I own a 2001 Mercury Sable that I maintain meticulously. It has just over 32,000 miles on it, is in great shape and I intend to drive it until it drops.
In January this year, I noticed a “hot” or burning smell under the hood, and discovered oil was leaking, apparently from the oil filter (which had been replaced Oct 2011). Took it to the dealer, who said it hadn’t been tightened properly, fixed at no charge to me. On and off since then I smelled the same “hot” odor, so when I took it in last week for it’s 6-month maintenance (oil, oil filter, air filter, check battery/tires, etc.) I mentioned that to the service guy. He called me later to tell me the tech said I needed to replace the valve cover gaskets, the “cam synchro O-ring”, and the upper intake gasket (because they need to go through it to get to the valves). $108.04 for valve cover parts, $61.95 for the intake gasket parts, and $448.31 for labor for a total of $618.30 + taxes and shop costs.
On top of that shock, the tech who worked on my car said I needed a new oil pan gasket - which had just been replaced in April of last year to the tune of >$300. The tech also said I need a coolant flush, brake flush, and power steering flush, all of which were also done last April at the same time the oil pan gasket was replaced. If I do everything the tech says, it will come to $2100 - just a bit less than the car is worth.
I feel I’m being taken for a ride, even though the dealer has treated me fairly over the years.
How serious is the valve cover gasket issue, do they really have to go through the intake to reach the valve covers, and could I really need an oil pan gasket replaced after just 12 months?
Last September someone ran into the right rear of the car while it was parked in a lot and left without leaving any info. Required major work on the right rear fender and rear bumper. Could that have affected the valve cover gaskets, etc.? If so, why wasn’t the damage caught in October?