Timing Belt Change?

timing-belts
belts

#1

My local Honda dealer told me that my 1998 Honda Accord, 78,000 miles, is due for a timing belt change. However the owners manual recommends a 105,000-mile change, but also recommends a 84-month change. The car runs well. No problems, yet. I put on less than 10,000 miles a year. Is the age of the belt, currently about 108 months, as important of a variable as is the mileage? Or would it be reasonable to wait for the 105,000-mile marker?


#2

Your dealer is not trying for ADP (Additional Dealer Profit) he is trying to keep you from, at best, stuck somewhere with a non-functioning engine, or maybe in a serious accident (when the belt breaks the engine stops RIGHT NOW.) or serious engine damage. Get it done at once.


#3

Wow! Sounds like this is real important. I’ll wait one more day, before I call for an appointment, to see if anyone else has a thought about this. Thank you for your immediate response!


#4

Your Honda will run well until the belt breaks, and then the engine will be toast. I knew somebody with a Prelude whose timing belt broke at 87k while waiting to get into work. Since the dealer had told her to wait till the car had 90k before changing the belt, they stepped up and paid for all the engine repairs which were considerable. The car was only 4 or 5 years old at the time. Age is just as important as miles for a timing belt. I think the dealer is actually doing you a service in this case.

Ed B.


#5

Honda makes interference engine. This means when the timing belt breaks, the valve & piston will hit each other & this means big damages=big bucks to fix. I don’t buy cars with timing belts. Instead, I buy cars with timing chains (peace of mind & money save).


#6

As the others have already stated, this is vital if you want to avoid MAJOR (think in terms of a couple of thousand $$) engine damage.

That being said, I wonder why someone would doubt the manufacturer’s recommendation for timing belt replacement based on elapsed time–or any other scheduled maintenance items based on elapsed time. Honda would like you to buy another vehicle from them, but if you have a very negative experience with the longevity of the car (like what would result from a snapped timing belt), you would be unlikely to buy another Honda. As a result, it is always prudent to believe and to follow the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations carefully. This leads me to wonder if skepticism has led the OP to ignore other elapsed time recommendations for maintenance.

Ignoring a dealership’s maintenance recommendations is frequently a good thing. Ignoring the vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations is foolhardy and is sure to lead to more expense in the long run.


#7

I believe there are cars with timing chains which have interference engines. my 89 Sentra did.


#8

The book for my accord says 105,000 miles, and two trusted mechanics I checked with (who could have lied to make a quick buck) told me there was no need until 105,000 miles, like the book says. One of them told me he typically changes Accord belts between 105,000 and 115,000 miles, and none of his customers has had a disaster. BTW my Accord is the same “generation” as yours, though a different year (2001).

Russ


#9

Read the manual better, your missing the months portion. Time ages rubber as does mileage.

Mechanics know very little about materials science, just their observations. The engineers of your vehicle and the parts suppliers engineers have a deep understanding of the parts and their lifespan.


#10

Read the manual better, your missing the months portion. Time ages rubber as does mileage.

Mechanics know very little about materials science, just their observations. The engineers of your vehicle and the parts suppliers engineers have a deep understanding of the parts and their lifespan.

I disagree with this statement. I like many quality mechanics understand a lot about the longevity of compounds used in automobiles. We know rubber degrades over time. This Honda dealership obviously is aware of it as well thats hy they informed the OP of the need for a change. It is the ignorance of the driver that cause most of the problems.


#11

The car runs well. No problems, yet.

How well the engine runs is no indicator of if the timing belt is bad or not. It either works or doesn’t (i.e. broke). This is a interference engine. If the belt breaks it CAN destroy the engine. Get it fixed.

BTW…You don’t have to take it to the dealer. Find a good local mechanic to do it. Usually a LOT cheaper. Also have the water pump replaced at the same time.


#12

Instead, I buy cars with timing chains (peace of mind & money save).

Many cars with interference engines have timing chains…They don’t break…but they do stretch…and when they stretch and slip …same problem…engine is ruined.


#13

On the same note then, my mechanic recommends 60,000 miles as the right time for timing belt change even if it is not as old yet. (I have a 2001 Civic). the argument being here in new england belts etc go through extremes of weather. Is he taking me for a ride then ???


#14

Yes you’re being taken for a ride. I’d stick with the manufacturers recommendations. The manual is written to the WORSE case scenerio.


#15

Maybe not. For MANY years, Honda’s recommended service interval has been 60,000 miles first belt, with 90,000 mile intervals thereafter. He may be quoting that, not realizing that the intervals have changed.


#16

According to gates.com, your Civic needs a belt change at 110K miles. For the 01 and younger Civics, Honda changed to 110K for the 1.7L engine. 60K is much too early and way too conservative for this car. I would go with 7 years if I didn’t drive enough to hit the 110K.


#17

The belt is 10 years old (car was probably built in '97) and the engine may run fantastic on an aged timing belt right up to the nano-second that it breaks. Then the costs will go way up.
Look at your production code on the door tag. It should have something like 7/97 or 10/97 on it. This is when the car was assembled and you can add some more age to the belt depending on when that belt was manufactured; obviously before the production date. That belt may be 130 months old.

I also disagree with the posted statement that mechanics are basically not “material oriented” for want of a better term.
Ridiculous.


#18

I should have added this. Some good friends of mine bought an as new Honda Civic with only 59k miles on it from the local Honda dealer.

Two weeks later while going on a ski trip the timing belt broke near Boise City, OK (look THAT up on the map! Honda? Valves? Gaskets? What?) and bent every intake valve in it; and the car had less than 60k miles on it.


#19

Well, timing chains can break, but you usually have to neglect them for about 300K miles. They do “stretch,” but that will not cause them to jump on the sprocket unless the tensioner and/or guides are worn out (which is a bigger concern than the chain itself). I also prefer cars with timing chains, but I like to replace them every 200K miles, or so (the chains, not the cars).


#20

Conclusion: Buy a Honda and expect to pay $500 and up for a timing belt, tensioner pulley and water pump change or buy a car with a timing chain and use the money for some other repair if needed. The Honda timing belt is guaranteed to be needed.