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Timing Belt should be replaced?

There is a fine line between Cheap and Frugal! A friend of my wife is an excellent money manager and shops for good bargains. For instance there is a large Italian bakery down the road which supplies many grocery stores in our city. At the end of each day, the trucks returning from their deliveries and have some delicious bread left over, which the bakery’s shop puts on sale a “day old bread” at 1/4 the price of the store price. The friend helps herself; since bread lasts about a week in the kitchen the extra day is of no consequence.

The friend tanks gas a Costco, buys used books at the Goodwill store for $1.50 a copy, and so on.

I agree that there is a fine line between Cheap and Frugal, but–unfortunately, my friend almost always manages to shoot himself in the foot while “saving money”.

I also gas-up at Costco (Selling Top Tier gas cheaper than anyone else, plus a 4% cash rebate on gas purchases is certainly an unbeatable deal, IMHO), and I also utilize Goodwill–albeit in reverse.

I buy almost all of my books from a vendor with deep discounts (most paperbacks are $3.00, and most hardcovers are $5.00 to $6.00). After reading them, I donate almost all of them to Goodwill, and I get a receipt for my donations. Under IRS guidelines, because the books are in excellent condition, I can claim an income tax deduction of $2.00 for each donated paperback, and $4.00 for each donated hardcover, so I am essentially just renting my books for a short period of time, and then getting most of my rental fee returned to me.

Does being different from you make that person wrong, especially if they’re happy with the life they’re living?

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No, absolutely not!
However, he is an extremely unhappy person. During every conversation, he utters the following words:
“My life sucks”. I refrain from pointing-out to him that almost all of the “sucky” aspects of his life are self-imposed.

Even his wife can no longer stand being subjected to his penny-pinching ways. Her religious beliefs do not allow her to seek divorce, but she hasn’t lived with him for a few years.

I believe your model has a timing chain, not a belt, but double check on that. You should be OK. I strongly agree on the tires. Make sure they are in good shape and not dried out.


That model year had the 5S-FE 4 cylinder, which had a timing belt, and the 1MZ-FE V6, which also had a timing belt

Certainly not

Lots of talk here, but in answer to the OP question, you know that sooner or later you’re going to have the belt changed, so pick a time in the near future when you have the money and the time to leave your car while the work gets done, and just do it. There’s no benefit in waiting until it breaks. It will never be convenient then.

Even though this engine is apparently of the non-interference design, waiting until the belt snaps is just not a good idea.

One of the many things that puzzles me is the tendency for people to imagine that their vehicle will break down in their driveway, or in some other safe and convenient place. I don’t know if the OP is one of those people, but I hope that he considers the likelihood that the belt is much more likely to snap…
…while in the midst of speeding 18-wheelers, or
…while crossing RR tracks, or
…in a dodgy section of town, or
…many miles from home, where you don’t know which mechanics to trust.

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It’s true that the timing belt is likely to break when the engine is running. If the engine is running you are using the car to go somewhere. It it breaks you will not be using the car anymore today. That’s the definition of inconvenience.

Fix it now.

Agree! A few years back we had a panic call from one of my wife’s friends who said her daughter’s small truck had “just stopped” on a rather deserted road at night.

I asked a few questions and ascertained it must be the timing belt. I recommended she call the AAA and have the truck towed to a nearby shop we often frequented and park it there while slipping a note through the door that it was likely the timing belt.

Since this was on the weekend, she had a call Monday morning that indeed, it was the timing belt and it would be fixed that day.

From this it is clear that timing belts do not wait to break in your driveway and you are at considerable risk driving a vehicle much beyond the change interval.

No doubt someone will argue that Honda tests their belts at 200% of the mileage interval, but that is just to make sure the actual breakage probability within the interval is very, very small. That’s just standard quality control for world class companies.

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You mom seems to have had a long driving history, good for her. I hope she’s able to cope well with the loss of her driving. Is she willing to phone a cab if she wants to go shopping or something? I hope so, to keep the feeling of independence. Some folks seem to adapt rather well, and enjoy not having to drive, and instead just sit back and enjoy the company family, neighbors, and other elderly friends who live in their retirement place. I think that’s the main problem you have there, not the car.

For the car, suggest to slowly bring all the routine maintenance up to date. If you only drive 35 mph max on neighborhood roads, if the timing belt breaks the car will stall, won’t be able to start, so it will be an inconvenience, and may damage something beyond just the timing belt, but probably the only damage will be the broken timing belt. Suggest to not drive at higher speeds on the freeway until the timing belt is resolved.

Not just the timing belt, but all the rubber components are probably nearing their age limit. Serpentine belts, hoses, suspension bushings all need to be inspected. And especially worrying as a safety consideration at that age are the car’s tires. Make sure to get those inspected for any signs of cracking in the tread area or the sidewall. If the tires are original to your 17 year old car, time to start looking for some new ones.