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I really need some opinions. I had my 2011 MDX in for inspection this morning. My MDX has just passed 100k miles recently. I love it and would like to keep it as long as possible. Everything passed smoothly but the service tech. recommended several big ticket maintenance items: $1,295 for a timing belt replacement (just as a precaution), $325 for spark plugs, $275 to replace a seal on the transmission that has a very slight leak $139 for brake system fluid exchange for a total of just over $2,000 in work. Any opinions on how important it is to do these things now? I'm torn between wanting to be proactive but not wanting to be upsold too dramatically. Thanks!!
 

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Timing Belt is due so I do not know why it recommend it as a "Precaution". It is done every 105K/7years.
 

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I just past 100K on my MDX and the same service will be due around mid winter for me. I will save a little money because I did the spark plugs at 75,000 miles. I'm planning to keep my MDX for a few more years with about 20,000 miles per. I did the big 105K service on my TSX and RDX when due (both over 140,000 miles now). There isn't a high dollar service after the big 105K for 30k-60k depending on your driving habits and M.I.D. schedule (one alternator, brake job, and a power steering pump after 100K). Putting things into perspective, $2000 for service is only 3-4 months of car payments if you purchased another vehicle.

You could always purchase parts yourself and call around to independent shops to do the labor for the 105K service.
 

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Most shops use the same service manuals for repair and same estimates for repair time just like the dealerships. The price differences can be if you provide the parts yourself and cheaper labor rates compared to dealerships. Sometimes the saving isn't that big if the independent shop has to go to Acura for the part(s) and then they have to add their mark-up on top of that. I wouldn't go to a independent shop for item specific to Acura like the ELS, sh-awd, magnetic shocks/struts, or other safety electronics like ADS/BSI/ACC/CMBS. You are just trading your time for Acura's labor if you find a good shop to work on your X. I don't think there is anything about the big 105K service that couldn't be done by an independent shop.

My 08 RDX had a bad alternator that wasn't charging the battery fully. The dealership wanted +$600 to replace the part. I found a new alternator from Autozone and had it installed at a local shop for half that cost (researched, ordered, picked up, dropped off RDX for install, and returned the old core for refund).
 

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Don't neglect your valve train on these engines. These are solid lifter interference designed engines. Always do the timing belt and valve adjustments at recommended intervals or your asking for major engine repair.

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I did my Timing Belt for just 350bucks... I did it myself with the AISIN Kit and it has been working just fine... I am about to do the Valve Job this December too so I will do a DIY for that..
 

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Thanks! Is $1295 about the going rate for a timing belt? Would you ever consider having it done by a regular mechanic and not at the dealer? Thanks!
That quote sounds like it's on the very high end of what I would expect. Some dealers are far more competitive than others. A couple years ago I received a coupon from my dealer for the timing belt/spark plug service at $700. That did not include a water pump which is recommended at the same time but that shouldn't add more than $200. I would hope your dealer is including the water pump at that price and if so that's $1,620 for both timing belt/spark plugs compared to my dealer's special which would have been around $900. You could always check with another dealer or even just randomly call your dealer and ask if they're offering any specials on timing belt/spark plug service. My dealer has posted "list prices" for repairs but then when you ask them if there are discounts the prices come down quickly. As another comparison, I recently had the brake fluid flush performed at a cost of $94. So your dealer is significantly higher (as a %) on that as well.

We have two Acura dealers in town, so that may be why my dealer is fairly competitive. If your dealer won't offer more reasonable pricing, I would certainly look around for a good independent. A foreign specialist can easily do this service for significantly less. I use an independent for my Audi because the local dealer is terrible all around. He just did a transmission service for $275 where the dealer quoted me $450. Same OEM fluids and everything.
 

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Agree, there are usually at least a few good Acura/Honda specialty shops in most any good sized city....worth checking into..
 

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This engine requires manual valve adjustments!??
Yeah, frickin crazy huh? I thought the guy was taking me for a ride at 1st. Sure enough, its more like a solid lifter motor. Guess it has something to do with with how the vtec system works. The adjustment interval is 105k I believe to go with the timing belt at least so it's not like an old pushrod motor that you've got to constantly play with.

The valve train was much quieter when they were done and it idled a whole lot smoother. Guess I really didn't realize how rough it was running as I don't drive the wife's MDX often. My car is an LS3 camaro with an oversized cam and headers so pretty much anything else idles smoother.



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This engine requires manual valve adjustments!??
Any engine requires valve lash adjustment including hydraulic lifters (Honda 4 cyls)...

The difference being the amount of time it needs to require it and the expense, Hydro lifter lash adjustment is by FAR more expensive and more complicated to do.

Valve Adjustments on a J-Series need around 100K to be needed and they are so darn easy to adjust is barely a nuisance. There is also no money involved if you have re-usable Intake Manifold gaskets either.

Typical J-Series Valvetrain (My TL-S Engine):
<img src="https://t.imgbox.com/uMk58tlW.jpg" alt="imgbox"/></a>

Adjustment:
<img src="https://t.imgbox.com/hVCaioNZ.jpg" alt="imgbox"/></a>
 
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