Is it recommended to go to the dealer for timimg belt replacements? (honda accord, 1999)
No, the dealer should be no better or worse than any mechanic, but quite a bit more expensive.
Try here for mechanics in your area:
I have heard of instances of dealerships–especially Honda dealerships–that have very competitive prices for timing belt replacement.
I am shopping around for a timing belt replacement job too. I’m considering Toyota dealers ('01 Toyota Sequoia) and quality independant shops. It is difficult to compare prices. There is the belt itself, then the water pump (usually good to replace at the same time), idler pulleys, tensioners, and other stuff like a new serpentine belt.
To compare I’m asking for a timing belt job on my car and when I get the price I ask for an itemized list of what’s included in the price. Dealers tend to quote the belt and pump but not the other items. Then when the car is apart they’ll come and tell you it needs this or that, and at that point you’re pretty helpless and they get the “yes”. It still seems that the dealer’s are not out of line with prices I’ve gotten from independants so far. My low quote is $680 from a dealer and $1,350 from an independant, but the dealer is not giving me as specific info as the independant so more work to be done before I move forward.
There are quality parts and cheap parts so a really cheap price might mean a less than quality job. I intend to keep my car for another 90K miles. If you plan on selling the Honda in 30 or 40K miles you may opt for a cheaper quote.
I had several Hondas and Acuras and the cost of belt and accessory belts, tensioner and pump and labor was aabout $550 vs. dealer charge of $800…USE ONLY HONDA TIMING BELT tho, as others are inferior and of course half the cost, but Honda makes a better belt. Today’s costs aren’t known to me. My Highlander 2002 was very inexpensive in comparison (3.0V6) at $170 at the time…by the dealer
You don’t need a dealer, but I take my Honda to in independent mechanic who specializes in the brand when it needs something like this.
The 4-cylinder Accord engine has balance shafts, and a separate belt to drive them. They must be properly timed, just as the camshafts must be, in order for the engine to run smoothly and correctly. This is a bit more complicated than just replacing the belt, and someone who’s familiar with the process, and has done it before, is what you want.
I recommend having the water pump replaced at the same time the timing belt is changed, and the tensioners need to be checked carefully, too, or replaced.
The V-6 does not have balance shafts, but I’d still want someone familiar with the engine.
We read too many stories of poor timing belt installations. You don’t want that.
BTW. What you will likely run into is the “might as well” syndrome. While we are in there we might as well replace the water pump, idler pulley, tensioner, etc, etc. AND they might be right. Anyway, the point is, make sure you are comparing apples to apples, one guy might just be pricing you the belt and labor, another may have included some or all of the above. When I did my Subaru, I did all of the above plus flushed the brakes, radiator, and changed the transmission lube. I’m not sure it did any good, but it sure didn’t hurt (other than my wallet) I’d say call around, those who really do this work will know the price.