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2006 Toyota Avalon - Third opinions welcome

We took our 2006 Avalon into our independent mechanic for a wee oil leak near the front passenger side of the engine. Diagnosis: timing cover leak - 19 hours labor to remove engine etc. - $3,000 repair. Took it to the Toyota dealership for a second opinion, not telling them of the first. Diagnosis: two oil leaks, one small oil gasket, one large power steering fluid leak, replace rack and pinion assembly - total costs for both repair $1,400. Power steering leak not bad enough to alert low fluid levels, noises or function impairment. We don’t see two oil leaks on the ground. Zero mention of timing cover leak. Now we have a third mechanic set up to look at it. Whatcha all think? Thank ye kindly.

3.5 liter 2GR-FE V6, I presume?

If so, that engine is well known for oil leaks . . . among them the oil cooler hoses, oil hoses going to the cylinder head, and the timing case cover

The factory procedure for the timing case cover leak IS to remove the engine and reseal it outside of the car, as far as I know. So, yeah, the labor is going to be astronomical

But I don’t know how bad the leak is. How often do you have to top off, and how much? Can you live with that, or are you the type of person who will not tolerate any leaks or spots on the driveway?

My brother has the same engine in his 2008 Highlander, but with electric power steering. Anyways, he’s had a few SEVERE oil leaks over the years. That oil hose going to the cylinder head catastrophically let go one day, without any warning sign at all. I replaced it with a steel line for a one year newer Highlander. Perfect fit.

The engine oil cooler hoses also let go catastrophically, some years later. Again, no warning whatsoever. I replaced it with an updated part. The updated part was all steel, no rubber hoses to leak.

I suspect your timing cover leak may not be bad enough to warrant that $3000 repair.

My brother’s timing case has been leaking for years. But it’s a very slow leak, and there are no spots on the driveway.

As for that power steering rack needing to be replaced . . . I assume the bellows is wet or damp. that means the internal seals are no longer doing their job. Technically, that means you should replace the rack. But again, what is your comfort level?

You could probably drive the car for years without doing the repairs, but I can’t exactly advise that without seeing and driving the car

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Back before manufacturers really got a handle on oil seals, it was perfectly normal to see a few drops of oil under a parked car. We all ignored them because they were the norm.

Totally agree with @db4690, if you aren’t seeing any stains on the driveway, I wouldn’t even call them leaks. Once you see actual drops of liquid - not just a spot - I’d see about having it fixed.

One of my cars right now, the lower oil pan is wet. I believe it’s because the oil level sender o-ring is bad, causing oil to trickle down.

Anyways, the car has a large plastic splash pan, which prevents any oil from hitting my driveway

And I frequently check the oil level. I actually don’t even have to top off. It looks far worse than it is.

Maybe I’ll replace that o-ring and reseal the pan at the next service . . . or maybe not

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