Timing belt


my wife and I are having a debate about here 1996 honda dive EX it has 96,000 miles on it and when I go into the dealer for oil changes they say I am going to due for a timing belt/water pump replacement soon.

I would like to go ahead an do it but my wife does not think we need it.

should we go ahead and do it or is the dealer just wanting some money.

also we are debating about what car to trade in for new car - our other is a 98 toyota corolla that is pretty basic and has no bells and whistle like our civic does. they both would get similiar trades in because the corolla has only 64,000 miles.

any suggestions would be helpful - I see hondas constantly around with 200,000 + miles and wonder if people pay for time belts or are just lucky.

thanks and love the show.


you are fullish for not having it replaced. Its way past do, and if it brakes it will cause major engine damage this is not something to ignore.


BTW, keep the one you like the most


Just to clear up any possible confusion, your brakes have nothing to do with the timing belt.

However, if the timing belt breaks, major engine damage will result, and the cost of that damage will most likely exceed the value of the car. So, you are definitely being foolish if you delay this necessary maintenance procedure, which is past due.

If you want to avoid this unpredictable, but probable, catastrophic failure of the timing belt, I would suggest that you schedule the replacement of it a.s.a.p., and I would suggest that you have the water pump replaced at the same time. If you do not know why water pump replacement is strongly recommended, post back for a full explanation.


Absolutely have it done, the reason the pump is done at the same time is to save labor, all belts have to be removed to get to the pump (relativley minor cost for the pump part) but if the belt breaks the engine stops etc. 100,000 is pushing it, definitely get it done ASAP. now, you can shop around for an independent to do it cheaper but get it done. If you have the have the pump done later you incur all that labor cost again.


Thank for clearing up my poor grammar : )


I agree. This engine will self destruct of the belt breaks, and if you don’t have in changed on schedule it will. I also agree that the water pump should be changed at the same time. The pumps do wear out, the added cost is small (they’re driven by the timing belt) and if the pump blows it may take the belt with it and you’ll be spending tons of money getting it all put back together again.

If you maintain the vehicle per the recommended maintenance schedule including the timing belt yours will likely be one of those driving around with 200,000 miles. They got their belts changed…I guarantee it.

  • mountainbike


Let me just emphasize that changing a timing belt is routine maintenance. Evidently, you just haven’t heard of it before.


Yes, apparently the OP and his wife have not heard of this part of normal maintenance. However, if they simply read the Maintenance Schedule that was provided with the car, they would be aware of it.

I never cease to be amazed at how many people do not know that the ultimate source of information regarding the maintenance of their car is sitting in their glove compartment!


Some people ignore the timing belt and are just lucky up to some point; yourself for one.
The car may run excellent right up to the nano-second the belt pops.

The car was built in '95 and if the belt has never been changed that makes this rubber belt 12 years old. You’ve been flirting with disaster for quite a while as timing belts degrade are time senstive. Mileage is not the only factor.

The owners manual should spell this out.


The timing belt on a Honda is scheduled for replacement at 105,000 miles as part of routine maintenance. The severe service schedule calls for it to be done at 60,000 miles. You MUST get this done soon if you want your Honda to be one of those 200,000 milers.

The reason that you replace the water pump with the timing belt is simple. The largest portion of the belt replacement is labor. To replace the water pump while the belt is off takes 5 minutes extra. To replace it separately requires 5 to 7 hours of labor to remove and reinstall the timing belt to get at it.


Your car is well overdue by the time factor on the timing belt. Its either 8 year OR 105k miles whicever first.

Those 200k Honda’s probably 1/2 - 3/4 who changed it. Probably 10% on borrowed time/luck on the OEM belt. The remainder paid the $1000-$2000 for serious engine work around 105k miles. I know quite a few people who need this expensive lesson to hopefully learn.


In 96, the recommended interval was 6 years or 90k miles. If you followed the maintenance schedule in your owners manual, you should have had the belt replaced in 2002. If you have owned the car since new, then you should know if the belt has been changed. If you bought the car after 02, then I’d say that the belt was probably changed when scheduled, because if it wasn’t, you have been very lucky. If you have reason to believe the belt was changed as scheduled, then you are good until next year.

As for the water pump, I’ve had water pumps go for 20 years with no problems. If you done regular coolant changes, thats every 3-4 years, the water pump should be ok. However, the water pump is driven by the belt so if it leaks, at best you have to pay the labor charge for the timing belt again just to get to the pump, at worse, the leaking coolant causes the belt to jump a tooth or two and there goes the engine.

Rather you are due this year or next, an extra $50 or so for the water pump could be well worth it for the insurance. You might also look into the other rubber parts too, CV boots and coolant/heater hoses. I know its starting to sound like a lot, but compared to the cost of a new car, its not that much. For about 10% of the cost of a new car, you can go another 96k+, If you spend 10x as much for a new car, you still have to face this decision again in another 96k or so.