I have a 2001 Lexus 300 SUV in good running order with 90,000 mile. I have been told by Lexus that I must replace the timing belt or one day the car will just STOP. My local gas station repair says that this is quite costly and not necessary. As a loyal listener to your program i would like your advice.
Yes do it.
It will cause expensive damage beyond the cost of replacement of belt.
First, look in your owner’s manual. It will tell you when it must be replaced.
I don’t recall if your car has an interference engine (I believe it does not) but if it does, you are risking an engine replacement if it fails. You need to do it now. Even if it is not an interference engine, if the belt brakes, you car will shut-down right then and there and you will need a tow.
If it is an RS300 replacement is called for at 90,000, it has an interferance engine which means if it breaks while running you will do major damage to the engine, also true for GS300 and IS300.
Here http://www.gates.com/downloads/download_common.cfm?file=428-1466_web1.pdf&folder=brochure for the second time in 30 minutes is the Gates timing belt replacement guide. Look up your car. If it says to do it, do it. If the * indicates that it is an interference engine, and it appears to be, it is especially important to have it done ASAP. It is not necessary to have the dealer do it. Any good independent shop can do it.
Do the belt. I have a 95 cirrus with less than 75k on it. I did the belt(myself). Reason is time. These are tough really good strong belts. They will last a lot of punishment until they stop. Then rebuild the engine time.