I drive a 2002 Chrysler Sebring LXI convertible. It has about 127,000 miles on it. I took my car to the mechanic yesterday for some preventative maintenance. For 3 years, the oil light had been coming on when I brake. I ignored it because it was coming on at stops and immediately going off when I started moving. It probably wasn’t a big deal because if it actually had been anything big my engine would have fallen apart by now. It had recently been coming on more often, to the point where as the car warmed up it would come on while coasting as well. So I stopped stalling and got it to the mechanic. He ran a pressure test and said it was okay. Not great, but okay. Which I guess is to be expected with a car this old. He replaced the sending unit, did an oil change with some thicker oil, and added some sort of additive. Seems to have worked; oil light isn’t coming on any more.
Anyway, while I was on the phone with him, he suggested I get the timing belt replaced as a routine maintenance task. He said that conventional wisdom is that you replace every 90,000 miles. I wasn’t sure if I’d done that, but I am pretty diligent about keeping up with the maintenance suggested in the owner’s manual. We didn’t do the timing belt change today.
When I got my car back, I checked the section on maintenance. It did mention replacement of the engine timing belt, but not at 90,000 miles. It suggested mileage ranging from 145,000 to 168,000, depending on the type of engine and the type of driving you do. So it looks like I have 20 to 40 thousand miles to go before I should get that belt changed according to the manual. I only drive about 7500 miles a year, so that will be a while yet.
I like my mechanic. He seems knowledgeable and honest, but I’m not sure on this one. Do I follow the mechanic’s advice or do I go with the manufacturer’s manual? I’ve heard timing belt replacement is a pretty costly job as far as preventative maintenance goes.