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Honda timing belt replacement

edited November -1 in Repair and Maintenance
I have been told I need to replace the timing belt on my Accord at 105,000 miles. This repair has been quoted at $800-$1200 (depending on the size of the boat payment by the mechanic in question). I am wondering if the threatened breaking of the belt (with all the valve damage) really happens or if this is just another car repair scam. If it happens, how often and how soon? Does the risk increase with a certain type of driving (higway or city)?
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Comments

  • edited August 2010
    Not a scam, but reality. It appears you have an interference engine, so a broke timing belt also brings with it a high probability of bent valves and all that goes with it. None of us can predict or inspect and know for sure when/if breakage will occur, which is why the mileage and time interval comes into play.

    Ask more details about the pricing variance. The higher estimate may include water pump and tensioner replacement and the least amount may only be the timing belt service. Know what you are getting. It is usually best to go ahead and replace the water pump because extra labor to do so is minimal compared to doing it later if it goes out.
  • edited August 2010
    Believe us, it is not a scam, although Honda belts are of very high quality with a good built-in safety margin.

    I would do as the manual says, and replace it and the tensioner and water pump at the same time. Most of this cost is LABOR, hence the difference in cost quated. A good independent shop will do all this for about $750 or so.

    The risk varies with the ambient conditions (extreme heat, cold, or the Pacific North West) as well as the driving cycles and numer of cold starts. Honda does not know whether you live in Phoenix or in Fairbanks, Alaska, so the safety margin has to be large.

    There was a Honda owner's publication sent to me a few years back. One Civic owner bragged about going 163,000 miles without doing anything to his car (other than routine oil & filter changes), including not changing the timing belt. This is playing automotive roulette.

    If you want to gamble, go ahead, but most Hondas have interference engines and a broken timing belt repair starts at $2500 and goes way up from there.
  • edited August 2010
    Its not a repair. It is maintenance. It is as much a "scam" as the need to change the oil regularly. Just do it. This question is asked at least once a week.
  • edited August 2010
    Replacement of the timing belt is normal maintenance on Honda vehicles, and many others.

    Here's what happens when the timing belt breaks:

    The engine stops running and will NOT restart. It doesn't matter where you are or how fast you're going, the engine quits. Snap your fingers. That's how fast it happens.

    You also lose power steering and brakes.

    Imagine that happening during rush hour traffic when you're in the fast lane of the freeway. Or imagine it happening on a rainy night in a really bad part of town. No matter where you are when the belt breaks, you're stranded.

    Then there's the issue of internal engine damage, which is very expensive to repair. The cost of the timing belt replacement is pocket change compared to repairing the damage caused by a broken timing belt. Many people give up on the car rather than paying for the repairs.

    You can shop this job around for a better price, but I wouldn't ignore it if I were you.
  • edited August 2010
    Are a betting person. You can always go further however the odds in my opinion stack up more and more against you as the miles go by.

    I did go 125k on a 90k(interval) timing belt. But did not have any love for my Honda Civic and it worked for me as I was able to sell it at 225k. I also never changed the water pump or tensioners back at the first timing belt change around 100k miles.
  • edited August 2010
    Price for the job sounds high, but not a scam. If the belt breaks the motor is severely damaged. It is like a light bulb, fine one second and gone the next and there are virtually no warning signs, or sounds to alert the driver to impending doom.

    Find a better price, sell the car, or run it until it breaks then donate the car to charity. Those are your options.
  • edited August 2010
    The belt is also time dependent on replacement and 6 years is about the limit, maybe even sooner depending on the environmental conditions and whatnot. (extreme heat/cold, any oil or coolant leakage onto the belt, etc.)

    If you think timing belt replacements are a scam to generate a boat payment then do a net search about broken timing belts.
    Why blame the mechanic for something that he did not design or assemble originally. If you don't like T-belts and the associated costs then don't buy a car with one on it. Any displeasure with T-belts, or the engine damage they incur in some cases, should be directed at the people who slapped the badge on the back of the car.
  • edited August 2010
    Wow! Just this past week here in NW Ohio (sheesh Toledo) I saw an ad in the local paper that the Honda dealer was offering a belt change with coupon for $75.00. I have done it my self on a few older Hondas. I am a shade tree mechanic. Cost of the belt was roughly $25.00. Definitely a must do over 60 to 100k. Go to Gates for a download on the interference engines list. Very helpful. I am sure you can shop around for a better price, I don't believe you need a Honda Dealer.
  • edited August 2010
    timing belt/water pump replacement: $800
    new/used engine: $3000
    new car: $$$$$
    that look on your face when you're cruising along and the belt snaps and you've just ruined your engine: priceless
  • edited August 2010
    What year Accord? Newer ones have a chain instead. Which engine? The V6 costs more.

    The 4 cylinder engine with a belt has a 7 year, 105k interval. In some parts of the country, you can go further but in my area, the mid-south, It would not be a good ideal. The weather here is tough on rubber.

    Belts tend to break in cold weather, at least thats been my experience. I've only had one break, at just over the time mark, then 4 years, but I've seen many others and it always happened on the coldest day of the year. In my case, it was life threatening as it happened out in the middle of nowhere during an ice storm. Luckily, I had a sleeping bag to keep me warm (warm enough to survive anyway) until someone came along and took me to a place where I could call for help.

    When I had our 97 Accord's (4 cyl done in 04) timing belt changed, it was $690 at the dealer and that included the balance shaft belt and the water pump. Oil seals for the crank and cam were a little extra. The Accord needs special tools to change the belt and many mechanics do not understand how to line up the balance shaft, so make sure the mechanic that does this has the tools and the understanding of the balance shaft.
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