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Timing Belt

I own a 2000 Lexus ES300. It has 35,000 miles. It was urged that I replace the timing belt due to time 8 years old not the mileage. What is your opinion?

It’s a good idea. Timing belts wear out with age as well as mileage, and give absolutely no warning before they snap. At best it’ll leave you stranded and on the hook for the towing bill, along with belt replacement. At worst (if this has an interference engine), the belt snapping could cause severe internal engine damage.

I think this car’s water pump is driven by the timing belt. Have the pump replaced along with the belt, since the labor is all the same anyways and a new pump isn’t a bad idea after 8 years as well.

My opinion is that you should open your glove compartment and get the authoritative answer.

2000 Lexus ES300 has the 1MZ-FE v-6 engine in it. Yes the water pump is driven by the timing belt, good time to change this also. THey are billed as changing the timing belt every 90K miles or 6 years. You are due. May I also suggest that the two camshaft seals and the crank shaft seal be replaced also, as I have seen these leak all over new t-belts and ruin them prematurely. It is not that much more. I have the same engine with 168K and is on it’s 3rd timing belt.
Your car does not have an interference engine, but at 70 mph on the highway, I have seen the pistons tag valves. Either way, it really bites when the belt and/or the water pump goes south on you. Hope this helped.

Thank you all for your response.

“My opinion is that you should open your glove compartment and get the authoritative answer”…which is that the engine is due–or perhaps a bit overdue–for that vital maintenance procedure.

I can never quite figure out why vehicle maintenance is such a mystery to so many people when the ultimate guide to that topic sits (unread, apparently) in the glove compartment. Every maintenance procedure has an odometer mileage value and an elapsed time value noted for it, along with the notation, “Whichever comes first”.

This isn’t rocket science, but you would think so, based on people’s failure to utilize the clearly-written information provided by the car’s manufacturer.

We read the manual for our Honda Odyssey, which indicates that we need to replace the timing belt at 60k miles. However, we question how necessary that is given that it will cost us over $1,000 to do something to a car that is running just fine. If we don’t do it, what is the worst thing that will happen? What is the most likely thing that will happen? Is it dangerous not to change it? Is it going to ruin our entire engine if we wait until it breaks to fix it? These are the kinds of questions we who question clearly written information have.

There are other factors involved in belt replacements. Age, environmental conditions, any oil or coolant leaks or vapors present, etc.
JMO, but a timing belt should never go beyond 6 years and this is especially true if it’s an interference fit engine. (meaning engine damage will occur if the belt breaks and I do not think your engine is one of those.)

Your car is a 2000 model. This means it was likely built in 1999 and the belt was manufactured who knows when before that. This means that the original belt is probably around 12 years old now and it’s been on borrowed time for quite a while.

Even with a non-interference engine what will happen if the belt breaks is that the engine will cease running immediately. You will be stranded where you’re at as a minimum and if the belt breaks while you’re trying to beat a train at a crossing then the results would be a lot worse.


Since this is most likely an interference engine it is either$1000 for the timing belt. Or $2000 or more when it breaks to replace timing belt, bent valves, rebuilding heads and probably some more things. But it’s your vehicle so it’s your choice.

I’m pretty sure there were two versions of the 1MZ-FE 3.0L engine offered for the 2000 Lexus ES-300.

  • The 190 hp version was not an interference engine.
  • They then offered a 215 hp version of that engine with VVT (variable valve timing),
    and that engine was an interference engine.

The belt is overdue based on time. If it were my car, I would change it.

To VAmama: If your Odyssey is 10+ years old you might consider running it into the ground. The motor in your Odyssey will be totally ruined if and when the belt breaks. The motor will run great right to the moment the belt breaks. There is no warning signs, the belt breaks, there is a bunch of awful noise, and you are stuck on the side of the road. The repair bill for a new, used, or rebuilt motor is from $2,500 to $4000.

VAmama, timing belt replacement is very important on an interference engine, because if it breaks there will be significant engine damage. If it’s a non interference engine it’s not likely to have any damage, it will just be an inconvenience of being stranded on the side of the road. One of my cars that has a non interference engine has a recommended timing belt replacement of 60K miles, but I usually let it go about 100K miles between changes. The car has over 517K miles on it now and using the 100K mile interval it has had 2 of 5 timing belts break. One time was because the water pump seized and one time it broke early in the change interval possibly from a defective belt. If my engine were an interference engine I’d try to stick very close to the recommended change interval and would also change the water pump and tensioner at the same time, because if the water pump or tensioner bearing goes out or seizes it will ruin the timing belt and the engine.

FordMan59 wrote:
If it’s a non interference engine it’s not likely to have any damage, it will just be an inconvenience of being stranded on the side of the road.

It could also be the inconvenience of having the car die in the middle lane of a crowded highway, surrounded by trucks doing 75 MPH. That’s not a situation I’d like to find myself in, especially knowing that it was completely preventable.

lion9car, you are correct about the traffic conditions, but this is possible with any break down and even though many breakdowns could be prevented through regular maintenance may people refuse to do anything until they have to. I will often allow things that are not extreme safety related concerns go a longer interval than the auto manufacturer/part manufacture recommends and the only thing I can ever remember having an issue with is the 2 incidences with the timing belt in 35 years of driving. The particular car of mine that I was talking about is now used basically for local driving (2 lane 55 mph max speed limit). I think air filter manufactures recommend changing the air filter about every 15K miles, I use to work and drive on dusty construction sites daily and even though I’d check the condition of the air filter often by checking for light passing through the filter I don’t think I ever changed them more often than 50K miles. Fuel filters are the same way, I’ve changed the fuel filter on my '88 Escort one time since new and it’s got over 517K miles. The time I changed it was because I was having a issue with poor performance and even though I didn’t think this was the problem I changed it, it turned out to be something besides the fuel filter (vacuum leak or bad 02 sensor if I recall correctly). Spark plugs (platinum) are recommended to be changed every 100K miles, I’ve ran several sets near 150K miles and they were still firing fine with no significant reduction if fuel efficiency or significant increase in emissions when changed, I just felt guilty about continuing to run them. Oil/filter changes and safety issues are two things I don’t skimp on. When it comes to safety and such things as brakes, tie rods, struts, ball joints, wheel bearings, etc, if only one component wears out I will usually go ahead and replace them all rather than waiting for the others to get in bad condition, it costs more initially, but I only have to tear into it one time and do one alignment instead of replacing one part now having it realigned then a month down the road having to replace something else and realign it, then three months later the same thing again.