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Timing Belt

My wife has a 2001 Honda Civic with 40k miles. She drives it almost every day but usually no more than a few miles. During a routine oil change, the dealer maintenance folks recommended replacing the timing belt based on age - not milage. Does this make sense or was he just trying to run up a bill (to the tune of about $750).

As with rubber tires, rubber timing belts detierorate with age. So the timing belt is 8-9 years old. So just on that basis, I would have the timing belt/water pump changed.

But you don’t need to have this service performed at the dealer. A good independant repair service can do this same job, and maybe save you some money.


When we buy cars, we always say that it will be the most well maintained car in history. We swear that we will even read the owner’s manual but put it off until some day. Some day isn’t on any calendar. I had an 83 Camry with 250,000 miles on it with the easiest to change timing belt that I ever saw. Nope, I didn’t change it even though it would have cost me $21. I owned it for a year and a half, then sold it. I think YOURS should be replaced, but that $750 hurts me even from here. Ouch.

What does the owner’s manual say. It will give you miles and time. You do whatever comes first. The failure of a timing belt can mean a sudden and total loss of power to a total destruction of the engine long with total sudden power loss. Get the change if the owner’s manual says to do so.

BTW you are not required to bring your car to the dealer for service. Most people will find that independent mechanics will provide equally good service for less money. [Dealers are no better or worse than independents]

$750 sounds a little high, but not to high for a dealership. I had my 99 Civic done at the dealership back in '06 and they charged me about $600 to do it. The high cost is mostly due to the intensive labor involved, parts are fairly cheap. Expect to leave it overnight since they need the engine to be cool to work on it, arrange a loaner car if possible before you bring it in.
I got lucky that it didn’t go due to age. If the belt breaks, the engine is toast, no easy way to say it

Ask a few indepedents for quotes on that timing belt. In my locale you can get it done for around $350-$400. Good luck.

yes do it.