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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Had the check charging system light come on today. Autozone confirmed the alternator is dead. My regular delearship said earliest they can do the job is next Wednesday, the one 10 miles out said I could drive in when they open tomorrow and they could look at it and give me a quote. The guy I spoke with didn't want to tell me a ball park cost so I thought that was a bit fishy. Plus I'd rather not drive out there only to have to wait long without an appointment. My brother on the other hand said he can replace the alternator when he gets here in a couple of days so all I'll be out is the cost of part from Autozone. Only problem is a couple of days with him can end up being a week, or three.

The car is coming up on 100K miles and I was told probably the next oil change the timing belt will be due for a change. I was advised to have the water pump changed at that point. Googling shows to expect $800 for the alternator with 20% of that being labor. Dealer told me the timing belt would cost me about $1200.

I'm worried about trying to drive the car to the dealer without knowing how long the battery will hold, especially since I'd have to drive thru a very busy highway. I could get a rental in the meantime until my brother fixes the alternator and go ahead and make the appointment for next week in case he doesn't show. Or I could try a local shops tomorrow. Saw one about 2 miles away with a 4.6 reviews ratings.

My questions are, should I go ahead and get the belt replaced while they do the alternator and what else at 100K miles should I get done? What upsells should I look out for and avoid? I'm also torn on whether I should take car to regular dealer or a local shop. My gut tells me not to bother with the other dealer that's 10 miles out, especially after seeing some reviews where they punched a hole in a gas tank and one review 2 weeks ago their service staff had quit and a guy had to drive up there after they had his car for 2 weeks with no update on repairs. I don't have a trusted mechanic that can do the job. My brother told me he wouldn't be able to change the timing belt, just the alternator.
 

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You won't make it 10 miles if your alternator output is zero. Don't take it on the freeway like that.

If your brother can install a new alternator, he can do a timing belt. The bigger issue is whether he'll have all the tools he needs for the bigger job. At least if he does the alternator, you can drive to get the belt done.

Find an independent mechanic. With a 100k+ Pilot, there's going to be more maintenance. You need someone you trust. When they do the timing belt, get new spark plugs installed and have your intake manifold cover checked / cleaned if necessary. They'll advise checking valve clearance. That's less important if you're bumping against your budget with the timing belt.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If your brother can install a new alternator, he can do a timing belt. The bigger issue is whether he'll have all the tools he needs for the bigger job. At least if he does the alternator, you can drive to get the belt done.

Find an independent mechanic. With a 100k+ Pilot, there's going to be more maintenance.
My brother probably could do the belt but he doesn't have the tools nor the time. He does over the road driving and normally just passes by for a day or two so he'd only be able to do quick jobs.

I checked my Nextdoor app but couldn't find any recommendations for independent mechanics. They do have a few local shops that came highly recommended, especially for working on older cars of all makes so I'll call around in the morning and see if I can find one that will work for me. I'll probably need to go on get the alternator done if I get a reasonable quote if my brother doesn't get a load passing by my way tomorrow. He's kids birthday is this weekend so he'll probably end up taking a load going home and might take him a week or so, if at all, to come out my way. I'm thinking I'd probably not save much if I end up spending money for a rental car.

Thanks!
 

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My brother probably could do the belt but he doesn't have the tools nor the time. He does over the road driving and normally just passes by for a day or two so he'd only be able to do quick jobs.

I checked my Nextdoor app but couldn't find any recommendations for independent mechanics. They do have a few local shops that came highly recommended, especially for working on older cars of all makes so I'll call around in the morning and see if I can find one that will work for me. I'll probably need to go on get the alternator done if I get a reasonable quote if my brother doesn't get a load passing by my way tomorrow. He's kids birthday is this weekend so he'll probably end up taking a load going home and might take him a week or so, if at all, to come out my way. I'm thinking I'd probably not save much if I end up spending money for a rental car.

Thanks!
You can also check on the cartalk.com website. Car Talk was a popular public radio show a few years back, and the website still keeps up a crowd-source mechanics rating service, called Mechanics Files. You can log in your location and get recent feedback on local mechanics.
 

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My advice is if you can't do it yourself call a local independent and ask them how much. The Pilot and its alternator are well-known, commodity items and they should be able to tell you the price to the penny, assuming no surprises.

Get the vehicle up and running so you're not under the gun making decisions about the timing belt.

Also there is no reason to go to the dealer for anything.
 

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I’d call the local shop and ask how to replace the alternator and try to stick with an oem part. I’ve seen aftermarket fail brand new.
 

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IMO,
Don't put in a Duralast from AutoZone. I've had to return more than one.
I'd want a Denso or Remy rebuilt.
If I were advising a family or friend with no trusted mechanic available, I'd tell them to pay the price at the dealership. Live and learn. Just know you can save a boat load of cash if you watch a YouTube video and DIY (no disrespect, if physically incapable). After the job you'll have some nice tools to do the next thing that comes up.
 

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A quick browse of Amazon shows a Denso-rebuilt alternator for about $230. Might be less from your favorite source.

Replace the serpentine belt with it, maybe the tensioner for same, and be good to go. Our Pilot car is not in the garage right now for a look, so I claim ignorance about how difficult it might be to change. Looks like a cable, the belt, and some bolts, based on the picture of the alternator on Amazon.

In my limited experience, alternators tend to fail after some abuse, and seldom just on "wear". At 100k, an alternator failure would cause me to look hard at the related electricals and connections, and particularly at the battery. A tired/weak battery takes a lot more energy to charge. Folks here have mentioned issues with the battery ground cable and the connection at the body right by the battery. Here at the dr bob world headquarters for PM, the battery gets an annual check for specific gravity, plus the terminals get cleaned and resealed (with Vaseline...). The ground cable will get a good lookover too, based on those others' experiences.
 
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While I advocate repairing cars and have been doing it for forty years, that Honda alternator is in a tough position for a beginner with zero experience.
YouTube is your friend. If you have the desire, a novice can do it. Having the tools would be key.
 

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I had timing belt done on my 2013 not long ago. They had package deal: all belts for 1k so I took that. Said my front engine mount was cracked and as they were there already, they replaced it at part cost.
You can check with dealer what they can offer - generally if they are doing belts, alternator replacement is trivial.

I would avoid that 10 miles away place. I bet they just want to fast talk you into buying a new car - while low-balling you on your "broken" trade-in.
 

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1) If it cranks and starts quickly, it will easily make it 10 miles of freeway driving, if you leave headlights, radio, heat/AC off. The battery has plenty of reserve. B) I replaced our '12 (noisy but working somewhat) alternator a year ago with Denso from RockAuto. For a reasonably skilled DIY, a bit tedious but no drama. Having or making a serpentine tensioner tool will lower frustration. Your alt is dead (apparently). Agree with others that in your situation a Denso refurb from NAPA best, from Amazon second best.
 
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