Toyota Avalon Timing Belt Questions

farrizfarriz Member Posts: 10
I own an 1999 Avalon XL with 60000 miles. I would like to know if I have to change the timing belt.
My car runs fine. I do not have any problem.


  • footiefootie Member Posts: 636
    Check your owners manual to see if it is called for in the 60K maintenance. If you ask the dealer, the answer is always yes. :)
  • carjunky1carjunky1 Member Posts: 3
    farriz Sep 20, 2002 3:24pm
    No, you don't need a new belt, the Avalon Motor has a timing chain. No maintenance is required on it.
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Member Posts: 1,391
    the 1MZ-FE still uses a timing belt, not a chain.

    The 2AZ-FE in the Camry uses a chain.
  • danbethdanbeth Member Posts: 17
    My inlaws have a 1998 Avalon and will be approaching the 60,000 mile mark. The question is, does the timing belt need to be changed at this point? Can it be done at 90,000 miles instead? I have seen earlier posts but what constitutes severe vs normal driving? Any advice on this topic would be appreciated. The Dealer as stated earlier, would recommend replacement regardless of the driving conditions. Also, do the platinum spark plugs also need replaced at 60,000? Thank you.
  • nomad56nomad56 Member Posts: 134
    danbeth- Just do it! The biggest problem with timing belts is you CANNOT visually inspect them, to get their TRUE condition. That is why dealers tell us how long they are good for. In this case 60k. My Avvy had one at 64 and 127k. The car has needed NOTHING else. That's why I am spending a little on her now, with new suspension components. Runs like new....I'll make her drive like new. -nomad-
  • luckylouluckylou Member Posts: 308
    Bought it brand new always use regular gas never a problem it gets 30mpg. I told the dealer to replace the timing belt at 60200 miles, now I got over 69000 did not want to take a chance this cars runs great . I take it to a lube shop and change oil and filter between 3 or 4000 miles with Mobil 1. The interior is tan leather the driver's side is not holding very well is getting discolor other than that nothing. If you treat the car right from the beginning it will take care of you in the long run ( unless you start with a lemon ) . I hope I was of some help . Thank you .
  • raylor4raylor4 Member Posts: 5
    People with timing belt concerns:
    I had a big debacle at the dealer at 60,000 miles regarding timing belt/platinum plug replacement at major service. If you read the owner's manual word-for-word, it states that the timing belt should be replaced at 60,000 miles under SEVERE conditions (police, taxi, long periods of idle), but nowhere does it state when it should be replaced under normal conditions. Having said that, the dealer informed me that freeway driving in California is SEVERE, and recommended changing the belt. I requested the old parts after the service, and the belt and plugs looked brand new. The timing belt looked so good, I suspect they gave me a new one instead of my old one. This was also the opinion of an outside mechanic. The platinum plugs looked great to me. I think they change them just so the threads don't seize up and has nothing to do with wear. They charged me $16.00 per plug when the over-the-counter price is $5. I got my money back on that one after a three month battle involving the Bureau of Automotive Repair. Anyway, does anyone have any SOLID facts about timing belt change frequency?
  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    Well, first of all this is not an interference engine so if the blet breaks the most you will get is inconvenience, not a useless engine. So, first, fi you don't want to replace a belt at 60,000 just keep on driving it. Doesn't really matter, only inconvenient when it snaps in front of that ghetto at midnight. Yes, your belt could look like new at 60,000. Fac tis they cannot see the condition of the belt until they start removing parts and at that point the labor is such it is easier to replace regardless of the condition of the belt. Some belts, do to climate and driving conditions do break at 60,000. One just doesn't know.

    Basically, I go by the condition of the belts that I can see as an indicator of wear.

    Again, no need to replace, just wait till it snaps!
  • dylan383dylan383 Member Posts: 20
    I just bought an Avalon XLS '03. What suggestions do you have about what I should look out for? The book says 87 octane is fine but I've read varying answers as to what type of fuel to use. Also, I must have missed it but does it have a timing belt. My wife's corolla doesn't but my old 4 runner did. Also, my dealer recommends an oil change every 5,000 miles. Do people agree with this?
  • wmmunnwmmunn Member Posts: 18
    In answer to your questions, 87 octane gas would be just fine, however you can tell a slight difference with the higher octane gasolines. The engine will react accordingly to whatever you put in it. There are knock sensors in the engine which will tune it appropriately for whichever fuel you use in it. This engine also has a timing belt. In regards to the oil change question, 5,000 miles is fine according to the owners manual, however there have been dramatically different opinions on just how far to go on a change of oil. Just know that if you are changing the oil at 5,000 miles you are performing adequate maintenance as far as toyota is concerned. Be aware however there is a time factor that is just as important as the amount of miles. especially if you drive short distances over a long period of time. A good example of that would be two different situations depending on the amount of miles you drive in a given period of time. While 5,000 mile oil changes would be fine for a person who drove 20,000 miles a year, most of which was highway driving. this would lead to changing the oil every 3 months. File that number away for a second, you will need it later :)

    Now obviously that amount of driving per change worked out perfectly for the 20,000 miles per year drive. so following that theory, the person who only drives 5,000 miles a year should only change it once right? wrong!. The person who only drives 5,000 miles per year still needs to change the oil every 3 months or so. So just remember that there are guidlines for miles, dont forget about the time guidelines too :)
    needless to say, oil changes are a critical component of proper maintenance. Its only right to take care of your car. If you do, it will take care of you in return!
  • dylan383dylan383 Member Posts: 20
    My 1993 4Runner had 216,000 mostly trouble free miles and I mostly dedicate it to 3,000 mile oil changes and driving a lot of highway miles. Thanks for your thoughts. Are you sure the 2003 avalon has a timing belt? I just didn't see any mention of it in the book?
  • matthew525matthew525 Member Posts: 52
    dylan383 - - checkout your 2003 Scheduled Maintenance Guide, page 37. There you will find "Replace timing belt (Avalon,...) under the 90K dark blue banner. Don't all cars have a timing belt or chain. Wouldn't change at 60K (which I've found that most dealership would like for you to do); give it till at least 80K.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,555
    but you don't routinely change it if it is a chain.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • dylan383dylan383 Member Posts: 20
    We don't change the timing belt in our 98 corolla because it's a chain and that's what I'm wondering with the avalon.
  • matthew525matthew525 Member Posts: 52
    Fairly sure the Avalon is a belt - - little engine noise. Owned a 92 Saturn SL2 which had a chain - noisy. Chains normally last 200K +; belts around 90K; chain makes a lot more noise, belt is noticabley quieter. Belt breaks causing little damage (if any); if a chain breaks it could cause lots of damage. If either breaks, your car is DASR (dead along side the road).
  • gslevegsleve Member Posts: 183
    A belt letting go could cause as much severe damage as a chain letting go however the likelihood of a chain letting go is nill, usually the chain stretches becomes elongated so as not to maintain proper timing and it slaps all over the place along with the tensioners as well, this would be a tell tale sign dictating some attn to the timing chain.

    A timing belt is not so forgiving if the motor is an interference one and I do believe that the avalon qualifies as such, when the belt let's go due to extended service way beyond the manufacturers recommendation, such an occurence is immediate with hardly any inclination that the belt reached it's zenith and the damage is quite significant and costly. If it's a non interference motor the damage is minimal if any just requiring a belt replacement.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Many engines with timing chains also have nylon chain guides which disintegrate and cause excessive slack in the chain. The chain jumps on one of the sprockets, valves get introduced to piston crowns, and severe internal damage occurs.
  • travelerjbtravelerjb Member Posts: 46
    I spoke to Toyota service about the Avalon and on the model year 2003 (or my xls for example) I was told Toyota employs a timing CHAIN system which uses a delrin impregnated pretensioning system which compensates for any small amount of stretch the chain will incur. He also mentioned that they fully expect the chains on the new models to go at least 80-100,000 miles without any concern of failure. They love to see (and get the money for) anyone servicing or replacing the chain at a 80-100,000 mile interval, but he was rather flippant about it being quite unecessary at that interval as a requirement. He also said NO engine damage would result if it did break, but you would not be able to drive the car without it correctly in place either.....
  • dylan383dylan383 Member Posts: 20
    Thanks for the info. I guess toyota is going with the chains with most of their vehicles vs. a timing belt.
  • tomwilliamstomwilliams Member Posts: 1
    I just bought a 96 Avalon Xl which has 67k on it. When should I have the timing belt changed? Is it the normal 60k miles or is it more like some newer cars?
  • arslanarslan Member Posts: 36
    On the Avalon, Toyota recommends the timing belt be changed every 60,000 miles. The dealer will probably recommend a new serpentine belt as well.
  • pwarthpwarth Member Posts: 3
    I'm getting ready to bring my 2000 XLS in to the shop for a Timing Belt job. Does the tensioner have to be rebuilt/refilled? Does it have to be retensioned after a certain amount of time?

    Is it recommended that the water pump be changed at the same time? Anything else that should be done while they're in there?? Replace all other drive/acces belts, etc ?

    THANKS !

  • nomad56nomad56 Member Posts: 134
    ab-Yeah, I drove around without an alignment, and saw some irregular tire wear. Then I got the "fronts" (PU's) in, and did a 4-wheel alignment.

    pwarth-yup' do it all while you are in there. Parts cost is negligible once you do that much "surgery" ...idler, tensioner, pulley, do a thermostat, too
  • pwarthpwarth Member Posts: 3

    do you recommend replacing the water pump too?

  • nomad56nomad56 Member Posts: 134
    pwarth-Absolutely! The water pump is almost a given when doing the tmg blt.
  • petraspetras Member Posts: 6
    hi everyone and thanks in advance...i have a 98 avalon with 74k mi...owner's manual recommends timing belt change at 90k or this engine an interference design where a broken timing belt would cause damage or would it simply stop running?
  • abfischabfisch Member Posts: 591

    What mileage have people safely pushed before changing the timing belt. I know the service manual for the current model year is about 85K-90K.


  • fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Member Posts: 668
    After reading post 376 I checked my owner's manual. Except for a few driving conditions (not ones I normally encounter) there is no recommendation for my 96. I'll probably change it next year when I do a major maintenance (belts, brakes, tires, all fluids, hoses, plugs and wires, ...).
  • nomad56nomad56 Member Posts: 134
    abfisch-I am not sure of a MAX range of the belt. I have seen a couple pass 100k. FYI: I haven't seen one break(on this engine)! My buddy had one come into his shop(ES300) that was "fraying" before it broke and the slapping of the frayed belt made a heck of a noise. One that would make any driver see their mechanic.

    mikem30-If those imperfections are "polished" and smooth to the touch, it is NOT likely that it is "environmental". ie)working from the outside-in. Take it to a body shop, or two, for a better analysis of what's going on. -nomad56-
  • oilslickoilslick Member Posts: 14
    I bought a 2000 Avalon. I took it to a Toyota dealer and asked for the timing chain to be replaced. When I picked it up, I looked at the engine and could not see any places where they removed any parts of the engine ( like smudge marks or places where wrenches were applied). So, I am wondering if they really replaced it. Is there any way to tell if they replaced it by looking at the exterior of the engine under the hood? thanks.
  • abfischabfisch Member Posts: 591

    I am fairly sure, that the Avalon has a timing belt, not chain. Belt need to be changed, chains rarely. Besides the high price of performing this necessary maintenance, would be done I believe on the passenger front engine compartment. Asking them for the used belt(s) is always a good idea.

  • deepandeepan Member Posts: 342
    the Avalon has a timing belt. Typically a sticker (its normally packaged with the new belt in the bag) is placed near the belts on the outside with mileage so that one knows when it was last done.
  • johndjrjohndjr Member Posts: 80
    Not to argue, but I'm sure that I read somewhere on the Toyota info that the 05 Avalon has a timing CHAIN.
    Maybe the earlier ones had a belt?
  • mhill3mhill3 Member Posts: 1
    Do you recommend changing the water pump when you change the timing belt? I have 86,000 miles on my 98 Avalon and the Toyota dealership told me that it would be a good idea to change the water pump when the timing belt is changed. Are they just trying to make another sale? mhill3
  • txgeezertxgeezer Member Posts: 12
    Not necessarily. I saved the following from another forum I'm on, and it's what I intend to go by. I recently changed the belt due to age (6.5 years), not mileage (60,000) and didn't get the pump. Next change, I will:
    You should also do the water pump (with body) while you’re in there as it is fast and easy with the timing belt off. If the car only has 60K, you can skip the water pump, but anything over 100K, I'd replace it. Use a good pump (preferably OE). And when replacing the water pump, have them "toss in" a new OE thermostat too. Of course, they will charge you for the part itself, but no labor.
    Hope this helps.
  • ltomltom Member Posts: 1
    I bought new in Jan 98. Has 145k miles now. Have never changed the timing belt. My owners manual says "Check" at 90k. No replacement standard that I have seen. The belt can be checked-I pull the top right hand belt cover and use an inspection light and mirror-I see similar "inspection kits" at Costco for about $25 from time to time. At this time it is, finally, beginning to show signs of wear-mostly the unribbed side (I call it the back) is starting to shine. There is no cracking or ribbing problem. Plan on changing it myself (not the first I have changed) in a week when she flies to visit kids for 10 days - mostly because of the age of the belt. It is not an interference engine, so breaking is usually only an inconvenience My mother had an 86 Camry (I know-different everything) that nobody took care of other than the local K-Mart. She knew nothing about a timing belt, until it broke in 2002. K-Mart even towed it in for free-belt replacement was all they did. So, make your own decisions on when to replace the belt and keep the dealers hands out of your billfold.
  • mohullmohull Member Posts: 5
    Hello everybody and thanks for all.
    I just bought a 1999 Avalon XLS with the 92000 mileage. It is my first car I have ever had. I am wondering whether I have to change the timing belt. The car runs very well. In addition, what maintenance jobs I have to do for my car in order to drive it for next 3 years safely and without any problem. I appreciate if you give me a favor. Sincerely
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    Welcome and congrats on your new Avalon! This may help answer some of your questions: Maintenance Schedules, Recalls and Technical Service Bulletins.

    Enjoy your new ride!
  • nightlingernightlinger Member Posts: 12
    I have a 2000 Avalon with 304,000 miles. Basically, except for the oil, I service it
    every 90,000 miles when I change timing belt. It is running fine, but I am beginning
    to wonder about its further reliability. What part will likely fail that will leave me
    stranded without warning?
  • dana9mariedana9marie Member Posts: 1
    I just did a bunch of research and found the following regarding Toyota Avalons:

    The 3.0 V6 with VVTi is interference whereas the standard 3.0 V6 without VVTi is NOT interference. Source: interference-engine.html

    VVTi was introduced in 1999 on the 2nd Generation Avalons. But the 1st Generation Avalons were still made and sold in 1999 and they did not have VVTi. So if your car is 1999, like mine, find out if it is 1st Gen or 2nd Gen which is easy enough by looking at it (pics on wikipedia!). Source:

    But really all of this info is pointless because all you really have to do is go to this website and it will tell flat out whether your car has an interference engine or not!

    I could have said this from the start but it took me an hour to research all of this and find out so I felt like sharing everything :)

    Best of luck to you all and to all good timing belt health and a non-interference engine!

  • tbesiaktbesiak Member Posts: 1
    Welcome. By the way this subject ask. Does anyone have a description of the timing chain replacement. I know that it is better to take the car to a mechanic, but I have some free time now so I can try. I've heard that this is not complicated.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    you really should have all the diagrams and torque specs in front of you--if you mess up just one little part of it, you could have a catastrophe. You can buy a repair manual on Amazon or join for a mere $26 a year, and they'll guide you through ANY repair on your car.
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