My Camry is a 2003 model with 80,000 miles. The dealer has said that we need our valve cover gasket replaced and quoted a ridiculously high price. How much should such a job cost and is it important to do?
You are free to get quotes, or look at probably $40 max in parts to do it yourself. If you do do it yourself make sure you go to the library and read a repair manual as torquing pattern, process and foot pounds are important to prevent warping. In many cars it is an entry level repair. It is important in my book as it is a simple fix to prevent oil loss, obnoxious smells and cleanliness of the engine.
Is that a 4 or 6 cylinder engine?
What was the ridiculously high price?
Get another estimate from an independent mechanic. You can also get another opinion about the necessity of replacing the valve cover gasket.
Why did the dealer say it was necessary?
6 cylinder engine. The price quoted was in excess of $700.
Get another opinion.
I’ve seen unscrupulous dealers/mechanics trying to make things up just to get you to fork over $700. This engine is not known for having valve cover gasket problems…I wouldn’t be surprised if the mechanic poured some oil on the engine and said “look…you have a valve cover gasket leak…”
I have a 2000 Camry V6 that needed the valve cover gaskets changed at 150k miles. I knew they needed changing because I could smell the oil burning on the rear exhaust manifold.
Do you notice any burnt oil smell coming from under the hood? Do you see oil drops on the ground where you park? If not, then you don’t need a gasket change.
The price is so high because the intake plenum must be removed to get to the rear valve cover. Also, while the covers are off, you should have your valve lash checked. Was this included in the price?
The price is a bit high. I was quoted about $500 for the job from a Toyota dealer. I ended up doing the job myself. There is a lot to remove and reinstall.
A second opinion is warranted in your case.
You might ask the shop what the estimate included. The incidentals that are often recommended can add up to quite a chunk. Plenum gaskets, anti-freeze, new spark plugs and insulators, etc. Oil leaking into the spark plug wells is a common problem from deteriorating valve cover grommets which are part of the valve cover gasket package.