Join the Car Talk Community!

Discussion Rules

Welcome to the Car Talk Community!

Want to ask a question or join the discussion? Great! Join now.

Sign In Register

2001 HONDA CIVIC timing belt/water pump estimate fair?

Hello everyone. This is my first attempt at getting some insight into repairs on car talk.

I bought a used 2001 honda civic with 121,000 miles on it 2 months ago. The owner never replaced the water pump and timing belt. So, I want to be smart and get the work done before the belt breaks on me and makes me want to rob a bank. Here's the estimate I got from a local independent mechanic store for parts+labor in Buffalo, NY.

Parts= $237 (Timing belt,pulley, water pump, serpentine belt)

labor= $400($100 x 4 hours)

Total= $637

tax included in the labor cost. It seems a lot to me. Many on the internet claim they got it done for around $450. Any insight into the estimate?

Thank you,



  • edited January 2011
    You're definitely doing the right thing, and none too soon. Many complaints on this forum from people who had their engines wrecked by broken timing belts.

    I've found this webtool useful in checking repair costs:
  • edited January 2011
    Prices will vary greatly based on which part of the country is involved, the type of shop, etc, etc. The east and west coasts are generally much higher than the country's midsection. Even dealer rates around here are about 75-80 an hour with independents and service stations running less.

    For NY I'd consider a 100 an hour and the total about right.
  • edited January 2011
    most of the people that will reply to you work in the business. i do, have for over 40 years. you can call 20 different places for the same service and get 20 different prices. do not go to the lowest or the highest. go to one that is busy and has a good reputation. check the BBB and local clerk of the court for law suits. ask about warranties. how long have they been in business? is the shop clean and well organized? do they have the proper equipment? take all into consideration.
    also while they are at it have them look at the cam and crank seals. replace as needed

    good luck
  • edited January 2011
    You can shop for a better price, but make sure all quotes cover the same work. I don't think the price is excessive if the shop knows Hondas and does quality work.

    Since they're replacing the water pump and the coolant, I'd request a new thermostat and radiator cap, too.

    I paid very near your quote for the same job on an Accord, but that was a few years ago. I'd expect it to be more now.

  • edited January 2011
    In 2006 I paid 636 at Don Davis Honda for a timing belt, water pump, valve clearance adjustment, new valve cover gasket, and engine detail. Your quote isn't that much different than what i had done. My work was done on a 1998 honda civic hx. I think some of the people would agree with me that this is one job that should be done by the dealer due to their expertise but everyone is different. I live in WNY and would check out total automotive and stu's automotive as slternatives. hope this helps, Steve.
  • edited January 2011
    That's about right. Open your hood and imagine trying to get at the parts you are asking about. It's going to take some time.
    Do the replacements at this cost. Even if you are overpaying a little, this mechanic is not stealing from you, he's just covering his costs and making a deserved profit. Not much of one, either.
  • edited January 2011
    I'd give the dealer the oportunity. I've seen a few occations when the dealer is cheaper because they have seen so many and can knock it out. Let them this estimate. See what happens. Independents are great if they know your make and have any special tools needed. Some times they are better and try harder. It's a toss-up. The price sounds like it's in the ballpark. Maybe high on parts listed. Ask the independent what kind of parts being used. Factory parts tend to be better. My opinion.
  • edited January 2011
    expect to leave your car overnight, cause they can't just pop open the engine after you've been driving around all day.
  • edited January 2011
    Price is in the ballpark. Other quotes can beat it, but be sure they are experienced with this job. A good idea to check one or two Honda dealers also. Sometimes they have deals on timing belt jobs that equal nearby independent shops.

    I'd recommend using Honda coolant when refilling and changing the radiator hoses if the current ones look like the originals.
  • edited January 2011

    Buffalo isn't like NYC...Almost all of upstate NY is a very depressed area with unemployment running above 12%. Dealer rates in that area are MUCH less then they are here in NH. And independents are even less. Friends dealership in upstate NY charges about $85/hr...independents can be as low as $50.
This discussion has been closed.