My 18 yr old son drives a 2000 Camry CE 1.8L with 126k miles. I was
thinking the timing belt replacement was something we needed to get
done this summer sometime - however; he and a friend want to drive from
Austin to Denver in a couple of weeks for a road trip. Neither he nor
I have the bucks for the timing belt change next week.
Question: Is this something that is totally unpredictable as to when or
if it will go out? Is this 2500 mile trip a risky venture? The car
drives and runs great right now, the oil has been changed regularly,
and the tires are in good at shape. If he takes it easy on this trip -
what are the chances they can make it back without trouble?
TIA - Mike in Austin
No way to tell. At 126k, it is far overdue from the original recommendation
of 90k intervals. Timing belts break when they break. Usually there is
little indiacation (the 4cyls will sometimes start to flap against the
timing cover as they stretch).
He might make it for another 20k miles. Might break tomorrow. At least if
it does break you don't have to worry about engine damage dut to the
I have the same year Camry and same 1.8 engine as your son. I replaced my
belt at 100,000 miles and it still looked good but that isn't any guarantee.
Timing belts are unpredictable and they can break with little or no warning.
FWIW, since it is well over the recommended replacement interval, I would be
hesitant to go on a long road trip without replacing it. It's a calculated
risk though and he might make it just fine. Keep in mind if it goes out on
the road in Podunk, CO there will be towing fees, maybe an overnight stay if
parts aren't available and could cost more to have the belt replaced because
he will be at the mercy of someone he doesn't know.
Good Luck on the Podunk mechanic getting the timing right if it goes on the
highway. I used to have a '86 Camry where the timing belt went while I was
driving 70 MPH on the freeway. I was lucky to get a local to send out their
I now have a '99 Camry and got my dealer to replace the timing belt at 90K
miles. I also did the water pump and the alternator belt at the same time
because it had been recommended on this newsgroup.
Update: I called the dealer where I bought the car back in Nov. 2003.
The timing belt was changed in Oct 2003 at 97k miles. For some reason,
when I first posted this question, I was thinking the belt replacement
was on a 60,000 mile interval, and that the car was due one in the 120k
mile range. Now I can start worrying about other things going wrong on
my son's road trip!
-Mike in Austin
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