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Toyota Avalon Timing Belt Questions

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 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. :)
  • 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 Posts: 1,391
    the 1MZ-FE still uses a timing belt, not a chain.

    The 2AZ-FE in the Camry uses a chain.
  • 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 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 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 .
  • 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 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 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 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 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?
  • 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 AreaPosts: 12,726
    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 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.
  • 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 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 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.
  • 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 Posts: 20
    Thanks for the info. I guess toyota is going with the chains with most of their vehicles vs. a timing belt.
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • 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 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
  • nomad:

    do you recommend replacing the water pump too?

  • nomad56nomad56 Posts: 134
    pwarth-Absolutely! The water pump is almost a given when doing the tmg blt.
  • petraspetras 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 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.


  • 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 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-
  • 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.
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