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Timing belt replacement

My Acura owners manual recommends that the timing belt be replaced at 105000 miles or at 84 months.Which criterion has the most weight: time or mileage.Should the belt be replaced at 84 months even if the mileage has not been reached? Thanks.

Whichever comes first.

If seldom driven or in constant heavy stop and go driving, service more frequently.

Although the owner’s manual is pretty specific about this, my personal experience is that the mileage this belt has run is likelier to result in failure than age, however, age can deteriorate some rubber/plastic type parts and weaken from ozone exposure and dry rot. Acura and Honda belts are better than aftermarket and made of different material, so spring for the OEM timing belt (maybe $80 instead of $40). Aftermarket accessory belts ok, but be sure you at least check and preferrably replace the tensioner when timing belt is changed. Only $30 or so and often a subsequent cause of noise and failure. This is an expensive job on most Acuras so seek out a good Acura/Honda independent.

You can avoid this problem and expense completely by avoiding cars powered by engines that use this design feature…

While most timing belt replacements go smoothly and uneventfully, this board is full of threads dealing with one of two possible negative outcomes.

  1. The belt fails and destroys the engine and that in many cases totals to car…
  2. The careful car owner has the belt replaced BEFORE it breaks, even agrees to replacing the water pump, tensioners and other related parts generating a bill approaching 4 figures and then discovers his car never seems to never run right again…

In case you don’t know this, if it’s due, don’t put it off. If it breaks, you’re looking at an expensive engine repair.

Yes, the belt should be replaced at 84 months, even if the mileage is less than 105K.

The engine in your Acura (and in mine) is an “interference” engine, meaning that if the timing belt breaks the pistons and valves inside the engine will collide at very high speed. Significant damage will result.

It is very important to have the timing belt replaced as per the manual. I recommend to having the water pump replaced along with the belt, since the pump is driven by the belt and is easy to access during timing belt replacement.

A new timing belt and water pump will cost several hundred dollars, but it is necessary maintenance, and should not be avoided. If the timing belt breaks you’ll be buying a new engine or a new car.