileage is a bit low for a Corolla chain failure otherwise.

As far as those injectors go . . .

Unless they’re leaking or have an electrical open circuit, I doubt they need to be replaced

If the mechanic is pretty sure they’re partially plugged, the thing to do is connect the fuel cleaner directly to the fuel rail, and run the engine off of the fuel cleaner. This will clean the rail and the injectors

Unfortunately, I’m not so sure I trust that guy’s diagnosis

I would also suggest getting a second opinion . . . that is the first thing you need to do

Most likely cause??? I would get a second opinion, do you know the code that was set and has the car had any other running issues? Injectors do occasionally fail on this engine, but timing chains at 130K are almost unheard of unless the engine has been poorly maintained.

If the CEL comes on again, have a parts store pull the codes (most do this for free) and post those codes back here…This is too soon for these kind of problems…Maybe your mechanic wrote the codes he pulled on your invoice…If so, post them…

It’s an old Corolla so the answer is yes and no. It depends on when you usually plan to buy a newer car.

A timing chain issue would make noise all the time.
The rattle on startup could be lack of oil pressure or worn bearings.
Is a brand name oil filter of the right part # on there?
A plain white “Chinese special” filter might be allowing oil drainback.

He is willing to do $2000 worth of work on your dime because of " most likey" and not definite causes ? This guy is not " your mechanic" on these issues. Go somewhere else. We had three of these cars and I agree, given adequate maintenance, it is way too early for these issues.

I agree that these items are very unusual on a Toyota with this low mileage. If true, it seems to indicate lack of regular maintenance, especially oil changes. The engine may be very worn at this stage.

By comparison, we sold our 1994 Nissan Sentra in 2012 with 140,000 miles on it and the power train was essentially perfect with the original injectors and no timing chain problems. This car had regular 4000 mile oil and filter changes.

In any case, get a second opinion

THANKS to all for your valuable insight. I will get a 2nd opinion ASAP and post again soon. I am in agreement of questioning this mechanic and doing some more research. Thank you for your help!

Worn timing chains don’t make noise all the time.

The timing chain in my 95 Nissan pickup didn’t make a sound before it failed.

The timing chain in a costumers 95 BMW 318TI didn’t make a sound before it failed.

I could go on, but they don’t always make noise.


Definitely get a second opinion.
Remember, however, that 130,000 city miles in Miami, Chicago, Boston, NYC, or any other major city takes as much out of an engine as 250,000 in a rural area. 130,000 in 15 years suggests city use. I would be reluctant to assume that this is a typical low mileage engine.

Oil pressure operated chain tensioner that shuts up the chain when pressure hits it…?

I’m in agreement with Tester about some chain problems existing with no noise present.