If one can not afford to maintain a vehicle (or anything one owns),
then one should not attempt to own anything. With ownership comes
responsibilities. It's only a minor expense every few years, so that
argument doesn't really hold.
My guess would be that many owners forget to have their timing belt
replaced at the given interval and it results in belt failure that can
be catastrophic for interference engines. Honda probably got tired of
the bad publicity from these cases and that's why they decided to switch
to chains. I assume they still make the interference engines with the
timing chains, right?
Honda (and Toyota) started migrating to chains around 2003. The engines are
Most owners do in fact hate the belt-change interval on account of its
cost, and the fact that they find it hard to justify such an expense when
there appears to be nothing wrong with the car. They tend to think this is
a ripoff by either Honda or the dealer.
And many did ignore the belt-change interval and had the belt slip/break on
them (my boss was one of those).
He had about double the recommended mileage interval, but a few years under
the time limit. And he had no valve damage.
It's important to know that his CR-V was driven very long distances between
shut-downs, so the belt underwent relatively little startup/shutdown
stress. Startup/shutdown is extremely tough on timing belts, much tougher
than steady running.
The vehicle is still on the road, sold to one of our plant employees. It
now has about 280,000 miles on it.
I'm asking because my Accord has nearly 190k and I'm debating skipping
pricey change out at 210k & letting it ride, hoping to get about 230k
when brakes, tires, battery, more fluid changes, etc will all be due
when it may be a good time to call it quits.
Just an extra 20K miles? Provided you're currently on an OEM belt, and it
doesn't take you 2-years over the time-limit to get to that 20K, you'll be
be fine. Honda builds-in quite a safety margin into its specified timing-
230K for a well-maintained Honda is nothing. With tall-enough gearing (such
as that found in the Accord), and proper care, they go over 400K, easy.
I can testify to that. My '94 Accord has now 292K in it and runs just
great. I easily expect 500 K from it. Of course I stick to the
recommended maintenance schedule religiously, which is every 7,500
miles, with (Castrol) oil change in between (every 3,750 miles). I had
my 3rd timing belt replacement at 270 K and checking the old belt I
could definitely see the wear on it. Heck, after switching to Chevron
gas consistently about 2 years ago, I don't even hear the cylinder pings
uphill in hot weather anymore. It must have cleaned out some of the
carbon build-up. The only thing I might have the mechanic check next
time is why my idle seem to be somewhat uneven at times. I wonder if
cleaning the choke body could fix that. I don't think it was ever
cleaned. Any ideas?
Next year will be seven years since the 105k mile change out. Guess
I'll make that decision next summer when it'll be about 210k miles / 7
years , depending on how well it's running.
Average mileage cost (nearly 25 cents / mile including depreciation, gas
and maintenance, but excluding taxes & insurance) has increased
marginally over the past few years primarily due to a second replacement
of tires, brakes and battery plus a relatively costly pollution device
repair and new ball joints, but yearly maintenance is still lower than
the cost of taxes & insurance on a late model.
Of course at this stage, cost is just gas & maintenance (plus a small
insurance and registration cost). Considering it still runs well
(better & more quiet than any of the new cars I test drove a few years
ago), my primary concern is an unexpected break down on extended mileage
trips. Added advantage for this car is the extra headroom that was cut
in Accord's 2003 year which is also lacking in most other compact & mid
The chains used these days are nothing like the beefed-up bicycle-chains of
They're awfully well-made these days. If oil-changes are done according to
the Maintenance Minder, that chain will outlast the car. Even the
tensioners look like they'll last forever.
The oldest chains are now about 8-years-old. My dealer tells me they've
never had a single one come in with a chain problem, no matter the mileage.
I'd be very surprised if /any/ of the new chains /ever/ break or slip.
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