2002 Subaru Outback

I was talking to a friend who is a mechanic and mentioned to him that I wanted to change my belts and hoses. I have 120,000 miles on the car (purchased at 50,000)and have not change belts or hoses. My friend mentioned changing the timing belt also and along with that he said it would be a good idea to change the water pump. What are your recommendations as far as changing the timing belt / water pump and is there anything else I might want to replace while this is all apart?



If you have never changed the timing belt, then your engine is living on borrowed time, since the Subaru Maintenance Schedule (most likely sitting in your glove compartment) specifies replacement of the timing belt at 105,000 miles. Since this is an “interference” engine, when the timing belt snaps, pistons and valves will collide and the repair cost will be VERY high. In case you think that the belt will give you some kind of audible warning prior to snapping, I can assure you that there will be no warning prior to it snapping.

Yes, you should replace the water pump at the same time, for reasons that your mechanic can explain.

As to what else should be done, all I can recommend is that you open up that maintenance schedule book and see what other procedures you have ignored, in addition to the timing belt. Unless your mechanic has been unusually conscientious, it is likely that you have missed a whole lot of vital maintenance procedures over the years. Actually, your mechanic is not that conscientious if he allowed you to get to 120k without replacing the timing belt.

Take that book out of your glove compartment and begin making a list of all of the required services for 60k, 90k, 105k etc that you skipped, and have them done at the same time as the timing belt, water pump, serpentine belt, and hoses are replaced. Be prepared for a bill topping $600.

Thanks for the reply. I will take a look at the manual and you were right, it is in the glove compartment.


Some manufacturers put the maintenance information inside the Owner’s Manual. Subaru uses a separate book, so look for a booklet with a title along the lines of Warranty Information/Maintenance Schedule.

Of course, if you have never read the Owner’s Manual, I would suggest doing that also, but the first priority is to replace that timing belt before it snaps and causes major damage to your engine.

Beyond changing the water pump/timing belt have the idler pulley changed out too. Its around a $30-$40 part.