Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Timing Belt

I have a 1996 Honda Accord with ~75K miles. The timing belt was changed in 2002 (Honda recommends every 7 years if you haven’t hit the mileage threshold). My husband is disagreeing the belt should be changed again. Honda says yes - please help :slight_smile:

Timing belts age, so 7 yrs between changes is reasonable even if mileage would not require it. Timing belt replacement is far cheaper than having one break.

Yes. The timing belt should be changed not only by mileage, but also by age. Rubber breaks down just from being exposed to ozone. So a 7 year old timing belt should be changed based on that fact.


Thank you for the prompt response!

So, your husband thinks that once the original timing belt has been replaced, the new one is good forever?
He has an…interesting…pattern of reasoning.

Please inform your husband that this engine is of the “interference” type, meaning that when the timing belt snaps, the damage to the engine will probably exceed the book value of the car.
If he intends to keep the car, the belt needs to be replaced now, along with the belt tensioners, and the water pump.

He felt that while 7 years has passed since the replacement, we have not put many miles on the car.
Based upon your response he has conceded I was right to push this and we now have an appointment with Honda tomorrow :slight_smile:


You might also want to review with him the meaning of “every XXX miles or XXX months, whichever comes first”. He seems to be ignoring the “whichever comes first” part of the equation.

For the future service needs of this car, as well as any cars that he will own in the future, he needs to understand that most maintenance procedures have both odometer mileage values and elapsed time values, with the added proviso of “whichever comes first”.

Since you have a 14 year old car, you could probably use the several hundred dollars ($$$$) you would save by taking the car to an independent garage/mechanic. The Dealer’s feelings may be hurt, but, yours would be hurt more. Just a thought$.