Big price difference for CRV if ONLY timing belt done?

I’m confused. The dealer quoted me about $900 to do the whole timing belt, water pump, etc. job. I asked about the other parts, and they explained how once you’ve done all the work to get to the belt, it makes sense to change the other stuff too.

Then I called my local mechanic. He also quoted me around $900 for the whole belt job, but then said he could do JUST the timing belt for around $500.

So I’m confused. Once one is doing the timing belt, why would it be $400 more to do the pump and other belts?

I’d certainly rather save the $400, but it just seems so odd, now I’m not sure I trust him with the belt.

What would you do?

Btw: the CRV is 1998 with 96K.

Thank you very much!



I would ask your mechanic why he would charge you so much more and see if you can settle in the middle.
I think the price difference is because some mechanics use a computer to stimate jobs. So they say timing belt is 3 hours ($100 per hour) i do not know rate just saying, Then $200 for parts. Then water pump 3 hour and $100 for part. but it take less time to replace a belt then a water pump and belt. only difference is cost of parts. call a local parts vender and find out how much parts are. Atleast you will know the close approximat valuse of parts.

I would replace both.

Water pumps don’t last forever. Say you are doing your timing belt job at 100K miles. If you don’t change the water pump, then you risk the pump failing before 200K miles when your next timing belt job is due. The chances of a water pump failure in 200K miles is high. If the pump does go bad then you have to do the whole job again.

If you plan to keep the CRV for a few months and then sell or trade it then you can take the risk of not changing the pump. If you plan to keep the car for 150K miles or more you should replace the water pump and other parts.

The whole job can be done with all the parts for less than $900. If you live in a big city, NYC or San Francisco, these prices might be OK. In most of the country you should be looking at something more like $750. Perhaps you should make a few more calls and get some more quotes.

It is generally advisable that the water pump, some local engine seals, and all accessory belts (alternator belt, Power steering, A/C, etc, etc, etc) are changed at the same time the timing belt is changed. The timing belt job is mainly labor cost, and not parts. If the water pump decides to go south shortly after you do only the timing belt, it will take out your new timing belt, and you’ll have to pay for all that labor to get to the belt all over again. Basically it’s a pay some more now, or pay A LOT MORE later kind of a situation. Ultimately it is your choice.

If you’ve never changed your timing belt before, you were overdue by at least 6 years. You should thank your lucky stars, it did not break on you. Your Owners Manual says the timing belt must be changed every 6 years (72 months) or 90k miles-WHICH-EVER OF THESE 2 SITUATIONS OCCURS FIRST.

I think you need a third opinion. In my area $500 would cover the belt, water pump and all the idlers and other rotating parts, if any. I had a Subaru Legacy done a year ago, with a kit of parts from a national supply. The whole thing came in just under $400. Granted my guy is a moonlighter who loves to make $25 of $30 an hour, not the $100 some dealers charge. Timing belt installation is not rocket science. Any good tech can do it, some of them blindfolded. I could have done it myself, but bending over after a recent surgery was out of the question.

It’s recommended that tensioners and water pump always be replaced with the timing belt.
Those other items can go downhill in a hurry even if they appear to be good when the belt is changed.

Many engines have been ruined because someone just changed the belt and some months later a tensioner came apart or a water pump started leaking which then saturated and ruined the new belt or caused it to break.

Thank you very much for those fast replies. (I’m utterly car ignorant, so I never knew anything about the timing belt. Now I am very nervous about it!)

I actually do live in the San Francisco area, so maybe that’s why prices are so high.

I’ll plan to change all the recommended parts. I have to drive this car into the ground–no new cars in my future.

Thanks again!



$400 difference is very very high. It’s NOT labor…it’s just parts. And the parts don’t come anywhere near that…even NEW OEM parts.

Many years ago…wife had a recall on the cam seals on her 96 Accord…I asked the dealer how much it would cost to have a timing belt done since they were already in there…$800…I asked how much if they didn’t replace the cam seals - $800. I then asked them why the same price…since they have to remove the timing belt anyways to replace the seals…The idiot gives me a line that they have a special tool that removes the cam without removing the belt…I did it myself.

In addition to parts costs, I would guess there’s about 1 hour of labor included in that extra $400.

It’s easy to justify the better part of an hour to drain the coolant, replace the water pump, replace the belt tensioner and idler pulley, and refill the coolant.

Based on the quotes you received, I assume you are paying pretty high labor rates. Keep shopping around.