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Timing Belt Replacement On Low Mileage Car

Vehicle is an 08 Hyundai Accent 1.6L three door (hatchback) with 20,197 miles. This car was born on Oct. 16, 2007 and purchased in April of 2008. I told the owner to call the dealer and find out about when they should replace the timing belt as I had looked it up at the Gates site and found that it is an interference motor and also these Hyundai have some kind of lengthy warranty. When the tech or whoever she spoke to at the dealership asked about the mileage, they told her that she does not need to worry about the belt for about another five years, were rude and sounded inconvenienced by her calling. This leaves her with a bad taste in her mouth and more importantly, mis-informed.

I get the “Maintenance Log” out of the glove box and upon trying to decipher the timing belt interval, it states that the first course of action is an “inspection” at 30,000 miles or 24 months. How is a timing belt inspected? From what I have seen, a belt can look perfect today and snap tomorrow. But anyway, the next entry for severe service is replacement at 37,500 miles or 30 months which means this belt should have been replaced in October of 2010. Next entry is normal change at 60,000 miles or 48 months which puts us at April of 2012. After this it goes to 75,000 miles or 60 months.

I have already picked up the kit for changing the belt, tensioner, idler, and the two seals. How critical is it to change the spring as that was not included in the kit I got? I’m planning to do this job here in the next couple days as from what I can figure from the above log, It’s way over due. I was reading some Hyundai forums and one stated that the 2011 model with the exact same engine calls for the first replacement due at 90,000 miles. How’s this possible? Seems like these people (engineers) don’t have all their stuff in one bag…

on cars with low milage, time becomes more important does the owners manuel show when things need to be done by time? did gates web site say anything about when to do it? when you inspect a belt your looking for abnormal wear but your right belt can look new a snap the next day. as the spring goes not sure over thing call a dealer’s parts dept. and se if they stock it and how much. and go from there

The 48 month time limit for the timing belt does seem low, but that’s what they specify. I know of no other car with a 48 month timing belt requirement.

IMHO you’re smart to just go ahead and change it. My philosophy with periodic maintenance items is “if in doubt, change it out”. It’s cheap insurance against failure.

Re: the 2011 having a 90,000 ,ile recommendation; it’s very possible that the belt spec has been upgraded…and it’s also possible that it was due to an unacceptable failure rate with the 2007-spec belt.

You could check and see if the 2007 model takes the same belt as the 2011 model…

Sometimes when owners and service manuals are written and translated from different languages, technical details can get very confusing… perhaps, in order to protect their long warranty, they were VERY conservative about replacing the belt more often than necessary…

It’s these little details that can turn an economical car into an uneconomical one…

Another factor to consider in belt life is environmental conditions. Extremes of heat and cold can shorten the life of the belt and seeing as how the belt is 5 years old it would be a good idea to get the job done considering that you’re dealing with an inteference fit engine.

Yes, you should change the spring also. The person the owners talked to at the dealership was more than likely a service advisor. One should never put much faith into what they say because in a nutshell, most are salesmen and have little or no mechanical experience or knowledge.

I would advise that after you get the job complete and before you button it all back up with the covers that you double check all of the bolts and rotate the engine through 3 or 4 times by hand to make sure nothing is hitting and the marks line back up.

Why would you change the spring? I have never changed one, even on a 20 year old car. The spring only sets the initial tension, once the bearing is torqued down, the spring doesn’t do anything. Absolutely agree with your last paragraph though. Two minutes there can save a lot of grief down the road (like at start up).

Why? Why not? The new spring is in the kit so why not do it while they’re in there and use a new spring instead of a 5 year old one.

I would feel the same way if handed a rear brake shoe set with a new hardware kit for a 5 year old car. Just a 5 year less chance of an aged spring breaking is the way I would look at it.