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Discussion Starter #1
Took my 2009, 105k mi., always taken to the dealership, Rav4 to the shop today for 5k servicing. Head, and timing cover, gaskets leaking; two other rinky-dink things need replacing - Totaled! i.e two leaking gaskets -- pieces of stupid rubber -- have totaled my car.

Thanks for listening.
 

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What is the extent of the leaks? They would have to be pretty bad to warrant scrapping the vehicle. What many people have done is keep driving but monitor the fluid level more often. Do you mind to provide more details? I know you’ve been an enthusiastic owner since you bought your RAV last year.
 

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Frankly this is a hard one for me to believe unless it's a ripoff shop or dealer who wants to sell a car. I say so since if the engine is a V6 I don't recall any such gasket issues - maybe there was one - and IMO the car would have to have been pretty badly beaten on to cause such leaks. Even the I4 with its oil issues doesn't typically have gasket problems. The only reasonable way this could happen is severe abuse such as overheating.
 

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Repair is going to be high for head gasket leak so I guess now is a good time to consider selling it.
Akohler will be looking at $3500 including taxes for the head IF he has the same coolant leak I did; I had mine done under warranty at 50,000 km. But at his mileage, I’m astonished that the head gasket is done. His post is low on details, and I think we can talk him back from the ledge.
 

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You took your car in for a routine service, without any complaints and it comes back with all those "alleged" issues?
How about a second opinion?
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I went to the Toyota dealership for my 5k service, and they gave me a printout with photos. Here is a photo of the printout of the photo. The pink area is the leak. $4500 for the head gasket; $3000 for the timing cover gasket. I've never noticed any overheating on my temperature gauge. My ravs private resale value was -- operative word-- $7000. Based on the photo, does everyone think I have at least a few (4) months, meaning is it likely not to completely blow in that time?
 

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I went to the Toyota dealership for my 5k service, and they gave me a printout with photos. Here is a photo of the printout of the photo. The pink area is the leak. $4500 for the head gasket; $3000 for the timing cover gasket. I've never noticed any overheating on my temperature gauge. My ravs private resale value was -- operative word-- $7000. Based on the photo, does everyone think I have at least a few (4) months, meaning is it likely not to completely blow in that time?
That is coolant alright but it is not conclusive of a head gasket leak. The coolant reservoir can discharge coolant when it is very hot which may flow in that area you see.
You need to monitor the coolant level to see how much is being used. Another thing is look for white smoke coming out of the tail pipe and a milky color under the oil cap.
These symptoms are signs of a head gasket leak.

Toyota dealers are notorious for ripping people off. They know every angle to make as much money as they can from you because many are on commission. Most people don't have enough knowledge to know what is true or false. Always research and make sure you get a second opinion.
 

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Agree with DL175. The coolant could be coming from any of several different places apart from a head gasket leak, and there don't seem to be a large number of owners of 2009 RAV4s having reported head gasket leaks on this forum. Suggest keeping an eye on the engine area and seeing whether there is evidence of an liquid coolant leakage and if so, where it might be coming from. Also agree that if there is such a problem that you take your RAV4 to a reputable independent shop for a second opinion evaluation. Dealer service writers do receive commissions based upon how much money they can extract from customers.
 

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What part of the engine is that, which is in the photo? Although possible, I have a really hard time believing that the head gasket is finished on a 2.5. If so, I think this would be the first reported on this forum in the (almost) 7 years I’ve been here.

Yes, please have a look at your exhaust for white smoke (once it’s warmed up), your coolant level and usage, and the inside of your oil fill cap. Chocolate milk in the cap/oil system, dark coolant, or white smoke, will suggest a bad head gasket. HOWEVER if this spot indicated is at the back of the head where the coolant pipe joins the head, that’s a different story altogether.

BTW, if you’re in the USA, there’s no way the head gasket should cost what they quoted you. 3 years ago my head was replaced and the bill (including a cylinder head!) was $3500 CDN including taxes At the dealership. (Warranty covered, but I saw the bill and the total hours with the labour rate, which was the same as the door rate for customers). There’s no way it would be THAT much more for a pure labour and gasket job, not including a head, leaving aside the exchange rate.

Something is fishy... plus, if doing the head gasket, most of the labour is already done to get the timing cover off anyway, so it seems they are pricing these as separate operations in the hope you’ll do them piecemeal without knowing any better.
 

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That is coolant alright but it is not conclusive of a head gasket leak. The coolant reservoir can discharge coolant when it is very hot which may flow in that area you see.
This whole episode sound like what I call big city dealer tactics to me. I wouldn't put it past them to overfill the reservoir to MAKE it run out when the engine comes up to temp.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you all so much for your advice. I definitely plan to keep an eye on my fluid levels, and pray to my agnostic lord and savior that I don't see white smoke.

@ Foryota, all I know -- due to my ignorance of car mechanics -- is that the photo was taken at the bottom of the engine. It seemed to be driver's-rear side of the engine, if that makes any sense.

I hope I'm not stirring the pot when I ask this ignorant question: Why would the dealer "trick" me with claiming that I need unnecessary repairs, then give me a print-out of their evidence that could be scrutinized by others? I would think this could embarrass them. But, yeah, will check with others garages, and get their opinion. I would love not to have to replace my car for at least another year.
 

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I hope I'm not stirring the pot when I ask this ignorant question: Why would the dealer "trick" me with claiming that I need unnecessary repairs, then give me a print-out of their evidence that could be scrutinized by others? I would think this could embarrass them.
The service adviser is on commission basis. They will trick you and lie about unnecessary repairs because there is incentive to and greed goes a long way. Even though they layout the repair in a print out they still don't care. They can fool most people because few people are knowledgeable in repairs to challenge them. Some people put their trust in the dealership and don't question their honesty because they are suppose to know your car better then anybody else right?
 

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A friend of mine was a toyota mechanic once upon a time and told me that they had to look very carefully for anything on which they could sell or charge up when a vehicle was in for service. If a toyota doesn’t break down often, the dealer may have to stretch a bit more to use the service centre as a profit centre. The only other option is volume. Having worked in a few service departments I have seen (and in fact been quoted) individual pricing for related jobs(eg. To change a thermostat with a coolant flush) I was quoted, as an employee, a combined price as if the two jobs were independent. Anyone who knows how to change a thermostat knows you’re partway into the coolant and system anyway, so it wouldn’t take as much time or coolant as doing the jobs on separate days. Dealership service departments are masters of the “hard sell” and are not there to help you and your car, they are there to generate revenue for the dealership.
 
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