What's the worst that could happen?


#1

I recently had a full inspection done on my 2006 PT Cruiser, and one of the recommendations of the mechanic was that he replace the timing belt and water pump. It was a pretty expensive repair, so I passed. I’m wondering, though, should I have it done anyway, and what is a fair estimate for the service. Any ideas about that and what’s the worst that could happen if I don’t have this done?


#2

By the way, the car have just over 110,000 miles on it.


#3

If you have an interference engine, and the timing belt breaks, you will have expensive damage. Because pistons and valves will collide, or valves will collide with each other. In any case, you will have to to remove the cylinder head and sent it out to a machine shop for repairs

If you still have the original timing belt, replace it ASAP

Even if you haven’t met the mileage limit for belt replacement, you’ve met the time limit already


#4

The worst that can (likely will) happen is the rubber belt breaks. Without warning, BOOM!–dead engine. Then, in a “worst-case scenario,” it chooses to let go in an inopportune place…like on the Chesapeake Bay bridge, or underneath the Hudson in the Holland Tunnel.

You have to then navigate a vehicle to a stop, with no power steering or power brakes. (Now, I used to think this wasn’t THAT big of a deal, but apparently people died in a similar situation when their Chevy Cobalts turned off without warning.)

Oh, and check to see if your engine is interference or not. If so, you’ll have to replace the cylinder head, and (in a worst-case scenario) have to swap out the entire engine.


#5

The good news is that this engine is a non-interference engine, so when the timing belt breaks, you will not destroy the engine. (Please note that I said WHEN it breaks, not IF it breaks.)

The bad news is that you are a few years past the elapsed time interval for doing this maintenance, and a few thousand miles past the odometer mileage interval for this maintenance, and when the belt breaks (with no warning whatsoever) the engine will stall, the power steering and the power assist for your brakes will be non-functional, and you will be stranded.

So…if you never have to be at a specific place, at a specific time, it is fine to wait until the belt snaps–and strands you.
If you never drive through dodgy areas, then it is fine to wait until the belt snaps–and strands you.
If you never drive over RR crossings, it is fine to wait until the belt snaps–and strands you.
If you never drive on a highway in the midst of 18-wheelers, it is fine to wait until the belt snaps–and strands you.

I know what I would do, but–obviously–this decision is up to the OP.


#6

Also, the water pump is replaced at the same time to save you money. When it fails the timing belt needs to be removed. When it fails the engine will over heat and die a horrible death. If it leaks it will ruin your brand new timing belt.


#7

“Also, the water pump is replaced at the same time to save you money.”

…along with the serpentine belt, and ALL belt tensioners.


#8

Tell your kids that next time they are in the car with you, they can pick any time and place they choose and without warning reach over and turn off the engine, and you can’t try to restart it. No power steering or brakes, no engine. See how you like it. Then decide if you’d rather replace the belt when it’s convenient for you.


#9
The good news is that this engine is a non-interference engine, so when the timing belt breaks, you will not destroy the engine. (Please note that I said WHEN it breaks, not IF it breaks.)

@VDCdriver‌

I was under the impression that the chrysler 2.4 liter IS an interference engine, Not valve to piston, but valve to valve.

My mom has a 02 caravan and the timing belt actually stripped the teeth at the crank. The crank to cam timing was off but the two cams stayed in time with each other.

The repair shop said that if the cams lose time with each other the valves will hit each other and you will have bent valves. They told me that most of the time there is no damage if the belt breaks, but they had seen a few with bent valves.

That being said this was the same shop that did not recommend replacing the water pump, My parents didn’t know about it and by the time I asked if they replaced the water pump the job was already done, so that was that.


#10

I did some research and the PT Cruiser does have a semi-interference engine. It depends on where the belt brakes, you may or may not have bent valves.

Better replace it soon!


#11

@PJ23 Doing required maintenance is part of the cost of car ownwership. Others have made good recommendations to make this vehicle last its design life. You cannot beat the odds by ignoring necessary maintenance.

Car designers make tradeoffs in component life and cost to make car ownership affordable and reliable enough.

Most cars, if kept running for their entire design life, will cost about the purchase price in maintenance, repairs, and tires. If you don’t believe me ask any car design engineer.

For a Toyota that would be about 300,000+ miles or so. This is also true for unreliable foreign cars, but in that case the total costs and “end of life” occur at much earlier mileage.

Smart car buyers beat this figire by buying low mileage, well cared for cars about 5-6 years old. They still have to do repairs and maintenance, but the total ownership cost is much less, even though they still need to do all the required maitenance. A timing belt change is MAINTENANCE.

You can’t have your cake and eat it too!