When Should a Timing Belt Be Changed...by time or mileage?

timing-belts
hyundai
belts
accent

#1

I am driving a 2004 ACCENT, which I bought new. I’ve been getting my oil changes at my selling HYUNDAI dealer. The car has only about 21K miles on it.



Everytime I come in, the “service advisor” spells out a horror-filled scenario of what might befall me if I don’t get my timing belt changed NOW!



It seems (according to my advisor) that mileage is not the sole criteria for changing the belt … time installed is also a factor. After six years, in spite of the low mileage, I need to get the timing belt (and EVERY other belt) changed.



Is this theory realistic? I’d be grateful to hear about relevant experiences from other ACCENT owners


#2

What does your manual say? Most list miles and time limits, which are appropriate, rubber degrades with both.


#3

Your Owner’s Manual will explain this concept for you.
Timing belts need to be changed at XXXXX miles or X years, whichever comes first.
Your Owner’s Manual will provide the missing mileage and elapsed time values.

Failure to follow the guidelines will result in extensive engine damage when the belt snaps (typically ~$2,000) if the engine is of the “interference” type.

You really need to spend some time reading the maintenance schedule that is contained in your Owner’s Manual.


#4

VDC is right abut the time interval for the timing belt. As for the other belts, they should be inspected, as well as the hoses, and are changed on a “condition based” criteria. If drive belts for altenator, etc show cracks, they should be changed.

If those show cracks or the hoses feel soft, they should be changed. Don’t let the service guy scare you into needlesly changing belts and hoses, except the timing belt.

I would only change external belts and hoses on a time basis if I lived in the Sahara desert or the Arctic.


#5

Usually, but not always, there is a recommended time and mileage replacement schedule, most of the ones I’ve seen recommend replaced at around 6 years. If that’s the case with your car, you’ve likely exceeded the recommended time limit. And the dealer is right in advising you to have it changed.

Check your owner?s manual to be certain.


#6

The service advisor is correct and what he is telling you is not proprietary to Hyundais.
This applies to every vehicle that uses a timing belt instead of a chain.

Your car is an '04 and odds are that it was manufactured in '03 (production tag is on the door jamb) with the belt made who knows when before it was installed on the assembly line. This means the belt is probably right around 7 years old at this point or close to it. Six years is the maximum I would allow one to go and they’ve been known to break even at 3 or 4 years of age.


#7

Definitely double check the service manual-- 6 years seems like a pretty short interval compared to what a lot of them are these days.

But if that’s what it says, you’ve gotta do it. It sucks, but it will cause damage usually amounting to engine destruction if it fails and there’s no meaningful way to inspect it, so changing it on schedule is the only way to be sure.

There’s no reason to get this done at a dealer, though. A good indpendent mechanic should be able to halve the dealer’s estimate, and as the other posters mentioned the other belts may or may not need changing (those can be inspected and won’t wreck your engine when they break, but usually since they have to come off anyways to change the timing belt, it makes sense to go ahead and replace them to save on labor).


#8

Are you telling us your owner’s manual doesn’t tell you when to change it? That would be very hard to believe.


#9

How long a timing belt lasts is also dependent on the environmental conditions and other factors. Excessive cold, heat, any minor oil leakage or mist from a seal, etc. will shorten belt life so just like with many other issues the owners manual is not always the final word.

The owners manuals are produced by the marketing department who want the few people who actually take it out of the glove box and read it to be dazzled by how little maintenance the car needs. Not.


#10

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my question. I found your observations very helpful in deciding how to deal with the problem.

Ralph B.


#11

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my question. I found your observations very helpful in deciding how to deal with the problem.

Ralph B.


#12

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my question. I found your observations very helpful in deciding how to deal with the problem.

Ralph B.


#13

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my question. I found your observations very helpful in deciding how to deal with the problem.

Ralph B.


#14

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my question. I found your observations very helpful in deciding how to deal with the problem.

Ralph B.