Timing Belt Replacement

2002 Toyota Highlander 6cyl-65000 miles.Dealer says replace due to possibilityy of blowing engine. Toyota says engine is non-interference-if belt breaks car stops-no other damage,. If do replace-dealer says replace tensioneers and water pump. ADVICE?

Your dealer is full of it, and what’s more, they know they’re full of it because it’s their car. Time to find a different mechanic - one who won’t lie to you.

Your engine is non-interference. Were I you, I’d wait for it to snap. $1000+ for preventative maintenance is pretty steep unless you’re preventing more than a day or two of inconvenience.

Your Highlander has a non-interference engine in it, so no valve damage should occur if the belt were to fail. However, if that famous Toyota reliability is to be maintained, you should replace the belt, as well as the tensioners and the water pump. All these replacements (belt/tensioner/water pump) are in the name of preventing a costly breakdown. If a costly breakdown is not a big deal for you, and something that will not inconvenience you in any way, you can postpone the service until something breaks and deal with it as a breakdown. Most people would rather schedule maintenance than deal with a broken-down car. More convenient for them. Ultimately, it’s up to you.

I can say all Toyota’s are non-interference, but my wife’s is. It blow out the timing belt a couple of weeks ago. No engine damage.

Gates states it is interference design. I would double check…

If your car completely dies in the passing lane of a busy interstate with a tractor-trailer on your rear bumper, there may very well be quite a bit of damage to the car as well as the occupants. Also, if you let it break down, you’ll probably be adding the cost of a tow. Having said that, it’s your call.

Gates states the opposite:


The person telling you this is likely a service writer. The vast majority of these people have little or no mechanical skills and in many cases, no clue at all. If the person who told you this was referring to actual engine damage then they’re wrong. Odds are you were told this not because of trying to pull something on you but because of sheer ignorance on their part.

The belt is over 9 years old and you’ve been lucky up to this point. Six years is about the maximum amount of time belts should be allowed to remain in place.
What happens if that belts snaps in the middle of nowhere late at night, during an emergency rush to the hospital, or while you’re trying to cross a road before 90,000 pounds of loaded Kenworth arrives at the same spot you’re intending to cross?

follow the maintenance schedule miles or age which ever comes first…as mentioned preventive maintenance is much cheaper than a tow and repair far from home. Yes, while they change belt the other items are usually replaced.