Reader questions the timing of timing belt replacement

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Reader questions the timing of timing belt replacement

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When the timing belt is replaced, normal procedure is to also replace the water pump, the belt tensioner plus the pulleys to help ensure that the repair is long-lasting by replacing these related moving parts. Photo by James Halderman

Wheels: Curt asks by email:

“Should I have the timing belt replaced on a 2010 Honda Accord 3.5 liter V-6 that has only 43,000 miles on the odometer? The dealer recommended that the belt be replaced at a cost of about $500. The owner’s manual says to replace the belt at 90,000 miles. I want to maintain the vehicle, yet not spend money if at all possible. What is your advice? “

Halderman: The dealer is correct – the belt should be replaced. The vehicle manufacturer recommends that the belt be replaced every 90,000 miles or every 72 months (six years) whichever occurs first. Because the Honda is more than 6 years old, I would bite the bullet and have the belt replaced. The belt deteriorates due to age, as well as use.

The engine in this Honda is called an interference engine. This means that if the belt breaks when the engine is running, the pistons can hit the valves. This interference often causes catastrophic engine damage, including bending valves, breaking pistons, cracking the cylinder head, or even cracking the engine block. The cost to repair this type of engine damage is very expensive and could exceed the value of the vehicle.

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