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Dealer asking for $3500 after performing multipoint inspection

Good evening everyone

I took my 2009 Toyota Camry to the dealer for inspection and to check on the source of an oil leak that a local valvoline identified

The dealer told me that the engine timing cover is leaking, found waterpump “seaping”, recommends immediate repair.
“customer has been advised and understands these recommended repairs should be performed immediately, as some are safety related concern, and some may result in additional repairs.”

They also found “ball joints leaking grease, lower control arm bushings separating, rear swaybar links and bushings worn”

Recommend reseal timing cover and replace water pump --> $1408 plus tax

Recommend replace ball joints, lower control arms, rear swaybar links and bushings --> 2145$ plus tax

I feel like i was about to be hosed so i declined, and am getting a second opinion

My question is - I have 121k miles on it - and im getting a 2nd opinion from an independent garage. if it does indeed have all these problems, how quickly should I address these and in what priority?

Also - in the long run does it make sense cost wise to repair these things if the independent dealer agrees with the above assessment?

It’s been a pretty reliable car thus far, I’ve enjoyed no monthly payments for the past few years, and I would hate to take on additional payments as the dealer obviously threw out the option of trading it in (for $4000 was their offer) which means more business for them

thanks in advance.

by the way, i told them that I declined the recommended repairs, and wanted an inspection, and it passed inspection which leads me to question them even more about how the statement in the printout that says “SOME ARE SAFETY RELATED” – if it was that imminent, wouldn’t it not have passed the state inspection/emisions and safety?

Which engine? Does it have a timing belt or a timing chain?

I looked it up, looks like timing chain

2009 LE (2.4L 4 cylinder)

I hate shops like this. They put the fear of God in customers to scare them into getting thousands of dollars unnecessary work done. There’s so much wrong with what the dealer told you that I don’t know where to start.

Post back after the independent shop looks it over.

I’d believe that the timing cover is leaking from the front seal and will get worse with time, but if Valvoline had to tell you, either you never check your oil or the leak is very small at this time. On the 4 cylinder engine, the seal is pretty easy to replace and I would think it could be done for less than $200.

But if you are not loosing very much oil between oil changes, it would not be worth doing at this time. Even if you have to add one or two quarts of oil between changes, $200 buys a lot of oil.

If you have the V6, then the water pump is a possibility, but don’t just replace the water pump, do a complete timing belt service if it is due.

Check your oil and coolant levels periodically, you should do this anyway, along with tire pressure.

All the rest is bogus.

I have not noticed the leak being a bad leak, and valvoline did indeed say it was a small one at this time.

Dealership mechanics like to make small issues seem like the end of the world. I’m willing to bet the independent mechanic will look at the car and strike about half of the issues off the list. Considering the evidence you saw for yourself, maybe 90% of it. I had a dealer mechanic try to convince me that the bushings on my truck were cracked and going bad and take a couple thousand dollars to fix. I declined and took it to my trusted suspension man. He told me that rubber bushings will dry and crack at the visible ends, but the bushings were solid and tight, no need to replace. That was years ago, and they are still tight.

I hate to see ALL dealer mechanics lumped into the weasel category. Most of the ones I’ve known were not like that at all.

At 121k miles and 7 years of age it could be your car does need all of that. Environmental conditions and road surfaces have a lot to do with it.
I do agree that the customer should get a second opinion and estimate.

As to what’s critical my vote is always for ball joints as being the most likely thing to kill you if they fail.

My youngest son had a Camry and at 175k miles it needed struts, ball joints, tie rod ends, and every seal in the belt case was leaking; along with the power steering pump. And the transmission halfshaft seals.

At 121 K I expect there’s lots of things showing wear. The question is , are they worn out and in need of immediate replacement? I expect OP understand this can’t be judged via the internet. Taking the car to an independent mechanic with excellent recommendations is the best bet, so OP is on the right track provided the inde mechanic is well chosen. You found the inde mechanic from prior experience or recommended from a trusted personal acquaintance, right?

Dealership shops treat inspection requests by their customers seriously, and most want to do right by their customers, so tend to error on the over-diagnose side rather than the under-diagnose side of things. That’s just the way it is with dealership shops. Whether they do it that way for the customer’s sake, or their own income sake, no way to now. But that’s what they do. For a 2009 model, the dealership probably isn’t the best choice for stuff like this since they specialize in warranty work. They’re experienced and tooled up for the newer models. Inde mechanics on the other hand are in the sweet spot for this age of car.

That said, it is indeed possible all these things should be addressed if you want what’s best for the longest practical car life. And yes, suspension problems, especially if severe, can be very unsafe.

Check oil frequently, if it’s using less than 1 qt/2000 miles I wouldn’t worry about it.

I hate to see ALL dealer mechanics lumped into the weasel category. Most of the ones I've known were not like that at all.

I agree they probably are…HOWEVER…the number isn’t 0…not even close. I’ve come across so many over the years I find the number to be significantly high…20% or even higher. Anything above 1% is way too high.

I just crossed one dealer off my list today - my MKZ front right suspension was squeaking over bumps. Took it to the dealer, they said it was the control arms, recommended changing all 4 (left and right) for $1,500. 5 years/50,000 miles and a worn out suspension? I did some web searching, turns out it’s a known problem caused by loosened attachment bolts for the upper control arms. Easy fix, no parts needed.

I won’t be going there again, for anything other than oil changes.

Rear sway bar links and bushings worn. Of course they are worn, as is everything else on a car with 121000 mikes on it. Doesn’t mean they need to be replaced. Telling you that there are safety issues and passing a safety inspection is pretty funny.

“I hate to see ALL dealer mechanics lumped into the weasel category.” - OK4450
You made a good point, but I’ve seen way more of this “going for the gold” approach than I ever used to see 40 years ago. It appears to me that long-term poor economic performance in the country overall has stimulated more questionable activities in particularly dealer shops. I suspect that it’s because the franchisees have far more control over the economic activities of their shops than they have over the cost structures of car sales, so the shops are used to support the operations overall. Dealer shops used to be mostly trustworthy, albeit a bit higher priced. Now it seems that the honest ones are in the minority.

Or maybe as I’ve grown more aware over the years the crookedness is becoming more apparent to me. :smiley:

It seems that when a customer asks to have their car checked for oil leaks there is no correct response.

If the vehicle is under warranty the leak can’t be dismissed and must be repaired. If the vehicle is out of warranty, an estimate is expected and it is unknown if the customer has an extended warranty. When the leak has been spotted by another shop how can the dealer pretend there is no leak?

You’ve made a good point, Nevada. The OP did suggest that he/she took the car in for a full inspection and to try to determine the source of an oil leak that a Valvoline had noticed. Not knowing exactly what the OP asked for or what the report actually says, I may have reacted too hastily. The OP may have asked for a full detailed report of everything found regardless of how minor it is and repair estimates for every detail found.

I’ll withhold any further criticisms of the shop pending further clarification. I may be being unfair.

The thing that got me is that initially the dealer came up with all of these issues they found, said they were safety issues, but then it passed the state inspection, new sticker on and everything, which makes me question them, and their pricing. I merely asked for inspection and to check on the oil leak/source and severity (which by the way they didn’t address and merely responded with “well it will get worse and your engine can seize up” ). They performed a “full 25 point vehicle inspection” (which is printed on the sheet word for word). I told them I wanted to hold back for now on the repairs because of finances and that I just wanted it inspected, and it wound up passing, so I sort of tacitly agreed when they offered a full detailed report of everything they found

Contrary to popular belief, and apparently that’s what these guys use to categorize oil leaks, engines do not seize up due to oil leaks, especially normal minor seepage past tired gaskets like the valvecover and oilpan gaskets. Engines seize up because the driver never checks the level and the oil level goes way too low.

The way the system works is that the oil pump draws oil from the pool in the oil pan and pumps it through the lubrication system channels. As long as the pump’s pickup tube, which draws oil from about 1/4" to 3/8" from the pan’s bottom, is immersed in oil, the engine doesn’t even recognize the leaks. It’s when the oil is allowed to drop well below the FILL line that you need to worry about seizing. Monitor the level and add a quart when indicated by the dipstick and your engine will never know you have seepage.

I think that Keith from the first page of posts was closest as to what the independent mechanic (i found them on the mechanic files from the website) – the timing cover is leaking very very slightly, nothing major and he can address that, the water pump is leaking which he’ll replace, and he pointed out an issue in the rear unrelated to suspension that he will fix for 50$ but he said the rest about suspension is bogus.

I actually had front and rear struts replaced october of 2015 and the gentleman from the independent garage told me the car itself is in excellent shape. He reminded me that dealerships make commission on that stuff.

independent mechanic quoted me 550$ and said “I probably saved you a thousand dollars” (i with-held that the dealer quoted me 3500$ plus tax