Age before beauty?

civic
honda
timing-belts
belts

#1

I just purchased a 2001 Honda Civic LX. This car only has 14K miles and I had it checked out by my trusted mechanics who told me that it’s in excellent condition (except for a couple of minor dents and a scrape). The previous owner told me that all the maintenance was done at a Honda dealership, but the Honda mechanic told her that she should have the timing belt changed due to age. My mechanic didn’t mention this concern, but when I told him what the Honda guy told the former owner, he said that the rubber may get brittle with age and cause the timing belt to fail so he can see the concern. Hence the question, do I get the timing belt changed because of age and obviously not because of mileage? Any thoughts are appreciated.



PS - My mechanic told me that they typically change the water pump and any other belts when they change a timing belt. I understand this reasoning and would agree with other belts being changed, but would the water pump on a 14K car also need to be changed?


#2

It is likely the original timing belt and it was due for replacement 7 years after the car was put in service. Therefore it is overdue based on time and should be changed. Yes, it is normal procedure to replace the water pump and based on age I’d do that too. The serpentine belt isn’t too expensive and it would be good to replace that too.

Most of your radiator hoses and other rubber parts should be ok and a visual inspection is advised to look for cracked or dried out hoses and vacuum lines.


#3

If you don’t want to risk spending thousands of dollars on an engine repair or replacement, replace the timing belt as directed by your owner’s manual.


#4

As others have said, it’s an age thing, not just a miles thing. Low-miles cars can actually have more problems than you’d think, low miles can be hard on a car if they’re from lots of short trips. I’d also change the brake fluid while you’re at it, along with the transmission fluid.