Timing belt going?

Hello -

I have a 2001 Toyota Tacoma Prerunner, with only about 71k miles on it. I bought it two years ago, and the timing belt at the time looked to be in pristine condition, and it still looks good (in my opinion). So I’m still driving around with a now 10+ year old timing belt (however the mileage is relatively low).

However, I’m starting to hear a bit of what I think is belt squeal, typically when the truck’s warmed up and I’m more-or-less coming into or out of idling between 20-40 mph. The squealing seems to be tied most to going from idling (foot off the gas) to slightly putting my foot on the gas, during those speeds. The same for pulling my foot off of the gas. I can’t say that’s the only time, however, as I think that I occasionally hear it while just idling at those speeds.

Does this sound to you guys like it’s time to finally replace the timing belt?



Did you actually uncover the timing belt when you bought the truck? Anyway, “looking good” for a timing belt means very little. They usually look good until the moment they break!

Yes, regardless of the low mileage you need to change it (IF it has a timing belt), since it is 10 years old. Timing belts are made of RUBBER and it deteriorates over time. On your vehicle that would be 7 years or so.

Reading the rest of you post, you are likely confusing the accessory belt with the timing belt. Timing belts don’t squeal; if they did, it would be game over for the engine. And YES, you should change the accessory belt (also called the SERPENTINE BELT) as well for the same reason.

To give you an example, I took a 5 year old Ford (with a “good looking” belt) on vacation. It had the original fan belt. Coming over the Mackinac Bridge from the Michigan Upper Peninsula to the Lower, the belt snapped just as we got off the bridge! No cell phones in those days. I was lucky to flag down a trooper who took me to the nearest service center and they happened to have a belt. If the belt had broken in the middle of the bridge in July, it would have been troublesome.

So, change both the fan accessory (serpentine) belt and the timing belt if you want to enjoy the truck for a few years more.

Bad timing belts don’t squeal they may come apart and slap the timing belt cover if you’re lucky but usually they just break. If this happens at 50mph or so it will cause serious damage to the engine. Have the timing belt, serpentine belt, water pump and thermostat changed all at the same time. These parts are all in the same vacinity and replacing them all together will save time, trouble, and money in the long run.

Could the OP be confusing the serpentine drive belt for a timing belt?

Your timing belt is not making this noise. If you have a squeal it is from an external belt, not from the timing belt. If the timing belt slipped enough to squeal, your engine would not be running and would have toasted your valves, and the engine would probably never run again. I think you think that the serpentine belt is the timing belt?

I’d guess you need a new serpentine belt or are low on power-steering fluid.

If this is a 4 cylinder, you don’t even have a timing belt. If it’s the V6 then it’s time to change the timing belt even though this isn’t the cause of your noise.