What should I have done first?

I just had my 1998 Civic LX at the local Honda dealer to get it's "once in a lifetime" dealer check-up. They performed the 115,00 service on
it I think (the car has about that many miles on it). Upon picking the car up, I am informed that the timing belt needs to be replaced (to the tune of $450), the "Outer CV Boots" need replaced ($195 per side), and the front brakes need replaced ($135). At this moment I cannot afford to have all this work done. Between the timing belt and CV boots, what should I have done first? The other job will have to wait a month or so.
Thanks for any input....
Mike
P.S. I called a local mechanic to get an estimate on the timing belt and they said they charge $500-600 for that service. I thought a non-dealer mechanic would be cheaper. Go figure....
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You're between a rock and a hard spot: The timing belt is a little overdue, by time and possibly also mileage. If it breaks, and they do, the damage to your engine will be very expensive to repair, over a thousand dollars, probably. On the other hand, not replacing the outer boots can result in more damage beyond the boots (to the axles). That's also very expensive.
If you really can't afford both, then do the timing belt now at the dealer. The dealer's price is indeed very competitive with independent shop prices. (They should put in a new water pump, too. I assume, but you should double check, that the quoted price includes this. Also, ask if they think a new tensioner is needed, or whether the price quoted includes it. That's maybe another $50.
That they say both sides of CV boots need replacement make me suspicious. They might be right, but I have doubts. So, for one thing, shop around on the CV boots, by phone. I bet you can do better. Check back here for input on what to be careful of if independent shops do the boots. Look for independent import shops, preferably specialized in Hondas. Also, consider having the shop first do an inspection of the boots and showing you exactly what's wrong with them. The damage should be visible to the naked eye. E.g. a tear, with maybe some oily, probably grimy, fluid coming out.
What exactly is wrong with the brakes? Find out exactly what they want to do. If it's only new brake pads they want to install, you can get this done more cheaply elsewhere. Just make sure whoever does it puts in genuine Honda pads. They are not expensive and are preferred. Don't let an independent shop talk you into any other pads. Buy them yourself online, if you want. Then take them to a shop (I would trust even Pep Boys to install brake pads I provided) and find out how much they'll charge to install these. If the dealer wants to replace the brake rotors, have them tell you why (low thickness (unlikely)? warped? runout?) go elsewhere, if only to get a second opinion.

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Yep. You're due.
Failure to ge this replaced will result in a greatly enhanced probability of breakage, and then possible valve damage to the tune of more than a thousand dollars. Plus the new belt and water pump. It's not worth the risk.
And don't skip replacing the pump because you don't have $60 to spend. That's a very bad idea.

Yeah? Are they cracked? It's possible. Tell them to show you physically. here's what happens when they split: http://www.tegger.com/hondafaq/rustybrakes/brakes4.html (scroll down half-way).

What are they replacing? $135 doesn't cover much.

Timing belt absolutely definitely first. Which of the other two you get done depends on exactly how bad each is. You need a trusted mechanic to give you an honest rundown of the condition.
If it were me, I'd do the CV joints first. Do that before the boots split and you save your hyper-expensive and superb-quality OEM CV joints. Leave them to split and you're then going to be relying on rebuilt aftermarket shafts of questionable quailty and short lifespan.

Is the dealer quoting you for OEM parts? Some are now using aftermarket to keep the prices down.
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TeGGeR

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