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I brought my car in because the starter died. During the multipoint check, they also discovered that the timing belt and the 'package' (all other components related to it) has not been changed since the previous owner had it. (I have a 2003 Accord w/ ~90k miles).

They told me that the timing belt needed to be changed and that they would not just replace the timing belt because the other parts that are in the system (tensioner, water pump, compressor) all are closely. If there's a new timing belt and the tensioner is old, it may cause improper tension and things would start grinding (I'm sorry that I don't have the exact terminology that the Honda Service mechanic used).

So I went ahead and had the entire Timing Belt 'package' (that's the term they used) replaced. (According to them, the timing belt is suppose to be changed every 7 years or 100k miles. Since my car was a 2003, it has been about 11 years...the mechanic said that it looked like the belt has never been changed)

Did I just get duped into getting more service than I needed? BTW, the cost of it all was about $1200. Is that too much?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yes, they have to be changed along with the timing belt. The tensioner pulley doesn't last very long (only as long as the timing belt, or not as long as two timing belts, at any rate) and the water pump is cheap enough anyway. If one of these things decide to break, it will also break your timing belt, which will damage you engine in the most expensive ways. THink bent valves and damaged pistons. That's why the cambelt kit (or package) contains more than just a cambelt. You're paying for the entire package/kit anyway, so you might as well have them install it.

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It's not necessary, but VERY recommendable to change all the related things. I had often enough, that the old water pump got leak after change of timing belt because of different tension. You may be lucky, and nothing will happen. But if, you will have to pay almost the same high price just to change only a water pump, tensioning roller, guide pulley or whatever. Timing belt is a lot of work, so it is better to do is once the right way.

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Yep, I've seen a LOT of cases where a disturbed water pump leaked afterwards - MUCH better to replace it anytime it needs to be disturbed for any reason. The pump's drive shaft never seems to settle back to the same spot, so it leaks past the seals. – TDHofstetter Aug 8 '14 at 13:38

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