Toyota Repair Problems? Ask a Mechanic for Answers ASAP
Hello and thank you for trusting us with your Toyota question, My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be assisting you today.
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Hello! How are you doing today?
great-out looking at 2011 camrys today.
Wonderful! Actually apart from being a toyota trained technician working at a toyota dealership I actually own a camry just like yours and a 2011 and a 2012 camry so I can give you advise you can count on!
First I have a few questions for you if you don't mind. Does your vehicle has a V6 or a 4 cylinder engine?
Wonderful! Now let's first discuss your car then I'll talk about the option of trading it in for another camry. Is that OK?
Thank you. Now it's super common for the oil pump seals which there are 2 to leak out. Also additional to the oil pump seal the cam seal and the crank seal leak oil as well. all of these seals are located in the timing belt area, So replacing all the seals and the timing belt is basically one job.
Now I'm a bit skeptical about the price to repair all this. Is this a quote from a dealership?
OK So they quoted you to replace the seals and timing belt Only correct?
also the pan
Replace the oil pan or reseal the oil pan? did they specify?
I think it was to replace the pan
Did they indicate why the oil pan needs to be replaced?
no, I assumed it was leaking also-he made it sound like a whole thing that they do and my not knowing anything about it, didn't have the right questions to ask
OK I will specify one thing about your car, I have worked on hundreds if not thousands of camrys of your same model. In my career with toyota I maybe have seen one or two oil pans leaking in your car. Typically and I might be right in assuming that CarX are not specialists in your car. The way the seals leak in your car make it seem like the oil pan is leaking extensively. But in reality the leak is coming from the seals in the timing belt area. It makes such a mess that it makes someone who's not a toyota specialist think it's the oil pan leaking.
Their price is still very high for the job.
I mean if you go to a toyota dealership and fix the leak you are looking at a price less than what they quoted you plus they'd be using original parts.
Well, I probably should take it to the dealer and get a second opinion. Can they see what the problem is easily? Is it worth fixing or should I be concerned about water pumps and lots of other things that I don't know about
A properly trained toyota technician will be able to tell what's leaking from experience alone just by opening the hood and shining a flash light at the leak area. Here's what your car will need and what the dealership will recommend you do because every single camry of your (and mine) model year needs the exact same job done.
First the cam seal,crank seal and the seal and o ring for the oil pump. Then replace the valve cover gasket because 9.9 out of 10 times it's leaking as well. Then replace the timing belt,water pump and drive belts. All the items I have listed above are all in the same area.
So by combining the job into one you'd be saving a lot of money on labor.
For example a water pump replacement job is typically around 500 dollars. By combining it with the job above you are only going to pay around 100 dollars extra. Then the same thing for the seals if you combine them with the job. and the same thing for the timing belt. The drive belts you'd only be paying for the parts because they will be removed anyway for the job therefore saving you 100 dollars.
I have done this exact job hundreds of times because it's super common for all those components to leak and basically they are the weak points of the engine in your car.
Now let's talk some prices from the dealership you have a clear picture and you are informed before you go to the dealership, Is that OK?
great-I am appreciating the education and being armed with the right questions to ask etc.
OK Let's talk details and prices. Let's start off with the labor. I will talk labor times in hours then I will discuss the average dealership hourly labor rate.
First the timing belt is 4 hours on average. To replace the water pump add 1 hour. to replace the seals add another hour. To replace the valve cover gasket add an hour. So total of 7 hours of labor. A typical dealership labor charge is 90-110 dollars. My dealership charges 110 per hour.
Let's talk parts then i'll tell you something about dealerships. Any questions before we talk part prices?
OK. The water pump is around 110 dollars. The timing belt is around 40 dollars. The drive belts are another 40 dollars. The seals all 3 of them and the o ring for the oil pump combined would be 40-50 dollars. Then the valve cover gasket is 15 dollars. Then they will charge shop supplies which is engine degreaser to clean up the leak then coolant and possibly engine oil to top off which is 30-40 dollars on average. So total for parts is around 280-300.
Going with the highest labor rate of 110, you are looking at 770 plus 300 that's 1070. Keeping in mind this is dealership labor which is easily 20-40 dollars higher than an independent shop rate. Now if you shop around in your area most dealerships will have coupons which go up to 20% off. On average you'll find a 10% off coupon OR wheel and deal with them for a discount
Let's take the average of 10% off that knocks of 100 dollars off of the bill.
Add taxes to the 300 dollars only because labor is not taxable you're looking at below(NNN) NNN-NNNNdollars.
That's a high quality job with a wonderful warranty using original parts that's 500 dollars less than Carx using after market parts.
Do you see my reasoning behind the 1500 being high?
It sure is
Now let me ask you a bit more about the car.
What else could go wrong if I had these things fixed
How are the tires and brakes? Other than the broXXXXX XXXXXdle, Do you hear any rattling noises over bumps? any instability issues on the highway?
I just recently heard something off and on in the left front, steering sometimes feels a little loose-sounds like something might be loose but not consistent. Drove the highway for 1/2 hr today-no problems-just the flapping of the duct tape handle! Doors need some oil-squalking. I've had most of the turn signal lights replaced over the years.
OK Common for these cars to have rattling or possibly a loose feeling of the sway bar links and bushings. especially the fronts. This is not really something I would be too concerned about. Other than the noise and a possibly creaking sound it doesn't really affect safety in any way.
Now other common issues with your car is struts wearing out.
Struts are expensive if you buy them original but if you go after market you can get them at 50-60 dollars each your car has 4 plus around 4-5 hours labor to install. However this is pure driving convenience option.
A severe case of bad struts would be if you follow a big truck on the highway you will feel the car wiggling or a bit of instability
But other than this nothing major as well.
And here's a secret since I have all 3 models that you were shoping around for.
THe reason your camry feels more comfortable than the newer model is because the struts are a bit more worn than a newer model.
the struts are what makes a ride harsh or soft and plush
When struts get old they start putting less pressure on the spring therefore the car will have a bit more bouncing up and down which will make it feel softer.
But if your car was brand new or with brand new struts it will feel as firm as the newer models.
The no.1 major issue and complaint about your current camry is the oil leak.
Which is around(NNN) NNN-NNNNdollars.
Other than these issues just the normal up keep of the vehicle. Possible check engine light here and there but again nothing major that would cause the car to be undrivable.
The newer camrys also have a sensitive gas pedal and I think I left rubber on the road when I test drove it today-very zippy-hard to accelerate gradually but I guess that would be something I'd get used to. My check engine light was turned off I think when the fuel line was put on as they welded it-I believe because of the expensive catalytic converter-does that make sense? Oil leak seems to be the major problem. Thanks for all you info-helps a lot. Do you like your newer models?
Was it a fuel line that was replaced or an exhaust pipe?
I will talk about the newer models in a bit let me just wrap up talking about your current camry.
Hmmm not making sense, A fuel line wouldn't cause a check engine line unless it was a very unconventional problem.
Anyhow, is the check engine light on currently?
I might be wrong on that info. I think the light was disconnected but I think it was for a problem that they said wasn't something I needed to worry about
OK If the check engine light is off currently and has been off for over a week of daily driving then there are no issues to worry about.
Now let's talk about the newer models, Any questions before we go into that?
OK-the light was turned off over a year ago. Lets talk new models
OK Let's talk about the new models.
Now there were severe oil burning issues with the 2007-2009 4 cylinder camry models, So I would not invest a penny on this model range because they had a problematic engine. I wouldn't invest in a V6 because the 4 cylinder is better on gas and the 6 cylinder is a highly sophisticated engine and I consider it a high maintenance engine.
I have both the 4 cylinder the v6 engines, I will talk both from a technical stand point and my personal experience.
Now the 2010-2011 camry and the 2012 camry has basically the same engine and transmission options.
the 4 cylinder engine in those models is a very nice engine, Lots of power and impressive gas mileage.
The newer camry models are a whole different story than the older ones. They are so far more advanced than the old ones one wouldn't belive so much advancement took place in a 10 year period
The newer camry although feels a lot lighter and more uncomfortable but they are at least 10 times safer than the older ones.
Also they are A LOT more efficient than the older camry models.
The braking is a lot better, the power range is a lot better and the gas mileage is even better than the older model.
I agree with you on the harsh ride compared to the older camry however give it a few months and you'll get used to it and actually like it more.
Now I personally would recommend a 2012 camry if you are going to invest in a newer or new car and here's why
The 2010-2011 inherited one bad thing from the previous generation. It has a hydraulic power steering, This means leaks in the future which are super common in the 2007-2009 models.
While the 2012 model has electric steering, so that's an entire system that doesn't leak oil any more!
Do you see my point on the power steering?
yes-but could there be electrical problems since this is new-not a long track record.
They have been using the electric steering system since 2006 in the rav4 models and the only issues I have seen is one very common issue.
If you high a curb at high speed the entire electrical system of the power steering is fried. But again hitting a curb is an accident and your insurance would cover it
Think of it this way, The newer cars are so low maintenance especially toyota models. Let me compare the maintenance of your current car and a 2012 camry, Is that OK?
great information. If I would buy a certified 2011 with the 12 month warranty and the 100k power train warranty, would that cover the power steering leak? I never know what they mean with that long warranty. I'm a nurse and am very good at talking about human body parts, not cars!
Cars can be confusing and I fully understand that. Now here's how the warranty work because they are very tricky when it comes to the wording. Let me explain the wording of the insurance so you are well aware of what's covered and what's not.
Basic warranty or bumper to bumper warranty covers every single piece in the car, Anything from paint to radio to door handle, Everything. Power train warranty covers ONLY engine and transmission. Meaning if you had an oil leak it would be covered, if you had a leak in the power steering that would be the steering system so it's not covered under a power train warranty.
However typically a certified toyota vehicle will come with a 7 year 100,000 mile warranty
It's called toyota extra care and that extended warranty covers bumper to bumper to a certain degree.
Any item that is damaged because of rust is not covered.
So a leaking steering would be covered under that warranty
however a rusted wheel or a rusted suspension component that would be an issue in the future is not covered.
Rust is really rare to affect a component in a newer car from my experience.
Question to you
Do you think a 2011 certified camry would be a car that might interest you money wise? Or would your budget allow a purchase of a brand new car or a super low mileage 2012 certified camry?
I've been looking at the 2011 which is more in my price range. I don't want brand new. I like having a used car-I transport a lot of rescued pets for a shelter and would worry about keeping something "brand new", like having a few dings here and there already.
Do you see certain color cars get hit more than others? I think silver, gray and black are harder to see at night
The best color in a camry in my opinion having seen all colors is barcelona red and magnetic gray.
Silver is a very nice color as well. Black is not very nice in that car. Also white is nice but then you'd have the same color as some cabs if you live in a big city.
Here's another tip on shopping for a 2011 camry.
Get the lowest mileage possible. Then go for an LE NOT a top of the line model XLE and here's why
The LE model is well equipped But it will not have fancy tows like seat heaters and sun roof which are more things to cause issues in the future. Also the tires are more expensive and the seats are leather ....etc
Stick with an LE model. Don't buy a sun roof model because there are an issue or two with those lately.
Stay away from the SE model which is the nicest of them all which is the sport model because this one will have the hardest ride and will be lower to the ground and will always get scratched on parking lots
We are on the same page with the LE-that's what I've been looking at-don't want leather seats. I saw 2 this week with mileage at 22 and 24k. I don't need fancy and was dismayed to see all the seat adjustments were electric now! Also learned the newer cars don't have timing belts, but chains.
less than 30,000 miles is your mileage goal. If it has more than that make sure you triple check the tires and make sure they are new because the original tires on the camry last around that long. Let me talk about the maintenance on a 2011 4 cylidner camry to you'd get an idea.
Oil changes are not every 3000-5000 miles they are every 10,000 miles. You will NEVER need to change the transmission fluid. Coolant every 100,000 miles. No timing belt no common oil leaks. 4 disc brakes meaning you have much better brakes and possibly a brake job every 50-60,000 miles
I know when I bought my current camry 13 yrs ago, I was sliding in the rain-had the tires changed. You should be a sales man along with a mechanic. I am impressed by all that you just told me that no sales person has told me and I've been to 3 dealers this week!
Well I work at a dealership and I see salesman struggling with the most simple question about a new car. I am also very compassionate when I see a customer about to spend their hard earned money to buy a car I feel they should know everything there is to know about the car before buying it
So let's recap a few things
I also drove a corolla today and liked it but felt a little claustraphobic. It was zippy though and felt a little more like my current camry. I agree-salesmen don't always know what they are talking about.
First we still have our trusty 98 camry. Take it to your local toyota dealership. Along with a quote for the leak issue have them perform a full inspection of the vehicle, they typically call it a multi point inspection. Then while you are there stop by sales and ask them to appraise your car. See how much they are willing to pay for your car as a trade in. Push HARD for a deal. Times are hard and dealerships are suffering on sales, if you push hard you'll get a very good deal.
If you're a camry person, you'll never like a corolla.
They are excellent cars don't get me wrong but they are just not a camry
They're more towards a young person or a very small family or a person who uses a car only to get to places and never carry anything in it
that's what I told the salesman- I'm a camry girl. I've decided to give my current camry to a church that helps a lot of people. I always feel sorry for the person who can't afford transportation because they don't have a job and can't get a job because they can't get there. vicious cycle. This church was started the the Machine Gun Preacher (a movie was made about him). They have done wonders with a grown nephew of mine and hope they will enjoy my car as much as I do and have someone in the church who can cheaply make the repairs to keep it going for a long time.
Wow! That is a very noble thing to do!
Then I take back what I said about trading it in! I think that's even better.
I wanted to add one more thing.
Look up the Machine Gun Preacher on line-he's very impressive. He's stepped down from being the pastor of this small church in Indianapolis to be at the mission in Africa full time, helping "soldier children" who were forced to kill their parents and become soldiers-awful stuff. He has saved and rehabilitated many many children. Go ahead
Wow That's very nice!
I will look it up.
Now let me say one more thing
If you decide to go with the 2011 camry
I would highly suggest maintaining it at a toyota dealership.
When you buy the car and on your first service visit the dealership will try to sell maintenance and will come up with a list of recommendations which is OK they are a business and they want to make money. Don't be afraid of that. Simply say I will think about it, if something in their "list" worries you drop me or one of my colleagues a question and I will explain everything in details.
From my experience the 2011 camry has no known issues other than the normal maintenance.
Which concerning maintenance is very simple, Open the owner's manual and follow the schedule Biblicaly nothing more!
You are wonderful. Thank you for all of your time. I have a feeling you are a Dad? You have given me so much GREAT info and honest advice. Don't know what else to say but have a good night, blessings to you and your family:)
And you are very welcome! ANd I am a dad of one and another on the way! I appreciate your nice words. Remember I am here should you need any other questions. Anything cars or toyota in particular let me know and I'll be more than happy to help.
Did you have any other questions for me today?
that's all but I will write back to you if I have any questions. Congrats on the unborn on the way-many many blessings-hope everyone stays healthy. Thank you so much
You're welcome and thank you!
A positive rating for my input would be greatly appreciated.
It has been a pleasure talking to you. Good night and I wish you the best.
The day after our chat about my 98 camry with the oil pump leak, my temperature guage started going up when I stopped and down when I got going. I got home, added oil for my oil leak and looked at the coolant reservoir-totally empty. Found coolant on the top of the radiator. Added coolant and stop leak stuff. Felt like it was a sign to find a newer used car sooner than later. The church I told you about is willing to take it and the machine gun preacher I told you about, owns a collision repair shop here in town so will be able to fix it up for someone in need.
I don't put a lot of mileage on my cars, probably about 100-140 miles a week average. I have found a 2012 red camry le with 14000 miles on it for internet price of $18488, one owner, certified. I also have looked at a 2011 camry le with 24000miles for $17322, light green. What do you think? Probably the 2012?
The 2012 had very stained seats and some damage to the plastic. It did have a very nice console but the interior was black vinyl with very light seats. The steering wheel was also black-kept thinking about summer time.
Anyways, I ended up with the 2011 red camry LE with 22300 miles on it. When I drove it this evening though with the windows open in the back and not the front, there was this terrible sound in my ears with my ear drums fluctuating in and out real quick, thump, thump thump real fast-I was in pain and getting dizzy. It stopped when I opened the front windows. Very disturbing. And I still find the seat uncomfortable with the headrest pushing my head forward. Might not keep this one as long as previous-we'll see!
The warranty is bumper to bumper for one yr with a $50 deductible, then just the power train until 2017 or 100,000 miles. The new car warranty runs out as of June 8th 2013, so they gave me until that date to decide on an extension of the new car warranty which is 0 deductible for 4 yrs or 75000 miles for $1315 and I think was bumper to bumper. (I don't have it in front of me) I would hit the year mark before the mileage mark and it was cheaper than another plan they had. I know my other camrys didn't have any problems during that time-I guess it's a gamble. What do you think about that? Again, thank you for all of your help. I've been telling my family about you.
Thanks so much for your feedback. Some people turn the headrest around but when I do that there is NO protection. I've tried all kinds of things with the seat position but that hasn't helped either. I did put the headrest all the way up but I am 5'7" and it still pushed at the top of my head. I have neck problems, so it is annoying. My Mom is about 5'4 now and she sat in the passenger seat and said she'd have a headache is she sat like that too long. I thought about turning it around and then adding some kind of cushion to wear it would support just right. You put so much money into something like this, you hate to be strapping cushions to it!
Thanks for being there for me. It's really hard for me to give up my old camry-so much more comfortable-wish I could move that seat into the new car! Can you tell that's change is really hard for me?!
Tell your wife we need to start an "improve that headrest" campaign!
Thanks again and I'll let you know how things go.