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Timing belt broke

What can cause a timing belt to break on a 2004 chevy aveo with only 57000 miles? Should I do anything besides replace it (replace water pump)? complain to GM?

What is the recommended replacement interval for the timing belt on that engine, in terms of both odometer mileage and elapsed time? If the belt did indeed fail before the specified interval, the OP can request “good will assistance” from GM for the repair costs.

However, given the small profit margin (if any) on those…I’ll be kind…mediocre little Aveos, it is very possible that GM can’t muster any assistance, especially given their dire financial straits.

Complain, is there any powertrain warranty of 5yrs/60k(typical most makes)?

Age and/or mileage are what usually cause timing belts to break.

The engine in your Aveo is what’s known as an “interference” engine. This means that if the timing belt breaks the pistons and valves inside the engine collide at high speed, and significant internal damage is possible.

It’s almost guaranteed that you need more than just a new timing belt. I don’t know the replacement interval for the belt on this car, but it should be specified in the maintenance schedule that came with the owner’s manual.

Replacement intervals are always given with a mileage and a time limit, such as XX,000 miles and/or XX months, whichever comes first. The key is “whichever comes first.”

If the belt failed before the replacement interval you should complain loudly and demand some help from Chevrolet.

If either the mileage or time interval for timing belt replacement has elapsed the repair bill will be your responsibility.

Good luck.

What could cause it ?
Backfire. Kickback during hard to start attempts.
A fluid leaking on to it such as coolant or oil.
Improper lubrication of the units it runs. both coolant and engine oil responsible here.
Idler or tensioner pulley failing first. ( could be warrantyable cause )
Constant cycles of heavy accel/deceleration. Towing beyond capacity. Racing.

If you wonder about GM being at fault , they will wonder about any of these as your fault. Be ready to prove all proper maintainences. Especially now that GM is teetering on the brink, they are in fact quite nitpicky with warranty fault.

I agree with ken green, but…racing?
What would someone race with a Chevy Aveo?
Perhaps a turtle?


Anyway, I would like the OP to respond with information on the specified replacement interval for that timing belt.

The Aveo would make a fine LeMons competitor :slight_smile: I have a hunch in the coming years we well see hordes of $500 Aveos mixing it up with cira-1983 Corollas and the occasional former 300k miles Crown Vic out on the track.

I suspect that you have at least 6 years or 60,000 miles whichever comes first for the recommended replacement.

There really is very little anyone can do to cause at Timing belt failure.

If the engine is an interference engine, then you are almost certain going to be replacing some expensive stuff, like an engine.

If it was close to the recommended time (like 60K) then I doubt if they will do it for free, but if it was a 100,000 mile belt, then you may get lucky.

If you have your owner's manual, the recommended change time will be listed.  Also it may tell you if the damage might be covered.

Gates says 60K interval, and it is not an interference engine, but water pump is driven by the timing belt.

To me it is worth an inquiry to the Chevrolet dealer on whether the powertrain warranty applies, and if no satisfaction a letter to Chevrolet corporate, to try and get at least a recognition that the OEM belt did not go as far as the initial replacement interval that is recommended.

GM dealer said belt should have been changed at 50000mi, and that quote “there is no powertrain or anything on that model”

Dealerships and their service departments are rarely a source of accurate information regardng service intervals. Yes, the dealership may push customers for belt replacement at 50k, but what is the interval specified in the Owner’s Manual?

As to “there is no powertrain or anything on that model”, I can tell you that the car does have powertrain, even if it might not be a particularly powerful one. See what I said about dealerships not being a good source of information? Perhaps the “powertrain” reference meant no powertrain warranty on that model, but if that is what they meant, I seriously doubt the accuracy of that statement also.

As several of us have been urging you for several days, you really need to open the glove compartment, take out the Owner’s Manual, and read the particulars on both the interval for timing belt replacement and the various warranties on this car.

I think the poor dolt behind the counter must have gotten the terms “powertrain” and “valvetrain” confused and was trying to say that the valves would not interfere with the travel of the pistons should the timing belt break…but was only giving lip service to terms without a clue what they meant. Poor felly. He was probably selling furniture just last week.

Being an optimist, and a lazy one, I’m going to trust Jayhawkroy’s research. Replacing the belt and water pump (a good preventative move…AND the waterpump could have caused the belt failure) should get you back on the road.

Well, when I looked it up (twice now) on the Gates website it says, in red letters, “Interference engine application.”

I am second owner,no owners manual. But, GM representative stated inspection interval is every 30,000 and replacement interval is every 60,000. I have the warranty info at home somewhere and will find it tonight.

If you can prove–through documentation–that the required inspection was done at 30k, you should have a valid warranty claim. However, on most used cars getting any maintenance documentation is a major problem.

Still, when you consider the cost of the timing belt replacement and any related repair costs, it would be a good idea for you to press ahead with a warranty claim with GM corporate. Clearly the dealership that you are dealing with is useless.

This chart, from, lists the timing belt change interval for most (all?) cars. I don’t know how authoritative it is; but, I’m sure that it’s information is better than the dealer’s: The car maker’s data (service manual, owner’s handbook, etc., are the authorities. lists 60,000 mile intervals for your car. For other cars, it lists up to 105,000 mile intervals.

I guess that means that, yes, the valves probably did get messed up as the tech claims.

The tech told you that, “…the valves probably are bent!”? S/He should KNOW if the valve are bent!
TECH, listen up. You can TELL if the valves are bent (and, therefore, not sealing) by performing a cylinder leakdown test on all the cylinders. In this test, the piston is placed at top dead center, the valves for the test cylinder are set at intake and exhaust valves closed, and air pressure is applied to the cylinder through the spark plug hole. The leakdown test, on all cylinders, takes just a few minuets. A cylinder head pull, overhaul, and re-installation takes much more time and many more (of the customer’s) dollars.

Tech reports he had done said test and found 100% leak 0 compression on all cylinders, which sounds bad. he’ll remove and replace the head and through in the timing belt all for $500, the valve job he’ll out source and will be additional cost.

There are numerous TSB’s and links concerning early Aveo timing belt failure. Where did I find this info? the Car Talk files (use search) we have been asked about Aveo timing belts before. CSA provided a link to a government look at Aveo timing belt failure.

It really does pay to use the search feature. Not using search is like a mechanic not looking for TSB’s and wanting to charge the customer high diagnostic time. One way to get laughed out of the shop (for a mechanic) is to miss a TSB, the ribbing will be relentless, and will include a vist to the Service Managers office.