90,000 Mile Service

by Ask Bob: The Auto Answer Man

I have a 91 Acura Integra GS that is approaching 90,000 miles. I have done all the maintenance that Acura has recommended in their maintenance schedule which is every 7,500 mile. Needless to say, it has cost thousands of dollars. For the upcoming maintenance for 90,000 miles, the Acura service shop has recommended that I perform the following maintenance in addition to the 90,000 mile service. I wanted to get you opinion on if this is really all necessary.

1) 90,000 mile service $ 335.17
2) timing belt $ 260.94
3) belts $ 107.98
4) water pump (recommended) $ 363.16
5) exhaust $ 343.76

TOTAL $ 1411.01

I can see the need for doing items 1, 2, and 3 even though I really disagree with how much they want to charge me. My question is whether item 4 really needs to be done. They told me that it would save me a lot of labor cost to replace the water pump while they were changing the timing belt. I'm sure I can find a better price for item 5. Also, I have always taken my Acura to an Acura service center and I'm sure that they charge a premium because they are "Acura". Would another service center do just as good a job even though they aren't an authorized Acura service center or use genuine Acura parts? It has been a good little car and is in excellent condition inside and out and I plan on getting 200,000 miles out of it. I have a hard time justifying spending nearly $1,400 on maintenance though, when the car is probably worth at most $8,000. One thing I should have been doing from the very beginning is changing the oil ever 3,500 miles to extend the life of the engine so I will start doing that. Would appreciate any thoughts you might have on this.

Dear HM,
Well, the prices seems high and it does NOT look like they are giving you a break on the labor. In order to change the timing belt, the belts and all accessories must be removed. I do not have a labor book for Acura so I so not know what the book hour time is... personally, I would make a few calls first.... Try in this order.... call somewhere and ask how much to change the timing belt for your car.... then later call back and ask how much to have just the water pump changed, but don't tell them that you called before... then during the same call, ask how much to have both done... this way you can see if they are giving you a break or not... I would think not.... then try another dealership then try someplace like Pep Boy's or another reputable service center in your area... as far as the exhaust is concerned, is it rotted and falling apart.... does it look like you can get another year out of it? If so, then I would wait.

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Basically all of these repairs are done on a preventative basis....they are probably fine now, but they might have a history of failing soon but that may not be the case for your car. I have heard of timing belts lasting for over 150,000 miles and other breaking at 60,000 like clockwork.... The gamble is yours to take, but it might wind up costing you more if you wait. For instance, if the timing belt breaks, you run the risk of damaging the valves and the cylinder head. To replace that will cost significantly more. If you wait on the water pump, then you run the risk of other damage when the car over heats... As far as they belts are concerned, if they break, they wont cause any more damage unless your water pump is driven by them... then you run the same risk as above.... But my first advice would be to shop this around and do it in pieces... don't have them quote the whole job at once... this way you can see if you are getting a break on labor or not...
Good Luck!
Drive Safely!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man

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