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Age based repairs/mileage based repairs

we bought a 2000 toyota sienna w/15,000 miles that now has 47,000. Our mechanic is suggestin replacing the timing belt and while he’s at it, doing cam and crank seals, ac/alt belt,ps belt, waterpump,antifreeze and spark plugs. Before a trip of 800 miles, what should be replaced? The van runs well currently.

The timing belt should last well over 60,000 miles or my name is not ignoramus. If there are no indications (leaking, squeeling noise, rumble) from the water pump I would put all this off til the regularly schedualed service intervals. The plugs and anti-freeze are cheap and easy, so if it helps your peace of mind, go ahead with these, if you did not follow the service manual intervals for them. Otherwise, 800 miles is a short haul and if the first owner, or you, are not hot rodders on the road, (you dont drag race from stop lights do you?) I would head out with no worries and trust the design enineering of this car.

Its true that 800 miles is not a lot of miles to do all at once. If those are highway miles it is especially easy on a vehicle.

However, by mileage you probably don’t need a new timing belt. But by TIME I’m sure that you do. Look in your owner’s manual at the service intervals. I’m sure it gives you an X number of miles OR X number of years. If I were you I’d be getting a new timing belt.

The accessory belt, water pump, cam and crank seals are all wrapped up in that - the accessory belt has to come off anyway, and to access all of those other things you have to pull the timing belt. The norm is to do the water pump. The cam & crank seals make sense but aren’t routine (so far as I know). But if your mechanic is a good one he really should only charge you the price of the parts (not much) plus a tiny bit of extra labor.

New plugs are never a bad idea, but once again look at the service specs given in the manual. When does Toyota say to replace them?

Does the manual have a miles or time guideline on timing belt replacement? 10 years is probably plenty long enough, so I would do it. Given all the parts that have to be removed, I would also do the other belts, water pump, and coolant, UNLESS you’ve had some of it done before.

Lower priority might be spark plugs, and I’m not sure about are cam and crank seals, do you have any leaks? How much cost for these?

ignoramous is right; you do maintenance on time when needed, doing it too early wastes money and could even result in “maintenance-induced failures”, a maintenance technology term!

Your mechanic is over-zealous or need to make boat payments. I would only replace the engine coolant, if that has not been done already. Most Toyota have platinum or Iridium plugs that last close to 100,000 miles. I will replace them on my Toyota at 80,000 miles.

Before you go on a trip, check the outside belts and the hoses, tires (including SPARE), and all fluids. Common sense items.

In the remote situation that you have trouble underway, al,most any shop can fix your car.

An AAA membership and cellphone are your best freinds on an 800 mile trip.

thank you very much, so these belts are not so much affected by age, only wear?

My wife’s 2006 Sienna has a 7 yr/90k Timing belt change interval, whichever comes first. Assuming the your van’s change interval is similar, it’s 3 years past due for a change. I believe the 3.0 V6 in your van is non-interference, so a broken timing belt shouldn’t wreck the engine. On the other hand do you want to be stranded 800 miles from home? Assuming you can trust the mechanic, his suggestions seem reasonable for a 10 year old van.
All the items on the list could be considered maintenance.

Ed B.

Age is just a big a factor as miles, pure and simple. Since the car was likely manufactured in 1999 and the belts long before the car was built this means the belts are around 11 years old. That means about 5 years past due.

Yes, it also needs the water pump, belt tensioners, etc. spark plugs, and the cam/crank seals are a good idea while they’re in there because those seals are also an “age related” item.

The van runs well but that’s also a subjective opinion based on becoming acclimated to a performance downgrade. In other words, any performance loss is not noticeable to you, much like gradually failing shocks or struts may lead you to becoming acclimated to them.

Many a belt, both timing belt and accessory belt, has broken before 6 or 7 years, much less 11. Many an engine has also been ruined because of the failure of either.

When the car gets to be 15 years old, they will likely have age cracks and will need replacing. Your car is too new to worry about that, unless you live in Saudi Arabia and drive in the desert.

I disagree on timing belt. It is over 10 years old and rubber. It is overdue by at least 3 years. I would replace all the other belts if they get removed in the timing belt change process as labor is no more. The rest of items like water pump, plugs, cam and crank seals let them go.

10 years old is 2/3 the life of the average vehicle. I would not call it new.

Yes, I have to agree with andrew. The timign belt is probably OK due to the built-in safety factor, but since it is 10 years old I would replace it.