View Full Version : Timing belt replacment: miles vs time?

07-07-2016, 01:28 PM
The PO replaced the timing belt/water pump before he sold the car to me but that was 5-ish years ago. The trouble is I only drive me car occasionally and in that time have put less than 10k miles (16k km) on it.

Should I go strictly on miles and wait another 20-30 years before I have to replace the belt? At some point the time must become a factor (I haven't found anything online though).

If it makes a difference, I live in the pacific northwest where it neither gets too cold in the winter nor too hot in the summer, which would theoretically reduce wear/stress, though I realize there's other, stronger factors.


07-07-2016, 01:33 PM
I think 10 years is the limit on tbelts?

I don't know. If doing the service yourself it doesnt really matter. But I would peel back the tbelt cover and inspect it

07-07-2016, 01:47 PM
Worked on a 91 2.2 coupe quattro, and it had the original factory belt on it after 25yrs. The failure? Belt sheared several teeth and smashed valves

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07-07-2016, 01:53 PM
I have no reason to NOT do it, but then again if there's no reason TO do it, I may as well not waste the money. I mean we could all do it once a year right?

I gave it the once over with a visual inspection and it seemed just fine, but admittedly I only checked the one small area I could see behind the left cover (mines a 2.8).

You guys are saying I'm probably good for a couple more years but at some point start to think about setting aside a weekend to do it?
(I've never done it yet - which is another reason I'm hesitant: if I do it when it didn't really need it and mess something up, I'll feel like an idiot).

07-07-2016, 02:55 PM
I bought the kit, took it all apart, and found that the belt looked nearly brand new. So check first before you waste money/time

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07-07-2016, 04:56 PM
They definitely don't make em like they used to

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07-08-2016, 09:17 AM
We actually get this questions a lot and it is usually the same situation, do I go by how old the belt is or how many miles I have put on the belt itself. Seeing as most belts (with the exception of some Kevlar infused ones) as mostly belted rubber and the rubber will degrade over time even if encased in the timing cover, I would highly recommend replacing it with a new unit. If there is any doubt, regardless of the visual appearance of the belt it is always better to play it safe and replace it. Now the tensioners and rollers you can base there life expectancy on mileage and can simply reuse those until the manufacturer recommended service interval.

07-08-2016, 09:31 AM
So I only need to replace the belt every 5 or so years until I hit ~60-75k then replace all the other peripherals?

07-08-2016, 09:54 AM
So I only need to replace the belt every 5 or so years until I hit ~60-75k then replace all the other peripherals?

The peripheral tensioners pulleys and pump I would concern myself on mileage and not age yes, as they will not "breakdown" as the belt would, for lack of a better terminology. Most idlers and pulleys (from quality manufacturers) can easily surpass the life expectancy of most belts (again with the exemption of say a Gates Racing Kevlar belt). A rule of thumb I suggest and go by is not allowing your belt to pass 5 years without a swap, timing components/pullies max 75K.

07-08-2016, 11:26 AM
Thanks for everybody's help!

I think I'm going to do the full belts/water pump/pullies/tensioner soon - just to be sure I KNOW when it was done. Then every 5 years or so, just do the belt - assuming all else on the car still runs fine.

pee quu
07-08-2016, 11:37 AM
I have a 98 civic, got it from my grand parents (original owners) 2 1/5 years ago, car had 75k. Car currently has 90k and I just did the belt service last month. They say the belts are good for 100-110 k miles but I did it just because of the age. I know for a fact it was never done and I rather be safe than sorry. I figured 18 years was long enough for an original belt

On my a4 back when I got it I did a full belt job even though the original owner told me it was done 5k prior to me buying it. When I looked at the belt it seemed to tell a different story, again I did it to be safe than sorry.