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I have a 2005 Prius with 2,000 miles. For the future, I am wondering about when or if the timing belt or chain (assuming a Prius has one) gets replaced. In the maintenance guide, I do not see this mentioned up to 120,000 miles.

The Toyota dealer's guide states to replace it at 60,000; their guide however seems generic to all Toyotas.
 

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according to my husband, it's (he's pretty sure) a chain, and should be able to go 100K without replacing, if not longer.

(he's a dealer tech)
 

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I seem to recall that belts (even timing belts) used to be rated at 100,000 miles.

However, as warranty periods got longer, the manufacturers lowered that value to 60,000. They did this because they didn't want the belts breaking during the warranty period because when a timing belt goes it can cause damage to the valves. Damage they would have to pay to repair.

It's the same with oil and everything else. They reduce their risk by making the car owner foot the bill for additional maintenance.
 

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Well, it took me about twenty minutes of searching in the service manuals (it's not listed in the index but is in the valve system "also not indexed") There definately is a "timing chain" and it's life should be a lot longer than that of any belt as it rides in a lubricant bath.
On both my Plymouth Voyagers which I relied upon for two roundtrips a year between Texas and Massachusetts for 16 years I attempted to do some preventive maintanence so as to not ever have a problem on the road. There was no specified period for timing belt replacement but my local service manager told me to probably expect to have some timing problems (engine not running right) between 108 and 110 thousand miles. Engine will start slipping out of time. He had never heard of a total failure and any internal damage being caused. This on the small 3 L Mitsibusahi V6 and also the Chrysler 3.3 V6. That was enough for me to have them both changed at about 100,000 miles.
 

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I think the belt on my Chevy Spectrum broke around 185k miles. Records in the glove box indicated the original owner had it changed around 75k...
 

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The Prius has a timing chain. No timing belt.

here
( What maintenance is required on my timing belt? )
and
here
( Does my vehicle have a timing belt or a timing chain? )

to quote from the first link on timing belts:
"If your vehicle is equipped with a timing chain rather than a timing belt, there is no prescribed replacement interval. "
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks to all for the info! I guess the key is that indeed since the Prius has a timing chain, that therefore there is no prescribed interval for replacement and that would be the answer to why it is not listed as a maintenance item in the Prius maintenance guide.

I would probably consider replacing it at 90,000 to be on the safe side as I'm aware of the engine damage a busted chain or belt can cause.
 

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Multilink timing chains are very resilient. Single link timing chains can stretch and that leads to off timing and breakage. Single link chains can put in a very long service life, however it just isn't the best way to employ a timing chain. Most manufacturers avoid using single link timing chains, anymore.

Most manufacturers choose timing chains over belts because they can engineer them to last the useable life of the vehicle. Timing belts are a pain because they stretch rather quickly and require change intervals which are basically not all that realistic with regard to how people drive vehicles. And a timing belt replacement requires just about as much labor and tear down to access as a timing chain anyway.

Changing the timing chain on the Prius is going to be very nasty to do. There isn't much space in the engine compartment to start with, and that will probably mean dropping the drive train, at least on the passenger side, to get to the front cover to access the chain. And my guess, at 90,000 they will find a chain that is in basically perfect condition, no stretching, no significant wear, no nothing. So, money out the door for something that didn't need to be serviced.

I'm not one to throw chance to the wind and risk things; I believe in preventative maintenance, but anymore, there are some things which aren't maintainable, or do not need maintenance as you would expect.
 

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The Prius does use a single timing chain but it is fairly simple to change as are most timing chains by removing a link, fastening a new chain to that link and turning the engine until you have access to both ends. It can also be loosened so that either or both of the overhead camshafts can be removed. It is fairly small in length and will probably never cause a problem.
 

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the timing chain is important, but so are the parts that hold it in place! my husband lost his old Saturn to that problem. :roll:
 

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2005 Prius, just had "driving belt" replaced

My 05 Prius has about 60k miles on it. The last time I took it for an oil change they told me it was going to need a new belt - I let it ride. Took it in today for it's next oil change & had the new "driving belt" installed. Not sure if this is the same as a timing belt or chain. $155. complete if anyone is wondering.
 

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I am about 95% sure that the Prius ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) uses a timing chain, not a timing belt; and it should last a couple of hundred thousand miles before needing replacement. Also, timing belt replacement on other Toyotas costs much more than $155.

For $155, it sounds like they probably replaced a serpentine belt. This belt drives all of the mechanical stuff under the hood that isn't driven by an electric motor. I just had this belt changed on our 2002 Prius for the first time, at 135,000 miles; and it cost $36.70 for the belt and $80 labor to install it.

Toyota recommends an initial inspection at 60K miles/72 months, and again every 15K miles/18 months thereafter; and it is often replaced at around 90,000 to 120,000 miles as a routine maintenance item, when the belt starts to show wear or damage.

If you live in an area that is very dusty or has extreme weather conditions, the belt may deteriorate at a faster rate. Damage and wear is easily checked by the owner and appears as cracks and/or missing chunks in the rubber.

60,000 miles sounds a little premature, but the belt might have shown some wear. I suspect the dealer just changed it a little early (and made a little extra profit). However, changing a serpentine belt early is kind of like changing your oil too soon. It doesn't hurt anything, doesn't cost a whole lot (in the big scheme of things), and you don't have to worry about it again for quite awhile.

Take a look at your repair invoice and see if it says "serpentine belt". If it doesn't, look up the part number on Google to see what kind of belt they changed, or search for it on Amazon.com.
 

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I think you are right that it was the Serpentie belt - & I was probably over charged too! But I appreciate the helpful response, thank you.
 

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Local prices and labor charges vary a lot between dealers and locations. Many have reported serpentine belt replacement costs of up to $180. So, $155 is not excessive.

Anytime you have repairs done, ask the service advisor or tech to save the defective parts for you. They don't mind doing this. They just seal them in a plastic bag and put them on the floor of your car. That way you can verify for yourself that the repair was necessary (assuming the failure is something that can be confirmed visually).

You can also ask to watch them perform the repairs. Most shops will tell you that this isn't allowed due to accident liability. However, if you insist, most will allow you to stand just outside the maintenance bay. Just being there will often keep a questionable mechanic from doing anything fishy. Also, you are immediately available if they want to show you something or have a question on whether you wish to have something repaired/replaced.

This practice also makes them think twice about replacing perfectly good parts, if there is some doubt as to the integrity of your dealer's service department. Also, saving old parts can sometimes come in handy. In a real pinch, some parts can be reused as a temporary spare. For example, a slightly worn belt in the trunk of your car might be really handy to replace one that fails in Mexican Water, Arizona, in the middle of nowhere.

For now, I'd just chalk this up to experience and enjoy not worrying about your serpentine belt failing for the next 90-120,000 miles.
 
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