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,


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: http://repairpal.com/

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

expect to leave your car overnight, cause they can’t just pop open the engine after you’ve been driving around all day.

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.

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.

Shops here charge around $750. The only shops i’ve ever heard of that charge $450 are places like Tires Plus, which I wouldn’t even take my car to for tires.

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

You know a dealer that doesn’t go by book value??

If the book value says it’ll take them 3 hours…then that’s what they’ll charge you…no more…no less…Even if it only takes them 2 hours…they’re going to charge you 3 hours.

All GOOD independents I know also change by the what the book says…If the book says 3 hours…then that’s what they charge…

Thanks everyone for your response.


I called three other independent shops and they gave me the following estimates(exclusing 9% sales tax):

$470(Remanufactured water pump, non-OEM kit)
$500(All non-oem parts)
$550(Honda timing belt, non-oem for the rest)

From what I hear, I should stick to HONDA parts bought from the dealer. Can I do better still?

I had my '03 Civic EX timing belt job done 9/17/10. I pulled the slip and the total was $526.71 add 6% tax and the total was $558.31. I had a good independent shop do the job in NE PA which shouldn’t be a lot different labor rates than Buffalo.

I supplied coolant (1 gallon that I bought from Honda, manual trans fluid, and power steering fluid also Honda brand) which adds another $30 or so. The labor was $272.60 for the timing belt water pump job, trans drain and fill, valve adjustment, power steering drain and refill, and tire rotation.

The parts were provided by the shop and likely came via NAPA.
Water pump- 83.98; timing belt- 30.68; valve cover gasket- 40.78; 2 drive belts @ 27.27 and 25.80, oil-lube-filter 24.90.

The car ran great before the service and just as good after. I should have had them replace the radiator hoses, as they just went bad this week.

Your shop quote for parts seems ok as they are including coolant. The labor is high as I had several additional services done and labor was still $130 less.

I’d say your quote is about $100 high and it is the labor charge that is the reason.


Thank you for that breakdown. Do you think it’s better to stick to genuine HONDA parts?.


That’s about right. Between $500-$800 is par.

I was a BMW service writer. It doesn’t always work that way. If you have techs that need work there is room for adjustments.

Yes and no. A good shop will source good parts because they don’t want come backs and redo’s on something as complex as a water pump job. But, if you aren’t really sure it is a good shop (ie. you are new to an area or have never used the shop before) then you don’t know the quality of the parts either.

If you don’t know the shop, then I’d say you can depend on a Honda dealer to use good parts. You might pay the dealer more but peace of mind can be worth it.

The shop I used has been in business about 20 years has had the same owner, and a good steady business. I had two timing belt jobs done there prior and both went fine, so the Civic was the third job at this shop. I didn’t tell him where to get the parts. He did say he would use good fluids but not Honda brand, so I got the Honda brand fluids for the job and provided them at my own costs. If I had a Ford, GM, or Toyota I’d have used the shop supplied fluids; as I did on the other 2 jobs both Toyota’s. I do think Honda fluids are important in Honda cars, just my preference on that score.