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What Should Be Fixed?

My college son took his 2000 Honda CRV in or an oil change. The mechanic produced a list of items that he felt should be fixed. I’m trying to determine what should be fixed vs. what can wait (or possibly ignored). The vehicle has 150,000 miles, and he is hoping to make it last for two more years (get out of college and use it for his first year of work). Since the car is at school, mileage for the next 9 months will be minimal. Here is the list of items:

1. clean and adjust rear brakes

2. brake fluid flush (based on visual inspection of failed brake strip test for color and deterioration from moisture)

3. remove & replace muffler (no noise detected)

4. remove & replace radiator hoses

5. rear trailing arm bushings tearing on both sides, recommend to replace

6. perform front end alignment

7. rear differential fluid service

8. perform fuel injection cleaning service

9. timing belt service (replace water pump if necessary) original timing belt was replaced at around 100k.

Ideas? Thanks!

Was this list from a real mechanic or a quick-lube place?

For the alignment, is there any unusual wear on the tires? When was the last alignment?

The differential fluid service should be covered in the owner’s manual. Is it due or not?

The timing belt service should also be covered in the owner’s manual. It’s probably not due again yet, but you should double-check.

Fuel injection cleaning is not needed unless there’s a problem. Is he having a problem?

To me this list could easily be posted as “the top 9 maintenance scams”.

  1. rear brakes today are self adjusting and do not need routine cleaning.

  2. I’ve seen the “brake strip test” Any fluid with any use will look different on a white test strip than a spot of fresh clean fluid. It’s a scam technique.

  3. if the muffler isn’t rotted and/or leaking, it does not need replacing. Yours is stainless steel and should not be in need of replacement this early.

  4. Pure BS. Radiator hoses last much longer than this, and if there are no signs of failure or deterioration they need not be replaced. Signs would be a bubble, cracking when squeezed, or a cooling system problem unresolved by other means (interior linings can seperate in old hoses sometimes).

  5. Bull. Bushings all crack some on the surface. If when shaking the trailing arms by hand they’re still secure, the bushings are fine.

  6. If the frontt end has never been aligned, an alignment is reasonable after 5 years.

  7. What does your owner’s manual say?

  8. Bull. Gasoline contains sufficient detergent additives to keep the injectors clean and operating well with regular use.

  9. Timing belt: check your owner’s manual. If this is coming due, it should be done, and at this mileage the water pump should be done also.

Since the big items are the brakes (if it wont go it has problems, if it wont stop you son may never have any problems again) and the timing belt, It is due and you dont want it snap, and the rest are small fry problems, I’d do those first, and then do the others sooner than later.

Find a new mechanic. Hint: you will not find a real mechanic at any fast lube type place.

Re: item #7:
Even if the Honda maintenance schedule does not mention it, the differential fluid on these cars should be changed ~every 60k miles. The rear differential and the center diff on these cars is connected, and a change/refill of the rear diff will also take care of servicing the center diff.

When this is not done every 60k miles, a lot of torque bind tends to take place and a lot of extra wear and tear is exerted on an AWD system that was not very well-designed. No matter who you take the vehicle to, you do need to have the diff fluid changed, and it needs to be genuine Honda Dual Pump Fluid.

As to the other items that were listed, since we can’t see or examine the vehicle it is very difficult to say whether they are needed or not.

Can you park the car closer to the computer so that we can see it?

If he is your long time reliable mechanic,i say go for it.

I can live with that. I tip my hat to the correction.

i agree that most of this stuff is unnecessary and some sounds like “boat payment” scams. the timing belt on this year is i believe 105,000 miles for replacement so you’ve got another 50K on the current one. alignment, maybe so, again is there odd wear? the differential fluid is a good thing as a common problem with this era of crv is moaning from the rear if the fluid is old, and only the dual fluid should be used.

The “clean & adjust brakes” is the oldest trick in the book. Mountainbike is right, they’re self adjusting brakes, so if they’re out of adjustment, you don’t just clean & readjust them; you figure out why they are out of adjustment & fix that problem. They probably aren’t significantly out of adjustment, since even though they’re “self-adjusting”, it’s

normal for them to not quite be “100%” adjusted. Perfectly normal. A mechanic with dollar signs in his eyes will rationalize that, hey, they’re not “100 %” adjusted; this is a gravy job; I’ll make good commission on this one.

I got in trouble at a Meineke shop I worked at for not selling “Clean & adjust drum brakes”. I ended up quitting over this.

I have a '96 Chrysler with 235,000 miles on and a stainless steel exhaust. Nothing wrong with it so far. That, of course, doesn’t prove that there’s nothing wrong with 29tiz29’s son’s exhaust.

The timing belt is not due. The quickest change interval for Hondas is 60k, and usually at your first 60k change they put a belt that ups the interval to 80. It wouldn’t surprise me if the interval is even longer on that vehicle. The OP should check the owners manual rather than the quicklube scammer.

The big tipoff is “replace water pump if necessary” Water pumps don’t have a crystal ball module. You aren’t going to know when they’re going to fail until they fail. They should always be replaced in a T-belt job because you’ve already got everything ripped apart. The part is cheap, the labor is not. The “if necessary” points to a scam, as does the 50k mile interval.

Because they’re trying to scam you here, even if the other stuff is necessary (which I doubt) you should not let them do the work. Find another shop.

I would go elsewhere for 2nd opinion as this sounds like chain.

The only item you need to go another 2 years if never changed is the timing belt. And this item is ASAP if never changed.