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Timing Chain

Does the timing chain on a 1885 Honda Accord with 80,000 miles on it and is rarely driven need to be replaced? How much longer can my mother wait?

First, we need to clarify whether that vehicle has a timing belt or a timing chain.

If–as I suspect–it has a timing belt, and if–as I suspect–the car was made in 1985, rather than 1885, then the belt is approximately 18 years overdue for replacement. The meager number of miles has nothing to do with the longevity of the belt, simply because rubber parts deteriorate over time just from sitting.

And, in case you think that the belt will give you some kind of aubible warning prior to its demise, let me assure you that the engine’s performance and noise level will be quite normal, right up to the milisecond after the belt snaps. Once it snaps, the necessary repairs to pistons and valves will cost at least 3 times the book value of the car.

I strongly suggest that you have the timing belt (and water pump, and serpentine belt, and tensioners) replaced yesterday.

I didn’t think Honda was using timing belts in 1885…

Seriously, if it has a belt it’s overdue. Read the recommended maintenance schedule that came with your mom’s Owner’s Manual. If it has a schedule for changing the belt it’ll say something like “60,0000 miles or 5 years”. If it says nothing about changing a timing belt, then your mom has a chain and needs do nothing. Chains are designed to last the life of the engine.

Check the maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual?

To be fair, the car is 24 years old, so the possibility that the owner’s manual is still there is fairly low.

Also, older Hondas didn’t list a change interval on the timing belt, even though they’re interference engines!

Gates recommends doing it every 60,000 miles, but they are a belt manufacturer so they’re probably going to err on the side of sooner rather than later. If the belt has never been changed, definitely do it now and it should probably be fine for another decade.

Your just guessing. Is it 1985, 1995, or even 1988?