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When (if) to replace timing chain on 2004 Toyota Avalon V6

I’m told by my dealer that I must replace the timing chain by 100,000 miles. I’ve also been told by others who’ve driven multiple vehicles over 250K miles that they’ve never replaced a timing chain on any of their vehicles. Who’s right in this case?

Does it have a timing belt or timing chain? According to this Toyota FAQ;

the timing chain was first used in the 2005 model year. If it has a timing belt, the change interval is probably 7yr/90k so it is overdue.

Ed B.

Thanks Ed! I’ll verify with my dealer.

You need to know if your motor uses a timing belt or timing chain? is a good web site to research this data. Gates is a big manufacturer of OEM and replacement timing belts, and other drive belts.

If you have a timing chain, you don’t replace it unless it is getting very noisey or showing other signs of wear. A timing chain can last the life of the motor.

A timing belt is a replacement item often at 90K miles or 7-8 years whichever comes first. The Gates site will give you all the specifice for your car and motor.

The engine should have a belt and 7 years is about the limit on a belt because it’s also time dependent.
Your car is a 2004 that was likely built in 2003 so it’s a few years past due.

Regarding engines with chains, it can often be assumed that if a chain is worn out then the rest of the engine may not be far behind. Lack of regular oil changes is usually what does a chain in.

Some drivers also allow belt equipped engines to go for infinity without changing the belt, ever.
These people have gambled for whatever reason and through sheer luck of the draw have been extremely lucky.

Your friends that say they never replace their timing chain are right, they’re usually ‘life of the car’ items. But, as others have said, yours has a timing belt, and should be replaced. While yours is not an ‘interference engine’, so engine damage will not occur if it breaks, it will probably break at the worst time possible. Do the water pump and idler pully at the same time.

Excellent advice all. Thanks! Sounds like I’m (over)due for a trip to the shop.

You can view your maintenance schedule online at if yours is lost.
It indicates to replace the timing belt at 90,000 miles or 108 months.

Gates website also indicates that this is not an interference engine, so if it breaks, the engine will just stop. If this scares you, rep;ace it now, if it doesn’t, you can gamble.

“this is not an interference engine, so if it breaks, the engine will just stop. If this scares you, rep;ace it now, if it doesn’t, you can gamble.”

It is true that this engine is not of the interference design, but where you are driving when the engine stops can be a very crucial issue. For reasons that I cannot fathom, most folks seem to envision their car breaking down in their own driveway or some other convenient and safe place.

In reality, a breakdown is more likely to take place while driving, and since that can include…
crossing RR tracks…
driving at night, in remote areas…
passing 18-wheelers at high speed…
driving through neighborhoods that may not be safe…
getting across a highway after stopping for a stop sign…
…the OP should consider the possibility of the engine suddenly stopping without warning to be a potential safety factor.