Jammed tensioner pulley

I recently had my car stall on me on a highway. The mechanic told me the tensioner pulley jammed and damaged the timing belt which led to engine damage (2001 Hyundai Sonata v6). The thing is I got my timing belt and water pump replaced just 10K miles before this incident happened with the same mechanic. He said he didn’t replace the tensioner pulley then. Was he supposed to replace the tensioner pulley along with timing belt and water pump? Thanks for your time.


Lets just say its good practice.

Replacing the tensioner pulley is standard procedure with a VW, for example, to avoid what you said happened. Independent mechanic or dealer mechanic?

I’m glad you wrote in because I have a belief that a Hyundai isn’t as good as some of the other cars with good reliability ratings. I’m almost ready to permanently decide if they are equal to the others or just pretending.

Independent mechanic. I have found him to be honest and straight forward over the last couple of years. But now this happens. I am trying to figure if it is just my bad luck or something not done properly. Thank you for your reply

You may be right. Their reliability ratings seemed to have improved over time but I am not sure if that means anything

I called couple of Hyundai dealerships in the area. Nobody included pulley or water pump replacement in their timing belt replacement quotes. One guy said that they don’t replace water pump along with the timing belt unless requested by the customer. Another guy said they replace tensioner pulley only if it is bad.

You don’t say how many miles are on the car, but a cautious mechanic will at least advise the customer to replace the tensioner and waterpump when the timing belt is replaced, even if they look okay. However, I doubt there is liability here.

it is funny, but i am doing just this repair on my car now. i was not going to replace the tensioner. but after your post i AM going to replace the tensioner. it is an extra 100 bucks, but this will eliminate the potential for failure like you had.

in any case, it is probably the more prudent thing to do (replace tensioner) but it is not absolutely required. unfortunately you got caught by the chance luck.

Here is a picture of the timing belt, idler (center hole), and tensioner (center hole, and off-center hole): Click on this http://www.autozone.com/N,15101155/shopping/partTypeResultSet.htm

The usual instructions, in the repair manuals, is to “inspect the pulleys, and idler(s), and replace IF a defect is noted”.

There isn’t, normally, instructions to replace the water pump at X miles; but, experience has shown that water pumps will often fail somewhere between the first and second timing belt change intervals.
The timing belt driven water pump is exposed during the timing belt change procedure. Thus, this is an ideal time to kill two stones with one bird (preventive maintenance), and change the water pump (and engine coolant, etc.)…saving time, and labor, and money, and convenience, and stuff.

When ever I replaced the timing belt on my pathfinders I replaced the tensioner every OTHER time. On some vehicles it might be a good idea every time.

90K miles. Thank you all for your replies. I am going ahead and getting a used engine for the car.

A used engine will require the same timing belt change. If the shop which installs the used engine tells you that everything is “FINE”, they’re either mistaken, or lying (choose one). If timing belt replacement can’t be proven, with supporting documents, then, it HASN’T been changed. A completely re-manufactured engine may be the cheapest way to go. OR, bye bye car. It’s tough to choose one way or, the other.