Avalon timing belt replacement

When does a 1998 Avalon need a timing belt replacement? The owner’s manual says it needs one at 100,000 miles, but only if it gets heavy use, such as being used as a taxi, or towing, which mine doesn’t. Several dealers recommend changing it anyway. Is it really necessary?

I always prefer replacing the timing at MY convenience, rather than waiting until it breaks. When the belt breaks, the car coasts to a stop, and you lose power steering, brakes, etc., VERY quickly.

This can happen while you’re in the passing lane on the freeway, or on a country road, at night, in a rain storm. Either way, you’re stranded.

Wouldn’t it be easier to make an appointment, have the belt replace, and not have to worry about it for another 100K miles?

Agree! Pro-active maintenance is always the preferred way to go. Belts don’t last forever, and if you live in a very cold part of the country, some mornign the belt may just snap. This has happened to me several times with fan belts.

Replace the belt, and and you can stop worrying. No one has ever predicted the actual life of a timing belt because there are so many variables.

I would guess your engine is not an interference engine that would be seriously damaged if the belt broke. However for the price, I would have it done now and not wait unit you suddenly loose all power in the middle of a freeway 60 miles from home.

Gates.com (the timing belt maker) does not list your Avalon 3.0L engine as being an “interference fit application” timing belt. This means that the valves should not “interfere” with the pistons should the timing belt break, or slip. A new car dealer has all of that glorious real estate to pay for. Do you wish to help him? An independent repair shop doesn’t have that; so, you aren’t charged for it when you get repairs done there. AND, the work is as good, or better, than at the dealers.

Belts have a mileage AND a time interval for changing. yours is 10 years old now, most companies recommend 5~8 years max.

I think your manual also says 6 years max. Age makes it brittle. no fun if it breaks. When you do replace it, use a Toyota belt. Costs more but worth it. Make sure tensioners and water pump are good or you’ll be doing it over again. Find someone experienced and reliable, not necessarily the dealer.