Timing Cover Leak


#1

I took our 2011 Lexus GX 460 in for an oil change and was told the timing cover is leaking. The quoted cost to repair was over $2000. Is this a repair that is urgent and is the repair quote reasonable? Will it hurt to drive the vehicle until the repair is made? Why hasn’t there been any oil drops on the garage floor where the vehicle is parked?


#2

It is likely that you don’t see any oil on the garage floor because the leak only occurs when the oil is pressurized.
Or, another possibility is that the “leak” is merely a tiny amount of seepage that can be safely ignored.

How much oil do you have to add between oil changes?
If the answer is “none” or “less than 1 qt”, then I think that minor seepage is more likely than an actual leak.

However, all that we can do from afar is to speculate.
I think that this is a situation that cries out for a second opinion.

And, if this does turn out to be a leak that needs to be repaired, I think that there is a very strong probability that you could have it taken care of for a lot less than $2k. Ouch!


#3

It would be unusual for a 2011 Lexus timing cover to be leaking unless there’s a ton of miles on it.

My suggestion would be to get a few more opinions and not say anything up front about what you were told. See if all 3 opinions match and go from there.


#4

“another possibility is that the “leak” is merely a tiny amount of seepage that can be safely ignored”

@Steve58 did you take it to the dealership?
Making extra $$ in this situation is their bread and butter.
They’re happy to do major surgery until your car is ready for the Coucours d’ Elegance.


#5

And Lexus service departments are known to feed on their perfectionist customers…


#6

“And Lexus service departments are known to feed on their perfectionist customers…”

They and a lot of other dealers as well.


#7

Circitsmith:
I did take it to a Lexus dealership. We have never had to add oil between changes which is every 10K miles, and the serviceman didn’t say that the oil level was low at this time either.


#8

“I did take it to a Lexus dealership. We have never had to add oil between changes which is every 10K miles, and the serviceman didn’t say that the oil level was low at this time either.”

That confirms my suspicions in two respects–that it was a dealership using the old squeeze play on a customer, and that the “leak” is, in reality, only some minor seepage.

The OP should take his car to a well-reputed indy mechanic for a second opinion.


#9

Do you check your oil level between changes? The only way to know how much is being used is to periodically check it. Do that until you have an understanding how much oil is used per 1000 miles.

But if you’re actually less than one quart low after 10,000 miles, I wouldn’t touch the timing cover.


#10

Timing chain cover leaks don’t leak enough oil to have to add oil, it only takes a few ounces to create a mess.

Contact Lexus customer service, this is a known problem on the GX460 and they may offer warranty coverage beyond the powertrain warranty of 70,000 miles.


#11

^
That is excellent advice from Nevada!
The OP has to use the right approach, however.
Do NOT say that you will never again buy a Lexus, because that removes at least part of their motivation for extending help beyond the warranty period.

Instead, the OP should emphasize that he is greatly disappointed by this flaw in his excellently-maintained Lexus, and that he hopes they can restore his faith in Lexus/Toyota.


#12

Thank you Nevada_545 and VDCdriver for your excellent advice. I appreciate it greatly.


#13

Ask them to put the car on the rack and show you why they are concerned. It may be a small leak, but the parts the oil is is leaking on might later lead to bigger problems. The kind of problems you don’t want.


#14

Nevada beat me to it, this is a common issue. It is a rather extensive job, if you have been using Lexus dealers for the maintenance you have a good chance of getting some factory assitance.