Replacing a Timing Belt

courtesy of Bob, The Auto Answer Man

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Hi Bob,
It's time to replace our timing belt on our Camry, but our mechanics wants to do the water pump and other hoses and belts as well. I know the timing belt replacement isn't a cheap thing, but the whole package is being estimated at $750. Do those other things really need to be done? We're at 140,000 miles and plan to keep the car quite awhile.

On some cars, you need to remove the water pump to gain access to the timing belt, or you need to remove other things to get a clear shot of the water pump. It's almost like free labor to change the water pump. The part alone should not be very expensive. If you do not want to do it, then that is okay as well. It's not required. However, if the water pump were to fail in a few months or so, you would incur a large labor bill to get to it. I would suggest doing it. Your mechanic should be able to give you a break down of charges and let you know what the added cost will be to do the water pump. You can also call around and get prices for just the water pump at different auto part stores. Also, if you wanted to really do your homework, you could call around to other shops and see what it would cost to change your water pump (don't mention the timing belt job). This way, you will know what the pump costs and what the cost is to replace just the pump later down the road. You'll be better educated if you want to take the gamble and not do it now. If the added cost of the pump is under $50 (not including the lower radiator hose or other hoses for that matter as that is also a preventive maintenance type repair), I would have it done.
Good Luck!
Drive Safely!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man

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