Richard Craver

Thoughts, Musings And The Occasional Rant

You Get What You Pay For

Written By: richardwcraver - Jan• 26•15

Having worked on Acura and Honda automobiles since 1988 I frequently have folks asking me questions about Honda products. Usually it comes from a desire to repair something them self, less expensively or dare I say, cheaply. I try to help, but always end with the same refrain, use Genuine Honda parts, especially on critical items.

A few weeks ago I had someone approach me about a leaking water pump on their car. A little back story, a couple of years ago the car had been towed into the shop where I was working at the time from a ‘shade-tree’ shop with the timing belt mis-timed. It had a plethora of what we call B-brand parts freshly installed. B-brand doesn’t mean Best brand, the B refers to a person that does not know their family lineage, if you follow what I mean. Well, I ended up removing a cylinder head and replacing a few intake valves that were bent when the engine was started with the timing belt mis-timed and re-timing the cams. Major engine damage caused by poor workmanship. The leaking water pump was one of the B-brand parts the other shop had installed. My employer, who was allowing the car owner to make installment payments, gave the usual warnings about poor quality aftermarket parts and recommended installing Genuine Honda Parts, but the customer was ‘buried in it’ and the B-brand parts were used.

That was less than two years ago. The car owner is a serial DIY type and noticed during an oil change that the water pump was leaking. He had already been to Autozone and bought his timing belt and water pump and wanted me to install them. More B-brand JUNK!

I don’t do automotive side-work. I had a friend in my early years turning wrenches persuade me against that. He was an older, matured guy that warned against letting your family time become work time, creating work place problems with a boss who thinks you are stealing work away from the business, and honestly he told me that people that show up at your house for repairs are cheap and will hound you for warranty work for the rest of your life. He was and is a wise man.

The shop I now work for does not finance repairs, nor will they allow customers and those portraying to be provide their own parts. The shop has maintained this policy since it’s inception in 1978. My former employer however took the car in on an installment basis. One of my buddies there sent me some pictures of the failed water pump .


This is what we call an Antifreeze Booger. The water pump has a weep hole that allows small amounts of coolant that might make it past a failing pump seal to drain away rather than be forced into the pump shaft bearing. While ‘weeping’ is occuring during the early failure of the pump seals, the water in the coolant evaporates away and these green chalky boogers form. From here one of two things will happen; the pump seal will fail and coolant begins draining out, hopefully being noticed as leakage in the driveway or losing so much coolant that overheating and engine damage occurs; or the booger will eventually stop up the weep hole and coolant will be forced into the bearing. Coolant is a very poor lubricant and eventually the water pump bearing will fail. An observant driver will hear the noise and take the car to a shop, or the bearing will seize, rip the teeth off the timing belt and cause engine damage.

The less expensive parts cost him much more as the job has now been done twice. The recommended timing belt interval is 6 years or 105,000 miles; which the original equipment parts always handle without any trouble. The owner of this car is re-visiting the same maintenance in one-third that period; and still hasn’t learned anything. It remains to see how the newest Autozone parts hold up.


So what is the take away? Well here it is in cliques.

‘You always get what you pay for.’

‘Some people know the price of everything, and the value of nothing.’

‘The sweetness of low prices are quickly overcome by the bitterness of poor quality.’

And my favorite,

‘If you want nice clean oats, that will demand a certain price; if you can be happy with oats that have already been through the horse, those are cheaper.’


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