Jim Grant's Tech Tips
& '97 Honda Civic
Q: My husband's '93 Civic
has 75K miles on it. A friend of ours told us that we absolutely have
to change the timing belt immediately to avoid costly repairs. Is this
true? I know he did not do the 60K check up/tune up. He changes the oil
regularly and the car has not given him any trouble. I called and checked
for the 60K mile service and got a price of $325.00 (to change the timing
belt alone will cost $150.00). Are these prices reasonable? Do we HAVE
to change the timing belt now? The $325.00 covers replacement of the timing
belt and water pump, coolant and the driving belt. My car is a '97 Civic
that just turned 30K miles. They quoted $300.00 for the service for it.
We can't afford all of these repairs now. Is there something that absolutely
HAS to be done now? OR is this just a way to make money for the mechanics?
Also, do you recommend a dealership over a neighborhood garage?
start with your husbands car. Change the timing belt! If the timing belt
fails it could cause extensive damage to the engine. As for changing the
water pump, coolant and fan belts, is not completely necessary. There's
a catch. The water pump is located in the manner that requires removal
of the timing belt to replace it. "This is not true with all cars".
If the water pump fails, you'll have to duplicate the labor cost of changing
a timing belt just to replace the water pump. As for your Civic, if the
oil and filters have been properly maintained, at the least have the gas
filter replaced. Then plan on having the other tune-up (maintenance) items
addressed in the fall of the year. Do I recommend a dealership over a
neighborhood garage? I do not recommend one over the other. You want a
service facility that you are comfortable with. Most importantly is the
courtesy to understand your situation and advise you on what maintenance
is necessary to keep your Honda performing safely.