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2004 Honda CRV

I have 17K miles on my Honda CRV and the dealership has just informed me I need a new water pump - for $400. Could that be right? I’ve brought the car in for regular maintenance and obviously don’t do a lot of driving. Haven’t seen any leaks. Just doesn’t seem right that the water pump would go so soon.

17k in 5 years? If that is correct, then–on average–you drive this vehicle less than 3,500 miles per year. In connection with that type of use, I am curious to know if you have maintained the vehicle on the basis of elapsed time, rather than on the basis of odometer mileage.

I am curious about this factor simply because if the vehicle is being maintained on the basis of odometer mileage rather than elapsed time, it is likely that much required maintenance has been skipped. For example, your vehicle’s antifreeze/coolant should have been changed at least once already, and it is due for another change as soon as it the vehicle been in use for 72 months. The same is true for the transmission fluid and all of the filters.

So–Hopefully you have been maintaining the vehicle on the basis of elapsed time, but if you have not been doing so, then the “old” antifreeze/coolant is a factor in the early demise of the water pump.

All of this being said, I would suggest that you have the water pump checked by a reputable independent mechanic. If he verifies that the pump is failing, then you will likely save a whole heap of money by having the job done by him, rather than by the dealership.

However, no matter where you might have the water pump replaced, check your maintenance schedule to see if your vehicle has a timing belt. If it does have a timing belt, it should be replaced at the same time as the water pump in order to save on labor costs. If you replace the belt at the same time, you will essentially only pay for the belt and not the labor to replace it, due to almost identical labor for the two jobs.

Your Honda dealer may have a smell for MONEY! Your Honda most likley requires a timing belt at 7 years of age, and with that would come a new water pump since they are part of a hidden system that takes a lot of labor to uncover and cover. I don’t believe you have reached the time or mileage for that. Please check the owner’s manual.

The only reason to require an new water pump is a leak or a worn bearing which will likely give a squealing or grinding noise. Has the dealer explained to you in detail WHY you need a new water pump?

On a well maintained car a water pump typicaly lasts 150,000 miles or more.

Your Honda may also need to have the engine coolant changed, which is a similar 90,000 miles or so and a number of years. PLEASE READ YOUR OWNER’S MANUAL; it s the final authority, not a greedy dealer.