Timing Belt Replacement

I have a 2000 Toyota Sienna Van with 250,000+ miles on her. She has a non-interference engine. My boyfriend thinks it’s time to replace the timing belt. I, however, like to live my life on the edge. BTW, I travel daily on short trips for my job, I’m an itinerant school psychologist and travel about 300 miles a day. What do you think? Replace the timing belt or roll the dice?

300 miles a day is not giving you much time for psych work!

Go ahead and roll the dice as long as you are completely certain you have a non interference engine. A failure comes suddenly and will mean very hard steering and about one good stop with the brakes. When it happens you could have a safety issue if you don’t handle it properly. If this scenario is scarey to you, change the belt. If not, then by all means roll the dice.

It all depends on how much you like living on the edge.

Even with a non-interference engine, you should be aware that a snapped timing belt is not without problems.
For instance, have you considered what happens when a timing belt snaps while you are on an expressway, in the middle lane, with 18-wheelers all around you?

Or, if it snaps while traversing that old RR crossing?

Or, how about being stranded in the bad part of town, at night?

Or, in the boondocks, during a bad storm?

Obviously, this is your decision, but if you ever carry passengers, you should consider your responsibility in regard to their safety.

Oh, and there is therapy available for those who insist on “living on the edge”.


I would replace it if it were me. I would want to avoid being stranded, paying for towing charges, paying for diagnostic work to figure out what is wrong, etc. An ounce of prevention…

FYI, expect to pay more than you would for a normal timing belt job. It takes more labor to get to a minivan’s timing belt than it does a car or truck’s timing belt.

Mr. Kurtz, he dead. What I mean is you seem to have gone over to the teen side. How can you help when you are as much of a risk taker as the ones you counsel? Do you want to be responsable for a wreck when you lose power steering, and power brakes? I didn’t think so. Let your boyfriend give you some tough love by fixing car before it breaks down 150 miles from nowhere in a rough section of town. Play nice, it pays off, and he will love you all the more for indulging his control freak nature for once.

Safety issue, huh? I never thought about that. I thought it would just go quietly into that good nite. Listen, losing a timing belt is about as exciting and on the edge as my life gets. From the sound of it though, that’s not an adventure I’m willing to take. Thanks for the comment.

For some reason that I will never comprehend, most folks–you included–seem to envision mechanical breakdowns taking place in their driveway or in some other convenient and safe place. If only life was that simple…

At 250k miles, it should have been replaced atleast twice already