Too much for repair?

I bought a 2001 Hyundai Sonata 4-cyl. automatic one month ago. When I got a tune-up at the dealer, they told me there was a leak coming from behind the timing belt cover and that they recommended replacing the timing belt at the same time as fixing whatever was leaking, which they didn’t know yet.

Their quote for replacing the timing belt was $500 – which I don’t know if it includes the repair to whatever is leaking.

Anyway, it seems expensive for a timing belt

If anyone could give me any advice or comments that would be great.

I’m worried I bought a money trap and am getting pretty nervous about this whole thing.

I also want to add that a few hours ago the check engine light came on and that has me even more nervous – how long should I wait before taking it back in now that the engine light is on? Should you go in right away when that happens?

If the Check Engine Light(CEL) is flashing take it soon as possible and drive little as you can. If its solid take it in soon. You may find a simple loose gas cap caused it to go off and it will eventually clear.

$500 is reasonable to change out a timing belt.

There’s a fair chance the water pump is leaking. It’s a good idea to get it replaced when the timing belt is changed since it would much more expensive labor-wise to do it seperately

There are two possible things that can be leaking…Oil or water. Did the delaer tell you WHAT was leaking??

If it’s water it’s the water pump. If it’s oil it’s either a cam or crank seal.

How did they determine that something was leaking???

$500 is NOT a bad price for a timing belt…IF it’s needed. I for one am very very skeptical of this dealer. They say something is leaking and they don’t know what it is??? And HOW do they know something behind the cover is leaking???..especially if they don’t know WHAT’S leaking…very very fishy to me.

I’d find a good independent mechanic. The dealer is no better or worse then a good independent…and problably a lot cheaper.

Mike means that the independent mechanic is cheaper. (It must be too late out in NH.)

You might want to check your owner’s manual and determine when the timing belt is due for replacement. I would guess that since you car is a 2001, it is not far from needed a new timing belt anyway unless it has been replaced already.

$500 is not bad for a timing belt. The timing belt is an internal part of the engine and replacements are expensive due to labor. If the timing belt breaks, your car stops and it may be damaged. Neither is good.

The water pump replacement sharers much labor cost with the timing belt replacement so it is generally recommended to do both at the same time.

It does sound like the water pump is the problem and if so I would also replace the timing belt.

No this is not a money trap, it is not at all unusual for a car that old (how many miles??) to need this work done. Both the water pump and the timing belt are wear items like tyres or plugs. They need to be replaced from time to time.

Note that red light could be low coolant, even more evidence of a bad water pump.

In addition to the other good advice that has already been given, I want to add that, unless you can confirm through maintenance records that the timing belt was replaced once already, this 7 year old car is now due or overdue for a timing belt replacement. If this is an “interference” engine, when that belt snaps (without warning, I might add), you will incur repair costs of…likely at least $1,500… in addition to the $500. cost for timing belt replacement.

If you are concerned that you bought “a money trap”, you should realize that every day you delay the replacement of that timing belt makes it more likely that you are creating a money trap situation. I would advise that you also replace the water pump at the same time that the timing belt is replaced, whether the water pump is currently leaking or not.

Yea…thanks for clarifying what I MEANT to say…it was late and I had been at work for 16 hours…little punch drunk.

the quote most likely includes the water pump with the belt. When you consider the labor involved in changing some timing belts, $500 is very cheap.
I had my work done 2 years ago on my civic and the way it breaks done is my belts(alternator, timing, and compressor) and pump all cost me $180.13, the labor cost me $245(3.5 hrs * $70)
Most likely they will ask you to leave your car overnight as to let the engine cool down for them to work on in the morning, so be sure to have something set up prior to going in.