1996 Honda Accord cooling system repair


The ECT sensors on my 96 accord was broken. Hence the car overheated and smokes were coming out of the hood. Took the car to a honda dealer, here’s what need to be replaced.

  • Radiator & cap
  • Lower & upper hose
  • Clamps
  • Thermostat
  • Coolant reservoir
  • ECT sensors

To do the repair they estimate 7 hrs of labor at $140/hr.

I am not mechanically inclined so I have no idea if this is within the ballpark of how long it’s going to take to replace the parts listed above. Does the 7 hr estimate seem reasonable?

Would I be able to get a better per hour cost at a non dealer service shop?


Would you get a better price at a non dealer shop ? Yes

“smokes were coming out of the hood”

Cigarettes were coming out of the hood . . . ?!

I wish I could have seen that


Why take a 20 year old Honda to the dealer? Find a good independent mechanic and save money.

You don’t need to take an out-of-warranty car to a dealership for routine work like this.
Their goal is to repair the car so it is close to like-new condition.
You need to find a good independent shop, NOT a chain (franchise); you’ll get a better deal.
Click the “Mechanics Files” button at the top of this page or yelp.com etc. to find one.

By ECT sensor I suppose they mean the sensor for the radiator fan.
No other sensor could cause the engine to overheat.
Did the overheat happen while the car was stopped or moving slowly (under 30mph or so)?

Does the Coolant reservoir look cracked or damaged?
How do the hoses look?
Did the temp gauge climb before it boiled over?
I take it you had it towed to the dealer.
With it refilled with coolant can you see where it’s leaking out?