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Timing Belt

Good morning! I have a 2004 Honda, under 40k mileage. It was strongly suggested by the dealer’s service department that I get the timing belt water pump, etc replaced. At $500 for the job as done by them, I am reluctant to do so.

Is it necessary to do this at this time? And does it really cost that much?

Thank you for any advice you have on the matter!

I’m not personally familiar with your maintenance schedule - it should be in your manual - but if you look, you’ll also note there’s a time schedule along with the mileage schedule. Rubber degrades over time, and you’re now looking at 7 years, so my guess is he’s right.


Timing belts age with time and mileage. If they break…it’ll cost you THOUSANDS when it does due to severe engine damage.

$500 is reasonable (especially from a dealer). Honda dealer near me charges $800…local independent shops charge about $400.

Due to the age of your car and the design of your engine, I would say the dealer is right. The price is fair, too, if this really includes everything you say it does. When I refer to the design of your engine, I am referring to your engine being an interference design. This means that when your timing belt fails and you lose your valve timing synchronization, your pistons will collide with your valves causing severe engine damage. This will easily double or triple your repair bill, as well as add a towing bill to the tally since wherever it happens is where the car stops running.

If the OP is wise, he/she will do the following:

Open the glove compartment, take out the Owner’s Manual (perhaps for the first time?), and see what the folks who designed and built the car have to say. To the best of my recollection, it says to replace the timing belt at 105k miles OR 7.5 years, whichever comes first. If my recollection is correct, you are due to change that very vital part now or in the next few months.

Get price quotes from independent mechanics in your area for replacement of the timing belt, serpentine belt, water pump, and all belt tensioners. Even though only the timing belt is the “required” maintenance, replacing all of these items at this point will actually cost less in labor costs than if you had the so-called “extraneous” items done later. Most likely, you will have a hard time finding a better price than what the dealer is quoting, as it is a very good price for this work.

The dealership is actually doing you a favor with their reminder, as failure to replace this belt will–at some point–result in catastrophic engine damage. Your choice–$500 now or…perhaps $2,000 later when the belt snaps.

You REALLY need to become familiar with what is necessary to keep your car running properly. Car maintenance should not be a mystery, especially since the reference source needed to know about this topic should be sitting in your glove compartment and it is written so that any adult can understand it.

IF your Honda has a timing belt the dealer is correct. It should be replaced, and the price is fair if it includes the water pump, etc.

But check your owner’s manual. Not all Honda vehicles have timing belts.

$500 is relatively inexpensive for a the typical dealer cost.

My additional two cents. The risks have been outlined ($2k-$3k damage, middle/side of the road breakdown, tow etc).

However I have known folks(8) who have exceed the time limit, and the failure rate seems to be about 50% for them.

Honestly it depends on your outlook for vehicle. If I were moving to another vehicle in a year I would let it go.

Unfortunately, VDCdriver, my car was broken into a while ago and the jerks took stuff out of the trunk and glove compartment, only to realize it was just cleaning supplies and the booklets. They scattered everything out in the rain, so the booklets = sodden mess by the time I found it.

But I’m sure your condescending tone is meant in love, so I thank you for your advice. My advice to you is to be less judgmental in tone to a complete stranger who you want to pay attention to you.

For the rest of you folks, I’m letting the dealer take care of the timing belt, etc. Thank you all for your advice!

Get it done now. You will either have to do it sooner or later . . . why risk an engine failure? That will cost thousands. $500 is a deal, especially with the water pump thrown-in. After it is done, ask the dealer to tell you what the time and mileage recommendation is the the '04, and follow that. Write it down, miles and time . . and drive on without worry. Rocketman


Please allow me to post an addendum to my earlier advice:

You would be well-advised to get a new copy of the Owner’s Manual, for obvious reasons.
E-bay is a good source for low-cost, slightly-used Owner’s Manuals.

Jaid, Helm Inc. Supplies Original Owner’s Manuals To Most Major Manufacturers’ Cars.

You don’t say what model 04 Honda you’ve got, but for example, they have brand new original replacement manuals for Civics and Accords in stock, ready to ship, for $34 + S&H. I’ve dealt with them for years. It’s a good company to deal with.


Honda has provides PDF versions of their owners & likely maintenance manuals if you register on their website somewhere for Owners.