HELP I am a semi-helpless female and the original owner...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Nov 01, 1994

Dear Tom and Ray:

HELP! I am a semi-helpless female and the original owner of a 1988 Toyota Corolla. It has 60,000 miles on it, and I want it to last 150,000. The owner's manual says it's time to replace the timing belt. Nooooo problem --- right? UNTIL I start calling for service! The service manager where I bought my car says I need to replace not only the timing belt, but also the tension spring, crankshaft seal, and all the other belts. I checked several other shops and each one said that I needed to replace all or most of those parts, too! Do I need to replace all of these parts? Or am I being "over-sold?"

TOM: You're not being over-sold by much, Grace. You could get by without replacing the tension spring and crankshaft seal (which'll save you $75 or $100). Those parts will probably last until your next timing belt change at 120,000 miles.

RAY: But while you're changing the timing belt, you might as well change the alternator belt, the power steering belt, and the air conditioner belt. Here's why. First of all, at 60,000, they're all ready to break. Second, your mechanic has to take them off anyway in order to get to the timing belt. So you're paying no additional labor to have them changed. All it costs you is 50 bucks in parts.

TOM: If you wait until they break, you'll not only pay the $50 for parts, but you'll have to pay for the labor all over again. And that's not counting any towing charges... or dry cleaning bills (if the air-conditioning belt breaks during rush hour).

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