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Jim Grant Tech Tips Jim Grant Tech Tips
A collection of helpful articles based on reader submissions
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  Jim Grant's Tech TipsJim Grant's Tech Tips
Below is a collection of Jim Grant's Tech Tips sorted by Vehicle Make. These Tech Tips were answers to questions submitted to Jim by users over the course of many years.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email us.



Lincoln - Mercury
  Jim Grant's Tech Tips

93 & '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?

A: Let's 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.

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