I noticed in a couple of previous threads some time ago that we had some car experts in this forum, so I wanted to ask your opinion/advice on a couple of things (My car is a 95 Toyota Camry with about 109K on it)
I just went and got an oil filter change and they do an 'inspection' of various other things as part of the deal and they told me the following:
1. The oil pan is broken. They had told me this quite some time ago and suggested that I replace the whole pan which would run me about $400 or so. The problem actually seems to be that the threads are stripped so the bolt won't screw in correctly. After the first time they told me this I had another mechanic do my oil change and use a slightly bigger (one size up) bolt in place of the original and screw it in slowly to cut new threads. I've been monitoring it and I don't see any leaks. I've been told again that this is bad and I SHOULd go ahead and replace the whole pan.
2. For the last few months I've been 'noticing' this strange noise whenever I accelerate from a stop. It made a strange noise somewhat similar to what the CV Boots/Joints make when they're busted and you turn. It seemed to 'drag' a little and made a little clicking noise before accelerating. I wondered what this was and today they told me that the motor mounts are broken. From experience, could anyone give me any estimate on how much this would cost to get fixed?
3. They also said the CV Joints/Boots on both sides are now busted and need to be fixed and of course their estimate is close to $600. I got this done on my older Camry couple years ago and i remember it being somewhere around $250. (I live in Houston). What do you think is a reasonable price to pay for this?
4. They also wrote on the inspection paper "VCG" needs to be fixed and would cost about $110. (I forget what VCG stands for). Any idea?
I'd really appreciate any help I can get in this so that I can get a ballpark idea of how much I'd have to spend fixing these issues.
What I usually do when I live somewhere I do not have a reliable mechanic that I know yet is go around to 2 or 4 places and get some estimates, after doing that you will know who is offering the best deal and also who you feel most comfortable with.
Also try calling and getting prices on the parts themselves and figure out exactly what they are charging you for labor and on top of the price, they usually charge from 40-80% more than the retail price.
When I was living at my old house I had a local mechanic at the gas station that used to let me bring in my own parts and just charge me labor.. I got all my parts from hondaparts.com and they are VERY cheap so you may want to look around and see if there is something similar for Toyota.
hmm 110 bux to replace a valve cover gasket???? (VCG) usually you can get those at napa and do it yourself for under 35.00
If your mechanic resized the holes and sealed your belly pan...and you see no leaks and there is no apparent problems...forget spending the 400.00 to get it replaced now since all they will do is either retap the existing holes or helicoil them back to original size which isnt needed.
Thanks NewtSys. I do believe it was the Valve Cover Gasket - I guess I'll go ahead and look up how I can do this myself and save as much money as possible. As for the oil pan, they first told me about the problem probably 6 months ago. Since we came up with the cheaper "remedy" I've been monitoring it closely (i.e. Whenever I get in the car, before I drive off, I check to make sure there isn't a leaked oil underneath where I had parked) and as far as I can tell it has not been leaking, so I'm going to hold off on that for now. I want to get as much background info as I can about this stuff - being a college student I really cant afford to spend a lot of money on the repairs.