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Timing belt

i have a 1987 bmw 528e. i had the timing built changed about 30,000 miles ago. a german auto repair shop told me it should be changed along with $1500.00 worth of miscellaneous items. he said it looks worn. 30,000 miles does not seem long to me for a timing belt…what do you all think?

See if you can get a actual figure on timing belt change interval,not simply “looks worn”. I conclude “looks worn” doesn’t include oil soaked.

Do your assessment based on date of last install, combined with mileage passed. If seven years or more, a timing belt might be in order. You can check the BMW recommended interval at Gates Timing Belts brochure at

thx for the site. 60,000. the last record i show of having a belt installed was in 2001. however, this car is only driven maybe once or twice a week and very short distances. like i said about 30,000 miles if that this car has been driven since then. thx for your help.

Timing belts can break even though the mileage is low and the time is long. It is hard to determine if the timing belt is ready to break or not.

The seven years is a rule of thumb and is dependent on how much risk you want to absorb later, if it does break. Check the Gates guide; if this is an interference engine, then I would be more risk averse than non-interference. An interference engine timing belt break generally causes a catastrophic break down and some level of relatively severe piston damage, which is expensive to repair. I would commit to the repair and move on with life; you may want to pursue other courses of action, but take the time to be informed of the consequences if you choose to not change the timing belt.

thank you. unfortunately this is a interference engine. i realize that this could destroy my car. i am trying to rationalize putting more money into a 22 year old car. i know the belt isnt expensive but the labor is costly. the car is just getting old and basic parts are wearing out. i know that people get 200, 300,000 + miles on these cars. i have been the only owner and have taken excellent care of this car of the years. the car has been terrific. at this point in time i just can’t justify putting in 1500.00 worth of work into a car that is MAYBE worth 2000 at the most. what do you think?

To you, your car is worth more than $2000. So what, if the market value is $2000? What does that have to do with anything? Besides, you know your car intimately. You could buy a used car, mileage on routine services unknown, and something expensive break all to heck the same day. Ouch!

everything you say is true, however, the interior (believe it or not) is BEGINNING to show wear. i told you i took good care of it. gaskets around the doors and windows are drying up, the driver’s seat just split a little in the leather…so you see what i am saying …this car is old. from now on i can only see a future of having many things replaced…ie…the radio anti-theft…is not working as of last week. i would buy new…i would never chance buying used. so that is my dilemna.

I am a big BMW fan,mechanic,owner (in fact I had the same car in Europe) great car. My decision even for my car would be to not change the belt, I would put it on myself,no question,but not $1500 into it, no question,no way.

The engine will be destroyed no question there. I saw one of our mechanics (or I saw the results) he dropped one of the 6mm valve cover nuts,thinking it had fallen through he just got another,in reality the nut fell in the gap between the belt and gear,about 1 second of cranking with the starter bent half the valves.