How many mechanics does it take to change a valve cover gasket?

I don’t have a punchline for this one. Seriously though, I just took my car in for a brake issue, and they showed me where oil had been leaking down to the underside of the engine and told me that they needed to replace the valve cover gaskets. The parts for that repair was $34, but the labor was $400. Is that reasonable on a 1999 Toyota Sienna? I’ve read that it’s generally a quick procedure, but that on some cars, it may require some work (=time=extra labor costs) to get to them.

Hourly rate times the time required equals price…Does it take 4-6 hours to change a valve cover gasket???

On the 99 Toyota Sienna, the front valve cover is quite easy to access and remove. The rear is a much different story. To remove the rear valve cover, you must first remove the top cowl (the one the wiper blade arms come out of), then remove the air plenum.

You may likely find someone who will do it for less, but $400 labor doesn’t sound out-of-line.

Udate: Thanks to Roadrunner for correcting my mistake of saying the intake needed to be removed. It’s the air plennum.

That makes me feel better. I couldn’t figure out why the labor on this one item was so much more expensive than the others. Thanks for the information.

Some double-jointed mechanics might be able to gently tighten the valve cover fasteners and stop the leak without replacing the gaskets…

If the front is the only one that is leaking, don’t do the rear one and save your money. V6 I assume.

Like the others said, the rear’s a big job, so that’s not a bad price, if they do good work. Now is the time to combine several items, like spark plugs, timing belt, water pump, etc, if they are due or soon will be due, to eliminate double work. Just make sure they don’t double charge you!

You came in WAY under my standard price of $950 for doing work that requires an open hood. Congratulations; I think.

I combine jobs except when putting car in for a complex drivabilty concern,you want the mechanics full attention on that concern and not on how quick he can get to the gravy.

Remove the intake manifold to change valve cover gasket?

I think you mean the air plenum.

Correct, I did mean the air plenum. Thanks for correcting me.