Prius Recalls Dealer found other issues

Took my 2008 Prius in for some recalls and received a call from the dealer’s service dept. telling me the serpentine belt is cracked and needs to be replaced, the water pump is leaking and the heat shield is loose. To fix all three of these issues would run $320. I just had the car go through NYS inspection less than one week ago. Would any of these issues have shown up on inspection? I’m not having any issues with the car at all and am wondering if this is just the dealership trying to make some money since the car is only there for recalls? If the work needs to be done I will do it, but it seems fishy to me.

These are not checked through state inspection, they are looking for brakes, steering, tires and other safety issues. The items they told you about are not unusual for a car this age. Think about getting a second opinion by taking it to a local independent mechanic.

Have them show you. I doubt these would have been noticed at the inspection, they’re not safety-related. As for price, it might be a bit high, any shop can do the belt and heat shield. As for the water pump, is it for the engine (belt driven) or for the inverter (electric motor driven)? Here’s more info on the inverter pump:

If it’s the inverter pump I’d be inclined to have the dealer do it. If the engine pump, it looks pretty standard, a good independent shop (NOT a chain) could do it. Since the car’s drivable, you could get a second opinion.

I asked about the pump because the electric water pump is one of the recalls they are supposed to be doing and they said it is the gas pump so I assume that is what you are referring to with the engine pump. I called the garage (not a chain!) I usually use and made an appt. for them to check it out next week. I don’t want to be stranded somewhere but I also thought it odd we haven’t had any issues and all of a sudden they found 2 pretty major ones. Hopefully on the up and up. (Heat shield is probably thanks to all of our NY pot holes. Not the first time I’ve had a loose one.) Thanks!

The recall appears to be on the inverter’s water pump. That’s dedicated to the hybrid gizmos - the engine’s water pump (the one that normal cars also have) is not recalled. If that’s the one that’s bad, it will be on your dime to fix it.

It doesn’t surprise me at all that the serpentine belt needs to be replaced. This is right about the time that it would be showing its age.

Personally, I would just rip the heat shield off myself and drive on down the road - but the caveat to that is that if your engine starts misfiring and you don’t address the matter promptly, it can make the catalytic converter extremely hot, and without the heat shield in place, it might do some damage to the stuff above it. The reason I’d just rip it off is because I am the only one who drives my cars, and I would never drive a car that’s misfiring because doing so can result in damage that gets very expensive very quickly.

The engine water pumps wear out, just like on all other cars. No surprise. What ‘2 major issues’? Belt’s simple, heat shield fix should be pretty easy.

The belt and water pump are both parts that wear out. If original equipment it wouldn’t surprise me that they’re on the way out at this age and miles.
Either one will strand you if they fail.
Ask to see the belt. There is a wear standard for so many cracks per inch. It will be obvious. Ask to see where they say the water pump is leaking.
The heat shield gets loose with age. It is held on with plastic trim push pins. If it’s missing some pins it will hang down and then get caught on something, which will pull down the entire shield. Even though the shield is cheaply attached, the shields serve a purpose on the Prius and should be maintained to be tight.
Personally, I’d fix all three at the dealer and be done and ready to go. At $320 parts and labor they’re certainly not getting rich off you.

Did you tell the second garage about the dealer’s recommendations? If not, don’t and just let them make their own recommendations. Telling the new shop about the other recommendations has a way of showing up there, too.

It’s true that dealer shops often use recalls to generate some income for the shop by looking for problems that may or may not need to be addressed. But $320 for those three items seems pretty reasonable to me. It would cost more than that here in San Jose for my Corolla for the equivalent work. But replacing the Corolla’s water pump may take more time than the Prius, don’t know. WP replacements on a Corolla involve loosening or removing the front engine mount and jacking up or otherwise supporting the engine. Maybe that’s not required on a Prius.

Still, unless you’ve had a bad experience with this dealer shop before, I’d be inclined in this situation to pay the $320 and just let the dealer do the job.

One word of caution the cooling system on the Prius has a coolant storage tank that must have the air bled from it properly. If air is trapped in the system the engine may overheat and be damaged. Make sure if you use an independent they know how to properly service the cooling system.

$320 for belt, pump and heat shield sounds slightly high. It is easy to identify a need for the ICE water pump. Look under the hood on the engine. Find the belt. The big pulley is for the water pump. If you see any coolant in that area. The coolant is coming out of the weep hole on the water pump. This is what they used to determine that your car needs a new ICE water pump.

If you have any mechanical ability, you should do it yourself. I have done the ICE water pump and belt. It can cost you less than $100 and a couple of hours if you can do the work yourself. Getting the air out of the system is the real problem. This car has a total of 4 water pumps and 2 totally separate cooling systems. It can be tricky at times.

I’m not to sure about the heat shield. What are they going to do and what was the problem with it? This is probably why they are charging you more than the going rate for water pump change. If they can’t explain this problem and why they need to fix it, I would try to negotiated a lower price or go to a local mechanic shop and get a quote on the same work.