Do I need a new water pump when my timing belt is changed?

Honda 2000 Civic LX, I’ve pushed my luck by not having my timing belt changed when recommended at 88,000 miles. I’m now at 108,000. I’m going to rectify that situation this week.

Calling around for estimates, I was told by one mechanic that when they do a timing belt job on these cars, I “really should” get the water pump and front seals replaced. Sounds bogus to me, but these people have done me right in the past.

Estimated cost of timing belt replacement alone: $300. Replacing water pump and seals at the same time increases the cost to $700.

Is the “should” actually just a “good-idea-if-you-can-afford-it”? And if the water pump goes at a later date, am I going to have to sink more than $400 into the job?


Lindee from Nawlin’s



Can’t get any more definitive than that!

You would be foolish if you did not replace the water pump, the belt tensioners, and the front oil seals at the same time as the timing belt replacement. Consider all of this to be money well spent.

I would simply pay the $300 to replace the timing belt ASAP. It does not appear to be any cost savings at your shop for a water pump and seals at the same time IMHO. The likely case they will be fine. I usually recommend water pump buy paying more than double seems to make little sense for something that is not worn out.

Normally do all the items others have listed, but check around on price, you should save money by doing it this way.

I agree with the other posters and items such as water pumps, tensioners, idlers, etc. are not options; they’re “musts”.

Your car should have an interference type engine and if the timing belt breaks on it’s own or through a water pump/idler/tensioner failure engine damage will occur.

Since the belt and the car was likely manufactured in 1999 this means both are going on 10 years old and belt replacement is also time dependent besides mileage.
You’ve pretty much gambled and won up to this point.

I question not the need to do the pump at the same time but the $400.00 additional cost. Is this a expensive pump?

The extra $400 does sound like a lot for the pump and seals, but the $300 seems pretty cheap for the timing belt and the $700 for everything sounds about right. I’ll bet the shop just keeps the timing belt change prices low to get the cheapskate business.

I had the water pump and front seals changed when I had the timing belt changed on my Mazda truck but It was leaking oil like crazy. I haven’t seen any stories about Honda water pumps so I would let you keep the old pump and engine seals without thinking about any disasters really soon. Try for 200,000 miles your way. The entire price should be $500 anyway. A pump, belt and two seals shouldn’t cost $100 so they are trying for $600 in labor and that is too much. New Orleans must be a high price place. It may be like L.A. where the corner service station has twelve cars waiting for work.

No competent shop should change the belt only and ignore the rest.
I don’t care if the customer says do the belt only. If that pump leaks or a tensioner goes out leading to the belt breaking and causing engine damage then you can rest assured and bet your bottom dollar that 98 out of a 100 people will get mad and blame the shop; even if they sign a disclaimer absolving the shop of all responsibility for their corner-cutting in the first place.

This will occur as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow.

A few years back my daughter was living in TX and the shop changed a belt only on her Mitsubishi. A year later she was living back here in OK and sure enough; the water pump had been oozing coolant onto that new belt.
The belt was saturated in anti-freeze, spongy soft, and was about a heartbeat away from either breaking or peeling some teeth off.

One of the comments said to shop around.Dont forget,some shops have these rules that they have to use their own parts.In other words ask them first if you can provide your own parts.That way u just pay for labor…good luck.

This was my first posting on this forum, and I appreciate the positive range of comments I got. Thanks to all who responded. My plan is to shop around for a better price to do the belt/tensioners/pump/seals.


Hold up there. Price isn’t everything. Make sure any mechanic you chose is certified on Honda’s and has the special tools. Honda engines turn “backwards” so a special tool is needed to get the front pulley bolt off.

You say this shop has done right by you in the past, you should really consider staying with them. Sure beats have to go back to them, hat in hand, to get your car fixed after someone else messed it up.