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Doubting the manufacturer

Question : THE owner's manual of my 1997 Toyota Corolla specifies the timing belt change interval as 100,000km.

This seems to be rather long and I am worried that the belt may snap before the recommended mileage is reached.

Should I stick to the manufacturer's intervals or would it be better to have the belt renewed at shorter intervals?

Answer : VEHICLE manufacturers test renewable parts, such as timing belts, extensively during the design and engineering stages of vehicle development and the engineers would have included an allowance or margin of safety in specifying the renewal interval.

For example, they may recommend a replacement interval of 100,000km for a component that fails at 120,000km to 150,000km during evaluation.

If this recommendation were to be revised at a later stage, you would be informed either by post or when you bring the vehicle in for servicing (another advantage of using an authorised service dealer).

If you are still in any doubt, or simply for peace of mind, you could reduce the change intervals by approximately 15% to 20% This means changing the belt at around 80,000km to 85,000km intervals instead of 100,000km.

Always renew the timing belt along with the belt tensioner since failure of the latter would inevitable result in the destruction of the belt and, ultimately, the engine.


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