Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

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angelescrest
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Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by angelescrest » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:27 pm

We have a 2005 Toyota Camry XLE with 130,000 miles or so. It's been a good car, but is just starting to feel long in the tooth, particularly with the terrible roads and rough winters. I know for some bg's 130k sounds like it's in its infancy.

I had an overall examination done on the car, and here were the findings on the report:
1) Valve cover gasket leaks oil
2) Some engine leaks, will need to clean/degrease engine & source the leaks (white smoke from exhaust in the first few minutes of startup)
3) P/S Rack Leaks/Boots Torn
4) Needs Tune-up Completed
5) Needs motor-Vac Carbon Cleaning
6) Needs Trans Flush-burned/dirty
7) Needs power steering flush-burnt
8) Needs battery replaced
9) Needs brake fluid flush-moisture
10) Due for cabin pollen filter/s?
11) Left side marker & license out
12) RR Sway bar bushings worn
13) Needs lower control arm bushings
14) Frt splash pan needs secured
15) Minor paint damage and rust allover
16) Both headlamps foggy

What are the things that need to be done soon, within the next 5k miles or so? What are the things that can wait? Is there anything you just ignore?

wilked
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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by wilked » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:38 pm

Replaced now:
8) Battery
11) Left side marker & license lights (no need to get pulled over unnecessarily)

Otherwise I would replace nothing else, drive it til it doesn't start, and start planning immediately for a replacement. Too many things wrong to put money into this car. In particular the white smoke coming from exhaust is an indication that it is not if, but when

Fallible
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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by Fallible » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:44 pm

If any of these problems that you don't have fixed compromise safety, including the car breaking down on the freeway or other busy road, then buy amother car. Bottom line is safety.
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barnaclebob
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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by barnaclebob » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:47 pm

If you don't do DIY maintenance then its time to put this car out to someone else's pasture. This list will cost several grand to fix. You can probably still get some ok money for it. When the transmission blows or the rust make it unsafe? Not so much.
Last edited by barnaclebob on Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.

atbman
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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by atbman » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:50 pm

candidly, I would get a new mechanic. This guy seems like he just wants to take you for a ride.

I highly doubt some of those items are in need of replacement at just 130k miles. My comments in brackets.

1) Valve cover gasket leaks oil [it really depends on how much oil. If it's not dripping on the ground, but just moist around the valve cover, just leave it.]
2) Some engine leaks, will need to clean/degrease engine & source the leaks (white smoke from exhaust in the first few minutes of startup)
3) P/S Rack Leaks/Boots Torn [should repair. Otherwise, your rack will be compromised early and that is much more expensive.]
4) Needs Tune-up Completed
5) Needs motor-Vac Carbon Cleaning [the mass airflow sensor and throttle body may need some cleaning. But the engine cleaning itself, more or less a scam.]
6) Needs Trans Flush-burned/dirty [probably should have tranny drained (not flushed) and refilled, if you've never serviced it before]
7) Needs power steering flush-burnt [highly doubtful unless you're rally racing the car]
8) Needs battery replaced [if your car has a difficult time starting, or the battery sounds weak when starting, then yes, replace.]
9) Needs brake fluid flush-moisture [BS]
10) Due for cabin pollen filter/s? [$5 on Amazon and 5 min of your time]
11) Left side marker & license out [replace]
12) RR Sway bar bushings worn [doubtful, again, unless you're rally racing the car]
13) Needs lower control arm bushings [doubtful, again, unless you're rally racing the car. If it really is worn out, your steering will not be alignable and you'll experience strange tire wear. Do you have that condition? If not, this guy is blowing smoke.]
14) Frt splash pan needs secured [not sure what he's referring to. If the plastic skid plate under your car, then sure. But should be a 5 min fix]
15) Minor paint damage and rust allover
16) Both headlamps foggy [$20 kit on Amazon and 30 min of your time. But it's more an aesthetic issue.]

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Jazztonight
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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by Jazztonight » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:52 pm

I have a 2001 Camry, 130,000 miles. Best car I've ever owned. I'd spend $10K to fix my car before I'd consider buying another vehicle.

YMMV
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TheOscarGuy
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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by TheOscarGuy » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:59 pm

angelescrest wrote:We have a 2005 Toyota Camry XLE with 130,000 miles or so. It's been a good car, but is just starting to feel long in the tooth, particularly with the terrible roads and rough winters. I know for some bg's 130k sounds like it's in its infancy.

I had an overall examination done on the car, and here were the findings on the report:
1) Valve cover gasket leaks oil
2) Some engine leaks, will need to clean/degrease engine & source the leaks (white smoke from exhaust in the first few minutes of startup)
3) P/S Rack Leaks/Boots Torn
4) Needs Tune-up Completed
5) Needs motor-Vac Carbon Cleaning
6) Needs Trans Flush-burned/dirty
7) Needs power steering flush-burnt
8) Needs battery replaced
9) Needs brake fluid flush-moisture
10) Due for cabin pollen filter/s?
11) Left side marker & license out
12) RR Sway bar bushings worn
13) Needs lower control arm bushings
14) Frt splash pan needs secured
15) Minor paint damage and rust allover
16) Both headlamps foggy

What are the things that need to be done soon, within the next 5k miles or so? What are the things that can wait? Is there anything you just ignore?
Curious who did the report. If its you, maybe you are qualified enough to fix it -- I would go that route. Much cheaper.
If it is dealership I would highly recommend getting second opinion.
If it is an independent mechanic you trust, I personally would get all the work done -- or at least do a cost analysis ($$ to fix, vs value of car) to determine if it is worth doing so..

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weltschmerz
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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by weltschmerz » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:00 pm

I agree with the other posters, no need to spend $1000's on the current car. Take that money and use it to get a brand new 2017 Camry. There are supposedly lots of great deals to be had on those, since the new 2018 is a redesign.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by adamthesmythe » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:02 pm

Anything associated with steering and brakes gets priority. Of course running lights.

> white smoke from exhaust in the first few minutes of startup

Often this means there is a head gasket leak between coolant and the cylinder. This is expensive to fix and may get worse, leading to frequent overheating. Might want to diagnose this and consider before spending ANY money on the car.

dbltrbl
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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by dbltrbl » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:08 pm

Did you do regular maintenance as recommended in owner's manual? If you did, you shouldn't be in this situation? Or you are the unluckiest person to own a Toyota Camry. Problems show up in first few months if any? Roads are bad everywhere in northern half. As others have said sell it, donate it and get a new ride. Do recommended maintenance regularly.

core4portfolio
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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by core4portfolio » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:20 pm

angelescrest wrote:We have a 2005 Toyota Camry XLE with 130,000 miles or so. It's been a good car, but is just starting to feel long in the tooth, particularly with the terrible roads and rough winters. I know for some bg's 130k sounds like it's in its infancy.

I had an overall examination done on the car, and here were the findings on the report:
1) Valve cover gasket leaks oil --> Check the oil using dipstick for every 1000 miles and see how much is lost
2) Some engine leaks, will need to clean/degrease engine & source the leaks (white smoke from exhaust in the first few minutes of startup)
3) P/S Rack Leaks/Boots Torn
4) Needs Tune-up Completed --> Ignore
5) Needs motor-Vac Carbon Cleaning --> Ignore
6) Needs Trans Flush-burned/dirty --> Not required. you dont need change the transaction fluid
7) Needs power steering flush-burnt --> Not required unless its low. you can top off if required
8) Needs battery replaced --> Do battery testing for free in AAP or autozone and decide
9) Needs brake fluid flush-moisture --> Not required
10) Due for cabin pollen filter/s? --> change it by yourself
11) Left side marker & license out --> change that
12) RR Sway bar bushings worn --> not sure on this
13) Needs lower control arm bushings
14) Frt splash pan needs secured
15) Minor paint damage and rust allover --> do nothing or buy touch up paint from dealer for your color code and DIY
I do nothing if its 12 year old car

16) Both headlamps foggy --> clean yourself using 3M, turtle or mothers or meguiars or simply use toothpaste to clean up

What are the things that need to be done soon, within the next 5k miles or so? What are the things that can wait? Is there anything you just ignore?
My answers in BOLD letters ...Check the value of the car what Carmax is willing to give and compare with KBB value for private party.
Check the repair cost and decide if you want to do the repair or not
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FeesR-BullNotBullish
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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by FeesR-BullNotBullish » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:39 pm

How many people looked at your car? Did you take it to the dealer or independent shop? I definitely recommend a second opinion, and I think your best bet will be to find a reputable independent shop or shade tree mechanic. Whether or not you fix these things really depends how badly you want or need to keep the car. I suspect that from a purely financial standpoint your best move will be to take care of these issues and keep the car. If you do decide to sell, you have a moral obligation to disclose the issues.

My priorities are based on what I think is urgent and cost (cheap fixes go to the top).

I think the top priority is #1 & #2, and I suspect they are related. Your engine is on borrowed time until you get these fixed! When you get quotes, these issues might justify replacing your car. Personally, I would do them on a Camry if the cost is <$3000.

From a safety standpoint, I think anything connected or close to the wheels or steering wheel is very important, so don't put off 3, 12 and 13. I'd stay off freeways and keep it under 40 mph until these are fixed.

10 - you can probably do yourself for a few bucks. It's nice to breath clean air, so I say do it.

16 - This can decrease visibility, so I say do it. Google this and I suspect you can find an easy and inexpensive fix.

6, 7, and 9 can likely wait 5,000 miles or so. However, if you do 3, they will probably do a power steering flush as well.

14 - When you get a second opinion they can tell you how critical this is, but I feel like it will be an easy fix.

8 - How put out will you be if your car doesn't start? There was a recent discussion on here about people replacing the battery every x years or waiting until it dies. I think it depends on how inconvenienced you'll be if your car doesn't start. Personally, I can usually find another way to get to where I need to be, so I put it off until it dies.

15 - Don't worry about it. Think about is as a badge of honor to show some road wear. That is as long as your feet don't fall through the floorboards!

neilpilot
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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by neilpilot » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:47 pm

Regarding #6, if an auto transmission is run for Many miles with old/dirty/burnt fluid, solids can build up internally. Sometimes new fluid will dislodge these solids, result in internal blockage, and result in transmission failure. In other words, a flush might just total your car.

runner3081
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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by runner3081 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:50 pm

neilpilot wrote:Regarding #6, if an auto transmission is run for Many miles with old/dirty/burnt fluid, solids can build up internally. Sometimes new fluid will dislodge these solids, result in internal blockage, and result in transmission failure. In other words, a flush might just total your car.
Have had that happen twice. Change the tranny fluid and it goes out within 6-months with no prior issues.

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bottlecap
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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by bottlecap » Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:02 pm

First, get a second opinion.

Then, if needed, I'd start with the control arms and then the fluids.

If you get a new car, just lease. By not doing maintenance, you are throwing your money away anyway. You might as well drive a new car every three years.

JT

wrongfunds
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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by wrongfunds » Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:08 pm

angelescrest wrote:We have a 2005 Toyota Camry XLE with 130,000 miles or so. It's been a good car, but is just starting to feel long in the tooth, particularly with the terrible roads and rough winters. I know for some bg's 130k sounds like it's in its infancy.

I had an overall examination done on the car, and here were the findings on the report:
1) Valve cover gasket leaks oil
2) Some engine leaks, will need to clean/degrease engine & source the leaks (white smoke from exhaust in the first few minutes of startup)
3) P/S Rack Leaks/Boots Torn
4) Needs Tune-up Completed
5) Needs motor-Vac Carbon Cleaning
6) Needs Trans Flush-burned/dirty
7) Needs power steering flush-burnt
8) Needs battery replaced
9) Needs brake fluid flush-moisture
10) Due for cabin pollen filter/s?
11) Left side marker & license out
12) RR Sway bar bushings worn
13) Needs lower control arm bushings
14) Frt splash pan needs secured
15) Minor paint damage and rust allover
16) Both headlamps foggy

What are the things that need to be done soon, within the next 5k miles or so? What are the things that can wait? Is there anything you just ignore?

The list is clear indication of newcarinites syndrome. Please ask your doctor about it :-)

Many of the items on this list are bogus. This list was done to help you get rid of this car and buy a new one.

alfaspider
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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by alfaspider » Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:20 pm

angelescrest wrote:We have a 2005 Toyota Camry XLE with 130,000 miles or so. It's been a good car, but is just starting to feel long in the tooth, particularly with the terrible roads and rough winters. I know for some bg's 130k sounds like it's in its infancy.

I had an overall examination done on the car, and here were the findings on the report:
1) Valve cover gasket leaks oil
2) Some engine leaks, will need to clean/degrease engine & source the leaks (white smoke from exhaust in the first few minutes of startup)
3) P/S Rack Leaks/Boots Torn
4) Needs Tune-up Completed
5) Needs motor-Vac Carbon Cleaning
6) Needs Trans Flush-burned/dirty
7) Needs power steering flush-burnt
8) Needs battery replaced
9) Needs brake fluid flush-moisture
10) Due for cabin pollen filter/s?
11) Left side marker & license out
12) RR Sway bar bushings worn
13) Needs lower control arm bushings
14) Frt splash pan needs secured
15) Minor paint damage and rust allover
16) Both headlamps foggy

What are the things that need to be done soon, within the next 5k miles or so? What are the things that can wait? Is there anything you just ignore?
The only thing on this list that is potentially concerning is the white smoke. I'd make sure it's not a leaky head gasket. Everything else is pretty much standard older car maintenance.

Specifically
1) No big deal unless it's leaking a huge amount of oil.
3) Just make sure your PS fluid is topped off.
4) If the car is running fine, it does not.
5) Not if the car is running fine.
6) Controversial, but hardly a dire need.
7) See answer to 3. Losing power steering isn't really a safety issue. If you are at speed you will retain control of the car- it just means parking will be a pain.
8) If it's starting the car now, you can just let it go until it no longer starts. Carry around a jump starter pack in the glove box if it worries you.
9) Only important if you want to keep the car for many more years, do a lot of mountain driving with a lot of downhills, or are doing performance driving (i.e. on a track).
10) Who cares unless you have bad hayfever. $10 if you DIY.
11) Fix it with $10 in bulbs from your local parts store.
12) Par for the course for the age. If they are torn to the point it is causing clunking address it. Otherwise you can let it go.
13) Again par for the course. If it is causing excessive play in the steering, it's worth addressing.
14) No big deal. Zip tie it in place (nearly free)
15) What kind of rust? A few small bubbles on body panels or surface rust on the underside, or are the frame rails full of holes? If the former, no big deal. If the latter, the car is toast.
16) Polish 'em with a $20 kit and power drill.

angelescrest
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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by angelescrest » Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:33 am

Thanks for all your replies. With all the posts I regularly read here about cars going 200-300k miles, I'm always wondering what kind of maintenance and repairs they are doing during that time. The posts make it sound so simple. It's also not clear to me what is "routine" maintenance vs what are repairs that come with old age (breaks and damage).

The mechanic is a fairly respected guy in town, though there aren't many options here, and he's the second guy I had look the car over in the past year and a half. A year or so ago someone mentioned control arm bushings and boots torn, and I held off on that then.

There are a lot of varying opinions here, but here's where I'm at:

1) Valve cover gasket leaks oil - LEAVE IT ALONE FOR NOW
2) Some engine leaks, will need to clean/degrease engine & source the leaks (white smoke from exhaust in the first few minutes of startup) - CHECK TO SEE IF IT'S A HEAD GASKET PROBLEM, AND IF SO, FIX IT (BUT WILL COST A LOT)
3) P/S Rack Leaks/Boots Torn - CONFUSED, BUT SOUNDS LIKE FIX IT SO IT DOESN'T GET WORSE AND COST MORE LATER
4) Needs Tune-up Completed - DRIVES FINE, SO LEAVE IT
5) Needs motor-Vac Carbon Cleaning - DRIVES FINE, SO LEAVE IT
6) Needs Trans Flush-burned/dirty - VERY CONFUSED ON THIS ONE, AND HAVE BEEN FOR YEARS. SOME SAY DRAIN, SOME SAY JUST TOP IT OFF?
7) Needs power steering flush-burnt - LEAVE IT
8) Needs battery replaced - STARTS FINE, SO LEAVE IT, BUT WILL DO A TEST ON IT SO I DON'T LEAVE MY WIFE STRANDED (IT'S HER CAR)
9) Needs brake fluid flush-moisture - LEAVE IT
10) Due for cabin pollen filter/s? - LEAVE IT (NEVER HELPED WITH MY ALLERGIES ANYWAY)
11) Left side marker & license out - FIX IT SO I DON'T GO TO JAIL ;-)
12) RR Sway bar bushings worn - NOT SURE WHAT TO DO ON THIS
13) Needs lower control arm bushings - NOT SURE WHAT TO DO HERE
14) Frt splash pan needs secured - USE SOME ZIP TIES
15) Minor paint damage and rust allover - HAVE ALWAYS PLANNED TO IGNORE THIS
16) Both headlamps foggy - PERSONAL FIX

We recently bought a used vehicle which is at 52k now and just paid off. Maybe the safest bet would be to say I'd like to get three or four years out of the car, but if it's better to get something else now, I'd do that too. If there is anything that makes the car not worth keeping, then that would tip the scales too.

There have been a number of comments about getting a second opinion. I'd be curious as to exactly how you analyze the varying opinions. Most of the mechanics I come across are all very good at telling me there's a ton of stuff to fix, and while I generally like to pay for peace of mind, I also hate spending money on vehicles. If a second opinion confirms the first, then that's a sign that I should do it?

I would donate a good chunk of change to the forum if there was a Wiki on car maintenance the Boglehead way, not that that would be easy to do.

smitcat
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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by smitcat » Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:44 am

angelescrest wrote:Thanks for all your replies. With all the posts I regularly read here about cars going 200-300k miles, I'm always wondering what kind of maintenance and repairs they are doing during that time. The posts make it sound so simple. It's also not clear to me what is "routine" maintenance vs what are repairs that come with old age (breaks and damage).

The mechanic is a fairly respected guy in town, though there aren't many options here, and he's the second guy I had look the car over in the past year and a half. A year or so ago someone mentioned control arm bushings and boots torn, and I held off on that then.

There are a lot of varying opinions here, but here's where I'm at:

1) Valve cover gasket leaks oil - LEAVE IT ALONE FOR NOW
2) Some engine leaks, will need to clean/degrease engine & source the leaks (white smoke from exhaust in the first few minutes of startup) - CHECK TO SEE IF IT'S A HEAD GASKET PROBLEM, AND IF SO, FIX IT (BUT WILL COST A LOT)
3) P/S Rack Leaks/Boots Torn - CONFUSED, BUT SOUNDS LIKE FIX IT SO IT DOESN'T GET WORSE AND COST MORE LATER
4) Needs Tune-up Completed - DRIVES FINE, SO LEAVE IT
5) Needs motor-Vac Carbon Cleaning - DRIVES FINE, SO LEAVE IT
6) Needs Trans Flush-burned/dirty - VERY CONFUSED ON THIS ONE, AND HAVE BEEN FOR YEARS. SOME SAY DRAIN, SOME SAY JUST TOP IT OFF?
7) Needs power steering flush-burnt - LEAVE IT
8) Needs battery replaced - STARTS FINE, SO LEAVE IT, BUT WILL DO A TEST ON IT SO I DON'T LEAVE MY WIFE STRANDED (IT'S HER CAR)
9) Needs brake fluid flush-moisture - LEAVE IT
10) Due for cabin pollen filter/s? - LEAVE IT (NEVER HELPED WITH MY ALLERGIES ANYWAY)
11) Left side marker & license out - FIX IT SO I DON'T GO TO JAIL ;-)
12) RR Sway bar bushings worn - NOT SURE WHAT TO DO ON THIS
13) Needs lower control arm bushings - NOT SURE WHAT TO DO HERE
14) Frt splash pan needs secured - USE SOME ZIP TIES
15) Minor paint damage and rust allover - HAVE ALWAYS PLANNED TO IGNORE THIS
16) Both headlamps foggy - PERSONAL FIX

We recently bought a used vehicle which is at 52k now and just paid off. Maybe the safest bet would be to say I'd like to get three or four years out of the car, but if it's better to get something else now, I'd do that too. If there is anything that makes the car not worth keeping, then that would tip the scales too.

There have been a number of comments about getting a second opinion. I'd be curious as to exactly how you analyze the varying opinions. Most of the mechanics I come across are all very good at telling me there's a ton of stuff to fix, and while I generally like to pay for peace of mind, I also hate spending money on vehicles. If a second opinion confirms the first, then that's a sign that I should do it?

I would donate a good chunk of change to the forum if there was a Wiki on car maintenance the Boglehead way, not that that would be easy to do.

Please tell us a bit about what you know about your car not what the mechanic told you....
- How often do you add a quart of oil? (every XXX miles)
- Has your fuel mileage decreased at all? How much? What are you getting?
- Does the engines miss and rumble at any speeds cold or hot?
- Do you have large fluid spots on the garage or driveway under this car? How large and how often?

Of course you should do the safety and inspection items ASAP and ongoing as long as you use the car.
How much longer do you want to keep this car in years and mileage?

mnsportsgeek
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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by mnsportsgeek » Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:58 am

A lot of the stuff you mention is standard maintenance that should have been done a while ago. I'd recommend you maintain your next car according to the maintenance schedule. You should be doing transmission flushes, power steering flushes, and brake fluid flushes regularly. Have you been consistent in your oil changes? The suspension issues and fluid leaks you mention are expected after 12 years. You just live with those and pay for them as needed. Sometimes you can ignore them.

I'd dump this car as soon as you can and start fresh. Replace the battery and lights and drive it till it dies.

Rupert
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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by Rupert » Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:18 am

angelescrest wrote: I would donate a good chunk of change to the forum if there was a Wiki on car maintenance the Boglehead way, not that that would be easy to do.
I think car maintenance the Boglehead way is simply following the maintenance schedule in your owner's manual. That's the best way to prolong the longevity of your automobile. Fortunately, newer cars tell you when they need maintenance. Just do what the car tells you to do. There are a couple of exceptions that the car might not remind you about but your owner's manual will, e.g., brake fluid changes. Brake fluid needs changing every 2-3 years regardless of mileage.

Car repair the Boglehead way simply involves finding a good, independent mechanic after the warranty expires on your car and having that mechanic, rather than a car dealer, make any needed repairs. How do you find a good, independent mechanic? Usually by word of mouth in your community. Then cultivate a relationship with the mechanic over time. I actually deliver boxes of donuts to my mechanics from time to time. It greases the wheels, so to speak. They know me by my first name and often recommend shade-tree solutions to my car problems. What's a shade-tree solution? A good-enough, cheap one, which is often what you need for an older car when new OEM parts are hard to come by and when spending a ton of money on it just doesn't make sense.

onourway
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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by onourway » Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:42 am

I think the list you have compiled is pretty good. Honestly unless the white smoke is a serious head gasket issue there is nothing on this list that remotely qualifies getting a new car. This is standard car maintenance that has been neglected. Rather than paying for it bit by bit over the years you are now paying for it all at once.

I would go down your list as you have it in your latest post. If the headgasket turns out to be fixable, do that first, then move on to other things in the list. I would not ignore the control arm or swaybar bushings if you intend to keep the car. These should need to be replaced around this mileage, and doing so will make the car much more comfortable to drive as it will keep the handling sharp and minimize the noise it makes going over bumps. Headlights should also be a priority if you drive at night - hazed headlights dramatically reduce the light output and are a major safety issue.

lazydavid
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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by lazydavid » Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:52 am

Agree with most of the advice given here except for the brake fluid. This is a safety item. Brake fluid is extremely hydrophillic, meaning it readily absorbs water. This can cause a number of problem, the most sudden and severe of which is the water boiling during/after a hard braking session (like going down a mountain) and leaving you without the ability to stop. But over time, it also can cause components to rust in the master cylinder and ABS system and eventually cause failures. For this reason, brake fluid MUST be changed every few years. Don't pay more for a "flush" though, as that is literally the only way to actually change brake fluid.

I also would never under any circumstances do a power transmission flush on any car, but especially not on an older car where the fluid hadn't been changed in a long time. If it's been changed at least once or twice already, I would do it again now. If you've never changed it, no good can come of doing so now. You may be very close to a transmission failure as a result of this lack of maintenance, but changing the fluid now will only hasten its demise.

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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by sunny_socal » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:10 am

If I were buying that vehicle as a used car, I would do this:
- Change engine oil and transmission oil
- Change all filters
- Replace any steering/control bushings that were actually worn

The rest of it sounds pretty normal for a vehicle of that age.

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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by snowman » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:11 am

angelescrest wrote:Thanks for all your replies. With all the posts I regularly read here about cars going 200-300k miles, I'm always wondering what kind of maintenance and repairs they are doing during that time. The posts make it sound so simple. It's also not clear to me what is "routine" maintenance vs what are repairs that come with old age (breaks and damage).
OP, I guess I am one of those guys you refer to - doing my own maintenance and occasional repairs, and making it sound simple. It really is simple, but you need to be interested in learning the basics of car maintenance.

First off, 2005 Camry is super reliable car (I never owned Toyota BTW), and at 130K miles it's finally broken in and should deliver another 130K miles of reliable driving experience. Having said that, this is what you need to do:

1. Open your car manual and read what it says about regular maintenance. If it says, for example, that you have lifetime transmission fluid with no change required, you don't need to touch it unless you experience transmission problem. If it says drain and fill at certain time/mileage increment, than you do that. It may specifically say not to flush it, only drain and fill. Very simple. It will tell you how often to change air and cabin filters. Do it yourself, it's super easy. If you own a house, you have a furnace/AC with a filter that needs to be changed regularly, you don't wait until you experience furnace problem, right? Same thing with the car; those filters cost about $10 on amazon, you change them yourself in couple of minutes just like you do in a furnace. Done, you keep heat/cooling system at maximum efficiency, and breath clean air. Simple.

2. Manual will also tell you how/when to check fluid levels in your car, and how/when to top them off should they drop below MIN level. Well, open the hood, and take a look. If that PS fluid really is below MIN when cold (or hot) as your mechanic claims, you just top it off with Toyota PS fluid available at your Toyota dealer (really cheap BTW). No flush necessary. How do I know? Because unless manufacturer says it is required (or recommended), it's not necessary.

3. While at it, check the oil level. Really easy to do, just need a rag. Learn to check it regularly. See if the car burns oil between oil changes. Top off if necessary. Check online if other people with the exact make/model of your car experience the same problem. If they do, there might be a solution in place already. Checking oil level regularly is one of the most important maintenance items you can do to avoid expensive repairs in the future. Takes 30 seconds. Simple.

4. Suspension is not part of regular maintenance. You only know there is a problem by experiencing noise/drive/comfort issues, so have it checked by a mechanic, maybe 2 or 3 if don't trust the one you have now. Get it fixed.

5. Foggy headlamps come with territory if you own an old car. You can ignore it if you see well at night, or you can buy aftermarket product and fix it yourself for cheap if it bothers you. You don't need to pay anyone to do it for you.

I think having an older but reliable car is a great time for you to learn basic car maintenance. I would not sell the car, buy a new one, neglect it, and than experience same (or worse) problems years down the road. Once you learn the basics of car maintenance, and buy a new Toyota in the future, you will be well prepared to keep it running problem-free for many, many years. If you have specific questions, feel free to ask.

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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by wrongfunds » Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:17 am

You need to know the difference between white smoke when the car is cold and outside temperature is cold and WHITE SMOKE when the car is at normal temperature. Easiest way to know if you have real big problem on the hand is to make sure you park on level ground every Friday night. Open the hood and check all the fluid levels Saturday morning. Also look for fluid stain on the floor. If you notice you are loosing coolant and getting WHITE SMOKE, you are done for.

To be honest, that is extremely unlikely. Toyota's are not NOT known for blowing their head-gaskets. If you had a Subaru, then that would be different story.

But from what I can figure out, you are itching to get a new car and I am giving you my permission to buy new car. If everybody keeps their 1999 Camry forever like I do, this country's economy would go down the tube and my index fund would tank.

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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by unstartable » Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:30 pm

This really sounds like a dealer's list to make some money. That seems like a lot of work for a car of that age unless it was truly neglected. I would take the car somewhere else. My thoughts in bold:

1) Valve cover gasket leaks oil: This may be a problem that can leave you stranded if the spark plugs are getting wet.
2) Some engine leaks, will need to clean/degrease engine & source the leaks (white smoke from exhaust in the first few minutes of startup): If the car burns less than a quart of oil every 5,000 miles or so I wouldn't be looking for the problem. Cleaning sounds bogus
3) P/S Rack Leaks/Boots Torn: In some states if the rack is leaking it will not pass inspection.
4) Needs Tune-up Completed: bogus
5) Needs motor-Vac Carbon Cleaning: bogus
6) Needs Trans Flush-burned/dirty: This should be done as specified in your owners manual. Drain and fill twice is probably better than expensive flush.
7) Needs power steering flush-burnt: If true, yes.
8) Needs battery replaced: If it was tested, yes. If it's just old, whatever you are comfortable. The battery in my vehicle is 9 years old.
9) Needs brake fluid flush-moisture: If true, yes.
10) Due for cabin pollen filter/s?: Easy fix to DIY
11) Left side marker & license out: Yes, also easy DIY
12) RR Sway bar bushings worn: Depends on how warn, if they are making noise, replace
13) Needs lower control arm bushings: If there is play they need to be replaced.
14) Frt splash pan needs secured They didn't do this for free?
15) Minor paint damage and rust allover: Age of car is normal.
16) Both headlamps foggy: Depends on how foggy, DIY repair.

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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by ncbill » Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:51 pm

After being quoted $1000 to replace the leaking power steering rack on our minivan, I added a bottle of Lucas Power Steering "Stop-leak" instead.

No problems in the 10+ years since.

If you do the DIY headlight polish make sure to finish with a UV-blocking sealant, otherwise they'll just fog up again.

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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by AF_Engineer » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:00 pm

I second the thought on replacing this car; if this is the laundry list of ailments (some valid, a few not), then it won't be much longer until other components fail, this list will just get longer and continuing to patch it up will fufill the law of diminishing returns. But I wouldn't buy a new car, I'd get a certified used one that is 2-3 years old to save thousands of dollars. The new Consumer Reports that just came out just ranked 2014 Camry's as one of the best used cars out there. Can't go wrong with a Camry, as long as you keep up with the basic maintenance.

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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by F150HD » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:07 pm

6) Needs Trans Flush-burned/dirty --> Not required. you dont need change the transaction fluid
:confused

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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by angelescrest » Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:09 am

Thanks for all the additional input. Lots of varying thoughts, so trying to pick out overarching lessons. Just to confirm this is an independent mechanic, maybe the most respected one in our town, though that doesn't mean a lot to me. He mostly deals with import cars. I would rather not take it to the Toyota dealer farther out and potentially pay more.

Per your recommendations, and after again speaking to the mechanic again, I am leaning this way:

1) Valve cover gasket leaks oil - GOING TO DO, $121
2) Some engine leaks, will need to clean/degrease engine & source the leaks - WILL DO TO HOPE IT'S NOT HEAD GASKET OR SOMETHING ELSE, $120
3) P/S Rack Leaks/Boots Torn - LEANING TOWARDS DOING IT, $551
4) Needs Tune-up Completed - ignore
5) Needs motor-Vac Carbon Cleaning - quoted $223, but still don't understand this one
6) Needs Trans Flush-burned/dirty - $285, said they do complete double flush to get everything out. Again, confusing topic, but leaning towards doing it.
7) Needs power steering flush-burnt - $112, will do
8) Needs battery replaced
9) Needs brake fluid flush-moisture - $120, will do
10) Due for cabin pollen filter/s?
11) Left side marker & license out - $3.92, will do
12) RR Sway bar bushings worn - $115, not sure
13) Needs lower control arm bushings - will wait
14) Frt splash pan needs secured
15) Minor paint damage and rust allover
16) Both headlamps foggy - do myself

The unmarked items I may ignore for now.

Regarding the Toyota maintenance manual, frankly, I don't find it all that helpful. It's mostly change the oil, filters, and other fluids. And inspect various parts, that's about it. That's mostly what we do, though we admittedly at times get behind on transmission fluids and some of the others like P/S and brake, so we need to be more vigilant. And every 60 or whatever a tune-up. Says nothing about suspension items and boots, except to inspect. Only experienced folks like some of you, or the honest mechanic that's hard to find, can really tell one what can wait and what shouldn't, and even then nothing sounds certain. It'd be neat to see some of the high milers start a post listing all the maintenance and repairs they've done over a car's 200k+ lifetime, though that's a lot of info to dig up.

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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by neilpilot » Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:18 am

Do you own a phillips screwdriver? It should take you no more than 10-15 minutes to complete #10 on your own. A filter can be had for about $8 at Walmart. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1HieBUTVYk

If you have the original filter, and it's really dirty, it can reduce AC and heater air flow and, in extreme cases, could even result in damage to your vent fan.

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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by sunny_socal » Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:27 am

Wow, you're planning on a lot of stuff. If it helps you sleep at night go for it - it's certainly less $$ than buying a new car.

I think much of it is not needed, best example is the leaking valve cover. It's normal and doesn't matter unless you're getting a puddle under your car! Likely the power steering doesn't matter either. And the "transmission flush" seems very expensive, I just do a drain & fill in my driveway, it's about $20 for new fluid. I don't do a "flush".

Example of dealer ripoff attempt from my experience:
- Did an oil change as normal (I use a fumoto valve, whole thing takes me about 15 min and costs $30 with synthetic)
- Went to a dealer to get the recommended valve adjustment
- They called and said the engine is leaking oil! Sure enough, some dark areas next to the valve cover gasket (normal.) And a single drop of oil on the fumoto valve! (left over from my morning oil change, hadn't wiped the valve spout.)
- Quoted $500 for the valve cover, $500 for a new oil pan due to 'leaks'
- There was nothing wrong with the car! I said do the $150 valve adjustment like I asked, nothing more.

I'd find a different mechanic. He's ripping you off.

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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by neilpilot » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:14 am

sunny_socal wrote: the "transmission flush" seems very expensive, I just do a drain & fill in my driveway, it's about $20 for new fluid. I don't do a "flush".
If the OP's Camry has the original tranny fluid, it's likely that a simple drain and fill will kill the tranny in short order. The valves will become fouled with the solids the fresh fluid scavenges off the pressure plates.

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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by SimonJester » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:19 am

F150HD wrote:
6) Needs Trans Flush-burned/dirty --> Not required. you dont need change the transmission fluid
:confused
Toyota no longer considers this necessary unless you are towing. Many people disagree with this, and by the time you are likely to run into issues you will be well out of warranty.
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by atbman » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:25 pm

angelescrest wrote: 3) P/S Rack Leaks/Boots Torn - LEANING TOWARDS DOING IT, $551
Is that for a whole rack replacement? If not, you may as well wait until your rack is shot before replacing the whole rack.

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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by atbman » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:28 pm

sunny_socal wrote:Wow, you're planning on a lot of stuff. If it helps you sleep at night go for it - it's certainly less $$ than buying a new car.

I think much of it is not needed, best example is the leaking valve cover. It's normal and doesn't matter unless you're getting a puddle under your car! Likely the power steering doesn't matter either. And the "transmission flush" seems very expensive, I just do a drain & fill in my driveway, it's about $20 for new fluid. I don't do a "flush".

Example of dealer ripoff attempt from my experience:
- Did an oil change as normal (I use a fumoto valve, whole thing takes me about 15 min and costs $30 with synthetic)
- Went to a dealer to get the recommended valve adjustment
- They called and said the engine is leaking oil! Sure enough, some dark areas next to the valve cover gasket (normal.) And a single drop of oil on the fumoto valve! (left over from my morning oil change, hadn't wiped the valve spout.)
- Quoted $500 for the valve cover, $500 for a new oil pan due to 'leaks'
- There was nothing wrong with the car! I said do the $150 valve adjustment like I asked, nothing more.

I'd find a different mechanic. He's ripping you off.
x2!

In fact, there are many who feel that tranny flushes may be harmful if your tranny is running fine. There are many people who have had well running trannies develop problems shortly after a "power" flush. The theory is that the flushing action may actually force debris into areas and cause problems. The safest is to just drain and refill.

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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by angelescrest » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:29 pm

neilpilot wrote:Do you own a phillips screwdriver? It should take you no more than 10-15 minutes to complete #10 on your own. A filter can be had for about $8 at Walmart. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1HieBUTVYk

If you have the original filter, and it's really dirty, it can reduce AC and heater air flow and, in extreme cases, could even result in damage to your vent fan.
Yeah, I did this for our other vehicle, and didn't get to the Camry. I need to order a few to keep on hand in the garage.

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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by angelescrest » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:32 pm

neilpilot wrote:
sunny_socal wrote: the "transmission flush" seems very expensive, I just do a drain & fill in my driveway, it's about $20 for new fluid. I don't do a "flush".
If the OP's Camry has the original tranny fluid, it's likely that a simple drain and fill will kill the tranny in short order. The valves will become fouled with the solids the fresh fluid scavenges off the pressure plates.
It's not original, but I definitely didn't do it every 15,000 miles. So yeah, on this one I'm a little uncertain.

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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by Rupert » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:35 pm

atbman wrote:
angelescrest wrote: 3) P/S Rack Leaks/Boots Torn - LEANING TOWARDS DOING IT, $551
Is that for a whole rack replacement? If not, you may as well wait until your rack is shot before replacing the whole rack.
+1. I had to have a rack replaced on a 12-year-old Acura this year. Cost was about $800. If you're going to spend $551, might as well replace the whole rack.

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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by mrc » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:39 pm

Many times what owners believe to be white smoke is actually blue, and is oil. Check your coolant level and watch it. My money's on oil.
A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you're doing it right, but not enough to know you're doing it wrong. — Neil deGrasse Tyson

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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by lazydavid » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:40 pm

angelescrest wrote:It's not original, but I definitely didn't do it every 15,000 miles. So yeah, on this one I'm a little uncertain.
There's no need to change transmission fluid anywhere near that often. If you're pretty sure it's been changed in the last 60-80k miles, it's probably safe to do a drain and fill (NOT a power flush). I would do it a couple of times (or drop the pan) to make sure you get most of it. If, on the other hand, you think it's been more than 100k, I would advise against doing it, due to the increased risk of transmission failure.

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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by angelescrest » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:53 pm

atbman wrote: In fact, there are many who feel that tranny flushes may be harmful if your tranny is running fine. There are many people who have had well running trannies develop problems shortly after a "power" flush. The theory is that the flushing action may actually force debris into areas and cause problems. The safest is to just drain and refill.
I'm no expert, but I've always wondered about this whole transmission flush question. First, I can own up to the fact that we didn't keep the fluid pristine all the time, so next time around we need to be more vigilant.

But I also think if a transmission has problems, a flush or drain and fill isn't going to solve it. So an owner does a flush, and later the transmission fails--then they are going to blame it on the flush? Correlation without causation? My transmission has not demonstrated any problems whatsoever, yet. So if the fluid is old, just drain it and add more?

I'm learning a lot here. It sounds like if you get behind on changing your transmission fluid, then that automatically means you should never do a flush, you just drain and fill from that point and moving forward?

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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by angelescrest » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:55 pm

lazydavid wrote:
angelescrest wrote:It's not original, but I definitely didn't do it every 15,000 miles. So yeah, on this one I'm a little uncertain.
There's no need to change transmission fluid anywhere near that often. If you're pretty sure it's been changed in the last 60-80k miles, it's probably safe to do a drain and fill (NOT a power flush). I would do it a couple of times (or drop the pan) to make sure you get most of it. If, on the other hand, you think it's been more than 100k, I would advise against doing it, due to the increased risk of transmission failure.
At one point I did all the maintenance on the cars. Now that my wife and I both work, and are incredibly busy, sometimes she's able to take her car in when I'm not, so over the last few years I know less about her car.

I'm assuming you high mileage drivers are really good about keeping some kind of log?

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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by ponyboy » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:55 pm

Both headlights foggy...3M makes a kit to fix this...its less than $10 and will make your headlights look new again. I dont think many people know about this.

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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by angelescrest » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:57 pm

Rupert wrote:
atbman wrote:
angelescrest wrote: 3) P/S Rack Leaks/Boots Torn - LEANING TOWARDS DOING IT, $551
Is that for a whole rack replacement? If not, you may as well wait until your rack is shot before replacing the whole rack.
+1. I had to have a rack replaced on a 12-year-old Acura this year. Cost was about $800. If you're going to spend $551, might as well replace the whole rack.
As opposed to what, half a rack? :confused :) I don't know how these parts work, or are you just talking the torn boots?

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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by Rupert » Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:23 pm

angelescrest wrote:
Rupert wrote:
atbman wrote:
angelescrest wrote: 3) P/S Rack Leaks/Boots Torn - LEANING TOWARDS DOING IT, $551
Is that for a whole rack replacement? If not, you may as well wait until your rack is shot before replacing the whole rack.
+1. I had to have a rack replaced on a 12-year-old Acura this year. Cost was about $800. If you're going to spend $551, might as well replace the whole rack.
As opposed to what, half a rack? :confused :) I don't know how these parts work, or are you just talking the torn boots?
As opposed to just replacing the steering rack boots. You should ask how much it would cost to replace the entire rack and pinion, including the boots, because it may not be a lot more than the $551 you've been quoted.

Edited to provide this link to a cite that explains how the rack and pinion works and what a boot is: https://repairpal.com/steering-rack-boot

Edited again to say this: It has been my (admittedly limited) experience that when you have a power steering fluid leak for a long time, your rack and pinion is going to be damaged. So my fear here would be spending $551 to replace the boots and maybe a hose only to have to replace the rack and pinion next year anyway. I would see how much more it costs to replace the whole kit and kaboodle at once, because that will be cheaper than doing it piecemeal. A lot of the cost is labor.
Last edited by Rupert on Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by angelescrest » Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:28 pm

Rupert wrote: As opposed to just replacing the steering rack boots. You should ask how much it would cost to replace the entire rack and pinion, including the boots, because it may not be a lot more than the $551 you've been quoted.
I called the local (25 miles away) Toyota dealer service center, and they told me to replace the whole thing it would cost $1200-1400, which includes a flush and alignment. I'm assuming independent mechanic $551 was for boots, but if it's leaking internally then you'd probably have to replace the whole thing. I can ask him for that detail.

Regarding transmission, the dealer said they prefer a drain and fill for transmission on my 2005. Amazingly, he said on the latest Toyotas they don't touch the transmission fluid until 100,000 miles.

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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by Allixi » Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:12 pm

I'm in a similar boat - 2001 Camry, 123,800 miles. Got an oil change last week and the auto shop told me the struts are worn and should be replaced.

Estimate (parts and labor) for replacement and various other services - $1500! :shock:

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Re: Toyota Camry Repair Priorities

Post by adamthesmythe » Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:17 pm

Allixi wrote:I'm in a similar boat - 2001 Camry, 123,800 miles. Got an oil change last week and the auto shop told me the struts are worn and should be replaced.

Estimate (parts and labor) for replacement and various other services - $1500! :shock:
If they are truly worn they compromise your steering. Only you can decide how much this matters. Unless, that is, you are in an inspection state.

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