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I have 2003 Acura TL with 95,000 miles. The dealer recommends changing the timing belts at 100,000 miles or 7 years. The cost is $1500.00, which includes the water pump, which they recommend changing also since they need to remove the engine to change the timing belts (even though there is nothing wrong with it). The car is worth $6000.00. Is it critical I have this done at this time? Is the dealer correct or just trying to get my money? I want to keep the car just one more year. I currently only average about 6000 miles per year. Am I rolling the dice if I choose not to have this done at this time? What would happen if the timing belt broke while I was driving the car? Please advise, thank you.

The belt is way overdue both by time and miles in my opinion because I’m pretty sure this model is an interference fit engine. This means if the belt breaks engine damage will occur.
With any timing belt job the water pump and tensioners should also be changed; however, you can price this job around at an independent shop and likely get it done for much less.

If the belt breaks not only do you run the risk of engine damage but it’s a safety issue to some extent. If the belt snaps the engine will die instantly. If this occurs while you’re on the railroad tracks, a loaded semi is tailgating you on the highway, and so on it could lead to an accident.
A timing belt will generally give no warning at all before it breaks. The only warning may be in a case where a tensioner bearing is failing and a noise can be heard but as to the belt itself any breakage is instant.

While it’s not the proper repair and could be detrimental to another car owner on down the line, you could have an independent shop replace the timing belt only and skip the pump and tensioners. However, a shop should not guarantee the work when doing something like this. If a tensioner or pump failed 2 weeks after a belt only request this should be on the shoulders of the car owner, not the shop. Hope that helps.

Yes, it is rolling the dice, you are betting $1500 against $6000- the value of your car with a blown engine.
I would guess the odds are in your favor that it will make the next 6000 miles, but it will absolutely destroy your engine if it breaks.
Your car, your money, your decision.

My advice is find an independent mechanic for the work. They do not remove the engine to do the work, however it is pretty tight.

The engine in your TL is also shared by many other popular Honda’s which mechanics see like Accord V6,Odyssey(much tighter btw), Acura MDX and Honda Pilot.

I think a $600-$850 job is possible with some hunting. Just ask if they have done the job before.

In your motor when the belt breaks, the pistons hit the valves and the motor suddenly locks up. To repair the motor means many new valves and perhaps some new pistons. In effect, you are looking at a $3,000+ repair or getting another motor which will be just as expensive. The current $6000 value of your car goes to -0- with a wreaked motor. So, you either spend the $3K to fix it or consider it a total loss and donate it to charity for a tax write off.

Contact some other independent shops for a price quote on the job. If you really want to roll the dice on this you can. But, that belt is way overdue and the likelihood of the belt breaking is pretty high. Also your car will have more value to a buyer if you can document the belt is changed so this is one service receipt you want to keep and show to potential buyers.

As an interesting aside, the 2.4L 4 cyl in the Honda Accord has a timing chain designed to last the life of the engine, and it is self adjusting. The Accord V6 has a timing belt, however.

To be honest, I don’t understand why you ask if your dealer is correct when the instructions in your owner’s manual told you to change the timing belt a few years ago.

The price of $1,500 seems high to me, although maybe you live in a more expensive area. My dealer did my Acura MDX timing belt with a new water pump and a new tensioner for around $900 if I remember correctly.

As everyone else says, if the belt breaks, you’ll be spending a lot of money for an engine replacement or repair. You may also end up in an accident when it happens and your car just dies.

Do you plan to sell your car to a private party? If you don’t replace the timing belt now, any knowledgeable buyer will immediately reduce their offer by the price of the replacement, so you’ll effectively end up paying for it later anyway.

I’ve got to agree with the others. Changing the belt is the safest route to take especially since your engine is an interference type. The engines in my cars are non interference type and I let them go about 100K miles between service intervals, yet the last timing belt broke when it had about 95K miles due to the bearing in the water pump siezing so you are running in the caution/danger area. I’d shop around for a better price though, $1500 is about double what I would expect some mechanics would do the job for. If you’re mechanically inclined and trust that you can follow the instructions in a Haynes/Chilton’s manual you could probably replace the belt/water pump and tensioners for $100-$200, but also remember if you make an error this could also result in extensive engine damage. If the engines in my cars were interference I’d probably do them at 75K mile intervals just to be safe, but I also do my own timing belt/water pump changes so I’m not looking at a $700+ repair bill just a half day of my time.

I agree with all that the others said, and will add that I work for a Honda dealership and we do that job for around $850… $1500 seems VERY VERY high, so shop around and get it done !!

As a PS, when you go to sell the car (assumeing you dont trade it), having the timing belt done already is a MAJOR selling point to the buyer, as it shows that A) You take care of your car, and B) they dont have to pay for this expeecive repair from day one of there ownership. I belive in a private sale you should get most of your money back, as mentally with out the belt done everyone is going to subtract $1000 from your asking price any way.