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Water pump, timing belt, brake pads and oil

Hi and thanks to whoever answers. I bought a '98 Honda Civic 2 years ago, and on my mechanic’s advice changed the water pump and timing belt. So last month it started running hot, I brought it in, and they said the water pump needed replaced again; also it had leaked antifreeze allover the timing belt and the rubber would get “spongy” and needed replacement. 1st question–was I a sucker? The guys at work are telling me that a water pump should last much longer than 2 years. Second, this month my brake pads need replacement, but it didn’t squeal to let me know. It had started making a grinding noise so I had to also get the rotars replaced. 2nd question–aren’t all pads supposed to squeal when they are getting thin? Also, I rotated my tires last summer–shouldn’t they have caught the thinning pads then and told me? Last issue: I had my oil changed with the water pump work, checked my oil recently and it was about 1/2 inch over the top dot on the dipstick. The guys at work are telling me that this is a huge mistake for a mechanic and they would suspect him of doing it on purpose to bring in engine work later. Do you think that’s likely? I’ve been going to these mechanics for several years and this is the first time that I’ve felt worried about thier ethics.

How Many Miles On It When The Original Work Was Done?
How many miles do you average per year?

Most replacement parts and labor don’t have more than a one year warranty. A water pump leaking on the timing belt does necessitate replacing both.

Brake chirpers don’t always alert a driver of worn pads. They possibly could have peaked at the brakes, but that’s a courtesy and not part of a rotation. Again, how many miles are we talking? You now know to ask for a brake inspection when getting a rotation. It may cost extra.

Huge mistake? The mechanic may have put in the correct amount of oil. One-half inch too full on oil doesn’t tell a story. I suppose on some cars 1/2" could be a quart and on other cars it could be 6 ounces. Most complaints deal with no oil or not enough oil.

I average 12-15,000 miles/year and have 140,000 now.

When the guys at work told me that too much oil was such a bad thing, I brought it to a different place. They drained the extra out and said that it was a little more than a half quart too much.

Thanks for your thoughts. I’ve been stewing over this for over a week now and don’t know if I should look for another mechanic or not

Water pumps can fail especially when you get into the Wild West of aftermarket parts. They range from better than OEM(factory) to near junk made for a beater on its last legs made in China.

The timing belt change again is prudent since they pretty much remove it to access water pump. Essentially labor is free on tbelt change when you perform a water pump change.

Oil change with oil over dot depedns when check it. If cold then overfilled. The distance between F and L is usually a quart so you can extrapolate. I don’t think harm done likely.

Brake pads can squeal at end of life but that is beyond it. Normal for mechanic to check brakes for safety of vehicle owner and obviously potential add on work.

Nothing that you experienced would necessarily indicate incompetant or unethical service. But question your mechanic. In fact, print your post and take it to the shop. If people feel unsure of my work I like to know and explain things to their satisfaction or refer them to a shop that better suits them. I will assume your shop has similar thoughts.

FWIW, lifetime parts warranties are an advertising scheme.

Hi and thanks. I checked the oil several times, but always between a couple hours and over night after stopping.

How do I avoid the Wild West? I just called the mechanics and asked what kind of water pump they put in; it was an AC Delco water pump both times. Is that a good brand name?

1/2 quart over is not too much. Does your car consume oil between changes? Maybe he put in 1/2 over on purpose so that you wouldn’t have to add oil later?

Yes, water pumps should go more than two years. I’ve had some last over ten years and 200K miles (different car than yours). None-the-less, some do sometimes fail sooner. I see no reason to believe that it didn’t fail. Why do you?

About as often as they do squeak when thin, I’ve seen brake pads get too thin with no warning. What, do you not believe that you really have a brake pad problem?

You need to find “guys at work” that actually know about cars, not ones that just act like they do.

The mechanic is absolutely right. If the timing belt is saturated with coolant it’s junk.
As to water pump life, that can be a toss up. Most last longer than 2 years; some don’t.

As to brake pad squeal you are incorrect about that. Most pads don’t squeal when they’re worn out.

As to the oil being slightly over the mark that is also a non-issue and hurts nothing. Matter of fact, if anything it’s a bit beneficial to run it a bit over full.

You need to quit listening to your friends at work.

AC Delco is a reputable maker typically of auto parts.

The good thing is most mechanics use decent parts as they know what can happen with junk and the lost customers.

You see people post on this board I can get brake pads for $22 but no independent mechanic who is paid in their right mind would risk the hassle and loss of customer not if but usually when the inexpensive parts fail prematurely.

I would get the mechanic to put in a OEM water pump. They have the most predictable quality. With a few exceptions I only put Honda parts in my Hondas. In 30 years and 4 Honda cars I’ve never had an early failure.

When I replace water pumps that are driven by the timing belt, my parts supplier gives me two choices. Remanufactured or New. Guess which one gets installed.


Just as a side note, I bought a new AC water pump for my Aurora and after not being able to get the old one out took it to the dealer. They put the AC pump in and it leaked like a sieve and had to put a new one in. I’ve also had similar issues with bad AC fuel pumps right out of the box or lasting a month. They are made in Mexico now or unkown parts and you can’t necessarily depend on them.

Tester, often I find rebuilds higher quality than after market new. I personally favor a few brand names which have proven to be of consistant high quality at reasonable prices, and, of course, OE new is the first choice if price is not an issue. My specific problem with new psrts is the imported, private branded parts sold by many chain stores. Many are of obvious questionable material and workmanship with high failure rates. Delco, Delphi, Mopar, FoMoCo,Toyota, etc. are truly high quality NEW parts and if quality is the utmost consideration OE should be the part used.