Save The Manuals
1999 Avalon XLS
Only about 11k behind me
The original belt in my Camry went 230k, and then it was replaced only because the water pump was leaking. The belt still looked fine. But mine was an exception, not the rule.1) what's the longest these things last?
Quite a bit. 3-5 hours, depending. I've seen folks post up about paying $300 at a back yard mechanic, and up to $1200 at a high-end shop.2) how much labor is involved in the replacement?
Usually not. When they snap, the car just dies. This is a non-interference motor, so no serious damage is done. It just leaves you stranded.3) Are there any symptoms before the things "die" and cause the engine to shut down and car has to be towed ?
Yes. The cover can be removed and the belt can be inspected. Problem is, if the water pump or an idler seizes up, that can destroy the belt. And those are hard to inspect without a full teardown; at that point you might as well replace them.4) Can a simple inspection be performed to see if it's about to fail?
If you do that, good brands are Mitsuboshi (same as OEM) & Gates. I'm sure there are others that I'm forgetting at the moment. BTW, it's a good idea to replace the water pump, idler, and tensioner pulleys while you're in there. "Kits" are commonly sold that include all those; saves you a bit of money. I'd stay away from the cheapest kits, but decent ones can be had for about $130 or so on eBay. Check on rockauto.com and Amazon too.I am thinking about ordering the belt on line for $50 and telling him to have it installed before he drives out here. I just don't want to "insult" him.
If your state laws permit... maybe you can take some sort of civil action legally against the girl that hit you. Say for example if she was criminally negligent. Maybe this will help to cover additional costs to repair your wrecked car if you don't want to see it go.... but there are plenty of used 1st generation Avalons out there to be had that have been maintained by elderly folk who cannot drive anymore, or just need the extra money. I think it won't take you too long to find a good used one....Unfortunately, my quest for driving my Avalon until it blows up has ended unexpectedly. A couple of days ago, I got rear-ended by some girl (not paying attention, obviously) while the traffic stopped. She rammed into my rear bumper and push my car, and the rear bumper of the car in front of me rode up to the grill area and pushed the grill, radiator, etc. back by quite a bit.
Insurance appraiser stopped by this morning to look at the car and basically said that it will be a total loss. (due to the age / mileage of the car)