2001 Lexus RX300 maintenance


#1

I bought this car new in December 2000 and have enjoyed it very much. I just did the 105000 mile maintenance, including new front brakes. I have new tires (only 750 miles on them). All the service has been done by the Lexus dealer so far. Now, they also recommend replacing the timing belt and water pump and a transmission and brake fluid flush. This will cost another $1500. The dealer appraised the car at $12000 today. Should I look for a better price on the recommended work? Is the dealer price reasonable? Or should I think about trading in—I’m considering another Lexus RX (pre-owned).


#2
I don't know if your car has an interference engine or not, but if it does, you certainly do want to get that belt changed real soon.  Even if it is not you will want to have it changed because it is no fun on the freeway when you car suddenly looses all power.  You should check your owner's manual for the specified timing belt replacement schedule and follow that.  

Now about having the dealer do all the work. Dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics for almost anything you might need done on your car. They will almost always charge more per hour and often more for parts and supplies. They also tend to look at repairs a little different than the independent.

A dealer may well recommend work that strictly may not be needed, but could be connected to the problem or maybe replace a part when a little repair would fix it ALMOST as good a new.  

There is no need to bring your car to the dealer for any service other than service that is going to be paid for by a recall or original warrantee. 

I suggest that most people would be better off finding a good independent (Not working for a chain) mechanic.

#3

Oh yea. The water pump should be done at the same time as the timing belt since most of the work to do one is the same as to do both. The additional cost of the water pump is not much but the replacement cost if it goes out the next week will be close to the cost of the timing belt.

I would have the transmission fluid replace (if it has not been done in the last 50,000 miles. I am not sure about the flush idea however, I prefer changing the fluid and the filter.

Brake fluid should be replaced about every two years. When it comes to brakes there is no real difference between a flush and a replacement. Do it, it is a safety thing. It could damage your brake system and/or cause a total failure without warning.


#4

Do the timing belt/water pump replacement. I would call around ask for a cost from an independent specialized Toyota garage. Your engine is the same thing used in the standard Camry and many other Toyota’s.


#5

Thanks to you all. I know that the timing belt should be replaced, and I know why it is a good idea to replace the water pump at the same time. I am just wondering about doing maintenance that will cost over 10% of the value of the car. I will check with my Toyota dealer.


#6

If the water pump is driven by the timing belt, it should be replaced with the belt.

DO NOT allow them to flush the transmission. The brake system should be flushed, but transmission fluid should only be drained and replaced. Power flushing causes too many problems in automatic transmissions, and, in my opinion, is to be avoided.


#7

10% of the value of the car is MUCH less than buying another car. $1,000 - 1,500 is NOT an exorbitant amount to spend for normal maintenance on a vehicle with this mileage.

With a new timing belt and water pump the engine should last another 100K miles with little except oil changes.


#8

Financially you will be much farther ahead keeping your vehicle. I would consider 150k-200k good time to move on personally.

Sounds like you spent good money keeping it maintained. Why lose all this investment. Buying preowned you’ll never know really how well the owner took care of the car or even the driving style they had. You know your car.