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
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.
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
For a V-6, $850 is not bad. You can shop around at private
import shops and see if you can do better.
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
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.
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.
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).
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