Timing Belt / 2011 Subaru Impreza

While fully agreeing with asemaster and the following comments I might add that I’ve gotten involved a few times with provided parts and it did not turn out that well.

The last time was a fuel pump replacement (no tank drop but still…) in which someone got a 1/3 price fuel pump from a drop shipper in Utah peddling containers full of Chinese parts on eBay.

Two months later that pump failed and the one year warranty was not worth the hassle involved.
The warranty stipulated that the pump had to be shipped back for examination and testing and it was even hinted at that there would be a service charge if found to be good and no refund on the pump would be given. So much for warranty.

In the meantime, the car sits for infinity and that cut rate price is not looking so good now.

Okay, so everyone is saying I shouldn’t buy online. What’s the difference between buying online and having a mechanic purchase parts? A Gates belt is a Gates belt. An ACDelco belt is an ACDelco belt. The only difference is the method in which the parts are purchased, and the price is typically cheaper online.

I told you why. A shop relies on parts markups to stay in business. If they did not do that everyone of them would be out of business and the entire world would have to revert to full DIY mode.

Okay, I don’t agree with them relying on parts to stay in business, because it’s a service, and they typically charge $60-85 (Merchant’s Tire is over $90) per hour. But, back on topic.

I’m going to inspect everything when I get home. I appreciate the help, folks.

@ok4450 Yes some warranties are dubious. The famed Steinway pianos, I believe, have a very long warranty, but the owner must ship the piano back to New York at his own expense!

I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy online. Amazon and rockauto have some great prices and are a great money saver for a DIY’er. As long as you’re willing to take the risk of bearing the cost of those savings and finding a shop to share in that risk with you.

Relying on parts profit to stay in business isn’t something that you agree with or not, it’s just a fact of business. Parts markup generally provide 30% or so of gross profit to a small independent garage. The simple fact is that the $96/hour labor alone isn’t enough to keep the business open. Without parts profit we’d go broke. That’s because cars are not fixed by labor alone, it’s not just a service. We need parts to fix your car. In fact the parts prices are usually about half of the bill, as you’ve noticed.

Look at it this way, I don’t know what you do for a living, but if you went in on Monday and were told that you’d be doing the same work you always do but were going to make 70% of your regular pay, how would you react? In essence, that’s what you’re asking a shop to do when bringing your own parts. Now I don’t mind you saving money as long as it doesn’t cost me any money. I’m all for you getting a good deal as long as it’s a good deal for me too. As for your shop owner friend who’s doing the work for $150, that’s a real head scratcher but for a different conversation.

Anyway, buy a Gates or ContiTech timing component kit, replace the thermostat, belts, and hoses that have to come off, and buy your friend a 12-pack for doing you such a favor.

By this logic one could take their purchased food into a restaurant and just pay to have it cooked.

Call the plumber and tell him the parts are covered.

Same for an electrician.

Or a home builder.

Or a HVAC service person.

Or a lawn and garden service because you’re furnishing the mower and weedeater.

Walk into a doctor’s office or hospital and tell them to skip charging you on OTC meds, bandages, syringes, braces, splints, surgical tubing, and so on because you brought your own…

Those are all service oriented occupations and without part markups they would all be belly up.

I have no idea what kind of shop this is or how it’s being handled but unless it’s done on the side as a good will gesture a 150 dollar labor charge doesn’t cover the bases in a shop operation.

@asemaster @ok4450

I appreciate the help.

I, too, questioned him a bit when he said he would do it for $150. I haven’t been to his shop since moving out of the area, and this may be a gesture to get me back as a consistant customer. Honestly, if he wasn’t so far away, I’d have him do everything for me, but it’s just not plausible when I can get an oil change and tire rotation down the street for $20.

I’m not going to argue about the parts fees and labor fees. I don’t know enough about it to justify even talking about it, but I somewhat look at a mechanic like a contractor. You hire them for a job, like you would a contractor, and you buy the material. I don’t see anything wrong with it, but again, like I said, I don’t know any specifics.

ASE is right about the other belts… They need to be removed to do the job…and they dont cost much at all. I think there are only 2 other belts. You are correct…if the other belts snap the car will still run…for a while until the battery dies. But again…they arent as essential as the T belt…

I would replace all of the belts… they are so cheap to do. You might feel silly if you didnt do them… But whatever. You are safe doing the T-Belt in the manner described…this is the correct way to do that service for certain.

Anyway…good luck, you are off to a great start.


Please understand that I’m not being snide or combative. The system for lack of a better word has to work with a part markup or it won’t work at all.
Now, every shop could sell parts at exact cost to the customer but the labor rate would rise to offset it.
If you paid 300 labor and 200 parts on a job and suddenly it became a 500 labor job with O on the parts what’s the difference?

On Monday morning the profit does not start when a car rolls through the door and onto a rack. Each stall in the shop will require X number of billable hours every week to reach a break even point before any profit even begins.

And yes, the others are correct. Any issues such as serpentine belts should be taken care of while it’s apart and there are no extra labor charges. High miles might also mean a new belt tensioner.
Best of luck.

@“Honda Blackbird” @ok4450

I ended up purchasing the AC belt and serpentine belt. I looked over everything a bit ago, and my radiator hoses look fine, still look new. They may have been replaced recently, but I’m not sure because I just purchased the car.

Since you just bought a Subaru and which I assume has the automatic transmission I might add a bit of warning in regard to oil changes.
Oil changes are simple but on a Subaru can easily go badly wrong if someone is inattentive.

The final drive of the transmission (which uses hypoid gear oil) has its drain plug located near the engine oil drain plug. In some cases a careless person has drained the final drive by mistake and:
A. Caught the mistake, finished the engine oil change, and forgot to refill the final drive.
B. Did not catch it and overfilled the engine oil because the engine oil was never drained.

At some point if this is not caught the transmission can suffer a catastrophic failure and I mean bad; as in cracked case and not worth fixing.
Stay on top of this issue after an oil change and note if the engine oil is way overfilled and/or if you hear any subtle whining from the transmission until you’re sure of the person doing the oil changes. Hope that helps.

Does this apply to a manual? Either way, I appreciate everything.

Yes, it applies to a manual also as the final drive drain plug is in the same place as the automatic.
The only difference is that the automatic has the final drive oil compartmented separately from the ATF (auto trans fluid).

With the manual the same hypoid oil lubes both the final drive (the ring and pinion gearset) and all of the gears and shafts in the manual transmission itself.

I say this because I’ve worked for 3 Subaru dealers over the years and have seen probably half a dozen transmissions turned to scrap metal because of a botched oil change.
The number could have been higher but some people were more attuned to a subtle whine they had never noticed before and had it checked before the transmission did grenade itself.

You did not just ask for a list of parts, you asked also for what you would have to pay for labor and then added that you wanted to supply the parts as if you thought that would not effect the labor rate.
Also be aware that a “Gates timing belt kit” sold on Amazon for a super cheap price may contain a Gates timing belt and the rest of the parts may be indeterminable in origin and it may or may not fit your car.
You asked for advise and apparently you didn’t like the advice so I would like to offer you your money back.


“but I somewhat look at a mechanic like a contractor. You hire them for a job, like you would a contractor, and you buy the material”

I’m afraid your understanding of the industry is wrong. That is not the way automotive repair shops work

What if the customer brings the wrong parts?

What if the customer brings faulty parts?

What if the customer brings used parts?

Let the shop source the parts. It is their responsibility to get the correct parts for your car. It is up to them to get parts that are reliable. After all, they are quite probably warrantying parts and labor for a certain amount of time.

It’s also not very efficient to depend on the customer to supply the parts

it’s not a sustainable business model

A mechanic is no more a contractor than is a restaurant or a dentist. You don’t bring your food to the diner down the street to have them cook it. And my experience with contractors has been the opposite of yours. When I hire someone to paint my house, the painter provides the paint and charges me accordingly. I don’t know what kind of paint and primer I need or how much. When I have a fence built I have no idea how many fenceboards I need or what kind of posts to buy. The contractor does that and bills me. I’ve never had a contractor ask me to provide materials, and I’ve never suggested that I would.

@"oldtimer 11"
In my original post, I asked for what should be replaced along with the timing belt.

Although I don’t agree, it is what it is. However, in this case, the mechanic either has no problems installing customer furnished parts, or he’s being lenient because he’s an old family friend. Either way, I trust him and I know it will get done right. If he doesn’t approve of the parts I bring him, I’m sure he’ll have no problem telling me so.

I think you will be in good shape after this service. You addressed everything you should have and now all you need to do is pull the trigger on the repairs…

Good Job preparing for a very important service… Good Luck with it


If you trust him that’s all that matters. His business decisions and your parts purchases are nobody’s business other than the two of you. You two have an agreement and I hope it works out for both of you.

FWIW, if someone brings me parts to install on his car, I don’t spend one minute examining or testing them. I install them and if they’re good, that’s fine. If they’re bad right out of the box I don’t care, not my problem. I get paid either way and the customer can figure out what to do next.

Just out of curiosity, it looks like you drive 20,000+ miles a year. Surely you’ve had lots of other maintenance and repair to the car. Who usually does that? Do you have a garage you generally do business with or are you a DIY’er?