Timing belt

I’ve been told to preemptively replace my 2001 honda accord’s timing belt, by the dealership. It has 85000 miles, but does not drive badly.

Should I replace it or ignore the dealership’s recommendations.

A timing belt is the kind of thing that either has the engine running or not running at all. On some engine designs, when it breaks, not only does the car immediately cease to function but it wrecks all of your valves. It is not something to mess with and it will not give you any warning.

The owner’s manual will tell you exactly what to do. It gives a mileage and time. At 9 years, I’d be surprised if you are not past due. So if you are past the time or the miles - yes - do it.

It will also be pricey and they will also say that the water pump should be replaced at the same time. It should.

But you do not need to use a dealer. Any good, local, independent mechanic with a godd reputation will suffice and will likely cost you less $$.

The timing belt is due for replacement because of age, not mileage.

This service isn’t required at the dealer. Call around to some local independant repair centers and ask what they charge to perform this service. And it should also include the water pump replacement in the price.


It is time to change your timing belt, get some more quotes. Lots of good independent mechanics can handle the job. Get quotes on a new timing belt, water pump, and belt tensioner.

Common question and same answer 99.9% of the time, change it and get multiple quotes.


Do you have a few thousand dollars laying around to replace your engine or perform a major repair on it if the timing belt breaks? If not, replace the timing belt as directed by the owner’s manual.

When you buy your next car, one of the questions to ask is: “Does this car have a rubber timing belt?” If the answer is yes, say thank you and look at something else…There is no reason to accept this MAJOR maintenance item as a normal part of owning a car…At the very minimum, you should reject anything with an “interference” engine which self-destructs if/when the belt breaks…Many of Honda’s competitors have abandoned this design and gone back to using a steel timing chain…

It should have been changed about 4 years ago and the engine will run great right up to the nano-second the belt breaks.

After the belt breaks the repair costs go up considerably.

Gates belts shows 105000 miles for the timing belts on a 2001 Accord,but they don’t list a time interval. The 4cyl is listed as an interference engine , the v-6 is not. This means if the belt on the v-6 breaks the car would just stop with no engine damage and you would need to get it replaced then.

It’s age OR mileage. I’m not sure what the recommended time limit is, but most Accord timing belts are 90,000 mile items, but this page:
alleges that the on the 2001 belt is a 105,000 mile item.

The mechanic is probably recommending it now because most timing belts are at 60, 80, or 100,000 mile intervals, and in that case this car would probably be overdue, OR because he’s thinking it’s supposed to be at 90,000 miles, and it’s getting close.

The OP’s car is one of those engines. You absolutely do not postpone a timing belt on a Honda.

Yes, a timing chain is a good thing. No, an interference engine isn’t necessarily bad. They do it to achieve higher compression and fuel efficiency.

Regardless, the water pump is going to have to be replaced eventually, and the timing belt is usually done with it. It isn’t saving you much to avoid timing belts.

The elapsed time interval for changing that belt is ~8 years.
It is definitely due to be changed on the basis of elapsed time, even if it has not accumulated 105k miles.

The mechanic is recommending now because it is longer than 7 years, the time limit set by the manual. He hit the time limit 2 years ago. Irregardless of miles, it needs to be changed NOW.

That is good advice, Caddyman.

However, I have found that most car salesmen are woefully ignorant of the features/details of the cars that they sell. A customer is just as likely to get a wrong answer on the timing belt question as on virtually anything else that he/she might ask a car salesman.

As a result, the timing belt issue is one that a customer should verify on his own, using internet and print sources of information. This is too important to trust to the salesman’s knowledge or his honesty.

My favorite illustration of this type of situation concerns a question that my brother posed to a car salesman…maybe about 10 years ago. Pointing to the button marked “Traction Control” on the dashboard, my brother asked, “What happens when I push this button?”. Please note that my brother was very familiar with this technology, but he was testing the salesman.

Are you ready for the salesman’s response?
The salesman stated, “Oh, when you push that button, it makes the car heavier”.

My brother’s response to this bizarre answer was, “Wow! I’m really impressed! Just imagine that pushing a button allows the car to defy the laws of physics!”.

While the dim-bulb salesman scratched his head in confusion, my brother and sister-in-law left the showroom.
My sister-in-law still delights in telling the story of this little comedy of errors that played out before her eyes.

Good post and for most people I agree. People overlook the need for this expensive maintenance item when buying a car. I don’t recall seeing much mentioned about timing belts in Consumer Reports as they seem to conveniently overlook this negative feature. I wonder how long oriental vehicle makers for the most part and also VW can get away with this until car buyers wise up.

A rubber timing belt can, however, be an acceptable design feature; possibly even better than a timing chain which can eventually fail too if you can change the belt yourself for the cost of the parts and a Saturday morning.