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Timing belt

I have a 2009 Accent with 23,000. Dealership says it’s time to change the timing belt, due to year and weather/road conditions. I have my car in garage and really only use it to drive around time. I would like to know if anyone agrees with them and/or can give me advice on when I need to change the belt.

What does the owners manual say? Most manufacturers whose cars need TB replacement will have a recommended time by which or mileage by which to change it, whichever comes first. Dealers don’t always accurately state the manufacturers’ recommendations…

Most cars the replacement interval is about 100k miles (plus or minus a bit). Or, 8 years. Look at the owners manual.

And, I agree, dealers main goal is to make money, so they frequently understate the requirements.

The car was likely manufactured in 2007 so this means the belt is roughly 8 or so years old. That means it’s due.
Miles and age are not the only factors involved in belt life. There’s temperature extremes in the environment and things such as chronic engine overheating or oil and/or engine coolant leaks and vapors although the latter 2 should not be issues at 23k miles.

The manufacturer’s recommendations on many things are not always correct. It may be correct for the marketing and sales departments; not so much for the mechanical longevity department.

The timing belt is made of a reinforced rubber and the rubber deteriorates with time. generally there is a 7 to 8 year life of the belt even if the car doesn’t accumulate a lot of miles so it should be changed.

If the timing belt drives the water pump, it should be changed at the same time. They may also recommend replacing some oil seas while they are in there, but this should be done as a package deal and should not add more than $100 to the total bill. Well worth doing as doing them later will cost a LOT more.

It doesn’t have to be done by the dealer. You should get a quote from the dealer, but also any independent mechanics that you get recommendations for. Check with your friends, family and co-workers for recommendations.

Auto repair is a business transaction. You made a good business decision by coming here for a second opinion. Treat the rest of the repair as a business transaction and you will do good. Be sure that each quote you get includes the same things. I.e. a quote might be $10 less, but didn’t include the oil seals etc. Some mechanics will also recommend replacing the tensioner but I don’t think you will need that.

The GATES website recommends replacing the timing belt for your vehicle every 6 years/60,000 miles.


Have you ever seen old TIRES ?
lots of deep tread left, one’s first impression would say ‘‘wow, these have a lot left on them.’’
. . . only to stop and look at the sidewalls !
eegads !
look at all the little spider web of tiny cracks all over . . like a dry lake bed. . . . past time to replace those . by ? . . TIME, aka AGE, not miles.

I have a 79 in the driveway with merely 71k miles on it . . . on its THIRD set of tires !

Timing belts are ‘‘out of sight out of mind’’ but are also affected by TIME.
Since you brought it up . . .since you ARE noticing the time factor now ?
replace it now too,

The GATES website recommends replacing the timing belt for your vehicle every 6 years/60,000 miles.

I would too, if I were in the business of making timing belts…


The dealership’s advice is conservative, but reasonable. If the timing belt fails the car will come to a stop and you won’t be able to start it. Plus it could do severe damage to the engine. I wouldn’t lose sleep over it, but suggest to schedule the timing belt replacement job at your earliest convenience. As mentioned above, the material the belt is made from ages and weakens whether it is being used or just sitting in the garage.

One more thing I forgot to mention, in my experience, timing belts tend to break in the winter when the rubber is more brittle. you can’t count on that absolutely, but the time recommendations are based on the earliest failures so I think you would be safe to do the change in the fall, so you can save up for it if you need to.

Heat over time and mileage for the most part wear out a belt although a well used belt appears almost like new in my experience with a VW. Some will say ozone in the air does too but may not be a major factor especially away from an urban area. Weather and road conditions have nothing to do with timing belt life. If you live in a northern climate such as Canada as compared to Mexico City and if your miles were mostly highway miles then the heat factor could be discounted some and you could run another year or more before changing the belt. Slow speed city miles will keep the belt hot for a longer time than 23k highway miles at a higher speed with consequently more deterioration.

There is no definitive answer to your question as timing belts can fail randomly. An auto mfr will recommend a belt change at a mileage and time before any normally anticipated failure plus some safety margin.

If you change the belt now, then motor on knowing that you did the best you know how assuming a competent mechanic did the work. By the time you need a second belt, the car might be gone. Changing the belt on time helps to ensure that you will not risk losing your engine or risk an engine stoppage away from home.

Timing belts seem to be going away as people are catching on to the expense of changing one if they can’t DIY.

Disclaimer: This info is for the site regulars and resident gear heads. I would NEVER tell “Non Familiars” to follow my lead, but…here goes…

Most of my experience seems at severe odds with the life span of a T-Belt. Ive seen cars with 50K on the clock sit unused for almost a decade…be started up and driven 100K over the next 10yrs with no T-Belt change ( I forced them to change it).

Almost everything I have ever seen goes against the claims of how long or how far the belt can go… Have I seen belts fail? Boy Howdy have I ever! Some throw teeth some fray but MOST die from some other driven device…like a water pump, Idler or tensioner going bad or not being adjusted…which is fine reason for me to refresh the belt and ancillaries. For me personally…I usually adhere to a schedule of about 80-100K to do the belt…no matter how much time has past to accrue the miles because it is ALWAYS longer than is supposedly safe to do so…Always. Never had a failure, not a one. Not even a hint of a failure.

Most of you know me to be very adamant about people changing their belts esp when they dont know the history of the vehicle…and I’m a big proponent of this. But on my own vehicles…I guess I like to play around…and the way I “play” is to change it on a mileage mark and ignore the time it takes to reach those miles. Its been working like clockwork thus far. I accept and can handle the risks. It would be irresponsible to tell someone else to do this however. I’m just relaying what I have been doing…I can handle the risk myself.

That being said…the T Belt is driving your valve train…a very expensive part of your engine and the risks involved outweigh the expense of replacement in my and most peoples estimation…its cheap insurance from catastrophic engine damage. No mechanic would tell a “Non Familiar” to be risky in any way with their vehicles T belt schedule for it surely wouldn’t pan out well…and would make you look like an Ass in due time.

How do you explain to someone you told that it was OK to drive and their T belt snapped…but it snapped because they were running 90% water in the cooling system…and the water pump failed…and took out the T belt. Few would be able to understand the distinction…because in the end the T belt died…but was it the T belts “fault”? No…but this is beside the point. Get me? Sometimes I suggest a T belt swap because of the ancillaries are making noise etc…

But I think the current thinking about the belts integrity…especially Time…are very under rated…and this is honestly the safe bet to place. Its all about liability. But those belts are pretty damn tough.

What is my point? I guess I am saying that I PERSONALLY only adhere to a mileage marker…not time. T belts do not seem to grenade on a Timer. Tho I will not argue with anyone who asks me to swap the belt due to time…I’m not stupid…that’s EZ money. I wont argue the logic of either argument. But for me, personally? Its miles…not time. Again…Liability.


Change the belt but have a good independent mechanic change it. No use going to the dealer and wasting your money.

"Change the belt but have a good independent mechanic change it. No use going to the dealer and wasting your money."

Maybe yes, maybe no.
Many car dealers are extremely price-competitive when it comes to timing belt jobs, and some (Honda dealers come to mind) can be cheaper than indy mechanics.

“Maybe yes, maybe no.
Many car dealers are extremely price-competitive when it comes to timing belt jobs, and some (Honda dealers come to mind) can be cheaper than indy mechanics.”

I agree and also would point out that dealers tend to have more experience changing timing belts on a particular make/model…


… the dealer service areas probably have any “Special Tools” that make the job easier and more likely to be done better and requiring less time for a technician (although paid by the job, not by actual time required). A happy mechanic does a better, more thorough job, generally job.

I put a timing belt on my DOHC 3.5L Chrysler V-6 engine. I ordered a couple of special tools and made another one prior to beginning the job. I don’t even think I could have done it properly without them or if I did it would have been difficult and I wouldn’t be as confident in the job.

Because this job could be a “cake walk” for a dealer technician (for reasons given above) the price for the job could be very competitive or even lower than at an independent shop as pointed out by @VDCdriver.

Get estimates at a dealer and at a good independent shop and compare, but be sure the same parts are being included in the timing belt swap (belt, water pump, pulleys, seals, etcetera).


The dealer was less expensive than two independent shops for the timing belt job on my 2005 Accord EX V6.

A timing belt failure will likely result in an engine replacement, or at least very expensive top end repairs. If the manufacturer has measured the mean time to failure and the variability, they could subtract 6 times the standard error to get a maximum time before the timing belt must be changed without any failures. I’d guess they don’t have a good measure of variability, and must back off a bit more. For me, spending $800 after 7 years and 105,000 miles was not a hardship. That’s about $120 per year or $80 per 10,000 miles. While the timing belt is probably the most expensive maintenance item, it isn’t a lot more than 4 new tires.

Honda, I think yours is an excellent post. I think it explained that while under ideal condition a timing belt can last indefinitely, the fact that it’s subject to things it can’t control like a failing water pump or crank main seal, is reason enough to change it on schedule. If nothing else it’s a periodic look-see.

Correct @“the same mountainbike” Like I mentioned… I cannot argue the logic behind the preventive maintenance of the T belt… It IS the Achilles heel of todays engines…and I would bet a fair sum of money that the trend BACK to T-Chains is a direct result of customer dissatisfaction over the T-Belts that were foisted upon us without asking.

I always mention the time I discovered that T-Belts were put into use because of the Bean Counters and not an engineering decision. Anger doesn’t quite encompass the feelings I have over this. I mean…most of the engines are works of art with a rubber band Achilles heel that most drivers simply do not understand. Its hard to even explain it to rational people. Salvage yards are piled high with the resultant fallout of this.


I like to think that customer dissatisfaction, bad reputation, is what obsoleted timing belts. Beyond having to pay such a large scheduled maintenance cost periodically, the opportunity for problems with the work seems too great. I wish I had five bucks for every horror story I’ve heard of botched timing belt changes. That, I believe, may be as much a part of the bad reputation TBs have as the maintenance cost itself.