Letters: Does Camry need repairs the dealer recommends?
By IRA SIEGEL For Sun-Times Media December 31, 2012 1:58PM
Q: My wife recently had her 2007 Toyota Camry serviced at a local Toyota dealer for its routine 5,000-mile maintenance. When she made the appointment, they recommended a super long-life coolant flush. The car has 102,000 miles and runs like a top. Unfortunately my wife never kept past service records.
With no past history to review I advised her to get the coolant flush. After the car was serviced, she presented me with more recommendations from the Toyota tech who serviced her car. He said it needed an air conditioning refresh ($52), a power steering flush ($90), a brake flush ($100) and positive crankcase ventilation valve replacement ($45).
Since the car has 102,000 miles, I am not against spending the money for any of the recommended work. But is all of this necessary? What would you do? — Bob, Chicago
A: I looked at the maintenance guide for your wife’s Camry and I found that it suggests the coolant be flushed every 100,000 miles. Since the car has 102,000 miles, the coolant should be flushed if it has never been done before. As for the A/C refresh, I’m not sure what that includes. It sounds like they might be cleaning the ducts with a disinfectant and/or deodorizer. That’s not a bad idea if it’s never been done as it’s possible for mold to form in the housing.
As for the power steering and brake fluid flush, even though it’s not listed in the maintenance guide I would recommend having it done on an older car or one with high miles. Both fluids deteriorate over time and flushing those fluids can prolong the life expectancy of the components in those systems.
The PCV valve should be inspected and/or replaced periodically even though the maintenance guide doesn’t mention it. The PCV valve is responsible for metering a precise amount of engine crankcase vapors back into the intake manifold. This also helps the oil stay cleaner longer as this system pulls fresh air in through the crankcase. Over time, the PCV valve can stick or restrict the flow of crankcase vapors. So the $45 to replace it is good preventative maintenance. If you’re handy and want to save some money, you might consider replacing the PCV valve yourself.
Questions for Ira Siegel? Call the Auto Advisor Hotline at (708) 633-6839 or email email@example.com. Siegel is an automotive instructor and an automotive service excellence-certified master auto technician.
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