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I took my Honda CRV EX-L into the Honda dealership 2 miles from my home for it regular oil change and they gave me a list of recommended repairs. One is a new Drive Belt, Engine Coolant, and Water Pump and the cost would be $710. My car is running great! I get lots of complements and even an offer to buy it when I was at the self service car wash last week. My question is are they charging me too much for these recommended repairs? Should I get a second opinion? By the way, my Honda only has 38,000 miles! YES...that's right very low as I use to work in a different state and was on an airplane every other week for the last 15 years until the company closed last year. I have only taken it to the dealership Norm Reeves for services to keep it in good shape but this seems high? I looked up the parts needed and they would cost me $125. if I ordered online. Please advise and thank you so much! Di

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Jessica Howe, Automotive Expert & Coach at AskPatty.com

Hello, 

Thank you for writing in. There are several things to consider in this situation. First and foremost, use your best judgement. Take the time to look at the drive belt and check it for signs of cracking, fraying, or anything else that looks abnormal. Rubber belts and fluids should be changed eventually, and can break down with time alone regardless of how many miles are on the vehicle. These may need to be replaced just due to how old they are, but they may also be just fine. A second opinion on this may be your best bet if you are unsure. Replacing the drive belt and the coolant alone shouldn't cost much. I am willing to bet that the majority of that quote came from replacing the water pump. 

The water pump is a little trickier. They may have recommended it based on the fact their maintenance schedule for that type of vehicle says it needs to be replaced. However, you should trust the recommended maintenance schedules in your owner's manual over the dealership, as there typically are discrepancies between the two. With that said, if they detected an issue with the water pump, you need to have it replaced. A faulty water pump puts your engine at the risk of overheating. As temperatures outside warm up, you really want your car's cooling system to be working properly. The water pump is responsible for moving the coolant through the engine. Without it, the coolant won't reach the radiator to cool down and the engine will overheat. 

A second opinion could be beneficial. Take a look at your owner's manual and see what it says about when to replace the components in question. 


LeeAnn Shattuck, Chief Car Chick at The Car Chick

I would get clarification from the dealer about WHY they feel the drive belt and water pump need to be replaced.  Although your CRV has super low miles, it is over 10 years old.  Any parts made of rubber (like the drive belt) or plastic start to break down and become brittle after 7-8 years.  Even a water pump has seals and other parts that can wear out over time, even if you don't drive the car very much.  I would ask the dealership to explain WHY they recommend changing those parts - is the drive belt cracked or worn?  Is the water pump damaged / leaking, or are they just recommending that it be changed proactively simply due to its age?  If it is not actively leaking, they may not know if it is worn/damaged due to where it is located, but are advising changing it simply due to the age, so that it does NOT start leaking and risk damaging your engine due to overheating.  An old water pump can fail and start leaking suddenly, causing your to lose coolant quickly, which could damage your engine.  It's best to replace the water pump and associated parts as preventative maintenance rather than waiting until it fails.

The cost to replace these parts includes both the parts and the labor.  It takes several hours to replace a water pump due to its location.  But it's fewer hours (and therefore cheaper) on a Honda than on most other types of vehicles.  


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