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Cost to Replace Valve Stem Seals (Camry 97)
2 weeks ago, I changed the engine oil and added a bit too much oil into the system. Everything was fine until a few days ago, after driving 40 miles, I noticed that a huge amount of "white" smoke being emitted from the tailpipe to the point that the cars behind me had to distance themselves from me. The white smoke had a burning odor but it wasn't blue or black in coloration. I took my car, Toyota Camry 1997/4 cyln, to the dealership where I was told valve stem seals are needed to be replaced... at the cost of $1,500! I declined the repairs, now shopping around to see what other places can offer me.
My question is, how much a replacement of valve stem seals should cost for this vehicle? Don't the seals themselves leak oil a little bit in normal state? The reason I am asking is that since last Friday when the incident occurred, I haven't had any smoke blown out and I don't know if I am paranoid -- due to my lack of car knowledge -- but I am sensing a car has lost a bit of its performance (maybe because I don't accelerate for the fear that the engine would tank) and burns gas a bit rapidly than usual. Again, it could be in my head.
I was also told that the engine has lost 2/3 of the oil I'd added but I found it hard to believe because the day I took car to the service, I checked the oil in the morning and it hadn't gone down or perhaps very little. The poppy valve seals should cost around $150-$200 and 4-5 hours of labor, should bring the cost to around $400-$500. I don't understand why they offered $1,500 for such service (a rip-off!). Any help would be appreciated.