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Should I change the timing belt?

I purchased a 2005 Opel Corsa C 1.8l with around 70k miles. The car is in a fantastic shape, I’ve had it for around 6 months, having driven around 6k miles. The first maintenance I did was changing all oils and filters, and changing the accesory belt (the one that powers the alternator, that one is not dented). I was told back then at the workshop that the timing belt (not sure if that is the correct name for the belt with dents that syncs valves, etc.) was in a good shape. I don’t know if the previous owner/s ever changed it. I understand that the damage done when that belt breaks could get pretty serious, with bent valves, mainly. The question is, should I change the belt now? How long do those last?

Thanks in advance!

Timing belts are replaced on a MILEAGE and/or ELAPSED TIME basis. In other words, you have a vehicle at least 10 years old and nearly all manufacturers call for replacement at or before that time. A German car likely has a Continental belt, as most have. They’re good but made of rubber and have a finite life.

You do not replace a timing belt based on condition; if you notice any deterioration you have already been walking on thin ice.

Do not believe anything you are told; only a written record of replacement with date and mileage is to be trusted.

Soooo, I would replace it NOW!

That’s part of the cost of buying a used car. If you don’t know the maintenance and repair history, there is a certain extra cost in bringing it up to a known condition. So the short answer is yes, replace it.

Yes. Next topic.


Monday is a great time to get 3 quotes. Make sure you get itemized quotes that include replacing the coolant and water pump if the timing belt has to be removed to get at the pump. Ask them to check the pulleys to make sure they move well and replace them if not.

In addition to what @jtsanders already mentioned, make sure you also replace these . . .

camshaft seal(s)
front crankshaft seal
timing belt tensioner
timing belt idler pulley(s)
coolant pressure cap

In short, you want to make sure absolutely everything under the timing case cover is new, and good to go until the next timing belt job

Take a good look at the accessory drive belt(s) . . . if there’s any doubt, this is the time to do it, since they’ll have to be removed anyways

I agree with the others, now is a very good time to replace your car’s timing belt. If it has never been replaced before, you are over-due. Usually around 7 years is the max recommended lifespan for a rubber timing belt.

Note: The term “dent” when referring to the timing belt design might be confusing to shop techs. Folks here seem to refer to a belt with that design as “ribbed” or “cogged” or “cog-driven”.

Make mine another vote for changing the timing belt. Yup, that’s the one with the “dents in it” that keeps the camshaft & valves in time with the crankshaft. In addition to the possibility of catastrophically failing (breaking), the teeth between those dents can begin to break off when the rubber gets old and the belt can jump timing. It’s overdue already.

The manufacturer recommend your belt be changed at 10 years or 100,000 miles. You are over on the mileage.

Just out of curiosity, what contry are you in where you measure in miles, or did you translate into miles for your post?

@oldtimer Great Britain still uses miles and Opel Corsas are sold there. GM has moved its British manufacturing to Germany, and Opel and Vauxhall cars are identical except for the name and the speedometer.

Yes, and do it ASAP. Rocketman

Thank you everybody for your unanimous answer, I will make sure to check what @jtsanders and @db4690 mention. Any rough estimated prices for changing all that? My budget isn’t very high at the moment.

@“oldtimer 11” I currently live in Ecuador, I did translate the kilometers into miles since most of this community is from the US. By the way, bought the car with 98000 km, it has 111000 now.

@Docnick I don’t know the story behind this cars in South America exactly, long story short, Chevrolet (GM) started manufacturing the car for Latin America. My car is actually a “Chevrolet Corsa Evolution” with its parts made in Brazil, assembled in Ecuador. It is a fantastic car.

@Ccv The original Corsa was a Chevrolet Corvair from the 60s. The European ones are Opels; the Latino ones are GM cars made in Brazil to different standards. I saw lots of those when last in Rio.

My response was that a Corsa using miles would be a British one made in Germany, at the Russelheim plant.

GM plays fast an loose with their registered brand names.