2006 Toyota corolla Timing cover leak and other questions

Hi Car Talk Community,

I went in today for a factor recall on my 2006 Toyota Corolla and when I was leaving I was told that my car needs to have the timing cover resealed (the quote was $835.98). Additionally, the Drive belt is cracked and it was recommended to me to get a new belt for a price of $202.65.
My air filter is dirty ($49.95), I need manual transmission service ($59.95), Fuel injection service ($99.95), Fuel induction service ($115.95) and an AC refresh for $79.95.

Being a college student I wanted to get some feedback on some of the stuff I could do myself. I already change my own motor oil and oil filter and anything I could do myself from the above recommendations from Toyota would really help lower the cost.

Also I am not really sure about the timing cover reseal because I have not seen any leaks under my car. It may be that I do not understand what a timing cover leak is. And is this something that I should get fixed right away or can i afford to wait for a while (1 year or longer).

Also what is the difference between a fuel induction service and fuel injection service? Can i do it myself?

At any rate any advice anyone can give me is greatly appreciated.


Just my 2 cts, but it sounds like you’re targeted to help this dealer make his profit target for the month. I cannot say if you need a timing cover reseal or not, but that is a steep price for such work. And, I generally don’t see them begin to leak at less the 10-years old. It typically starts at the front crank seal. You should be able to see wet drops at the front of the timing cover/oil pan when they need to be replaced. If you don’t see oil drops, I’d skip it.

Also a steep price for the drive belt that can be changed in 20 mins or less with common hand tools. These can last a while, but can show signs of wear and tear after 4 years. Air filter can be changed a lot of times without tools. But should be done at least every 2 years. Fuel injection service and induction service are simply profit makers unless you have a problem. Ditto for the A/C Refresh (Deodorizer in the vent system?). Those last three are unnecessary on any car not having fuel related problems or A/C problems.

I do recommend manual transmission service (fluid change)every 50-60K miles, or more frequent if the owner’s manual calls for it. Are you near 60,000 miles on the odometer?

Hi BustedKnuckles,

My car is currently at 57,754 miles so I definitely think I may need to do the manual transmission service.

It sounds to me like you could handle most of those service chores yourself short of the timing cover leak, assuming a leak worth worrying about even exists.

If you suspect this dealer is trying to pad their pocket at your expense look at that drive belt cost.
Does it have labor figured in? It should not, because accessing the timing cover would mean the drive belt has to come off anyway as part of the timing cover job and there should be no labor on the belt.
That’s referred to as “labor overlap” and an honest shop takes this into consideration.

None of those things will do any harm to have done, but they seem a might expensive. I think the dealership recommends them, sort of like casting a fishing line, and hope they get a bite.

I have a Toyota Corolla myself. Mine is older, early 90’s. Here’s how I’d priortize this work if it were my car.

  1. Air filter. These are inexpensive, easy to replace for the owner, and should be replaced every two years at the minimum. Yes on that one. You can do it yourself in 15 minutes with a FRAM filter for about $20.

  2. Drive belt. If it is cracked – and it may be if original to the car – yes, fix it. This is a more difficult job than changing the oil and filter, but not that much more difficult. Try to get someone who has done it before to help you.

  3. Manual transmission service. Do this only if your owner’s manual recommends it at this interval. Or if you have a known transmission problem. Otherwise, just check and top off the fluid if necessary.

  4. Timing cover. I’d take a look and see if there is any serious leaking goin on. If so, this could be as simpel as replacing the valve cover gasket. Or even simply tightening the bolts on the valvle cover gasket. This requires considerably more experience than oil changes, so you should probably consult an independent Toyota mechanic and have them take a look at it If there’s an actual problem, oil could coat the timing belt and it will eventualy cause the car to stop running, so this shouldn’t be ignored, but don’t go into emergency worry procedure on it either. Make an appt w/an independent mechanic who specializes in Toyotas.

  5. The other stuff? Unless you are having specific complaints about the way the car runs, I’d skip those.