Replace Timing Belt after 10 yrs?

About 18 mos ago I bought a used 1996 Lexus ES300 with about 50k miles on it. In looking through the service paperwork from the original owner, it doesn’t look like the timing belt (or chain?) has ever been changed. At this point, the car has about 65k miles, but is pushing 13-14 yrs old. Should I be concerned about the timing belt or have it changed just based on the age of the car?


According to the Gates Timing belt guide, you need to change it every 60K miles, so it is time to do it based on miles alone. I would schedule an appointment ASAP and get it done. To me, the excessive age makes the situation even riskier.

Yes, you should be concerned. Yes again, have it changed ASAP. Don’t go to a dealer without getting a quote from a trusted independant mechanic too. Most shops will recommend replacing the water pump, serpentine belt, and other drive belts too. With the age of the car they need to check all your radiator and heater hoses and replace any that are soft and showing signs of ageing.

Given the age of the car there are lots of “rubber parts” that can be nearing the end of the road, this includes rubber brake lines, ignition wires, motor and transmission mounts, the rubber hoses in the fuel system and emissions systems. They don’t need to all be replaced at once, just start checking and planning to replace those in need based on your mechanics recommendation.

Thanks for the reply! I figured it probably needed to be done, but it’s good to hear from someone who is not about to charge my credit card.

Thanks for the reply and the tip on the other items as well. I do have a really trustworthy independent mechanic, so I will definitely have him check these things out.


Agree with other posters. Japanese quality timing belts have a 100% or so safety margin, so from a mileage point of view you’re still OK. But from a time perspective, the normal time is 6-7 years for most makes. In that respect you are driving on borrowed time!!! Rubber deteriorates with age as well as mileage.

I would get this fine car cared for ASAP!

According to the Gates Timing belt guide, you need to change it every 60K miles

The 60k guide from Gates is very low. That’s because they want to sell more belts. Gates had the same interval on my Pathfinder which the manufacturer said was 108k.

For that year it’s more likely 100k miles/10 years.