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Dealer Recommended Valve & Cam Seal Replacements

I took my husbands 2001 Solara to the dealer today for an oil change & tire rotation. As usual, they came up with other needed repairs to whatever car I had in. Today they said there was oil leaking on the timing belt and that the valve and cam seals needed to be replaced - soon! Also, since that was being done, the water pump should also be replaced. Total estimate was approx. $1270. Should I have someone else look at this?

The car is 9 years old and as is the case with most 9 year old cars things in need of attention will usually be found. The fact the dealer is checking other things and suggesting repairs does not mean you’re being ripped off. This accomplishes 2 things; it drums up work for the shop and lets the car owner know of an impending problem.

In this case, if the timing belt has never been changed it has been on borrowed time for quite a while and yes, the water pump should be replaced.
A leaking cam seal can ruin a timing belt and valve seal symptoms may be oil consumption and smoke out of the tailpipe upon startup.

You do not have to allow the dealer to do this repair. A decent independent shop can perform this job.

If the belt has never been changed it’s best to do it rather than have the belt snap as your hubby is trying to beat a loaded Kenworth truck through an intersection.

Are you talking about the valve stem seals or the valve cover gaskets?

Most car makers recommended that the timing belt be changed at about 100,000 miles, or eight years. So, find an independent shop/mechanic to replace yours for HUNDREDS LE$$ than the dealer. The timing belt replacement includes replacing: timing belt, tensioner, camshaft seal, crankshaft seal, valve cover seals, and waterpump.
I have to wonder IF a leaking camshaft seal were found. How? Anyway, save money…go indy.

O.K. now that I have another opinion I feel better. The car only has 77K miles and we have been using Mobile One oil in it since it has had 36K miles (about 3 yrs old). I forgot the dealer also said the drive belt has to be replaced at the same time.

Reply to Tardis: I am not sure if it is the valve cover gasket or the valve stem seals. It was a long seal that ran length wise across the engine(I think that was the valve seal) and then the other was was above the timing belt (that was a small one - I couldn’t really see it from below).

That would be valve cover then.


Toyota V6s commonly have valve cover gasket leaks. If it’s time for a timing belt, I would have all those done, plus replace the spark plugs. Just make sure they don’t double charge you on labor, lots of the same labor applies to several of these items. Finally, I’d find someone besides a dealer to do this, you’ll save quite a bit.

Thank you kindly for the great advice!