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Old 10-01-2021, 11:09 PM   #1
RMcG
 
Drives: 2008 Yaris Hatchback
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Dealer says timing cover is leaking oil, what should I do?

Hello everybody,

You may ask, why did I go to a dealer? Answer: I'm starting a new job that requires travel and definite reliability in terms of my showing up. So I wanted to have my 2008 Yaris with 111, 670 miles on it to get a clean bill of health in case I had a problem with the car. I can show my employer that I had the car inspected, and by a dealer too. I've never had the car worked on by a dealer unless it was for a recall notice or still under warranty. I gave the dealer a list of what I wanted inspected, because I had already done a lot myself and had a lot done for free.

Anyway the one thing they turned up that I'm concerned about is: "Oil leak (visual): timing cover is leaking on rear of engine." They said it will be $126 for a diagnostics check on this. After getting back from the dealer, I checked the engine oil level and it is over full (perhaps typical of Walmart?). The oil was last changed at 110K, about 1700 miles & 3 months ago at Walmart. I live in an apartment complex, but have parked in the same spot for a few weeks and have not noticed any oil spots in the parking space. But, it's night time now, so I'll check again tomorrow.

I don't trust the dealer. My guess is that this diagnostic charge is way too high. I think it's $126 for just sticking a small computer into a plug and reading a code. As just some of the evidence that they over charge: a suggestion that I remedy the foggy headlight lenses for a mere $400 and the intimation that I may get a ticket if I don't. Of course I've seen Youtube videos of people curing this problem of foggy headlight lenses with less than 30 minutes of work with toothpaste or rubbing compound and a rag.

QUESTION(S): Should I worry about the possible timing cover leak of oil?

How should I monitor this problem?

Would getting a computer diagnostic check be wise?

What is a reasonable charge for such a computer diagnostic check?

Thanks,

R.

Last edited by RMcG; 10-01-2021 at 11:51 PM.
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Old 10-02-2021, 06:32 AM   #2
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That amount sound about right.
When my 2007 had an in warranty water pump leak. Yes years ago.
I was given about the same cost to check it and if not a warranty fix. I had to pay it for a diagnostic fee. Even if I had didn't them do it.
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Old 10-02-2021, 08:47 AM   #3
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I would highly recommend cleaning the area thoroughly with degreaser/brake cleaner and then recheck in a week or so.

If you cannot do this yourself then have an indie mechanic do it and it will likely cost very little.

Not only will this give you an idea of if this area truly is leaking, but also how much. It could very well just be a weep and it would not be worth fixing.

If it is leaking a fair amount then you could have it fixed, but the job will cost a bit as it isn't the simplest of jobs with the engine still in the vehicle.

My old Pontiac Vibe with the 1zz had a timing cover "leak" for the 4 years I owned it. It barely dripped and I never bothered re sealing it. You can also run a high mileage oil which will slow it down a bit.
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Old 10-02-2021, 09:36 AM   #4
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If there is no oil on the ground where you park, and with the engine running you don’t see any oil dripping when you look under it It’s probably just fine.

$126 for a diagnostic check for an oil leak makes no sense to me at all!
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Old 10-02-2021, 09:37 AM   #5
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Also do you say the oil level is fine after 1700 miles. This indicates the leak is not significant!
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Old 10-02-2021, 10:37 AM   #6
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Also $400 to remedy fogged headlights and the threat of a ticket if you don’t do it indicates to me these people are not your friends
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Old 10-02-2021, 03:16 PM   #7
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Unless its dripping and leaving spots, I'd drive it, Check the oil weekly and keep a quart in the car.
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Old 10-03-2021, 01:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmontague View Post
I would highly recommend cleaning the area thoroughly with degreaser/brake cleaner and then recheck in a week or so.

If you cannot do this yourself then have an indie mechanic do it and it will likely cost very little.

My old Pontiac Vibe with the 1zz had a timing cover "leak" for the 4 years I owned it. It barely dripped and I never bothered re sealing it. You can also run a high mileage oil which will slow it down a bit.
Thanks tmontague and everybody else (bronsin, exfire & BLH) for your replies,

I think I would like to try doing this myself. Do I have to get underneath the car to do this? If so, I have two jacks (to jack up each side of the car) and can order (online) a pair of jack stands and a pair of wheel chocks for the rear wheels; total cost about $56 USD. These should allow me to safely get under the car and do what you suggest, including checking later to see if more oil has accumulated indicating how bad the leak is.

QUESTION(S): Does this sound like a reasonable plan?

Does anybody think that Walmart's overfilling of the crankcase could be a factor in causing an excess of pressure that could cause some leaking?

(Page 241 of the owner's manual says it takes 1.6 quarts added to go from low to completely full on the disptick. Based on those measurements, I think the dipstick shows the crankcase is overfilled by maybe 0.3 quarts. According to the specs on page 341, the oil capacity, i.e., drain + refill is 3.9 quarts with filter and 3.6 quarts without filter. Walmart usually puts 3.9 quarts of oil on the oil & filter change invoice -- they did this the last time the oil was changed, but maybe they put in the full 4 quarts. They almost never give me a partially filled quart of oil after the oil change.)

Any further comments you (tmontague) or others have will be appreciated and welcomed.

Thanks,

R.

Last edited by RMcG; 10-03-2021 at 02:17 AM. Reason: To add stuff about crankcase/vehicle oil capacity and Walmart
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Old 10-03-2021, 06:54 AM   #9
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When I have an oil change at a local garage or a dealer special.
They seem to always. Round up the 4 quarts added. With a filter included.
So my dipstick is always slightly over the full mark.
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Old 10-03-2021, 02:16 PM   #10
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I change my own oil. I always put the full 4 quarts in and have never seen any ill effects. I highly doubt that would be the cause of your leak.
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Old 10-03-2021, 09:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RMcG View Post
Thanks tmontague and everybody else (bronsin, exfire & BLH) for your replies,

I think I would like to try doing this myself. Do I have to get underneath the car to do this? If so, I have two jacks (to jack up each side of the car) and can order (online) a pair of jack stands and a pair of wheel chocks for the rear wheels; total cost about $56 USD. These should allow me to safely get under the car and do what you suggest, including checking later to see if more oil has accumulated indicating how bad the leak is.

QUESTION(S): Does this sound like a reasonable plan?

Does anybody think that Walmart's overfilling of the crankcase could be a factor in causing an excess of pressure that could cause some leaking?

(Page 241 of the owner's manual says it takes 1.6 quarts added to go from low to completely full on the disptick. Based on those measurements, I think the dipstick shows the crankcase is overfilled by maybe 0.3 quarts. According to the specs on page 341, the oil capacity, i.e., drain + refill is 3.9 quarts with filter and 3.6 quarts without filter. Walmart usually puts 3.9 quarts of oil on the oil & filter change invoice -- they did this the last time the oil was changed, but maybe they put in the full 4 quarts. They almost never give me a partially filled quart of oil after the oil change.)

Any further comments you (tmontague) or others have will be appreciated and welcomed.

Thanks,

R.
Basically you donít have a problem. Go back and read my posts. Especially the one about your oil level being the same as it was 1700 miles ago when it was changed.
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Old 10-04-2021, 07:59 AM   #12
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I agree with others, the slight overfill is not an issue. I always ran a slight extra amount of oil in my yard when beating it around the track and never had a single issue with blowing out seals or leaks.

Your plan to inspect underneath the car is a sound one and what I personally would do.

Please ensure you have jack stand before going underneath, redundancy is your friend. I know two people in my extended circle who are no longer on this earth due to failing Jacks.
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Old 10-04-2021, 12:25 PM   #13
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yeah i work at the toyota dealer and really a timing cover leak isnt much to worry about, most of the time a mechanic will address if they see a small spec of oil debris and its really not even truly leaking, other than it looking kind of ugly and gross it doesnt hurt anything st all, if it was truly leaking you should stick your finger under by your passenger side frame and you have oil there, i have seen some timing covers get so bad that it actually gets the drive belt contaminated and it slips off so just check it every once in a while and make sure its not slinging oil on the belt and youre fine
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Old 10-04-2021, 06:08 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by NYC-SE View Post
I change my own oil. I always put the full 4 quarts in and have never seen any ill effects. I highly doubt that would be the cause of your leak.
Me too, I just throw in 4 quarts. Never had an issue with leaking.
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Old 10-04-2021, 11:18 PM   #15
RMcG
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmontague View Post
I agree with others, the slight overfill is not an issue. ...Your plan to inspect underneath the car is a sound one and what I personally would do.

Please ensure you have jack stand before going underneath, redundancy is your friend. I know two people ... who are no longer on this earth due to failing Jacks.
Thanks tmontague,

If I go ahead and follow the plan (i.e., buy the jackstands & rear wheel chocks, etc.) where should the jack stands be placed under the car to ensure the front end is stable and will not fall?

Based on reading the instructions in the owner's manual for how to change a front tire, I know where to place the jacks for the front end. There is an area between two notches on a ridge underneath each front door where a jack is supposed to go to change a front tire. I have changed a flat several times. But I do not know where jack stands are normally placed for the Toyota Yaris after the car is already jacked up.

Thanks,

R.
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Old 10-04-2021, 11:23 PM   #16
RMcG
 
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Thanks mitch, NYC, bronsin, remcafee and BLH,

I will factor the information, opinions and suggestions you have made into my thinking.

Thanks again, I appreciate it very much.

This forum is great.

R.
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Old 10-05-2021, 07:34 AM   #17
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For your headlights lenses I highly recommend the Sylvania Headlight restoration kit. See the testing done on this YT video from "Project Farm" (https://youtu.be/iDB5U4QUdD0) I've done 4 cars last year and they still all look perfect.
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Old 10-05-2021, 01:08 PM   #18
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Jack stands under the frame rails.
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