Mechanics

TIMING BELT REPLACEMENT

2000 Honda Accord

Engine problem
2000 Honda Accord 4 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 61000 miles

What is the " real story" with timing belt replacement? Are there any reliable statistics on actual timing belt failures and the resulting engine repair cost? Yes, I suspect the auto industry of fear-factor tactics, promoting overly-conservative recommendations for extra repair profits!

My 2000 4-cyl Honda Accord has only 45k miles, but already the dealership recommends replacement because of 'belt degradation due to age'. My other Accord (4-cly 2001) is going in for a 60k mile check-up and I'm sure I'll get the sales pitch.

At honda. Com they mention 60-90K miles depending on the model, and that timing chains don't need to be replaced. I'll need to find the manuals for my cars to read the specific recommendations, but I don't trust these guys. When were timing chains invented? Any chance many engines in the past 10 years have continued to use rubber timing belts simply for gaining extra repair revenue from the customer?

I sure would appreciate some unbiased words of wisdom on this - thanks.
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Rodrigt
January 29, 2008.



I am a retired machinist and have spent a good part of my life maintaining and repairing mechanical things. I have enjoyed my work most of the time and have always been amazed by the varables in mechanical break downs. Things sometimes operate for years with little sign of wear and while other things fail when it seems they have little reason. I am a firm belever in regular preventative maintainance, modern techno; lgy has help improve the life span of many mechcanical components and help take the guess work out of a lot of service recomendations. That being said in the over all scheme of things it is hard to improve much on the wise sayings of Benjamin Franklin's " a stitch in time saves nine" If you can not see the belt to see if it needs help, And acessing it is almost as difficult as repacing it? Over some time it would seem to be reasonable to just replace it. I do not belive Honda used belts to generate service work while no dobt some dishonesat people will try to take advandage of it to push for more service work. I have worked on my own vechicles since about 1959. First experince with timing chains 1952 Buick milage unknown but chains/sprokets worn until car run poorly. I have heard of cars actually jumping time from sloppy worn chains/sprokets Some designs were transfer gear arrangements vice chains or belts but any moving part will wear. In my opinion all mechanical things wear and failure happens. Circumstances of environment use an abuse are all relative and not always known so failure prediction is somewhat the luck of the draw. Proper care and wise use will place the odds in the favor of less chance of premature failure. I believe the modern design of good quality belt material is more resistant to wear and the compensating belt tensioners improve the chance of the engine running properly for a longer amount of time. I guess time will tell if going back to chains is an improvement and certainly not all chain designs are the same and I am sure it would be possible with modern meatals and lubricates to built a life exspectancy of 500,000 miles plus but would it increase the original cost over the replacement cost of a more ecomonical design? I changed the timing belt, cam belts and water pump on my 1994 Accord at 65,000 miles and the parts parts showed no sign of wear and I wonder if perhaps I could have driven them another 60,000 miles they certainly looked like I could have and I am as frugal as the next guy. However given the unknows and the possible consquence of damage to the engine if the belt did fail allowing the piston to smack the valves I never regretted the decision. I am sorrow to say my son did not change the timing belt on his 1995 toyota corollia and the timing belt broke around 100,000 miles. It destroyed the engine beyond economical repair and strande his wife on her way to work in a not great section of town she got help and towing service OK and fortunatly they were able to replace the engine with a good used engine from Japan for $1000 engine including labor. It was a good deal as some estimates were as high as $2500 exceeding the value of the car. This makes the $400 to change the timing belt seem to be a wise decision. My other son puchased a used Hohda CRV with 95,000 miles the records with the car said the timing belt was changed at 75,000 miles at about 100,000 miles the timing belt broke on the Interstate and he had to be towed home. The engine was not locked up and we replaced the belts and checked the timing and were happen that he had apparently doged the bullet and not damaged his engine. The car started and ran OK after that but he felt it never ran as well as it did before. A experince Honda mechanic checke the car over and felt he probley bend a valve a little and said we wold have to take th head off to be sure. Given the age of the car and it was running OK he never pursue farther diagnois or repair. I think that either the belt was not service at 75,000 as he was told or that it was service by a less than quality repair place with inferior aftyer market parts hence my bias to original equipment parts. I believe 2001 Honda's recomends change at 105,000. The car manual has a highlight that warns if the timing belt was not changed at 105,000 to be sure it is changed at 120,000, I changed my daughters 2001 accord at 95,000 miles, I used original Honda parts and all belts, tensioners and water pump the parts were about $300.00 The parts I removed showed not proplems or signs of wear, I think from the looks of the specific parts I replaced she probabley could have went to the 120,000 mile mark. But now that the work an expense is behind us I feel new is surely has a better chance of not failing than parts with 95,000 miles even if they appear sound. I am happy knowing she is driving with new parts an do not regret when we made the change. Given the low milage of your car I do not think that time alone increases the chance of failure of modern belt material. I would not be extremely concerned at this point but if Honda recomended 60,000 mile service for your model car, I certainly would not go beyond 90,000 miles, Given the expense and labor difficulty I believe original Honda Parts are worth the money. Since Honda has increased the milage intervals on newer models If the car is in good shape and I wanted to keep driving it I would not be comfortable going much over 100,000 miles.

Tiny
Stan Opie
Feb 3, 2008.