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2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid change timing belt & water pump

I have recently hit the 90,000 mile mark with my 2006 Highlander Hybrid. I have been taking my car to a local mechanic, rather than the dealership, and have been pleased with the service received. My mechanic gave me an estimate for replacing the timing belt which included replacement of the water pump. When I printed out the recommended Toyota maintenance schedule, it did not suggest replacement of the water pump. The mechanic also suggested addition/replacement of antifreeze, P/S belt, A/C belt. As the car is in a subtropical environment now, is it necessary to replace the antifreeze? And what is a P/S belt and A/C belt. Again these items do not appear on the official maintenance schedule. Help. I confess I know very little about cars and do not want to appear stupid or be taken advantage of.

Sounds like you have a good mechanic that is watching out for you and your car.

I’d be taking him up on his recommendations. All reasonable

PS belt = Power Steering pump belt. AC belt = Air Conditioner compressor belt. One of these belts also powers your alternator. You got 90,000 miles out of these belts, now’s a good time to replace them.

Fresh coolant (anti-freeze and water mix) is a good idea too. This will prolong your cooling system parts (water pump, radiator, heater core). Fresh anti-freeze helps keep your car’s engine cool in addition to protecting it from freezing.

It’s probably a convenient time to replace the water pump since there’s very little additional labor once it’s all taken apart for the timing belt. If it were my car, I’d make the gamble that the water pump won’t need replacing until the next timing belt, but others will probably disagree and tell you to replace the water pump while you’re changing the timing belt. The choice is yours.

Chang the water pump, it will cost you more later on down the road if it goes. There is more labor involved then the cost of a water pump, which is why it should be changed.

Even if it isn’t in the printed schedule you read, likely a Toyota dealer would also recommend changing the water pump and lots more than your mechanic has advised. Stick with your local guy he sounds spot on.

As far as the coolant, yep it should be changed. Old coolant does bad things to your radiator and passages inside your motor. It is due for a change.

The PS and AC belt are actually removed to access the timing belt. So replacing them with new parts is very prudent as they are wear items and labor is inclusive with timing belt change if you decide to change or not.

The water pump is exposed typically during a timing belt change so very minimal labor is involved in replacing it.

Do the AC & PS belt for sure as it is a parts only charge. The water pump is a prudent measure but not required. If it fails it will at least cost you around what you were just quoted to replace the timing belt and water pump. Also failure of a water pump can lead to catostrophic engine damage if you continue to drive the vehicle in an overheated state.

I would agree with your mechanic. These things make sense, even though the water pump is not in the Toyota schedule.

I worked in the Middle East and there the contractors replaced ALL DRIVE BELTS on the outside of the engine every 2 years due to the effect of the heat.

Your “antifreeze” is really engine coolant, and it needs periodic replacing no matter where you are. It contains rust inhibitors and water pump lubricant, both of which get gradually used up!