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My Toyota Celica has 118000 miles. Do I need a new timing belt? The engine light just came on I 'm afraid to drive my car till the mechanic looks at it. Is toyota service at dealerships good to go to?

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Amanda J. Pierce, MBA Lisa, A dealership may be one of the higher labor rates in your area for a 100k mile service. I recommend speaking with your trusted mechanic on obtaining a quote in repair/replacement. You may find that you save money by going that route. Typically on a timing belt replacement it is also recommended to replace the water pump also, because they can fail around the same time and in the long run save you money in labor rate if replaced in conjunction.

Amy Mattinat, Owner and Author at Auto Craftsmen Ltd I do believe your Celica has a timing chain instead of a timing belt. If it's a chain, then you don't need to have it changed unless it get's damaged. The check engine light is a separate issue. If it's flashing - then tow your vehicle to your favorite shop. If it's not flashing but it's driving funny - stuttering, stalling, bucking and low power - then tow it to your favorite shop. If your Celica is driving fine, and the check engine light is on solid, then you can drive it to your regular shop and they can scan the computer to see what code is stored, which will tell the mechanic what part needs to be replaced, or which system of the vehicle needs further testing. I feel that each shop and each dealership is as good as the manager & staff that work there.

Gelina Aquilina, Service Advisor / Mechanic at Toyota usually recommend replacing the timing belt between 90-120k miles. As long as you're up to date with maintenance & oil changes, that should be OK. The check engine light is associated with smog/EVAP issues. As long as there aren't any drivability issues, and that light isn't flashing, you'll be OK to drive the car to get it checked out.

Helaine Kurot, Owner/Technician at 360 Automotive At 118,000 the timing belt should be replaced (along with the timing belt tensioner and pulleys if necessary). The check engine light could be related to the timing belt being due, but could also be completely unrelated. Have a technician pull the code to see what the light is on for and go from there. The technician should be able to tell you if the car is safe to continue driving until you are ready to get it fixed if it can not be fixed at that time. You do not have to take your vehicle to the dealer for any of this work. If you are happy with the service at the dealership by all means take it there. If not, there are plenty of good repair shops around.

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