Belt up and pay it

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Ask Smithy -

I’ve been told the cam tim­ing belt on my 2005 2.0-litre Subaru Lib­erty, which has done 100,000km, needs to be changed at the next ser­vice. I’ve also been told when that’s be­ing done I also need to change the wa­ter pump be­cause it’s a sealed unit and, if it’s not done, it could cause big trou­ble later on. I’ve been quoted about $400 for the wa­ter pump, is this cor­rect?

BP, email It’s com­mon prac­tice to re­place the wa­ter pump at the belt change, not just on Subarus, as the wa­ter pump is usu­ally found to be leak­ing when they take off the front cover and belt etc. By re­plac­ing it when the engine is pulled down for the belt change you won’t have to do it again when the wa­ter pump fi­nally fails. If you’re not sure, ask to see ev­i­dence the wa­ter pump needs re­plac­ing be­fore the me­chanic goes ahead and fits a new one. And $400 is about right if it has to be re­placed. LIPS UN­SEALED

Af­ter a re­cent 45,000km ser­vice on our 2010 2.0-litre Audi A4 at our Audi deal­er­ship we asked how much the next ser­vice would cost. We were told it would de­pend on whether the auto re­quired ser­vic­ing or not. It would be $800 for a stan­dard ser­vice or $1600 if the auto also re­quired ser­vic­ing. Is it not fair to as­sume that ser­vic­ing is all sched­uled these days and a dealer would know if it’s re­quired or not; and, given that most au­tos are sealed units, is it some­thing that should be car­ried out? Also, does the price seem fair and rea­son­able? Tony Kyr­i­azis, email It’s not part of the sched­uled ser­vic­ing. Auto gear­boxes are gen­er­ally ‘‘ sealed’’ for life but that doesn’t mean they can’t be ser­viced. The trans­mis­sion fluid can still be drained and re­placed as in any auto and, de­pend­ing on the type of use they get, ser­vic­ing can be a wise move. And $800 for a ma­jor ser­vice sounds about right; $800 ex­tra for the trans­mis­sion sounds like an oil change rather than a full ser­vice. The trans­mis­sion fluid alone would cost about $500. How­ever I’d ques­tion the dealer on the need for the ser­vice.

Fate sealed: Ser­vic­ing a gear­box can be wise, de­pend­ing on the car

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