Mitsubishi Dealer for timing belt?

About to purchase a 2006 Eclipse with only 18K miles. Stats say timing belt should be changed in 60K OR 48 mos. I don’t want to buy without new belt but pressure to focus on mileage by the seller. My question is… is the timing belt on an Interference Engine something that should be done by Mitsubishi rather than a shop that never routinely works on Mitsubishi?? Owner thinks engine need not be “opened up” at under 20 K, that the belt is “kevlar”…

The experts will chime in shortly, but as a fellow vehicle owner i’ll offer my .02.

I would assume you can drive the belt until 60 thousand miles. I don’t personally know anybody who goes by the “48 months rule.”

I’d bet that any good independent shop can do the job. Mitsubishis aren’t that exotic. Heck, my family’s old plymouth voyager had a 3 liter mitsubishi engine (original to the car). It’s not like you’re driving some exotic car, like a Lamborghini or a Porsche.

Take it to a good independent shop at 60K.

What ‘stats’ are you referring? Check the owner’s manual. These belts usually are good for 7 years or 60,000 miles, or 100,000 miles in California and other select states. Only 4 years in, you should be OK. The engine is not ‘opened up’ when changing the timing belt. Just the front accessories removed from the front of the engine to gain access to the timing belt. The make-up of the belt may include kevlar bands, I don’t know.

But, I doubt you need a timing belt just yet.

Oh, and your question about using the dealer? Find a good independent mechanic. Timing belts are done all the time by us without issues.

You are probably off about the time interval. 48 mos would be unusual so I am also wondering about the “stats.”

However, on the general principle - yes follow the time. You do the math - spend several hundred $$ on recommended maintenance, or ignore the recommendation and find yourself looking at several thousand $$.

Don’t listen to a seller.

…and - this car was probably built in mid-late '05. So you’re looking at a car that is about 5-1/2 years old. In 5.5 years the car only went 18K miles. That’s only a little over 3,000/yr. This normally means a lot of short trip and around town driving. Personally, I’d rather buy a vehicle that was driven something closer to the average of about 12K miles per year. The short trip/city driving stuff is terrible for the car.

The seller probably should have been following the “severe” maintenance schedule, but based on this nonsense about ignoring the time interval on the timing belt I’d wager that s/he has not done that.

Thank you all so much for your replies. I should have noted, my reference to the “stats” was my peek at the owners’ manual of 60K miles or 48 mos. I know for a fact they did not change it and yes, “severe” maintenance was my concern as I’d rather be couple hundred safe than scrambling for thousands and sorry. (First car purchase in 12 yrs as I took the previous over 270K.) The shop does service high end lux v’s and old sports cars - so based on your notes I’m going with- they can do it just fine, it’s just an annoying bump to them in an otherwise quick sale. Is there anything else I should be on the lookout for with regard to someone putting so few hwy miles on the car (besides brakes which should fall under safety requirements for state sale)?

I would want to know who the owner was. With that low mileage it might had been a weekend car for someone having a midlife crisis. Not necessarily bad if they let the engine warm up. These cars are usually not driven gently.

As far as dealer vs independent, anybody should be able to do it. In my case one shop had a manual that showed the balance shaft at 180 degrees of where it should had been and that caused a lot of headache for me. So had the dealer redo the job and got a refund from the shop. I don’t think this isolated experience is happening to all other mitsu owners.

Check the condition of hoses and look out for any fluid leaks. The hoses and seals can dry rot if this car has been sitting a long time.

Also, remove the oil filler cap and look inside the valve cover. If the oil was changed on a ‘per miles’ basis instead of the time basis, and driven for many short trips, rust due to moisture build-up on the valvetrain and oil sludge, especially on the underside of the cap, should be a worry.

I Don’t Know What A Mitsubishi Eclipse Is (No Dealers Within 200 Miles), But Do Yourself A Favor And Pass On This One And Purchase A Car That Is Not A Maintenance Headache !

You haven’t even bought it yet and you’re caught up in the concern and then the expense of the dxxx timing belt. Reread your question and look what you’re putting yourself through.

My advice:
I’ve had cars with timing belts and I’ve since moved beyond that. Many modern cars have a timing chain (instead of a timing belt) that don’t have a reqired replacement interval (They ordinarily last several hundred thousand miles). Do yourself a favor. Buy one.

Any decent independent mechanic will have no problem replacing the belt. Have them replace the drive belts and hoses along with the waterpump. Timing belt engines are only a problem for people who forget about changing them. I prefer a timing belt over a chain for interference engines…Timing chains stretch and jump teeth…thus causing MAJOR engine damage…Expect to pay 3-4 times the cost of a timing belt when you have to replace that timing chain at 250k miles.

First, timing belts are subject to breakdown via Ozone and environmental exposure. They also are subject to mechanical wear (distance) You need to check the owner’s manual and get the belt replaced based on which ever comes first. Failure to do so can cost you the price of a new engine on your car.

  Dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics for almost anything you might need done on your car.  They will almost always charge more per hour and often more for parts and supplies.  They also tend to look at repairs a little different than the independent. 

A dealer may well recommend work that strictly may not be needed, but could be connected to the problem or maybe replace a part when a little repair would fix it ALMOST as good a new.  

There is no need to bring your car to the dealer for any service other than service that is going to be paid for by a recall or original warrantee.  During the warranty period be sure to have all required (as listed in the owner's manual) maintenance done and to document all maintenance work.

I suggest that most people would be better off finding a good independent (Not working for a chain) mechanic. 

Note: Never ever use a quick oil change place. They are fast cheap and very very bad.

As this is an interference engine, would you say a jaguar mechanic who specializes in Jag repairs (noninterference engines if im not mistaken) can efficiently and successuflly replace timing belt as well as any generic repair shop could

Any mechanic that has the correct instructions and willing to follow them would be able to do this. In my case the reference they used was off on one item, this is really rare. There are so many car brands and models and most mechanics work on all of them just fine.

The problem with a Jaguar…is that it’s rare…The rarer the car the less likely a independent mechanic has worked on them. However that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be able to do it. They might have to refer to a manual…but I’m sure a decent mechanic can do it as well as the dealer.

Don’t Assume That Car Dealers Are Always More Expensive Than Independents For Parts And Service. I Have Found Local Dealers To Be Less Expensive For Certain Parts And Certain Services Than Independents.

The dealers for my cars’ makes / models, in my neck of the woods, are very competetive, competent, convenient, and timely.

[list]Dealers are often best equipped with “special tools” that make certain repairs / maintenance possible, easier, or better with less “make do” or corner cutting. [/list]

[list]Dealers often have technicians with the latest training on certain models, engines, and issues, that independents don’t have. [/list]

[list]Although I keep up on TSBs (Technical Service Bulletins) that apply to our cars, many dealers and independents don’t. My dealers do and they have better parts information and inventory that is up to date on revisions, etcetera. [/list]

[list]The dealer techs often have more valuable experience with repairs / maintenance on the cars in their lines.[/list]

I do most repairs and maintenance myself, including timing belts (before I quit buying cars with timing belts) and I use Dealer Service and independent shops for certain things.

However, don’t assume that an independent can always perform the same repairs / maintenance as a dealer, do it as well, or do it at a lower cost. That would be a big mistake. I always check TSBs, shop by phone when making these decisions and even “interview” the shop in regards to procedures, TSBs, Special Tools required, etcetera. This has sometimes caused me to go with the dealer over independent even for a few bucks more. Other times, a dealer was cheaper, too.


P.S. A Jag repair facility working with a Mitsubishi reminds me of a PBS TV program I watched where Jacques Pepin worked on some food with Martin Yan (Yan Can Cook). The collision of the two cooking cultures and language dialects was hilarious.

If you want the car, buy the car.
You can get the timing belt done at any mechanic’s shop, but I would rather spend the extra money, and get it done at a shop that sees a lot of cars that has timing belts in their engines.

A Jaguar shop most likely doesn’t see any timing belt jobs, as their engines don’t have timing belts, so unless you TALK TO THE MECHANIC who would be working on the car, and ask him if he’s ever done a Eclipse timing belt before, I would pass on the selling dealer doing the work.

Now, just because the mechanic is currently working in a Jaguar shop, doesn’t mean that he was born and raised a Jaguar mechanic. He might have worked in a Mitsubishi shop for 15 years, before finding a better job at the Jaguar shop.


You might want to ask your dealer why the Mitsu belt must be changed at 4 years when 7 years is common for other brands and if this policy has been changed for their newer cars. If so, ask if the belt material has changed and if you can get the latest material.

The problem that I see here is that timing belts, being made partially of rubber, will harden with heat over time. You may not know how the car was driven, at high speeds when the exposure time of the belt to heat is less than it would be at low speeds for a given mileage. If the car was driven at low speeds, the exposure time of the belt to heat may have been as long as it would be if the car was driven for 60,000 miles at high speed.

My VW belts show no wear at 60,000 miles but they must be changed.

Change the belt and then you are good to go for another 4 years or 60,000 miles. If you don’t do it, the belt will be a constant worry for you. The Gates website shows the 4 cyl as a non-interference engine in which case your problem will be engine stoppage if the belt fails. The V6 is an interference engine so that engine would not only stop but would crash internally if the belt failed.

If your belt runs the water pump, change that too so a failed water pump does not take out the belt. A new idler pulley must be used too for the same reason.

I favor following the manual also.