I brought my Lexus RX330 in for repair which turned out to be a worn CV joint and they’re replacing the front axel. He then goes on to say they found two safety items: a pinhole in the exhaust requiring a new midsection of pipe for $270, and he suggested the drive belt be replaced because its over 60000 and 4 years. I see on my 60K checkup they replaced a drive belt. Are they trying to frighten me? How do I know when I need to replace the drive belt. This is all very frustrating because I’ve used this dealer for 5 years since I bought my car.
“How do I know when I need to replace the drive belt?”
The maintenance schedule that came with the owner’s manual will tell you the intervals for all standard maintenance items. This is the schedule you should follow. Dealers often shorten the mileage or time intervals to increase their profit.
There are three drive belts on an RX330; one for the power steering, one for the alternator and the AC, and one for the camshafts.
Which belt, or belts, did they replace at the 60K checkup, and which one are they suggesting you replace now?
My guess is the camshaft drive belt (also known as the timing belt), but check the schedule and see when it’s supposed to be replaced. If the belt should be replaced at 60K miles or 4 years, then it’s time for a new belt.
As far as the pinhole goes, I’d be a bit skeptical. The exhaust system in your Lexus should not have any holes in it yet, except the ones it came with from the factory.
Although there are prescribed maintenance intervals, on something like a belt I will inspect it before suggesting replacement. I see many belts go to 100k and beyond with no problem, but some belts do exhibit wear (usually cracking in the ribs) at or before 60k.
For the exhaust system, I assume the dealer had the car on a lift, and I would ask to inspect the muffler before authorizing replacement. It is simple to inspect- if the muffler housing has a hole/leak, it should be replaced. (However on my own car, I will usually wait a few more months until the leak becomes more severe than just a pinhole - do this at your own risk!)
If they already replaced the drive belt then it doesn’t need to be replaced. What did they say when you mentioned it to them??? If the drive belt is making noise or shows cracks then you should replace. But it sounds like you have 0 automotive knowledge, so you’re at the mercy of the dealer.
Do as the others recommend. Just a comment - I quit using my Lexus dealer after they tried to push unneeded work on me. I found an excellent independent garage- no push, cheaper prices. Try out the car talk mechanic finder.
Why is this frustrating, Lexus is nothing special they have issues and wear just like everything else? They have an opinion the items needs changing.
I would get a 2nd opinion from a trusty independent(ask friends family coworkers). If you are out of warranty there is NO reason to go to a Lexus dealer although service experience is really nice except for price.
Please note a Lexus is nothing more than a glorified plebeian Toyota. ANY competent mechanic can work them and do no require specialized training. You basically own an upgraded Camry chassis melded into a crossover.
I’m not going to rip the dealer because there is precious little info being given here including and not limited to:
Year of vehicle
Current mileage of vehicle
How long since the drive belt was replaced.
WHICH drive belt? I believe this model has more than one depending on the fitment.
Possible misinterpretation and a timing belt is what may be needed.
Possible confusion between the OP who apparently knows little about cars and a service writer who may not know much more either.
(And it is possible to have a pinhole in the exhaust. In this case, hit a muffler shop up. They can braze it closed.)
Owner profiling. It has something to do with it. The dealer is proud of its own cars and all the people working there know that Lexus owners are not cheapskates or they would be owning Corollas. They know that you don’t want a rebuilt CV joint. What you want is trouble free driving and the ultimate pride of Lexus ownership. Don’t reveal to them that money is some kind of object. The belt, the pipe and the CV joint are all priced in the right range. You own a Lexus. You must not be caught walking because of an old drive belt. Rich joke at the golf course. The brakes on this cart don’t work too well. The other guy says. If the brakes give out, just throw your wallet in front of it; that thing could stop a truck.