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99 Ford Escort zx2 Timiming Belt?

Hi, I took the car in because the engine light came on an a oil change. The guy at the shop told me it it time to change the timing belt. I looked at my records and I had it replaced in August 2010 at 100, 524 miles. I had to replace the water pump, and you guys recommended replacing the timing belt at the same time. I also had the spark plugs, fuel and air filters replaced at that time. Current miles on the car 180,000

I’m guessing that you’re asking about the timing belt change? Unfortunately, the Escort’s case is oddly ambiguous. The “official” owner’s manual word is basically that there no recommended change interval. It might say to “inspect” the belt at X # of miles - for whatever good that does. You should look in your own manual for what it specifically says. My manual on a '97 LX (different engine but Ford did basically the same thing) says something like: “inspect at 120K” and that’s about it. Yours will say something similarly ambiguous.

The second thing that is ambiguous is that the engine is actually a non-interference engine. But a lot of technical documentation (e.g. even the Gates guide) lists it as an interference engine. What that means is normally, if the belt breaks the car will immediately stop running, but no damage will be done. You just get a new belt on and go. So the stakes aren’t as high as they could be. But you might think about the kind of driving you and others do in the car. How often would sudden loss of all power to the car be really dangerous?

Anyway - my own advice is to change it every 100K. Doing some quick simple math on your mileage/time, I’d say that means changing it around this time next year.

Thanks for the help:)