1996 Toyota Camry recent service and advise thereof


Brakes problem
1996 Toyota Camry 4 cyl Two Wheel Drive Automatic 190000 miles

Hi just had my 190,000km, 96 camry serviced by toyota, and was told the following just to make it "roadworthy":

front brake pads and machine ($290);
front lower control arm brushes beginning to split ($320)
sump leaking oil ($260);
dog/bone engine mount split ($210);
oil leaking behind timing covers.

Then there are other less critical repairs needing attention, eg power steering and brake fluid and coolant flushes, also power steering belt cracked
air filter needs replacing (another $750 for these).

Some 16 months ago I had a new engine mount put in by a different repairer.

What should I do? Thanks.

Do you
have the same problem?
Tuesday, October 5th, 2010 AT 10:32 PM

1 Reply


First I am interested in where you live and if you are using a chain repair shop, dealership or privately owned?
First, when brakes are replaced on todays' imports, the rotors are essentially too thin to be machined for a new surface. Sometimes I have used a Wet/Dry or special type of sandpaper to roughen up the surface of the rotor. This is only when the rotor is not dished, grooved or ridged in any way. You can usually tell if rotors need replacing as the front end will shake when the brakes are applied at high speed.
So, I find the fact that they, "machined" your rotors a little suspect.
Remember that shops make most of their money off of labor, not parts.
Depending on the type of parts you got, new rotors and pads for the cheaper end would be around $80.00 to $100.00 at most. Really good replacements would run $200.00 or so, but that is top of the line fancy stuff.
Brakes are not hard to do especially when you replace the rotors and pads. You could follow the link on this sight to the tutorials on, "How to Replace Brakes", see if you could follow and do it yourself for even cheaper than $80.00 for all the parts if you use one of the parts vendors links on this site. Then you would have all new stuff.
The front lower control arm bushings can be tough to replace. Generally I would recommend all Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) as that is the best way to go. However, it sounds like you want to just get by. At that age in a car, all bushings are, "starting to crack". Depending on how hard the car has been driven, the more I would look into it.
If the price they ar quoting is for both front lowers, it is still expensive and mostly a labor item. I am not sure of OEM prices but there are 2 bushings per arm and do not cost a lot for aftermarket. In fact you can get an entire car kit for pretty cheap. If the car is not making loud cluncks or handling funny, get a second opinion. In the mean time, jack up the car, MAKE SURE YOUR EITHER USING JACK STAND OR THAT YOU ARE NEVER UNDER THE CAR WHILE IT IS SUSPENDED, and see if the wheel can be pulled back and forth or in and out at the top and bottom.
If not, I would hold off for now. I think the best thing I have pointed out in all of this is, "GET A SECOND OPINION".
The "sump leaking" is an oil pan leak. I am guessing this as I cannot think of what else they are referring to. As long as you don't care about the oil stains it leaves and you keep the oil topped off, that is low on the priority list.
The, "DogBone/Engine Mount Split" is a perplexing term to me as it is either a motor mount that has a bad and worn Urethane bushing, just like the lower control arms but different in that they keep the engine from moving too much and making the car vibrate from engine harmonics. This means that when the engine vibrates, you don't feel it.
There are engine motor mount brackets that act in between mount and frame, but if it were broken, I think you would notice a lot of loud, "Thud" type noises if you accelerate from a stop quickly and then let off the gas.
Oil leaking behind the timing covers is very strange to me because there is no mention of doing the timing belt or water pump. The leak would be a front main seal and you would be losing oil very fast and it would be making a huge mess under the hood. I think that sounds a little odd as well because that would be the most expensive thing on the list you have provided.

As far as the other things;
Getting a second or third opinion is the best thing you can do. When 2 opinions are the same and make sense, then you know yu are on the right track.
Don't be afraid to do it yourself. There is a ton of help here and lots of step-by step how too that will save you tons of money and make keeping an, "ol Beater car" worth it.
Shop around and you can even find reputable mechanics through this site in your area.
If you have any trouble, let me know and I will be glad to help you out.

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Tuesday, October 5th, 2010 AT 11:38 PM

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