Timing belt: To change or not to change?


My mom’s 2000 (or 1999) Honda Accord is at a bit over 50K. She doesn’t drive much as you can see and she lives in NJ. My question is, is it time to change the timing belt and water pump? As times are tight it’s difficult to spend $600-$800 unless it’s absolutely necessary. I am aware of what will happen when the belt breaks and it will cost much more to fix the engine after it’s broken and all… But with just over 50K, it feels like a waste to do it at this time (maybe in 2-3 years of time?). I would appreciate your help. Thanks!

Change it. Belts over 8 years old are subject to failure due to age. Check the owner’s manual. Everyone that I’ve read always point to an 8 year time limit, even though mileage tends to vary.

It needs changed. This vehicle is 10-11 years old. Time is just as important as mileage when it comes to timing belts.

Definitely change it, Honda recommends 7 years at most and I would say 8 is the longest i’d go and still feel ok. At 10-11 years you’re pressing your luck not getting it changed.

Elapsed time is just as damaging to a timing belt as odometer mileage is.
The timing belt is now about 3-4 years overdue for changing on the basis of elapsed time.

If you continue to rationalize that it is not due for changing–despite the incontrovertible evidence to the contrary in the Honda Maintenance Schedule–then you are just fooling yourself.

Stop rationalizing and have the belt replaced a.s.a.p.
If you think that money is tight right now, just try paying for the engine repairs (most likely ~$2,000) + $600 for timing belt/water pump/serpentine belt/ belt tensioner change that will be needed when the belt snaps, vs. paying just $600 to prevent this catastrophic situation.

Your choice:
$600 now, coupled with relative security regarding the engine
$2,600…maybe next week–when the belt snaps.

I agree with the others. There is a mileage and a time schedule for its replacement. It should’ve been replaced a few years ago. Your mom’s timing belt is already on borrowed time. It’s routine maintenance.

You are about 4 years past due for a timing belt change. Each year the risk of failure, breaking, increases. You know that means a major motor repair or replacing the motor.

So, do you go to the track and/or Atlantic City often? This is really all about gambling. If the belt breaks the '99 Accord is worth about $3k now. The decision will be fix the motor, replace the motor with a salvage yard motor, or junk (donate) the car and buy something else. Is mom in a position to buy a new car?

Just keep rolling those dice, and good luck!

Change the belt. Check the condition of water pump and if funds allow change it out too. Another thing to consider is changing all accessory belts(if funds allow).

It looks it’s not even a debate to leave it as is. :slight_smile:
I guess it’s better to spend $600 now than $2K later.
Thanks all!!!

I usually drive Chrysler products and I have never seen a time recommendation in my owners manuals, the mileage intervals have varied from 60,000 to 105,000 miles. I had a 92 Plymouth minivan with a 3.0 Mitsubishi engine that called for a 60,000 change but the job looked like a pain. I called my dealer and asked them how many of these they had seen with a broken belt. They told me they had never seen a broken belt on a 3.0 and almost all the ones they replaced were because of a leaking water pump. That van went to the junkyard after 14 years and 170,000 miles because of rust, with the original belt on it.

I don’t know where you live but the Honda dealer near Bordentown advertises a TB special including water pump for $389 and also adds if a tensioner is needed that’s an additional $75 . That ad has been in the papers since before Christmas !

I have to agree with all these guys, much as it chagrins me to do it. But if it was a toyota, I’d say go another 10k. but this is the minority opinion, definitly the minority opinion. Also, I bet the cost of the parts and tools and manual would be less than the cost of the shop.