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Valve adjustment $300 and $150?

The dealership wants ~$150 for valve adjustment and gasket.

Another mechanic that I found using the mechanic profile wants ~$250. He said it’s a 2.5 hour job and since I wanted OEM gasket, it adds another $40 to the price making it around $300.

Are these the price I am expecting to pay??? Is the mechanic trying overcharge me? I asked for other quotes from him and it seem reasonable. Like spark plug is .5 hour labor so it’s about $45 plus the plugs, diagnostic my wheel shimmy problem on highway for $20 as oppose to $100 flat rate from the dealer, but this valve adjustment is really expensive.

My car just hit 3 years old, and it is the first time I have to deal with “repairs” and maintenance beyond fluids change.

I am considering DIY but I don’t have a garage… or any tools, valve adjustment on the side walk is probably bad idea?

Sounds like the dealer wins this job. Mechanic made you an offer, dealer made a better one, so go with the dealer. No ‘overcharging’ going on. And skip the diy option.

I would charge either price for a valve adjustment. Now for that second valve…

You might want to ask the mechanic to record valve lash numbers before and after adjustment so you can form a basis for judgment for next time to decide if you can delay the adjustment or even ignore if if you plan to trade the vehicle.

Hydraulic valve lifters needing no periodic adjustment have been around since the early 1930s. It seems negligent or just plain cheap for a modern motor vehicle to not have them. I have to wonder if the lack of hydraulic lifters, like the use of timing belts instead of timing chains are a gift from the manufacturer to the dealer mechanics that customers will not typically be aware of at the initial sale; yet not be too disturbed by due to the infrequent need for attention and otherwise high quality of the vehicle.

How many miles on the Fit? Why do you need a valve adjustment? The owners manual probably says to check the valve lash at 105,000 miles.

Be thankful you don’t have a timing belt. Now that would be expensive maintenance.

You’d be surprised at the increase in solid lifters. I think Ford’s using them on their new engines, with little expectation that adjustment will be needed. Much tighter tolerances these days.

The car is at 73K and I hear ticking sound from the engine. I also have some idle vibration problem that I am trying to do everything to get rid of it.

my car is at 73k so I would consider it mid-life-ish. Next 73K, it will be close to 150K which I would probably be better off investing in a new car. But for now I would like to try to keep it running “like-new” for a little while more although it is getting harder.

Wasn’t there just recently an announcement of a recall for Honda Fit engines because of broken valve springs? You might want to look into that as the potential cause of your noise.


That is for a different model year. Mine is a 2008, they redesigned the car for 2009-2010 which is involved with the recall.

Why would a HOnda Fit need valve adjustment already?

Just my opinion, but engines with mechanic valve lifters should be inspected about every 30k miles. Failure to do this puts the vehicle owner at risk anyway of ending up with a damaged engine.

Many car makers have gone to these ridiculous extended intervals on this issue for the same reason they use ridiculous intervals on many other services; it’s a PR move.
The factory is gambling on 2 things.
One is that a problem won’t happen while the car is in warranty. (Odds are it won’t)
Two is that they do not want to be deluged with customer complaints over this out of pocket expense. A customer may have this done and then start griping because they “feel no difference in the way it runs”. This can be true enough all depending.

The factories even make what I feel is an embarassingly bad recommendation about how to inspect valve lash. They refer to checking it “audibly”. That’s as hokey as it gets. It simply cannot be done even by the finest mechanic on Earth. A mechanic can listen and tell if one sounds a little loose (as they recommend) but the quiet ones are the ones that put the hurt on your motor.

If this vibration problem is caused by incorrect valve lash on a valve adjuster (one of the quiet ones) then there is the possibility that it’s too tight and may have already damaged the valve face and valve seat. Hello expensive valve job.

If the car were mine I’d let the dealer do it. It’s not a difficult job but for a novice it could be touchy. Incorrect lash adjustment can easily lead to engine damage.

I am planning to let my dealer to it since they also giving me the better price.

I do believe that every little thing that you ignore will slowing grow to be a bigger problem.

At one time all car makers use to recommend a valve adjustment every 15k miles and some even had an initial 1000k miles from new check to get things off on the right foot. That has all gone by the wayside.

A number of people have posted on this forum before who have suffered cylinder head damage from this delayed practice.
The worst example I’ve ever personally seen was a Subaru that had 7k miles (yes, 7000) and several overly tight valves had burned the valve seats so badly that both cylinder heads were not even repairable. There were HUNKS of aluminum missing around several exhaust valve seats due to excessively tight lash. So here you had a near new car that had to have 2 new cylinder heads.

Note here. If this vibration is caused by a tight exhaust valve and adjusting the lash properly appears to take care of it, don’t dance in the streets just yet. It only takes a comparatively few miles to cause microscopic damage to the valve face and seat. Adjusting the lash will fully seat the valve but superheated exhaust gas under pressure will start eroding the valve face/seat with the problem becoming progressively worse over time.

If you have this service performed be SURE to ask them what they find; especially in regards to the exhaust valve lash. Intake valve lash can be surviveable but exhaust lash can be very problematic.

Thanks for noting the seriousness of the valve adjustment. Well I been putting a lot of miles on this car without doing anything adjustment to it, all I can do now is to do it ASAP and see where that takes me.

A quick and easy method of determining if valve lash could be behind this engine roughness would be to connect a vacuum gauge to the intake manifold. This only takes a minute and will reveal instantly if a tight valve exists or not.

The downside of that is that apparently few mechanics use a vacuum gauge in the diagnosis of problems. That’s a shame because the vac. gauge is cheap, easy to use, and can reveal so much about what is really going on with the engine.

The gauge reading will vary based on a number of factors (altitude, barometric pressure, etc, etc.) but generally speaking one looks for a reading of around 17 to 20 inches of vacuum at idle and the gauge needle should always be rock steady.

I have been checking the valve clearance on my vehicles since I was in high school in the 1970s when I got my first job in the automotive industry. I washed and prep’d cars for the dealership and asked the old mechanics to show me stuff during breaks, lunch, after work. They taught me how to do this basic stuff. You need a teacher. My current '89 Honda Accord has over 525,000 miles on it and I check the clearances about every 25,000, never needs adjustment. Go figure. It’s a good idea to check the clearances, but the first time or two, get some direction from someone who knows what they’re doing. Any car clubs in your area? $150 for a professional mechanic isn’t that bad, with the gasket thrown in. I think that my gasket costs about $20, so you’re paying $130 for the work. What kind of car makes a big difference. My Accord is easy, some cars are a pain. Good luck! Rocketman

This is from the service manual
Valve Clearance (S)
Inspect every 110,000 miles, otherwise adjust only if noisy.

That manual, like other manuals that recommend the same thing, is dead wrong.

How does that recommendation about inspecting valve lash if they’re “noisy” tell anyone on Earth anything about the tightness of a valve which will be quiet, not noisy?

Most engines won’t have a problem with ignoring this procedure. For the minority of people who ignore it and find out after the fact that a valve (or plural) is tight that it’s a very expensive lesson.