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Need a second opinion

My wife and I have a 2004 Toyota Siena V6 with 81,000 miles. It’s a great vehicle and we want to keep it for as long as we can.

The last time we took it to the dealer we wer told that at 90,000 miles it would be due for a new timing belt. We have no problem with spending money to maintain the vehicle but just want to be sure the dealer is being straight with us.

Here are the prices they quoted.

Timing Belt only $299.99

If a new water pump is needed $380.79

If a timing belt tensioner and pulleys are needed $375.83

If cam seals are needed $85.00 each

If drive belts are needed $75.00-$105.00 (no labor charge.

If all are needed it comes to around 1200.00

If that’s the case so be it but you can probably see why we want to get a 2nd opinion. That ain’t chump change.

Get some price quotes from independent mechanics. You’re paying dealer prices, and you don’t need a dealer for this.

If the water pump is driven by the timing belt, it’s wise to install a new one when the belt is replaced, regardless of its condition.

Accessory drive belts should be about half the dealer price. I’m sure similar savings can be had on the water pump and tensioner.

Is the second opinion on whether the work needs to be done or on the cost? If it’s on whether the work needs to be done, the answer is in your glove compartment.

Cost. I understand the necessity of the work.

bump to page 1 for cost

Part one: Check the owner’s manual. Most modern cars use a timing belt and they last generally over 90,000 miles. How much over ??? no one knows, but every mile over that magic number brings you closer to the belt breaking, if it does while you are driving the engine will suddenly stop (this can be very bad on the highway) if you survive that, then you should be hoping that you have one of the cars that does not destroy the engine when the belt breaks. Those engines that get damaged are called interference types.

Part two: This is maintenance. The items listed are generally needed or very wise to have done now because it is much cheaper to replace a water pump now than in a few months when you would have to pay for the labor all over again.

It is hard to tell where the labor cost is listed or combined, but usually the dealer is the most expensive place to have a car worked on. A good local independent mechanic will usually be a lot cheaper and do just as good a job.

Suggestion get some additional estimates and have the work done between now and 90,000 miles. You might even be able to work out a better price with an independent if you agree to bring it in when he is not busy.

It is time to change the timing belt at 90K miles, according to the timing belt guide I consulted.

My experience with Minivans is limited, but I would take exception to the $381 for water pump. A new aftermarket part itself runs about $100-150. The rest is labor.

On my Subarus, the water pump gets replaced at literally no additional labor cost when the timing belt is replaced. I would ask how difficult and how much additional labor is required on a Sienna. Same argument for the cam seals. They don’t cost that much, part-wise, so most of the increase is labor, and my mechanic replaces them at parts cost only.

Certainly get a second opinion on the total costs from a reputable independent mechanic. This estimate is about 40% more than what I pay to have similar work done on our Subaru. While I understand minivans are harder to work on, not sure that the increased estimate justifies the estimated cost.

Toyota has been recommending a 105k Timing belt change for several years. Check your owners manual.

First off find a independent. It’ll cut the cost down drastically and it will be as good or better.

Second…you should ALWAYS replace the drive belts when you do a timing belt, unless they were just done. I usually never changed the drive belts until I changed the timing belts. Cam seals may or may NOT be needed. And it’s always a good idea to replace the water pump since you’ll have to remove the timing belt if you want to replace the pump.

You should be able to get this preformed from an independent for about half what the dealer is charging.

Toyota does not recommend the water pump be replaced with the timing belt. THEY RECOMMEND THE WATER PUMP BE INSPECTED, AND THE DECISION MADE BY THE INSPECTION.

When I had my timing belt on my 2002 Sienna replaced they said the water pump did not need to be replaced, and also said it is not common that it needs to be replaced the first time (assuming coolant maintenance has been properly done.)

Wharfrat2, it might be a good idea to Google for the Sienna Club and get registered. Some of the world’s best mechanics are right here on cartalk forums, but the Sienna Club also has information specially for Sienna owners, such as the fact your water pump probably doesn’t need replaced if you have kept the coolant up. That may not be intuitive for Big Three owners.

My 2001 has around 149,000 and I will probably go ahead next time and replace the water pump, since the car will be at the half way point, and also to make sure I don’t get stuck with Brand-X parts down the road as the car ages.

I am well aware that alternatives to dealer service are available. However, each person should make up his own mind on major decisions. I have had my fill of cheaper or rebuilt parts that the independents tend to want to push and at Toyota I get OEM on most items, not that I’ve had that many. Also, when I do that, I don’t need to do a lot of repeats.

Most repairs, outside of normal maintenance, and planned PM replacement of parts before they fail when the probable life is known, it has been idle speed actuator; charcoal canister; and O sensors.

I just looked and the 2002 Sienna recommends timing belt replacement at 90,000. I have no idea later models.

Timing Belt only $299.99
If a new water pump is needed $380.79
If a timing belt tensioner and pulleys are needed $375.83
If cam seals are needed $85.00 each
If drive belts are needed $75.00-$105.00 (no labor charge.

You are adding the cost of these items…the cost of a timing belt AND water pump is 380…that is how I see it…a water pump is not an additional 380 if you get a timing belt changed out.

I’m thinkin the water pump price is the price for pump and belt being done. The labor charges will probably be high no matter where you go, considering it’s a v6 minivan. They’ll probably have to drop the engine out to get to it.
Also, there’s a time and mileage listed, so it being an 04, the time should be about right.

We get a lot of “calls” from people who seem so totally enamoured with their dealers that they don’t seem to mind that those free cups of coffee, free tv, and nice waiting room is only going to cost them $500 (on a timing belt change) over what an independent shop would charge. So, some of us don’t try to break this bond any more.

JMHO, but this bill could be about right. The issue about replacing the water pump and tensioners, etc. does not fall into the “IF” category. It’s a must. The cam seals are debateable but considering they’re almost there anyway once it’s disassembled I would say replace them if you’re going to keep the vehicle for a while. Replace this stuff without new cam seals and if they start leaking next year the new belt will be oil saturated and then it’s repeat the process.

There is extra labor involved in replacing those items except for the drive belts although there is possibly a little bit of overlap.

You’re also looking at dealer prices on Toyota OEM parts. These parts through the dealer will often be higher than comparable parts from the local parts house. This does not mean the dealer is gouging you on the price. The price the dealer pays Toyota for those OEM parts is higher than what the local parts houses pay for theirs.
The dealer labor rates are generally higher. The dealer service dept. has expenses a small independent shop can only dream of.

You could price this job around at an independent shop if you’re not picky about having a Toyota dealer only perform the job.

(As an example I looked up an aftermarket belt tensioner, pulleys, etc. and that alone was priced at 175 bucks. An independent shop would likely mark that amount up to ??? so 375 for those items does not really sound out of line for Toyota OEM parts.)

I agree with the other poster that you should not add all the prices. It is $299.99 for the timing belt, the rest does not have much of extra labor, mostly the price for parts. I usually change the tensioner and the waterpump and the drivebelts all at the same time, but that is me. Ask around, you need a good independent mechanic anyways. Toyota dealerships aren’t better than them.

See if you can get that all done for about $900.

Need a second opinion

Guy walks into the doctor’s office. Says, “Doctor, I’ve been told I only have a month to live. I need a second opinion.” … Doctor says, “O.K., You’re ugly.”

Sorry, it’s the only second opinion I have.