Subaru timing belt

subaru

#1

I have an 01 outback that I bought at 113k miles, about ten thousand after the recommended timing belt change. I’m now at 150k and haven’t changed the timing belt. Is there any reliable way to find out if the previous owner had this maintenance done? I really don’t want to drop a grand on work that doesn’t need to be done for another fifty thousand miles.


#2

Any way to know if the dealer did the work? They should be able to tell you. A Carfax might also list it.


#3

Get a couple of estimates for timing belt replacement and a couple for engine repair if it breaks and I think you will have an easy decision.

As a side note when we traded in a 2004 Kia we left the receipt for the timing belt service with the manual with our names and addresses removed but at least who ever bought it could see when and where it was done.


#4

If you can locate the previous owner, ask him if it was done and what the mileage was. If he gets defensive, just tell him that you are paying for it and he has nothing to be afraid of. Be calm and friendly and you might get the info you want.


#5

Most quality timing belt kits come with a sticker where you fill in the date/mileage of the timing belt replacement where it’s placed somewhere under the hood.

And if the kit doesn’t include this service sticker, I take a Sharpie and indicate the date/mileage when the timing belt/water pump where replaced somewhere under the hood.

If the vehicle didn’t come with service/repair records, or you’re unable to contact the previous owner, then you have to presume the timing belt service was never performed.

Tester


#6

I would change it rather than play Russian Roulette! As stated, if you can get written proof that it had been done, OK. Other wise change it.

We give this advice to many who try to beat the system; the belts have some safety margin, but many have failed around the 110,000 mile mark.

Based on age alone the belt should have been changed in 2008!!! So you are due for another NOW if it was changed at 7 years.


#7

What Docnick stated above needs to be repeated, in the hope that the OP will take it seriously:

Based on age alone the belt should have been changed in 2008!!! So you are due for another NOW if it was changed at 7 years.

For reasons that I have never been able to figure out, many people focus only on odometer mileage, and ignore the equally important elapsed time factor when it comes to maintenance, and based on elapsed time, this car is indeed due for its second timing belt replacement.

For the OP’s reference, the interval for this car is 105,000 miles or 105 months, whichever comes first.


#8

@VDCDriver Yes, these belts are made of RUBBER! An unused new 10 year old tire cannot be legally sold!


#9

Good ideas above, especially about asking the seller or looking for stickers in the engine compartment, glove compartment door pillars, etc. You might get lucky. I can’t speak to your Subie arrangement, but on my Corolla there’s an inspection hole provided in the timing cover so you can at least look at the outside of it without much trouble. If there was any signs of cracking in the rubber at all on the outside, you’d definitely want to stop driving immediately. It’s also possible on the Corolla to peek at the condition of the inside of the belt without too much work. That’s a better assessment if you were trying to go another 50 K miles on this one. Me, unless I knew for sure it was changed just before you purchased the car used, and you’ve had it for 5 years or less, I’d pop for a new timing belt including the recommended accessories and be done with it. If it costs $1000, and it gets you another 100 K miles, that’s only 1 cent a mile, right? Cheap insurance.


#10

Unless verified with copies of the repair order it should ALWAYS be assumed the timing belt job has not been done.

Other than the belt itself, that job also consists of idlers, tensioners, water pump, and engine seals.


#11

When prospective buyers ask me about a car, I always tell them if it has a timing belt and roughly what it costs to replace it. That often sends them looking at models without timing belts.

OP seems to not want to spend the money; I am trying to imagine what his reaction will be when the neglected AWD system needs a major repair!


#12

“Unless verified with copies of the repair order it should ALWAYS be assumed the timing belt job has not been done.”

Words to live by when it comes to timing belts.