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Timing belt change

I just got my car inspected. My mechanic says that although the car only has 96xxx miles on it (Honda recommends timing belt to be changed at 105k), since the car is 10 years old, I should get the belt changed at the next opportunity. Does that make any sense?


Absolutely. Check your owners manual but I think you are driving on borrowed time. A timing belt must be changed by time or mileage. Whichever comes first.

Apparently, when many people read “or” they decide that it means they are free to pick whichever one to go by. The reality is that it means you have to watch for both conditions.
If the mileage exceeds the interval, then you must replace it.
If the time exceeds the interval, then you must replace it.

Definitely get it changed ASAP. At ten years old, that timing belt has been on borrowed time for a while, probably three years or so. You should definitely get it changed, and while you’re at it, replace your water pump and tensioner as well. Failure of either of these parts will likely take out the new timing belt with it, and a timing belt failure for any reason on this car is much more than an inconvenience. You have an interference engine, which means that if the timing belt fails, it will most likely cause serious engine damage, resulting in expensive repairs. If you think a timing belt job is expensive, wait till it breaks on you.

If I recall correctly, the change interval for that timing belt is 105k miles or 7.5 years, whichever comes first.
To me, that seems unambiguous.

Get that belt replaced, along with the water pump, serpentine belt, and all belt tensioners, and thank your mechanic for being so vigilant. If that overaged belt snapped, the engine would have sustained a few thousand dollars worth of damage.

May I suggest that you begin to review the maintenance schedule that came with the car?
Just as you are a few years overdue for this vital service, there may well be other procedures that you skipped. Remember that most maintenance procedures are done on the basis of odometer mileage OR elapsed time, with the proviso, “whichever comes first”.

Assuming the Accord is a 2000, the Gates manual says that both the four and six cylinder engines are interference designs. That means that a timing belt failure will probably destroy the engine. If you aren’t just about ready to scrap the car, I’d get the timing bet replaced. With a non-interference engine, pushing out the timing belt replacement interval is gambling with a possibility of paying a few hundred extra dollars and some inconvenience if the belt breaks. With an interference engine like yours, it’s a few thousand dollars and a lot of inconvenience if the belt breaks.

Thanks for the great advice. I’ll get it done ASAP.

Yep, makes sense. In fact you are already past due on a car 10 years old. If the belt breaks your pistons will collide with the valves. This bends and/or breaks the valves, it damages the pistons and the motor suddenly “locks” up and stops running. If this happens at 65 mph on an interstate it will come as a big surprise and put you in an unsafe situation.

Of course you can save a few bucks, ignore the recommendation and drive on. Your call. Fixing a locked up motor is about $2,500, a new motor is more, and a junkyard “who knows” motor that is running is about $1,500.

Why do you doubt the instructions in your owner’s manual? Tell us that and then we can address any concerns you have.