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Thank you so much for your advice! The garage/shop I've been taking my vehicle to lately didn't find anything wrong with the sound of my engine, and didn't advise any repairs (but I did tell them I didn't want to do a timing belt change). I had my tires balanced and rotated at Costco and the tech told me the rear tires cupping probably means I need a 4-wheel alignment. I went to Les Schwab and the tech said the alignment was in spec. He recommended replacing struts and shocks: $949. Or at the minimum, replacing rear shocks: $228.
The rear differential VTM4 fluid has never been changed to my knowledge... but it could just be that I don't remember (but if it was, it was a very long time ago). The transmission fluid was changed about a year ago. I'm trying to keep my car going for as long as possible without paying thousands for repairs but I will miss my Pilot terribly if I have to buy a new vehicle... and I'm not looking forward to car payments. I know... boo hoo... LOL
Regarding nursing, it's a great field with so much variety and many specialties. Congratulations to your daughter! It's also difficult and challenging; She must be a strong woman :)
It is because the Honda Pilots are reliable, long lasting vehicles that this question arises for owners: Is it worth it to spend a couple of thousand dollars (or more) in repairs on my 17 year old car? I have to ask you, do you live in the rust belt? Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, upstate New York, etc. Anyplace that spreads tons of salt on the roads in the winter. If so, then you should think about a newer car. The trusty Honda engine will run forever, but the rusty Honda unibody frame will not live so long. If you are fortunate to reside in a less road-salty state, then you could well get several more years from your Pilot, with good care. Take this into account when you decide whether or not to do the timing belt, or install new front control arms and front struts, or new sway bar bushings and end links and new rear shocks.

My 2003 was still running great, but rust gave it the kiss of death. I now drive a nice 2018, and my monthly payment is $540. If you can spend $1000 on repairs, and drive the Pilot for another year, you will be ahead of the game. Of course, $1000 can lead to $2000 in repairs pretty fast, so keep a clear head when you make your decisions.
 
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