Timing Belt Damage to 2003 Hyundai Elantra

Here’s my guess…You’re no more then 20yo…This is the first car. This is also the first time you ever had any repair work done. Geez.

You want a BAD experience…Here’s one my sister-in-law had about 5 years ago.

. Took car to dealer for an oil change.
. Dealer forgot to put oil back in the car.
. She drove off and before she got out of the parking lot the engine blew.
. Dealer said it wasn’t their fault. Said she was driving too fast and hit their speed bump and put a hole in the pan.
. Sister-in-law called up a husband of a girl she worked with who’s a mechanic to look at the car.
. Dealer refused to let the mechanic look at the car.
. Sister-in-law then tried to have it towed over to mechanic friends place.
. Dealer REFUSED to allow the tow-truck to tow the vehicle.
. Sister-in-law then shows up with police.
. Dealer said she still owed them money that’s why they wouldn’t let them tow.
. Sister-in-law has receipt…shows police…
. Dealer then produced another receipt (for $100). This was for diagnosing why the engine blew up.
. Sister-in-law didn’t have $100 to pay the dealer.
. She comes back the following day with tow truck AND $100…Now the receipt says $200.
. After 2 weeks…she finally gets the car towed to her friend.
. There is no hole in the pan…The drain plug is missing.
. Sister-in-law borrows money from my wife to get car fixed. Dealer is refusing to pay.
. Sister-in-law hires a lawyer and sues the dealer.
. After 1 year in court…Sister-in-law wins case and is awarded the money for the engine rebuild.
. She however is out the $200 she had to pay the dealer for the bogus diagnosis charge they added on…and the money she had to spend for the tow truck and the 3 weeks of car rentals. Total out of pocket expenses were well over $1500 for a MISTAKE the dealer made.

And you’re complaining about a mechanic who actually did the right thing…GROW UP.

no i think mmsamma has reappeared as charpa!

or maybe reuben has reappeared!

Thanks for a straight-up answer. Appreciate it.

Thanks for your good, sensible input. I’m going to send a check along with a note to the mechanic … and include your last sentence. That’s great!

I agree 100%. Doug is no youngster and should have known better. Why he didn’t rotate the engine by hand a few times, I’ll never know. Thanks for those words of wisdom.

Hey, MikeinNH, you’re not a very good guesser. I’m much older than 20, this is probably my sixth car, and I’ve had plenty of good work done over the years. I have also been screwed over more times than you can count. Since my husband died, I have tried to keep on top of things. There’s a lot of dishonest, fraudulent, and sloppy things going on out in the world. And your sister-in-law’s story is exactly what I’m talking about. Unfortunately, I have had to grow up and face all this crap head-on. I only wish there were more people like CharPA (see his comments)in the world.

Thanks everyone for your comments! You have all been very helpful.

After reading all your comments … I think I’ll go join CharPA for a big cold glass of Kool-Aid. But thanks for taking the time to write.

Did you mean non-interference engine or do you like to live on the edge?

If no interference engine, then the only risk with a broken cam belt is engine stoppage.

Before reinforced rubber timing belts came along, nobody talked about internal engine crashes. VW was one of the first with rubber timing belts for camshafts when the VW Rabbit arrived.

Now I know why so many mechanics want to get out of the industry…

CharPA and pasteno, I hope you NEVER make a mistake and if you do, you get raked across the coals for it.

And your sister-in-law’s story is exactly what I’m talking about.

Gee I thought you were talking about what happened to YOU. Unless you’re NOT telling us something…everything you’ve said so far shows us the Mechanic is honest and trustworthy. You’re complaining about NOTHING.

Agree that OP was treated fairly, and the mechanic took a finacial bath as part of his learning experience. OP is either immature and idealistic as to how the world works or he is a spoiled brat used to throwing tantrums when the world does not unfold the way he wants it to.

A few years back my mechanic intalled a poor quality rebuilt starter which chewed upo the flywheel and gave my wife considerable anguish while I was away. He graciously redid the work and charged me only the difference in cost between a much better starter and the one installed.

do any people who frequent this board really know each other? (aside from frequent posts on here)

Remember that time someone posted complaining about being gouged by his mechanic, who turned out to be Michael (DARTMAN69), who wasn’t gouging him at all? That was pretty funny.


Before reinforced rubber timing belts came along, nobody talked about internal engine crashes.

Wanna BET???

Back in the 70’s I rebuilt a couple Toyota Corona engines that had timing chains. Then chain slipped on this interference engine…causing MAJOR engine damage.

The first belt I ever changed was on a 72 Vega. But it wasn’t a interference engine. Just align the marks back up…put the belt back on.

Docnick, if you read the posts correctly, the OP is a she, not a he. I am the OP and have replied to several of the posts myself. I am not going to pay $602 for a timing and sert belt to be replaced, not on an Elantra. I got two estimates that are within the ballpark in this region of what you would expect to pay. I am neither a spoiled brat nor throwing a tantrum. Since I have been screwed over so many times in the past (not just with cars, either), I now get second and third opinions. It’s as simple as that. I never dreamed I would get so many passionate responses to my original post. People as opinionated as yourself who interject personal negative observations about me w/o even knowing me or the exact circumstances are exactly the ones I don’t take to heart.

I am the OP and have replied to several of the posts myself. I am not going to pay $602 for a timing and sert belt to be replaced, not on an Elantra.

You obviously have no idea what the job actually costs. First off you said it was the timing belt…serpentine belt and the spark plugs. Are the spark plugs no longer part of the job??

I did a google search and found an estimate for you.


Now add in the serpentine belt and the plugs…and that $518 is well within reason.

So AGAIN…WHAT ARE YOU COMPLAINING ABOUT?? How much do you think you should have paid???

"Someone who agrees with me is wise, indeed. Someone who disagrees with me is an imbecile! "

I was giving the OP the benefit of the doubt and not only felt sympathy for them at first but also thought the mechanic, who is losing big time on this job, did the right thing by covering the mistake they made.
However, after the latest posts this strikes me now as more of a whine-fest about labor rates, book times, and the fact that someone, as usual, just simply does not like spending one dime on the tool they use every day; their car.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with providing an estimate a bit higher than what may be figured. Anyone who mechanics for a living knows that about half the time something, large or small, always comes up. It’s better to cover the bases and be under the estimate than pare it down and be over the estimate; the latter of which usually means all xxxx breaks loose.

A true example. A estimate on a VW was figured at 285 dollars. The gentleman was told the estimate was rounded up to 300 just to be safe.
A change in a parts price and a sales tax change which took effect while the car was being worked on put the final bill at 300.14. The car owner went absolutely livid over the 14 cents. This led to the service manager (with a spine that would make a garden slug proud) gave the guy a 100.14 back to shut him up. The company lost any profit they made on the repair because of this and then tried to go and backflag the tech; meaning they consider it a mechanical screwup and the mechanic should pay his wages back. The tech objected to this, rightfully so, and the company fired him. All of this because of a sniveler whining over 14 cents.

A mistake happened (and every tech has made a few), the mechanic is covering it while losing his rear on it, so quit complaining and move on with life. Another option would be the best one; perform all future repairs yourself.


i asked, but you still have not answered.

what is the actual total bill?

what was the estimate?

and what are you disputing?

you have three different numbers on the OP, one more price in one of your responses, and no real continuity between the numbers. which is it???

by the way, you were gender neutral in your OP, so some people assume (right or wrong, whats the difference) youre a guy. so no harm intended or perceived. once you stated gender, then some people got it. but some missed it. again gender is unimportant.

your frustration is partly out of incomplete information from you about the real, true numbers involved and the work done, and requested.

now you have brought other issues, unrelated to the original problem.

the timing issue (and the screw up, and repair are one thing) but a serpentine belt, and plugs are another issue. these are NOT related to the bad timing job. tell the whole story, with all the details if you want an honest opinion.

Dear Pasteno; I was merely reacting to the original quote, which was reasonable, and the mechanic correcting his mistake at his own expense, which is what good mechanics are expected to do. Most garages do not give you a loaner car, by the way.

I sympathise with your past frustrations in situations like this, my wife’s friends and colleagues bombard me with requests for advice regularly. I always tell them to get an accurate diagnosis, get the ESTIMATE in writing, get more than one quote if you think it’s too high, and proceed. Any additional work required should only be authorized by you after a thorough explanation.

In my own case with the bad starter, I was without a car for nearly a week, and my wife had to drive me around.

We have several friends who are mechanics or service managers. They usually give us an earfull about “unreasonable customers”.

There are many good books on how cars work, what they need and the most common repairs. These books tell you enough to manage the care of the vehicle, even if you do not do this work yourself. Being knowledgeable in the presence of mechanics changes the dynamics in your favor.

Thanks for writing. Your answer is well-taken, and I appreciate the information. I’ll make a note of it for next time. Thanks a lot for further explaining. I understand.