When to keep and when to scrap a car

I know first hand about timing belts as I had a couple of them go. The cars I had were both used cars that I brought off somebody. It’s one of the most expensive engine part that you can go for as the average cost no matter what year or model is about $800 to replace a timing belt. It’s a dam rip off. Most cars when brought new recommend that you replace a timing belt every 60,000 miles. I’ve learned that lesson as that’s what I have done with cars that I have brought in the past 10 years. The thing is you get NO WARNING. The belt just goes anytime and anywhere. I had one die on me in the middle of a highway and also one in a bad neighborhood in Brooklyn at one in the morning as I was on my way to work. Todays newer cars have timing belts that I’m told don’t need replacement because they are made different. Also some of these timing belts are located in places where if you need another engine part they have to remove the timing belt also making for an even bigger rip off. So next time when buying a car new or used be sure they tell you all you need to know about the timing belt so you won’t be in for a surprise later on!

Well…$80 or so for the actual belt, and a fair bit for the labor. Right?

Let me know where you are. I will be happy (tickled to death is more like it) to do any of your t-belts for $750.
In other words you are way off on the cost of a t-belt replacement.

That’s so far from true that it’s ridiculous. On the great majority of vehicles I’ve serviced it’s in the $300-400 range.

That was true decades ago, but hasn’t been close to correct for over 30 years. Typical intervals for most cars on the road today are 90K-120K miles.

Belts for late model cars last longer than those of the past, but I’ve never heard of one that didn’t call for replacement at some point.

When it comes to the original question of fix or toss you have to consider your base knowledge of the vehicle. YOU know it hasn’t been in an accident, YOU know what maintenance you have done on it, etc. To buy another vehicle means you throw away all that knowledge.

For example when my work Ford Explorer blew it’s engine I didn’t hesitate to buy it from them for $200. I dropped an expensive Jasper engine in it and did a little more work and for $5000 I got an (effectively) brand new SUV. I knew all the work my employer had done on it (and even had copies of some of the files). Heck, even if I had decided not to fix it up the tires were only 2 months old when it died and I could have resold those for $500 alone.

Consider your knowledge of your vehicle when deciding what to do. If someone is selling a car (especially one cheap) they are doing it for a reason…

Does that price sound right for a timing chain? That job is a bit more ‘wet’ and I could see it costing more.

As an average price I’d say no, though there are some engines where it would run about 800 (Saturn comes to mind). It’s been a few years since I’ve had to replace a timing chain, but for most American engines I’d say 300-400 is typical.

That was true decades ago, but hasn’t been true for over 30 years.
Gary I brought a 2003 Hyndai Sonata brand new and right in the owners manuel it recommended that you change the timing belt every 60,000 miles. However I brought a Honda CRV new in 2009 and yes things are different as they last a lot longer. Infact you can probable go through the life of the car without changing one.

I don’t know how wise this is, but I’ve been telling myself I won’t buy a new car until the maintenance costs on the ones I have approach $400/month (about the cost of a new car payment). Haven’t gotten anywhere close to that with either of my 13 year old 200k+ mileage cars.

I suspect I’ll get a new car before then, due to reliability concerns (knowing for sure your car will start in the morning is worth a lot), but I don’t feel my two clunkers are unreliable yet. They still start every time.

I don’t know that I agree with that. The other things that wear out can be fixed. The big ticket items in a car are the engine and transmission.

I mean, obviously you would not be replacing an engine with any sort of replacement engine if you have enough other things going bad.

I have a car that’s approaching 250K miles, and the only thing “going” about it is that the engine is beginning to burn oil at a faster rate (about a quart every thousand miles, or so). I don’t think it makes sense to put a new engine in a car with that many miles, but had I replaced the engine at 100K, I would be in much better shape had I replaced it with a new rebuilt one versus another one with 100K on it.

Rick, when they have to remove several parts just to get to the T-Belt it’s not the cost that gets you it’s the Labor that’s a rip off. Also if you’d be glad to stick your hand in my pocket for $750 because you’d be tickled to death to do so, I might be standing over you with a bat, Only Kidding!

Pretty sure he was saying he’d normally do it for far less than $750, but would happily take more if you wanted to give it.

But he’s a mechanic, and they are subtle creatures and quick to ire when trifled with. Who can say for sure? :slight_smile:

I’m surprised, and I stand corrected.

Well I’m a service manager for one of the largest Hyundai dealerships in the US.
I sell a V-6 t-belt replacement (like the vehicle in the OP) for $349.95 plus tax.
So I would be more than happy to sell you the job for $750.

Since you hadn’t replaced your timing belt, which you should have done, I will jump to the conclusion that the rest of your maintenance program is also substandard. It is time to acquire a low mileage or new vehicle that is reliable and then maintain it like a madman. There is no reason that a well maintained car can’t last longer than a human being. All the parts are replaceable. The thing is, you want to replace those parts and maintain as you go along so that disasters, which is what you had, don’t happen in the first place and the maintenance and replacement of wearing parts happens on a regular schedule. FWIW, my Honda passed 199,000 miles just an hour ago. Drives like new. Do the timing belt every 80,000 miles, no matter what anyone else tells you about going the full 100,000 or even more. Honda recommend changing it every 100,000.

Interesting about the timing belt life. Subaru recommends changing it every 100,00 km and I did do that 18 months ago. It cost me just over $NZ800, including the belt, some other bearing or idler (not quite sure exactly) and labour. The parts department at the Subaru agent were advertising belts changed from $400, but when I questioned my cost, they said that was for the cheapest type of engine (not my car) and didn’t include the ancillary items.

I bet you would and I would not blame you. We all got to make a living. However I did learn that I spent too much on the T-Belt. As a service manager you said you sell T-Belt replacements for $349.95. Does that include installing them and Labor? Just asking.

Gary, Now I own a 2009 Honda CRV and I have not seen anything about replacing a T-Belt at 60,000 or any other milage so I guess things are getting better as far a T-Belt goes. But it’s one pain in the ass when they do go as there is absolutely no warning.

Your car has a timing chain, not a belt. Originally with OHC engines, chains were thought to be too noisy, but they’ve managed to quiet them down and so they’re gradually replacing timing belts on most cars these days. Timing chains aren’t a regular maintenance item and in the somewhat rare event that they do go bad, they stretch and cause tuning problems instead of just snapping without warning. This is definitely a good thing for car owners.

I replaced my 20-year-old Saturn when the frame rusted too badly to pass inspection. The engine was still in great shape.

There’s no general rule, but when the car is going to cost over $1000 to repair to keep it running, and it looks like that’ll only be the beginning of the repairs, then it’s best to look for a replacement.