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2005 Hyundai Elantra GT Timing Belt Replacement

A friend’s mechanic is recommending he replace his timing belt, but his car only has 56,000 miles. Does this seem a bit premature and should he ask the mechanic to show him the wear and what should he be looking for? Thanks.

What does your OWNER’S MANUAL say? It would have a time or mileage, whichever comes first.

You are one step ahead of me. That number just seemed really early to me, but we just checked the manual and it says if you don’t change it by 60,000, you void the 100,000 mile warranty, so I guess we have our answer.

You didn’t say if you have the 4-cyl engine (I believe the Elantra does).
I have that 4-cyl engine in my Hyundai. After reading through the Hyundai forums, I saw several entries from mechanics at Hyundai dealerships saying the timing belt on the 4-cyl tends to break often - even before the recommended 60K replacement interval.

You cannot determine the wear of a timing belt just by looking at it.

The timing belts don’t appear to fail prematurely. But when they fail valve damage is nearly a certainty and piston damage is a possibility. The Elantra 4 cylinder requires a carefull and determined effort by an experienced mechanic to replace the timing belt. Many Elantras have been drug in with fresh timing belts that have jumped and caused $erious damage just weeks after replacement by “reputable” shops.

I agree. The inventor of the “timing belt” should be dragged out of bed each morning and horse whipped along with the inventors of several other components in the automotive world.

The car is an '05 model. This means both the belt and the car were likely manufactured in '04. That makes the belt at or going on 6 years old and that’s really stretching the limit. Timing belts are time critical too; it’s not just mileage, and it’s near impossible to examine a timing belt and determine whether it’s good or not.
The only way of spotting a bad one would be if the belt was total rubbish, chunks missing, cracked all to pieces, etc.

You know, a lot of engine damage could be averted on interference engines if they would simply machine valve pockets into the tops of the pistons.

They should tell you this when you buy one of these things…

My lawn mower engine is better built and more reliable than anything with a rubber belt…

About 8 or 9 years ago the timing belt on my oldest son’s car broke on him one afternoon and that belt only had about 20k miles and a couple of years age on it.
At least in this case it was a free-wheeling Ford 2.3 and no damage was done. It was also a 30 minute fix in the parking lot of the rural gas station where he coasted to a stop.

Make them non-interference and easy to change like that one and I don’t have a problem with belts. Unfortunately, most aren’t like this.
In theory the interference design is supposed to improve engine performance but I bet if you took 2 identical cars with identical engines and machined valve pockets into the piston tops on one of them, I’d bet cash money that no one on Earth could tell which was which after driving them.

It is outrageous that something as simple as dimples in the piston crown would totally eliminate all the interference problems. You would think the manufacturer feels his product is more “exclusive” for this fault.