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cracks in drive belt

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by BrennanShilohRescue, Jan 4, 2010.

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  1. BrennanShilohRescue

    BrennanShilohRescue New Member

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    Happy New Year everyone :)

    i just took my 04 Prius in for it's oil change, and they told me my drive belt has cracks in it, and needs to be replaced. "damage" & "wear" were NOT checked, only "cracks" was checked off on my inspection report....
    so do i really need to replace it now, or does it have life left in it?
    i bought it a year ago with warranties, so i'm assuming they would have changed the belts then, wouldn't they? it has 54,000 miles now.
    and every time i bring it in for an oil change, they tell me the filters need to be changed. is that true?
    thanks, laura
  2. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    I suppose you could ask them to show you the belt and the cracks. If there are indeed cracks I would change the belt.

    Yes engine oil change should include oil filter change.

    Good luck!
  3. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Hi Laura,

    It is likely that the serpentine (aka drive) belt has cracks in it since your car is six years old. It would be good preventive maintenance practice to replace it now since, if the belt breaks, the engine water pump will stop turning, the engine will quickly overheat, and you will be dead on the side of the road.

    It is a bad assumption to think that the belt would have been replaced when you bought the car one year ago. If you were lucky, the engine oil, oil filter, and engine air filter would have been changed and the engine compartment steam-cleaned for cosmetic reasons. That's about all you can hope for.

    Regarding the engine and cabin air filters, they should be replaced at least at 30K mile intervals. It is really easy to remove both filters so that you can assess whether they need to be replaced or not (do a search if you need to learn how.)

    Regarding the engine air filter, the dirty side is on the bottom so you need to remove the filter to see what it looks like. Hold the filter up to the sun. If you cannot see sunlight coming through, then replace the filter.

    Regarding the cabin air filter, the criteria is whether you can stand to breathe through the dirt and leaves that have accumulated on it, or not. In severe cases the ventilation system will show impairment such as reduced air flow and fogging up even when the outside air vent is open.
    2 people like this.
  4. BrennanShilohRescue

    BrennanShilohRescue New Member

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    thanks for the replies!
    okay, it seems i should let them replace the drive belt/s - is there more than one???
    they want $190 to do it. is that a fair price? if it's not, i want to let them know.
    i just spent 10 years getting ripped off by my Honda dealer's service dept, and i'm taking a more proactive approach this time around, lol.
    laura
  5. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    There is one drive belt that costs around $15 (maybe $22 MSRP) and it should take one hour of labor time or less.

    So I would say $190 is not a fair price. If you have independents in your area that work on Toyota cars, call around and see what they can do for you.
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  6. BrennanShilohRescue

    BrennanShilohRescue New Member

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    -------------------------------------
    thanks, Patrick.
    i thought it sounded like a lot to change belts, but i know very little about cars, and even less about hybrids.
    do you happen to know if work done by another shop will void my Toyota warranty?
    laura
  7. Flying White Dutchman

    Flying White Dutchman Senior Member

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    its not really the drivebelt..
    its just one small belt that drive's the oil pump.
    there is no drivebelt like in other cars in the prius so 190 dollar is more in line with the drivebelt in other cars and not the prius.
    vitiligo and BrennanShilohRescue like this.
  8. BrennanShilohRescue

    BrennanShilohRescue New Member

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    ---------------------------------------------------
    wow, that's really interesting....
    and you know what? i just looked at my "multipoint inspection"
    sheet, and it's just a generic form, for all Toyotas and Scions, not a Prius form.
    i'm going to call them and say the Prius doesn't have a drive belt like other cars, and why should a small belt for the oil pump be $190 and see what they say.
    thank you!
  9. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Dear friends,

    The serpentine drive belt spins the engine water pump. Not the oil pump.

    Work done by an independent shop would void your warranty only if a problem can be attributed to the work the shop did. For example, they replace the serpentine drive belt but do a poor job so the belt falls off the pulleys, your engine overheats and seizes, and you try to file a claim under your 5 year/60K mile drivetrain warranty. In that case Toyota would reasonably tell you to pound sand.
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  10. BrennanShilohRescue

    BrennanShilohRescue New Member

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    ---------------------------------------------
    that's kinda what i was afraid of....but i also don't like them taking advantage of the situation either. do you feel $190 to change the belt is a fair price? they also wanted an additional $32 to change the air filter - which takes what - 2 minutes?
    i guess i'm trying to ascertain if this dealer's service dept is going to continually take advantage of me every time i go in there -
    because it happened to me with my other car. (this is rampant in FL, by the way, for woman). and if so, i'll look around for another Toyota dealer. i assume they all honor the Toyota warranties.
    is that a correct assumption?
    thanks again.
  11. PriusLewis

    PriusLewis Management Scientist

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    Sorry to hear that - I've seen similar problems with female friends going alone into a shop. Terrible business practice - boycot any that do that! And tell all your friends!

    I have my oil changed at an oil change shop. They check the air filter and will change one for free if I bring it in (they don't usually stock one to fit the Prius). Be sure to keep all records of changes for warranty purposes. Toyota can't void your warranty for going to an independent oil shop (again, like has been mentioned, only if they left the oil out or something and killed the engine, in which case it would be their insurance to cover it, not Toyota).

    Personally, I wouldn't pay $190 for a belt change. I also wouldn't go back to that shop if I were in your place. You might ask friends where they get their oil changes. Maybe you can find a more "gender neutral" shop.

    If you were in Colorado I'd send you to my son-in-law's shop - he tends to give the ladies a break because so many get that treatment, and he gets their business and their friend's business for being fair. He also has a female mechanic, a graduate of the NASCAR mechanic school. I believe she will be leavng come summer as she has a new job on a NASCAR team!
  12. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    I personally think that $190 is excessive, but I do this work myself. The experienced Toyota tech probably takes 30 minutes or less to change the belt.

    Any Toyota dealer's service dept can be used. Hopefully you'll find one in your area that is fair and reasonable.

    You may find it is worth your time to learn how to DIY simple things such as filter replacement - unless you are earning income at the rate of $16 per minute (using your example above.) This is ~$1K per hour. ;)
  13. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    Yes I believe all Toyota dealers have the obligation to do warranty work on Toyota cars. You may also look up the Car Talk website for independent mechanics that other people recommend. If you have several dealers to choose from you may e-mail them to get quotes before going. Good luck!
    1 person likes this.
  14. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    I bought my now 17 year old Honda used about 6 years ago. When I purchased it, from a Honda Dealer, it had the "fabled" 30pt inspection, of course everything was marked that it was in excellent shape. Less than a month later I bring it in for a service and they come out and start telling me about the 10-20 things it needs immediately, including brake pads. Which were part of the supposed "inspection". When I complained that supposedly many of these items were checked and how could they go from "Excellent" to "Bad" in less than a month when the only thing that had changed was that I had bought the automobile, they suddenly started to back track severely. Suddenly it didn't need all the things they had marked and I even got a free brake job out of it.

    My only advice being sometimes if you've just bought a used car from a dealer and then they try to soak you for repairs, you might complain...the squeaky used wheel gets the grease. You've got nothing to lose.
  15. hobbit

    hobbit Senior Member

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    My belt went over 100,000 miles and is still good, albeit I
    don't live in FL where there's more heat on rubber parts. I changed
    it anyway and documented it and have the old one as a
    spare; it's quite easy to do with basic tools and Toyota is totally
    talking out their butts trying to tell you the labor costs that much.
    .
    I'm convinced that running that belt too tight is primarily
    responsible for short life. It only has to run the water pump, it's
    not carrying any serious power and really only has to be tight
    enough to stay on the pulleys plus just a little bit. Tight
    belts will also wear water pump and idler bearings prematurely.
    .
    _H*
    2 people like this.
  16. richard schumacher

    richard schumacher shortbus driver

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    Since you don't have the Scheduled Maintenance Guide that came with the car originally, see the link below for Toyota's recommended regular maintenance items.
    Toyota Parts and Service
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  17. BrennanShilohRescue

    BrennanShilohRescue New Member

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    Re: cracks in drive belt/dealership update

    thanks to all who wrote. i thought you might like to hear how it went:
    i called the service dept at my Toyota dealer & asked them what their hourly labor charge is, and they said $75-$99. i told them i went online to run their estimate by my Prius online group, and that the belt should cost around $22 & take at most an hour to replace, and that i feel they're gouging me, and do they want to try to adjust the price and call me back?
    he did 2 minutes later and changed the price from $190 to $139.
    while still too high as far as i'm concerned, as least they now know i will come online
    and check their prices and write about my experiences with them.
    it's really sad that i even have to do this, but this is what it is like with most dealerships and mechanics in FL. i'm guessing this dealership is a commission shop.
    i'll keep you guys posted as my "experiences" with them unfold.....
  18. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    Re: cracks in drive belt/dealership update



    Thanks for keeping us updated and if you are willing to spend the time you can go to DealerRater.com - Car Dealer Reviews, Car Dealer Directory, FREE Dealership Classified Ads to write about your experience with the dealer. Have fun! :)
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  19. BrennanShilohRescue

    BrennanShilohRescue New Member

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    Re: cracks in drive belt/dealership update



    ------------------
    thanks for the link! i will definitely visit the site. i have a feeling this won't be the last time i have to do this.
    i wish i had a group like this when i owned my previous car (a Honda). their service dept totally rebuild that car over the years -
    so essentially i paid for it twice. what crooks. every time i took it in, it supposedly needed $500 - $1200 of work.
    i am determined not to go down that road again.
  20. dmelamed

    dmelamed New Member

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    We took 2005 Prius to dealer for recall work and wheel alignment. We were told there were cracks in the drive belt and given an estimate of $175 to replace it.
    After reading this thread, I called Jim, the independant mechanic I usually go to ( we've been doing every 3rd Maintenence at the Dealer and the rest to Jim's shop). Jim looked it up and gave me an estimate of $85 to replace the belt. He ordered the belt for us.

    Thank you for useful thread.
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