Timing Belt replacement: go by owner's manual or former mechanic's recommendation?

My 1990 Acura Integra is on her 4th timing belt…still going strong after 25 years! Long ago, I was told by the people who worked on my car that it was best to replace the Timing Belt every 60K. My Manual says inspect at 60K, but replace at 90K.
I typically have changed it at around 65K…and now it is a bit beyond the 65K mark for this timing belt ( also do the water pump, etc) as the car is now at 262,327 miles.
I am tempted to wait a bit longer, as it is not even close to the 90K mark. I’d like to put money into some other things for the car and if this can be put off, I will…but am I playing Russian Roulette here? Thanks for your suggestions.

The recommendation in the manual was written by the engineers who designed the engine. Your vehicle came out about the time when manufacturers changed the timing-belt change interval from 60k to 90k+.

I’m also pretty sure the manual gives a timeline. Like 90k or seven years…which ever comes first.

Follow the owners manual…and you should be fine. This is an interference engine…so I wouldn’t go much past the 90k.

Agreed. Go by the manual. 90k or 7 years. My '88 Supra manual says 60k or 7 years and I stick to it. 296,000 miles and still running strong!

As was said above 90k will be fine. The materials used in the belts have greatly improved over the years. Good quality belts will last 90k or more without issue.

Thanks…and of course I would not THINK of going over the 90K limit…I was stressing a bit these days since it’s been over 67K as of now! My Husband says just don’t worry about it at all, as he wants me to get a new car, but I don’t DARE say that around my current car :wink:

The owners manual should say 6 years or 90k miles. The belts are made of reinforced rubber and the rubber deteriorates with time. I’m sure that the 6 years is based on the harshest environments for rubber, high heat and humidity so in some climates, they may last a lot longer.

But for reference, the belt should have been changed in 96, 02, 08 and 14, or every 90k if that occurred sooner. If it has been less than 6 years since your last timing belt change, you are safe to go on for awhile.

Edit: In 1990, the belt change interval was 4 years or 60k miles. The 6/90 came around 1994 and in 97, they went 7/105. I think a belt that you would buy today probably will last the 7/105 as it would be made with the newer materials.

Keith, that’s a good point about the 6 year mark (but my manual just says 90K.)
The last time it was changed was summer of 2008…so maybe I had better do it sooner than later. Living in San Diego near the beach may not get hot, but there is the salty air issue.
I just wanted to save a bit of $$ so I can replace the Rear hatch back door, as mine has developed a LARGE “Cancerous” rust spot on an area near the bottom of the Rear Windshield.
Sorry, this is off topic now!

You’re not off topic. For the rusted area, since you live in San Diego, you might find a sailor that has worked in the “crud crew” (corrosion control) on a Navy Jet fighter. These guys know corrosion control as good as anyone. Corrosion cannot be stopped, but it can be slowed down a lot. That may be cheaper than replacement at this time, though it may not look as good as a brand new door.

Aluminum aircraft in a salt water environment needs a lot of attention to corrosion control. If it wasn’t for these guys, those $110M+ jets would last about a year. They manage to get 30 years or more out of them.

Keith, that's a good point about the 6 year mark (but my manual just says 90K.)

I’m very surprised at that. We owned two Honda Accords (87 and 96). Both had time limits too.

MikeInNH; I’ll look closer at the manual when I can. Perhaps the time length was somewhere else on the Maintenance check list page.
At least I was doing it more often than I was supposed to!

This subject has brought to mind a Friend/Customer of mine who got EXTREMELY ANGRY with me because I said that he should replace his Timing Belt on his Toyota Pickup at 60K. I have become so used to the 60K change interval that I really didnt think much about my statement. 60K has or WAS pretty much the standard for quite some time across many different mfg’s. I also told him that 60K is a safe time to do it…but I have seen them last DOUBLE this limit…but to be on the safe side stick with 60K and we wont see any problems. He looked up his change interval and it had suddenly (For ME at least) changed to between 90-105K. SO he accused me of lying and pushing not needed repairs upon him. I apologized and told him about the 60-90K change that I have also been seeing happen with mfg’s…I could NOT convince him that the interval ever was 60K. I have stopped trying to argue with the guy…and in his mind I am Dishonest and an A-Hole… I dont like this, but there is nothing I can do about it. I always conduct myself in an honest manner…I mean I go to great lengths to be honest with all my customers and especially friends, but somehow wound up on the wrong side of this one.

If you change your T Belt anywhere between 60-90K…YOU WILL BE JUST FINE.

Your Acura will EASILY make it to the 90K mark without failure of the belt…However…how are all the other rotating assys? The water pump? The tensioner? The idler bearings? A failure of any one of these items can AND WILL take out a perfectly healthy T Belt…at any time. As long as those other components are as new as the belt…you are perfectly FINE in waiting a bit longer than that 60K.

I have seen that same engine make it to 182K on ONE TIMING BELT… I changed the belt myself…so like I said…as long as your other hardware is as new as the belt …you can easily make it to 90K.


Another factor with belt life is oil and coolant leaks or vapors along with temperature extremes; the latter meaning ambient temperatures or an engine prone to running hotter than normal due to being bogged down in city traffic a lot.

Yet another factor is whether the water pump and tensioners were replaced the last time.

Your husband seems to have somewhat of a blase’ attitude about this. One thing you do not want is for a belt to snap as you cross the tracks in front of a train or in freeway traffic which could then lead to being rammed; much like the current investigation into the Jenner crash.

OK4450…I’ve always replaced the Water pump and tensioners at the same time, as this was recommended by the mechanics.
As for the Blase Husband’s attitude; it’s funny how when things are wrong or need fixing with HIS precious Westfalia, he treats it like a baby and wouldn’t DREAM of NOT spending the money…ha-ha!
Also, for Honda Blackbird, I would never accuse you of being an A-Hole etc, if you recommended something…and you have given me good advice for my car in the past. You were just telling your friend how it used to be. He should get over it and move on…

Good to learn some aspect of timing belt in this thread. I like to share the related incident on my friend’s Car.

@ MichelleZ How did your mechanic inspect your timing belt?

Awhile ago, mechanic suggested to change serpentine belt, during oil change to my friend’s car. His car had 75K miles(2001 Camry 4CYL). He/I asked him about inspecting of timing belt along with this. He told us that inspecting timing belt labor equivalent of 50% timing belt change labor. He said, as his car had 75K miles, his timing belt can go beyond 90K.

His timing belt failed at 82K miles.

Thanks for sharing.

A visual inspection of a timing belt doesn’t mean much. A T-belt can look to be in excellent condition and snap the next day.
Some years back the T-belt in my son’s car snapped and it only had 20k miles on it. Luckily it was a free-wheeler engine so no damage done.

A Westfalia guy huh?

Is that his daily driver? (And I’m not knocking them as I kind of like them in their somewhat unusual underpowered and overloaded way…) :smiley:

“My Husband says just don’t worry about it at all, as he wants me to get a new car,”

Good Lord, follow hubby’s advice! {:slight_smile:

In my retirement park in McAllen, a few years ago an old fellow had an old Toyota pickup. He was a retired mechanic. He said he could tell by listening when the timing belt needed replaced.

Well, that’s what he said, heh, heh.

So, he waited until it sounded ready to replace before he did it.

I am a great believer that some people have unusual talents that the rest of us simply don’t have. So, I cannot say he is wrong. But, I can say I would not trust his hearing on my own 2002 Sienna motor.

@RIMDToyota I never had it inspected, as the labor to do so would be enough to make one just replace the thing anyway…so it’s always been replaced at ~ 65K intervals, along with water pump, tensioner, etc. Of course it was a bit more often than needed in terms of mileage, but going by the YEARLY-time wise replacement, I was about on the money.

@“the same mountainbike” So you think I should get a new car as well? Well, I actually AM going to do so, but that will be another post, as I want to pick peoples brains about new cars. However, I still want to keep Sugar Magnolia, my beloved car of 25 years; guess I’m nostalgic and can’t let go…kind of like the hubby and his Westfalia…
So I’ve gotten off topic, again, but learned how to do the “name dropper” properly and get my badges! :wink:

@MichelleZ I have this unsolicited advice. Please ignore any thing that RIMDtoyota posts. He has been discredited on another forum as a troll. There are quite a few really good mechanics who post here.