Timing Belt Replacement For 2004 Acura TL

My 2004 3.2L Acura TL is 9 yrs. old and has approx. 67,700 miles on it. Automatic transmission. It’s in great shape…still drives and looks like new.

My Acura dealer service advisor says Acura recommends timing belt replacement at 90,000 miles or 6 yrs., whichever comes first. He says the 6-yr. recommendation is because the belts deteriorate over time (dry rot, etc.).

Cost to replace the timing belt is $800 and includes water pump replacement and coolant replacement.

Is the service advisor’s 6-yr. recommendation valid?

Yes, perfectly valid.

Is the service advisor's 6-yr. recommendation valid?

YES…A timing belt is either unbroken or broken. When it breaks…on an engine like yours it could DESTROY your engine. Your engine is what’s called an interference engine. What the service writer told is also clearly spelled out in your owners manual.

You can either have the Acura dealer do the belt, or find a good independent. The TL is just a Honda Accord. Many independent mechanics are very well familiar with this vehicle and would be able to replace the belt and pump using good quality parts cheaper then the dealer.

First, why do you let your service advisor decide what service is done instead of using the instructions provided by the manufacturer? That’s a recipe for missing necessary service (as in this case) and for paying for unneeded service.

Second, you’re several years overdue for this service at this point. If your timing belt snaps, which it could do anytime with no warning, you’ll be shopping for a new engine (or perhaps a whole new car if it snaps on the highway in front of a semi). That doesn’t seem worth the risk to me.

What does your owners manual say? I don’t trust service advisors (I’ve had them recommend maintenance nowhere to be found in the manual) but I do trust Honda (Acura) in their recommendations.

That said, I bet it’s at least every 9 years, so I bet it’s time…

Six years seems early, but 90,000 miles sounds about right. But if you figure 15000 miles average miles driven per year, the six years would be correct. I doubt any manufacturer would recommend waiting more than 9 years to replace the timing belt. I would do it soon.

Think of it as highly valuable & important preventive maintenance.

6 years is too frequent (assuming the mileage is below the threshold) but Acura does recommend every 8 years or 105k miles, whichever comes first on the 3rd gen TL’s. So, with a 9 year old car, you’re due.

The car was probably build in 2003 so it’s likely 10 years old and there’s more than miles and time to factor in when it comes to a belt replacement.
There’s issues of oil or coolant vapors, extremes of temperature, tensioner wear, and so on. Running an interference fit engine to 9 years is really gambling.

Thanks for your input and info, folks. Based on your feedback, am going to go ahead with the replacement. Also checked some other sites which all agree with what you say.

My bad on this because I was relying on my memory on what the owner’s manual says. I thought there was only a mileage requirement and not a time requirement for timing belt replacement. Normally, I do rely on the manufacturer’s service recommendations for maintenance. I should have re-checked the owner’s/service manual on this.

Thanks again. Appreciate the help.


Here is what an 8 year old belt looks like in a Honda. Note the cracks, what is more difficult to see is how loose the belt is, it could have jumped a tooth at any time. When that happens, or the belt brakes, the valves will hit the pistons essentially making the engine inoperable without a lot more bucks invested.


“I thought there was only a mileage requirement and not a time requirement for timing belt replacement.”

I believe that every type of preventive maintenance (with the exception of tire rotations) has both an odometer mileage value and an elapsed time value. Because the OP may have skipped other types of vital maintenance, I would recommend that he re-read the Honda maintenance schedule, just to make sure that nothing else has been skipped, in addition to the timing belt.

When he re-reads that maintenance schedule, I believe he will see that, with the exception of tire rotations, all maintenance procedures have both an odometer mileage value and an elapsed time value.

Wow, I guess I got really lucky. I had a 1995 3.2 TL, first year the made it, and I never changed my timing belt. I changed my oil every 5,000 miles and not much else. I had to replace the starter at 140,000 miles and the muffler at 200,000 miles. But that was it other than oil changes. I did need a new battery once and had to get new tires as they wore. I got it with 60,000 miles in 1999 so I dont know what maintence was done beforehand. I drove it for 180,000 miles with no belt change. I sold it at 240,000 miles for $2,000 and now have a 2009 TL AWD.

I had no idea the timing belt could break and damage things. I didn’t live near an Acura dealer the whole time I had it and it didn’t come with a manual.


You did get lucky

At any time you owned the 1992 TL, did you ever know it had a timing belt?

Hopefully, you have an owner’s manual for the 2009 TL . . .