Timing Belt Trivia
by Pat Goss
There have been some big changes in timing belts. Now a lot of manufactures have gone away from them but they’re still lots of cars that use timing belts. If you happen to own one, and you look in your owner’s manual and you see that you no longer have to change it at 60,000 miles but rather 90 or 100,000 miles, and you are really happy about that, well don’t get so happy so quick. Reason is, there are a lot of things that go along with a timing belt. Of course the timing belt itself has to be replaced at, whichever comes first, the time or the mileage in the owner’s manual.
And, it has always been standard procedure to replace the water pump. Now if the timing belt drives the water pump, that means the pump is behind the belt and if the pump were to fail, you’d have to take that new timing belt off and do the whole job over again. So that’s a standard - you replace the timing belt and the water pump.
All right, but what about some of these other things in here? We have tensioners, we have idler pulleys and a whole bunch of different things. Well consider this: in the old days when timing belts were changed at 60,000 miles, there was no problem with these parts going 120,000 or so miles. They’d last through two timing belts. But now you’ve got a 100,000 mile timing belt on your car and you’ve got these things that are designed for maybe 120,000 miles or so. There’s no way that these various components are going to last through two timing belts - they’re not going to last for 200,000 miles in most cases.
So that means that you’re now looking for a complete timing belt job and that means that all the parts that rotate with the timing belt they’re replaced at the same time as the timing belt. So keep that in mind. You know, it’s good news and it’s bad news.
If you have a question or comment, write to me.
The address is MotorWeek, Owings Mills, MD, 21117.