Any Car Mechanics Here?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Mikie, Aug 8, 2008.

  1. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    My 2003 Toyota Highlander only has about 25,000 miles on it and it's six years old. The dealership service dept. told me that because of age, no miles driven, that I should consider changing the timing belt in the next year. I was shocked. First, because it costs $850 and second, because I thought it was engine heat and friction which caused the belts to deteriorate, not age. Of course, everything breaks down with age but those belts are very, very sturdy. Any one have any knowledge or opinions on this? I would appreciate it.

    There are two types of engines. With one, if the belt breaks, it does no damage to the engine. With the other, if it breaks, it can destroy some valves. I need to find out which kind of setup I have. If it wouldn't do any damage if it were to break, I'd be more inclined to wait another 25,000 miles to have it done.

    Thanks for any help. BTW, I'm on the last day of the ABX. Yea! My midriff is still swollen and tender but I can tolerate food much better now. I only work two days this next week, so I'll have plenty of time to rest. Thanks for all your kindness when I got sick and thanks, in advance, to anyone who has info on my timing belt conundrum.

    Love, Mikie
  2. ksp56

    ksp56 Member

    My DH thinks the suggestion of taking it somewhere else other than a dealership, is a very good idea. We've gone to independent mechanics for quite awhile, due to bad luck with several dealerships.

    He also suggested that someone look at the bottom of belt to see if there are any cracks. If there is substanial cracks, than it might be. Jim also thinks with the low miles and it being only 6 y/o, he would be surprised if this was the case. Also, be sure and ask to see the belt yourself, if they say it is a problem.

    Good luck Mikie!


    BILLCAMO New Member

    my gut impulse is that the dealership just wants to make some money off you.....if you'll excuse the

    More seriously now , if you have maintained your vehicle properly , there should be no problem. Toyota has a reputation of erring on the side of caution. Many vehicles will actually get between 80,000 and 120,000 miles out of a timing belt.

    As with our DD's , it would be beneficial to get more opinions. I think it's very possible that the dealership is taking the "P.T. Barnum" approach.......

    BTW , ksp56 , the timing belt is not usually one that is easily inspected.....

    Blessings ,


    [This Message was Edited on 08/09/2008]
  4. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    I'd listen to Georgia's SO!

    Or call The Car Guys on NPR....... that would be for fun.


    BILLCAMO New Member

    for Mikie....

    If you'd like me to do so , I can ask my BIL's opinion. He works for a "honest" Toyota dealership. I may ask him anyway.... He will tell me the truth.

    A good dealership could tell from your VIN which engine your vehicle has......

    Blessings ,


    BILLCAMO New Member

    I stand corrected........ :>)

    Here is the "official word" from Toyota via my BIL. You should have an owner's manual and maintenance guide. You can verify this info with the suggested maintenance interval charts in your maintenance guide.

    The recommended maintenance schedule for your vehicle's timing belt is 6 yrs. or 90,000 miles. In areas with more extreme weather conditions it is 6 yrs. or 60,000 miles. Florida fits in the more severe weather descriptions.

    The frequency of oil changes can also have an impact on the life of the belt.

    Unless someone put a different engine in your Highlander , it should NOT have an engine that would be damaged if the timing belt gives out. But , you would have a towing bill to pay since the engine would not work.

    It is not unusual for vehicles like yours to go 10 yrs. and/or 100,000 miles without timing belt failure. But some have failed at about the 6.5 yrs. or 65,000 miles mark .

    If you have a failure with the timing belt by not having it changed at the 6 yr. mark , any warranty you may have would be void. Even with the "after market" or extended ones since recommended maintenance was not followed.

    Blessings ,


    [This Message was Edited on 08/10/2008]
  7. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    The service guy did say that I could proably go a year before having it done but that I should be thinking about having it done in the next year. Our extreme climate down here does cause things to deteriorate sooner. I will check for a recommended independent mechanic.

    I did learn that mine is a free-running engine in which a belt break would not cause damage. I have road service and don't go anywhere these days, so towing would only be an inconvenienc. In the meantime, I can scout for a mechanic. This Toyota dealership has an excellent reputation and has always been honest with me. It's just that the dealerships always recommend what is "ideal" and not necessarily what is the least that needs doing unless asked.

    I'm at the library, using their wifi. So far, the loss of my internet connection hasn't been too inconvenient. It just means I don't get here as often. I miss y'all. Thanks again.

    Love, Mikie
  8. sisland

    sisland New Member

    I was thinking about you and thought maybe i should give you a shout out and then Here you are!,,,,,,I'm glad things are ok for now with your Vehichle!,,,,,,,,,I'm so glad you can use the PC at the Library!

    This is just an idea about your Car,,,,,Maybe you could get a car cover,,,,i saw them at walmart for $20,,,,,Thinking about getting one,,,it would help with the dust and excess rain,,,,,,lolol,,,OH',,,But who would we have to hire to take it on and off for us!,,,,,lolol

    where i live is close to a lumber mill and there is always a layer of dust and sawdust on my car this time of year,,,,,

    so i bought one of thoes car dusters,,,a cheap one but it works ok for in between rains and car washes,,,,,

    I hope your doing OK!,,,,,,,HUgs!,,,,,Sis,,,,p.s. check in often!
  9. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Again, good to drop in and see everyone. Thanks for the advice. I do have a carport but what causes problems down here is in the ambient air which gets into everything regardless of whether it's covered or not.

    I'll eventually get the belt changed. Even the Toyota guy said I could wait a year.

    Love, Mikie