CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Timing belt replacement

I have a 2002 PT Cruiser with 107,000 miles. My dealer tells me I should get a new timing belt. Is this a routing maintenance item on a car this old with this many miles? Or, is he just trying to get some $$. If it is a routine maintenance item, about how much should something like this cost?



Thanks for any help you can give me. R

Look In Your PT Cruiser’s Owner’s Manual.

You will find maintenance schedules for your car. The timing belt will be listed somewhere in the 80 to 120 thousand mile area. You should replace it before it breaks. These belts give no warning when they fail. When it breaks, the vehicle stops running.

You should probably consider having the water pump and belt tensioner(s) replaced at the same time so that you will then likely be able to go another 100,000 miles+ before needing any of these items replaced. Should the pump or tensioner fail you have to put on a timing belt again.

Call a couple of repair shops, dealers and independents and get some estimates. It will probably cost $300 to $500.

CSA

check out this discussion group regarding your concerns
http://www.ptcruiserlinks.com/forum/tech-performance-forum/15781-timing-belt-replacement.html

You have been given good advice by both earlier posters as well as your mechanic. You can look this info up here: http://www.gates.com/downloads/download_common.cfm?file=428-1466_web1.pdf&folder=brochure

How much further are you planning to drive it? If it’ll just be used to go to the grocery store and the dump for a few years – say 10000 more miles total before it goes to the scrapyard – then you might be able to skip replacing the timing belt. If you plan on using it like a real car, you probably should replace the belt.

The timing belt is a normal maintenance item with a replacement interval of 90000 miles (a WAG by the Chrysler engineers probably, not anything all that scientific).

It’ll be substantially cheaper if you have the work done by an independent mechanic. You’ll probably be told that you should do the water pump as well as much of the labor in changing the water pump is the same as that required to change the timing belt. If you are thinking in terms of many tens of thousands of more miles (from what is basically a Dodge Neon? Optimistic perhaps.) then changing the water pump makes sense.

According to Gates, the engine is not an interference engine, so you won’t wreck it when the belt breaks. But you will have to get it towed since will not be going anywhere on its own. You will probably lose the use of the car for a number of days vs just one or two if you schedule the work. And you will not be in much of a position to negotiate price.

CSA,

Thank you for your response. Actually the dealer did say I should get the water pump replaced too.

Roz