2007 Toyota Corolla, 45,480 miles -- am I getting ripped off?

The car has been revving when cold, not running at a higher rpm, but vroom-vrooming. I took the car in to get that checked out, and the dealer (Dunning in Ann Arbor) couldn’t figure that out, but they did say I needed to give them $750 for the 45,000 mile maintenance (oil, transmission fluid, lubing doors, tightening (?) brakes – $395), and that the intake gas gasket was leaking - $ 180, and the serpentine belt was cracked and needed replacing - $155. They also wanted to change the brake fluid ($140) and the power steering fluid ($108).

1. at just a month over 4 years, and not even 46,000 miles should I have to be replacing the serpentine belt? Or should the intake gas gasket be leaking? Is either possibly related to the vroom-vrooming?

2. I feel like these prices are ridiculous. Are they ridiculous?

3. I’ve already replaced the clutch bearings, the catalytic converter, the computer (the brain).

4. do I have a lemon?

  1. IMHO, the serpentine belt should not need replacement at this age yet, but it does happen. It would not lead to an erratic idle or “vroom-vrooming”. I’m not sure what part they are referring to as an “intake gas gasket”.

  2. Yes, those prices are high. A serpentine belt should be more in the $85 range at the dealer, IMO. Toyota’s MSRP for this part is $47.81 if you have A/C. It should be a 30 minute repair, TOPS. Ann Arbor shop rates should be in the $75/hr range. If the 45k maintenance is only oil, trans fluid, lubing doors, and adjusting brakes, then $750 is highway robbery. Oil should be no more than $25. Trans fluid maybe $150. Lubing doors? Free many places with oil changes, but really shouldn’t cost more than $10. Adjusting brakes? Please… all they’ll do is adjust the parking brake, which is EASY to do. They shouldn’t charge more than $30 for that, IMO.

  3. Ouch

  4. Not by legal standards, but your car has needed an excessive amount of repairs, IMO - more than my Taurus needed in almost 14 years of ownership. Were these all repairs you had to pay for, or did warranty cover some?

I believe the 45,000 mile maintenance for a corolla is routine oil/filter/rotation and check the brakes etc. which should run about 50-60 dollars.

  1. You are certainly due for a serpentine belt after four years and 46k miles. Go ahead and have it done (not necessarily at the dealership. Any decent shop can do this). It’s cheap breakdown insurance. Sometimes gaskets do fail prematurely. Ask anyone who has a GM 3.1/3.4/4.3 V6. A leaky intake gasket is very, very likely to cause the abnormal idling characteristics you describe.

  2. These prices are a little steep, except for the fluid exchange services (brake and power steering), which are disgustingly overpriced. You should probably wait till you need brake work anyway to get the brake fluid changed, and at a lower price. If you want to flush the power steering fluid, you can do it yourself. Get a bottle of power steering fluid and an old turkey baster you don’t care about anymore, suck the fluid out of the reservoir with the turkey baster (engine not running), top it off, drive for a few minutes, and repeat the same procedure of replacing the fluid. That’s what they do for $108.

  3. It’s unusual to have to replace parts like these on such a new car. What is the story behind this?

  4. You probably do not have a lemon. Laws vary by state, so research them and, if you feel you really do have a strong case, consult an attorney who specializes in the lemon laws in your state. Sometimes (rare) they will discuss it with you for free.

  1. A leaking intake manifold gasket could cause the “vroom-vrooming” issue.

I agree with Tardis and there must be a real story behind this car.

Whether the maintenance costs are justified is hard to tell because you have not laid out the exact details of what is involved in all of this. Serpentine belt? Maybe, maybe not.
Fluid change? It’s due, but I’d think it should be part of a maintenance package deal.

The part that would concern me the most is the converter, brain, and clutch bearing (?) part of this. That’s major stuff for a 45k miles Corolla so this means that the car has been abused/neglected in some way, the diagnosis on these was wrong, or the car was just one of those that happened to be problematic from stem to stern. Without knowing the reasons for those replacements it’s hard to say.

I have a 2005 corolla that idle hunts when cold. Jumps from about 1600 up to 2000 rpm whenever it is in idle. There is a TSB out on this, google around and there is a whole forum of people with the same problem. I spoke with my dealership and they want eighty dollars to look into it.

The 2003(?)-2007 Corolla 1zz-fe engines use a plastic intake manifold that’s more prone to leak.

  1. It’s unusual to have to replace parts like these on such a new car. What is the story behind this?

I bought the car brand new and have hit every scheduled maintenance on the mark, or slightly early. All done at the dealership. The big things, bearings, catalytic converter, brain, have been covered under warrenty so they’ve not cost me. However, I’m really worried that this car is just going to continue needing lots of repair. I only drive around town. I put less than 12,000 miles a year on the car. I thought when I bought it, the car would be great on milage, cheap to maintain. Turns out the latter is not correct.

Thanks for the feedback re. belts and gaskets. Hope replacing the gasket fixes the vroom-vrooming.

The bearings were first, about 9month, maybe a year after I bought the car. The clutch started squeaking. I took it in. They oiled things (think Tin Man, Wizard of Oz I guess). Squeaking didn’t stop, so they replaced the bearings.

Catalytic converter: at about 2.5 years: check engine light came on, I took it in, they replaced the catalytic converter.

Brain: at about 3.5 years: check engine light came on again. I took it in, was told it was the brain and Toyota was about to recall the car for this. I just beat the recall letter by about two weeks.

I was not a victim of the stuck accelerater though :-). Different model I guess.

I think this car is just not well built.

You definitely have an odd problem with so many things cropping up on it. Two points.
One is that I hope this squeaking clutch was something simple such as a bushing on the clutch pedal. (inside the car) There is no way of lubing a clutch throwout bearing as that is a sealed bearing and inside the transmission bell housing. You can’t get to it without removing the tranmission and even if you could you can’t lube it.

Two is that I hope you were not charged anything for the converter and computer.

  1. $750 is BMW Serv B. way too high. Typically a dealer oil change does the majority of what is on the "big service"
    2.Intake- Check engine light on? How did they conclude? Because of major air leak code. May have been a stuck iac. Seen that. Does it run rough or nervous?
    3.Belts will have some cracking . It should be deep or across all ribs. The depth of the ribs are the issue. Most belts bulletproof and I would say 100k miles.
    4.Brake fluid good idea every 2-3 years. It’s hydroscopic and absorbs moisture and causes issues. power steering every 2-3. If they say they are flushing make sure they flush and not just pull out with a extractor and then refill. If you pay for a flush get a flush.
  2. Most replaced computers are falsely diagnosed the ones that are bad are mostly due to improper diagnosis and "jumping circuits"
    6.Your cat was replaced why? Did not charge you? I think emisions items and pcms (computers)are mandated by government to be covered a certain amount of time.