Timing Belt Questions

My father-in-law (88 years old) is in a quandry re: whether to change his timing belt on a 1999 Honda Accord V-6. The car only has 53K miles on it and has been serviced regularly, but the service manual
recommends a change at 7 years. The car is driven on a regualr basis but not too far and is kept in a heated garage.
When asked about the longevity of the belt basis on age rather than mileage, the dealer kind of hem & hawed saying that there was about a 33% chance the belt would break if not changed now.
I wanted to survey this group for your recommendations based on your experience. Also, I have heard that when a belt breaks on a Honda while being driven, engine damage is likely. Is this true? Finally, the dealer has quoted $850 to change this belt. Is this a fair price?
TIA - Tom
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@insightbb.com wrote:

33%??? that's b.s.
honda belt technical specs are very tight. correct belt with correct installation has less than 0.000001% chance of failure within the service interval stated in the manual. yes, that chance of failure increases once time/mileage are exceeded, but even if it goes up 10-fold in the next 12 months, that's still only 0.00001% chance of failure.
it's your call. presumably the real decision is whether the car's worth spending money on before the old timer kicks his clogs off for the last time. if the plan is to sell the vehicle in that event, then doing the belt will help enhance the resale value. if it's staying in the family, i'd leave it for a while longer.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Timing belts are aged not just by miles on the car, but also due to temperature variations, idling, dust, and severity of driving. This question comes up a lot here. Plus the group does get reports of failed timing belts. It is true that there is a good risk of serious engine damage with a failed timing belt. The reason is your Honda (and almost all Hondas) use an interference engine, where the pistons can smack and effectively destroy the engine valves if timing goes out of whack due to a failed timing belt.
I feel by far the consensus is to change the belt per the maintenance schedule and sleep well. No one can really say what risk you're facing without testing that is more expensive than the labor and materials for just changing the belt.
For a V-6, $850 is not bad. You can shop around at private import shops and see if you can do better.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Don't you think Honda engineers know better when to change it than the shade tree experts here. If it breaks the engine will be shot. Do you want to take that chance. 800-1000 seems to be the dealer going price for belts, water pump, etc. The water pump should be replaced at the same time as the belt because if it goes the same parts have to be removed and it will be another $800.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I think that is a very high price. Go to an independent mechanic.
There is a radio program that is generally about repairing cars that has a database of mechanics across the country that people have used and recommend. You might want to look at that.
http://cartalk.com/content/mechx /
My mother, who is gone now, had an 84 Plymouth Reliant. The timing belt finally broke last month at 23 years and 127,000 miles.
Woody wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I was just in the same situation-- Accord V6 EX, 58,000 mi and 71/2 years. Prices varied from $810-$850 which included water pump, coolant and all drive belts. Got it done for $750 (summer special). MLD
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.