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Changing Belts In A Car?  
User currently offlineJFK69 From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 1421 posts, RR: 1
Posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 1558 times:

I have an 05 Nissan Murano with 50k miles on it. I had a recall I had to take care of so I took it to the dealer. He said I needed new belts and a new carbon filter. I declined it. Was this guy trying to take me or do you think I actually needed this stuff done?

17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8471 posts, RR: 10
Reply 1, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 1554 times:
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Quoting JFK69 (Thread starter):
Was this guy trying to take me

It's a bit late for that isn't it? The one who took you was the one you bought it from!



After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
User currently offlineMoose135 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2409 posts, RR: 10
Reply 2, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 1541 times:

What does the manual say? It should give a maintenance schedule to follow - and if you don't have the manual, the auto maker web site usually has the schedules listed.

Depending on their condition, you may need to have the engine belt(s) replaced. If they are in bad shape, and fail, you could be stuck waiting on a tow truck. As to the filter, I assume he was talking about the cabin air filter. If that needs replacing (again, check the schedule) often times it is something that you can do yourself.

But as always, RTFM and YMMV  Wink



KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
User currently offlineJFK69 From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 1421 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 1540 times:



Quoting Andz (Reply 1):
It's a bit late for that isn't it? The one who took you was the one you bought it from!

ummm..what?


User currently offlinePSA727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 974 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 1532 times:



Quoting JFK69 (Thread starter):
. I had a recall I had to take care of so I took it to the dealer

I'm a bit confused. Did you have a recall notice sent you? or a maintenance schedule
notification? If the manufacturer sent you a recall notice, then they have to cover the cost
of it being replaced because it was a factory defect. Sometimes a recall notice requires
that your vehicle be inspected (at no cost) to see if your exact vehicle part has the defect.
But timing belts are very important, and can be a serious expense if not maintained properly.



fly high, pay low...Germanwings!
User currently offlineCadet57 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 9085 posts, RR: 30
Reply 5, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 1529 times:



Quoting PSA727 (Reply 4):
I'm a bit confused. Did you have a recall notice sent you? o

No, he had a recall and while he was there the mech told him he needed belts. Im thinking its a money grab. My dealership told me I needed a timing belt at 80k, which I just hit. Going to vwvortex.com, someone posted a service schedule, I dont need one until atleast 100k. So if I fell for it, would have been at quick 1200 for them.. I found the parts kit online, 197.99, OEM parts, also found a step by step guide- I can have it done in 3-4 hours. I pity those who let the stealership work on their car.



Doors open, right hand side, next stop is Springfield.
User currently offlineJFK69 From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 1421 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 1522 times:

Let me rephrase the original.

I had a recall for something totally seperate. They always do a "99" point inspection when you bring it in (Probably to look for items that they can screw you on). The guy said my belts were worn and I needed a new cabin filter. I said no, just please do the recall.


The recall was a fuel tank guard.


User currently offlineFalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6181 posts, RR: 31
Reply 7, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 1493 times:
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Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 5):
someone posted a service schedule, I dont need one until atleast 100k

The service schedule comes with the car, many times it is either in the owner's manual or in a book next to it. With timing belts it pays to error on the side of caution. If it fails there is a good chance you will be buying a new engine.

Quoting JFK69 (Thread starter):
new carbon filter

A carbon filter is part of the evaporative fuel emission control system. In some places that have strict emission standards that is an important item. Cars have had them since the 1970s, but in most parts of the country if it fails we just throw it away.

Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 5):
would have been at quick 1200 for them

Not a quick 1200 bucks by any means. If they have a 100.00 hr labor rate and the part is $200 (which would be crazy high for a timing belt) that would be a 10 hour repair job.

Quoting JFK69 (Reply 6):
Probably to look for items that they can screw you on

Yea, all us mechanics screw everyone. I tell somebody they need new ball joints and they think "oh this car is fine, that guy is trying to rip me off". You would be amazed how many cars on the road are unsafe or on the verge of falling apart because the owner thinks they know better. Same goes for doctors. People feel fine so they ignore the doctor, but they don't see a potential serious problem.

Quoting Moose135 (Reply 2):
Depending on their condition, you may need to have the engine belt(s) replaced. If they are in bad shape, and fail, you could be stuck waiting on a tow truck

That is correct. A worn accessory drive belt can go at any time. There is no real set schedule for them. Operating conditions can alter the belt's life. I replace my belts and hoses at 50,000 miles. A few bucks today can save me big buck later. I can't tell you how many times I have found a car with a dead engine because a customer's accessory drive belt broke and the water pump stopped turning and they drove the car until it seized.



My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 1469 times:

Quoting Falstaff (Reply 7):
the owner thinks they know better.

I do, but that's because I've done my own oil, suspension and belt changes 

If I end up taking my car to the dealership, either because I'm too lazy to do it myself or just don't have the tools, I like to talk with the mechanic that's gonna work on it, not with a "maintenance supervisor" thingamadude all dealers have. That way I just tell the mechanic my diagnostic of the situation directly or what's wrong and what needs fixing. Saves time for both of us.

I am a total gearhead though... some people grasp it easily, others don't and and a few others never will.

[Edited 2008-10-06 16:23:56]

User currently offlineMolykote From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 1343 posts, RR: 15
Reply 9, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 1468 times:
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- At 50k you are almost certainly not dealing with a timing belt. Disregard any above suggestion to that effect because this interval is too low and your car (I think) has a timing chain.
The mechanic was almost certainly talking about accessory belts. 50k is too low of a "routine" interval for a timing belt on any common vehicle of decent quality. At the same time, establishing the condition of your timing belt (if it believed to have worn prematurely) would require significant labor on most vehicles - It is unlikely such an inspection was accomplished.

- I wouldn't expect accessory belts to need replacement at 50k but it's not impossible. If I was doing my own maintenance in the area I'd probably replace the accessory belts becase they are cheap and it could be done with a minimal investment of extra time. If I mechanic told me they needed replacement at a suspect interval (50k) I'd ask to see the belts and ask for an explaination.

- Assuming normal environmental conditions, your cabin air (charcoal) filter is likely to have already been replaced at least once by the time you hit 50k. If it hasn't been replaced (or if you don't know), this seems like reasonable maintenance. You'll probably overpay at a dealer or garage by any objective standard. The filters on most cars are a job ranging from 1-5 minutes. The most complicated tooling I've ever needed for this task is a screwdriver. Most cars don't require tools at all to replace the cabin air filter.

Dealer prices for the belts and filter could be as high as the $100 ballpark. I wouldn't be shocked to get a bill for $200 if the dealer did both jobs. Doing it myself (assuming nothing too out of the ordinary for your car) it's about an hour of work (conservative) and $50 in parts. My favorite parts web site has both accessory belts for your vehicle for $25 (total) and the cabin filter for $22 ($50 gets free shipping).

If you can't spend $200 (not much in the scheme of a $35-45k vehicle), ignore the accessory belts because they are probably in fine shape. A failed accessory belt is highly unlikely to cause any harm to your vehicle but may end up sticking you with a tow bill and a $100-150 shop fee later. You can buy a cabin filter at a local parts store or the dealer. Replacing the filter isn't a job that will have any catastrophic effect if you mess it up and the filter probably comes with instructions detailing the 5 minute job (most that I have seen do).

Ultimately, if you didn't know the above already, there isn't much wrong with forking over $200 and being on your way.



Speedtape - The aspirin of aviation!
User currently offlineFalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6181 posts, RR: 31
Reply 10, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 1450 times:
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Quoting Molykote (Reply 9):
A failed accessory belt is highly unlikely to cause any harm to your vehicle

If the water pump is driven off the belt then it can be a BIG deal. Some engines the water pump is driven off the timing belt/chain and if that were the case you would have plenty of time to get someplace before the battery lost enough charge to cause the car to stall.

Quoting Molykote (Reply 9):
and a $100-150 shop fee later

It is a labor charge. Mechanics don't work for free. Even though most customers think we should.

Quoting Molykote (Reply 9):
Replacing the filter isn't a job that will have any catastrophic effect if you mess it up and the filter probably comes with instructions detailing the 5 minute job (most that I have seen do).

If somebody is really cheap they can take the filter out.

Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 8):
"maintenance supervisor" thingamadude all dealers have

Service writer/service advisor. One problem with those guys is that they think they are mechanics sometimes and try to diagnose the car in the service lane. The diagnosis should be left up to the technician.

Quoting Molykote (Reply 9):
My favorite parts web site has both accessory belts for your vehicle for $25 (total) and the cabin filter for $22 ($50 gets free shipping).

$21.49 at NAPA for the serpentine belt and $12.99 for the powersteering belt. NAPA wants 26.99 for the filter. They do have cheaper stuff, but that is for the premium stuff.

Sometimes dealers (boat, car, motorcycle, etc) will tell you that the OEM stuff is the best thing for you car. Actually the best quality stuff is best for your car. Most auto builders no longer make filters, belts, hoses, etc. Those parts are made by suppliers. Many times the OEM product is the same as an aftermarket brand. Most NAPA filters are made by WIX and I have seen OEM filters with a WIX part number. At one time most Ford filters were made by Purolator, they still might be.

Many times in the Marine repair trade I have seen Mercruiser dealers sell a lower grade of Mercruiser brand oil than the products from Valvoline, Mobil, etc in the same store at a lower price.

Quoting Molykote (Reply 9):
You can buy a cabin filter at a local parts store

If you want better quality parts stay away from discount parts stores. They also tend to have less knowledgable staff. Rarely will you ever see a professional technician or a shop buy parts from a discount auto parts store. There is a reason for that. High quality stores that are independantly owned and operated like NAPA, CarQuest, Auto Value, etc, are where the pros shop.



My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
User currently offlineJFK69 From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 1421 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 1441 times:

I thank you all for your response.

I took the car to MY mechanic this afternoon who I have been using for the last 6 years. He said I still have ways to go until my belts have to be looked at again. He said my filter was fine for at least a few more oil changes as well.

So yes, I feel as if I was being screwed. Nothing like trusting your own mechanic over a dealer any day.


User currently offlineCadet57 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 9085 posts, RR: 30
Reply 12, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 1434 times:



Quoting Falstaff (Reply 7):
Not a quick 1200 bucks by any means.

Sure it was. Considering I can do it myself in about 4 when they were charging me about a day and a half's labor. I called an independent garage, 850 parts and labor. 68 an hour for labor and he said its a 1 day job, bring the car for 8, it'll be ready for close at 6. And they use the same OEM parts as the dealership.

Quoting Falstaff (Reply 7):
(which would be crazy high for a timing belt)

It was a kit. Timing belt, bolts, pulley, etc. As well as water pump which gets changed at the same service because they both require the same access to the engine, removing the motor mounts, etc. And thats what I would pay from a parts store, I have no idea what the stealership charges. All I know is when she said 1200 parts and labor I said no way.

Quoting Falstaff (Reply 7):
that would be a 10 hour repair job.

As I said, I could do it in 4 and I dont have the luxury of a lift and some of the specialized tools. Once the engine is off the mounts the hardest part is getting the belt fitted.

Dont get me wrong, Im all for paying when the work is A) needed and justified B) done properly and timely and C) They wont be jerking me around. Im glad I know my way around my car because I can tell when they are bs'ing me when I go in there. Only reason my car is still with them is because its under warranty for another 9k, after that, im going to an independent VW shop. It's about 30 minutes away, but the honesty and better prices are worth it.



Doors open, right hand side, next stop is Springfield.
User currently offlineMolykote From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 1343 posts, RR: 15
Reply 13, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 1402 times:
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Quoting Falstaff (Reply 10):
It is a labor charge. Mechanics don't work for free. Even though most customers think we should.

I've got no problem with a labor charge nor do I think you should work for free.

Some jobs are simply expensive - no two ways about it. All I expect is to be treated fairly and receive competent service in return. In the last 4 years I have had terrible luck with both and have resorted to doing most work myself. My gripe is not the expense of hiring a competent professional - it's with the quality of work/service that I have seen most mechanics (independent foreign specialists and dealers) provide in the last 15 years.

Perhaps my standards are too high. For context, I'm a propulsion engineer who works in a 24/7 aircraft maintenance support environment. I'm no stranger to expensive parts or high costs of maintenance. I'm also not "that guy" who tells a mechanic how to do his job. Maybe it's my unassuming presentation but I always seem to be the guy who mechanics try to sell a "flux capacitor" or some similar garbage for his vehicle (although I have no problem with preventative maintenance).
I have resorted to leaving my service manuals and a few other items in the footwell of my car when I take it in for state inspection, tires, or maintenance that I'm not up for (to suggest that maybe I'm aware that my vehicle alignment is just fine). My general respect for others and the capabilities of a good mechanic have led me to "trust the professional" in the past rather than judge them prejudicially. My next introduction wo a service shop might begin with an introduction similar to this paragraph (although I wish I didn't feel like it had to).

If you are part of the "other" group of mechanics, good for you. It sounds like I may have struck a nerve but I don't think you took my comments in the proper context. I'm certainly appreciative of the fact that a fair number of your customers won't part with a penny more than they have to keep their car rolling. This doesn't mean that a significant number of mechanics aren't good at (needlessly) spending other people's money either.

My earlier point was that replacement of a cabin filter and accessory belts are simple jobs. I'd rather save $150 by doing the work myself in an hour. For someone who lacks tools, torque specs, or a basic mechanical inclination I also noted.....

Quoting Molykote (Reply 9):
$200 (not much in the scheme of a $35-45k vehicle),



Quoting Molykote (Reply 9):
there isn't much wrong with forking over $200 and being on your way



Quoting Falstaff (Reply 10):
$21.49 at NAPA for the serpentine belt and $12.99 for the powersteering belt. NAPA wants 26.99 for the filter. They do have cheaper stuff, but that is for the premium stuff.

I use autohausaz.com for parts. They are knowledgeable, particular about quality, and offer free shipping on orders above $50. I've used them for years and recently replaced the rotors and pads on my 330Ci. Zimmerman rotors, Mintex pads, OE BMW lubricant, and a few other bits for under $340 shipped.

Along your lines above, I bought a Bosch (activated charcoal) cabin filter for under $20 for the same car.

Quoting Falstaff (Reply 10):
If you want better quality parts stay away from discount parts stores. They also tend to have less knowledgable staff. Rarely will you ever see a professional technician or a shop buy parts from a discount auto parts store. There is a reason for that. High quality stores that are independantly owned and operated like NAPA, CarQuest, Auto Value, etc, are where the pros shop.

I don't disagree with you but in the case of this filter - at least for my car, the same Bosch (activated charcoal) filter is available from Advance Auto Parts at a $12 premium.

I wouldn't buy a radiator from one of these shops but a cabin air filter is pretty trivial - which I think you'd agree with considering you even suggested one could remove it.

To be fair, I don't go to these stores for "knowledge" (I have factory manuals and do research myself).



Speedtape - The aspirin of aviation!
User currently offlineLuv2cattlecall From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1650 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 1385 times:
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Quoting Falstaff (Reply 7):

Not a quick 1200 bucks by any means. If they have a 100.00 hr labor rate and the part is $200 (which would be crazy high for a timing belt) that would be a 10 hour repair job.

Considering that they stealership pockets $50 of that/hr, it is a quick profit...

Btw, it's not unheard of for dealerships to send out fake recall notices just to get you in for the 99 point screwjob...

While I agree that preventative maintenance is necessary...my 1st car was a used Bimmer that still runs (use it once a week or so) that has over 180,000 miles on it...and I haven't bothered doing what the dealership says I need if I don't want to turn into a flameball....original cooling system, gaskets, belts, hoses, etc..

Spark plugs are newish but that's about it...I've spent less than $3,000 in maintainance (tires, battery, random stuff here and there) in the past 9 years/115,000 miles, but if I listened to the mechanics....it would have been over $10,000 (struts/shocks, belts, hoses, muffler belt, turning signal fluid..etc)



When you have to breaststroke to your connecting flight...it's a crash!
User currently offlineFalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6181 posts, RR: 31
Reply 15, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 1345 times:
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Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 12):
I could do it in 4 and I dont have the luxury of a lift and some of the specialized tools.
, If you don't have those items how could you do it in four hours? How many Nissan timing belts/chains have you changed? Some timing belts are easy some are not.

According to Mitchel on demand ( an aftermarket service manual publisher ) there are three timing chains on this car and the average labor time is 17.9 hours for replacement of all three. I doubt very much that you could do it in four hours. If you could you need to change professions and be a auto technician. You would so very well on the flat rate system.

Quoting Molykote (Reply 13):
I wouldn't buy a radiator from one of these shops but a cabin air filter is pretty trivial - which I think you'd agree with considering you even suggested one could remove it.
Buying oil, filters, and the like are just fine from just about anywhere. I wouldn't by actual parts there either.

Is this carbon filter in question the cabin air filter or the carbon filter canister for the EVAP system?

[Edited 2008-10-07 04:40:07]


My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
User currently offlineDesertJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7811 posts, RR: 16
Reply 16, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 1310 times:



Quoting Luv2cattlecall (Reply 14):
(struts/shocks, belts, hoses, muffler belt, turning signal fluid..etc)

MY GOD MAN get that blinker fluid changed right away.... you don't know the damage you're causing.


Being serious, w/ a 9yr-old car w/ 180,000 mi some of those things I would consider having done as regular course of maintaining your car. Belts and hoses for sure. Neither of those are terribly expensive parts wise but can be a bear to replace depending on the car. Struts and shocks are something that I would consider looking into given the age/mileage of your car.



Timing belt replacement isn't a terribly cheap job. A fair amount of labor involved in it for sure. I know my car is going to need one sooner rather than later. It is now 6 years old w/ 63,000 miles.... the service interval is around 75k miles give or take. Again parts are not terribly expensive, it is just labor intensive, especially w/ all the other stuff they need to do while they have it opened up.


It is really tricky finding a good shop. The place I most recently donated $1500 to did a good job and all, but frankly their invoice for all I had done was quite confusing. I just want to see a simple parts and labor breakdown, with the exception of some routine stuff, like fluid changes. So for some parts of the service frankly I wasn't sure how I was charged for it.



Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
User currently offlineCadet57 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 9085 posts, RR: 30
Reply 17, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 1308 times:



Quoting Falstaff (Reply 15):
How many Nissan timing belts/chains have you changed? Some timing belts are easy some are not.

I was referring to my VW, thats where all my numbers came from. I came up with 4 hours based on personal experiance and from the manual that I found on vwvortex.



Doors open, right hand side, next stop is Springfield.
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