When to replace timing belt?

I have a 1997 Toyota Celica GT convertible in very good condition. I bought it from the second owner who had only had it for about a year after purchasing it from a used car dealer, and this owner did not have the prior maintenance records, so I have to assume the timing belt has never been replaced. The car has around 82,500 miles on it. The owner’s manual says to replace the timing belt every 60,000 miles if the car is used extensively for short-distance, low-speed driving or in dirty conditions, neither of which apply. However, there’s no recommendation for when to do this service if the car has been driven under normal conditions. Does anyone have any advice on when to do the service? As I understand it, if you’re going to inspect the timing belt, you might as well replace it, along with the water pump and several seals, since the labor cost of just the inspection is the majority of the cost for this service anyway.

Now. Do the service now.

Yes, do everything.

Yes…do it ASAP. I just found out mine needed to be replaced at 5 years or 60,000 miles. So mine is about 20,000 miles or 6 years overdue! Just the thought of the belt breaking and destroying your engine (if it is the interference type) is enough to get it in the shop TODAY!

Yes, replace it (and do the water pump, tensioner, and whatever else can be done while the mechanic is in there). The Gates timing belt list says that it’s a non-interference engine, so a break should just be inconvenient rather than catastrophic. It lists 60k miles under “severe” service, so 82k is getting a little long of tooth for normal service (maybe 90k). Frankly, I would consider 7k miles a year probably “severe” service, if it involved a lot of short trips over most of its life. Finally, 11 years is far too long for any belt, so it’s overdue on age alone.

i’ve seen belts last 200k.also i’ve seen them go with 30k.worst case if you are driving and it breaks the engine will die.possibly you will bend a valve and at worst need to fix or replace the head.you should replace it asap.i am a strong believer in preventive maintainace.i am a mechanic.not a english major…haha. (spelling)

I just found out mine needed to be replaced at 5 years or 60,000 miles.

What vehicle do you own that has a 60k timing belt interval. I don’t know of any car since the mid to late 90’s that doesn’t have a 100k interval.

Thanks everyone! Good to know it’s not an interference engine–at least it won’t get damaged if the belt breaks. I’ll take care of replacing it one of these days soon!

Subaru Impreza with 2.2 Liter flat engine…5 mos. or 60,000 is stated right in the maintenance book. I was led astray by mechanics and even a Subaru dealer personnel who told me “nah, you don’t need a timing belt until 100,000 mi”. Never listen to these people…LOOK in the maintenance book in the glovebox!

Hyundai products up till about 2004 required timing belt replacements every 60k. Pretty sad, you think you get a bargain in the price but require an extra timing belt change and I have a feeling those seeking this “bargain” car neglect the item.

Pardon me for being emphatic, here: When the belt breaks, the car will stop running immediately - without warning - and it will not restart no matter how you try. It doesn’t matter where you are or how much you want to get out of traffic, you’re toast. Please do not wait; you are already long overdue.

To add to what Barry stated, if you are in the left lane of the interstate, in the midst of semi-trailers when that belt snaps, you would find yourself in a life-threatening situation with no engine power–which of course also means no power steering and (very quickly) no power assist for the brakes.

Or, if the belt snaps while you are in a rural area at night, you could be greatly inconvenienced. Or, if you ever have to drive through rough urban areas, you might find yourself stuck in a place where you don’t want to spend any time.

In other words, if you decide to further defer the replacement of that timing belt, at least make sure that your dependents are covered with adequate survivor benefits.

Do it now and have them check the serpentine belt. The other posts are correct if this thing snaps on you, you aren’t moving until you’re hooked up to a truck. I think it cost about $300 on my '97 Escort and another $60 or $70 for the serpentine belt.

isn’t it disgusting that we are STILL putting up with these ridiculous rubber and cloth timing belts—manufacturers----please get into the 21st century with your designs

My 2004 aveo has a 60k mile timing belt, but I didn’t know it until it broke at 67k miles. Now I have to fork out $1500 to replace it AND have all the other subsequent damage fixed.

Personally I prefer a timing belt over a chain for interference engines. Especially if you put a lot of miles on your vehicle like I do. A belt becomes a normal maintenance item. If you do it yourself the cost is minimal. Takes me a morning to replace the belt/water-pump/tensioner/drive-belts/hoses and thermostat/cam seals. About $800 over the 300k miles I usually keep my vehicles.

If you keep a vehicle 300k miles and it’s a interference engine you BETTER REPLACE the chain. A chain that slips is just as damaging as a belt that breaks. Replacing a chain is a LOT more involved. Many back-yard mechanics may have the skills to replace a belt…but NOT a chain. You usually have to drop the oil pan and one some vehicles that may require loosing the motor mounts and raising the engine. Also there are more gaskets involved…the job could cost well over $1000. And not too many people are going to spend that much on a car with 250k miles on it. I just did the belt on my 98 Pathfinder that my daughter drives this past summer. Over 310k miles. I replaced the pump last time I did the belt…so I didn’t replace it this time. Total cost with QUALITY parts - (Under $100).

Being physically unable to replace my own timing belt, and having had to replace only one chain (and that one became noisy before there was any sinfificant timing change), I personally prefer chains.

However, I’ve always wondered why a different configuration couldn’t be designed in, one where the timing belt was external and as easily changed as the serpentine belt.

Or perhaps where the timing belt controls something so critical making it easy for the technically challenged to be trying to change it would not be such a good idea after all.

5 mos. or 60,000 I sure hope that should be 5 YEARS or 60,000 miles