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engine interference between valve and piston if timing belt breaks

Timing Belts: Interference Engines

by Larry Carley copyright AA1Car.com

A timing belt failure is bad news because when the belt breaks, the camshaft stops turning and the engine dies. Worse yet, if the engine is an "interference" engine (one that lacks sufficient clearance between the valves and pistons if the cam stops turning), the result can be one or more bent valves (usually intake valves), and possibly a broken piston. This kind of damage can cost several thousand dollars to repair!

bent engine valves
This is what can happen when valves hit a piston!

The service life of a timing belt depends on a number of factors: the type of materials used in the manufacture of the timing belt, engine speed, miles driven, underhood temperatures and exposure to dust or other contaminants.

On older OHC (overhead cam) engines, the most common recommended replacement interval for the timing belt is 60,000 miles. From about 1995 and up, better belt materials using EPDM rubber were used that allow longer service intervals. The recommended replacement interval on the newer EPDM belts is typically 100,000 to 120,000 miles on many engines. But the belts do not last forever.


The most common recommended replacement interval for older engines with timing belts is 60,000 miles, and 100,000 miles for most 2010 and up vehicles.

A recommended mileage interval to replace your timing belt does not mean the belt will break if you go beyond that mileage. But it does mean the risk of breakage goes up with every mile beyond the recommended interval. The timing belt may go another 10,000, 20,000 or more miles before it fails. But eventually the belt will fail, and when that happens it can cause expensive engine damage if your engine is an interference engine.

replace timing belt

If you do not know when your timing belt should be changed, look up the recommended service interval in your owners manual.

Click Here for GM Timing Belt Service Intervals

Click Here for Ford Timing Belt Service Intervals

Click Here for Toyota & Honda Timing Belt Service Intervals

Below is a list of interference engines by make, year and model compiled from information provided by the Automotive Engine Rebuilders Association (AERA) and the Gates Corporation:


NOTE: This list is not all inclusive. But if your engine is listed below, it IS an interference engine with a timing belt.


1986-89 1.6L Integra

1991-95 1.7L Integra

1990-95 1.8L Integra

1986-89 2.5L Legend

1992-94 2.5L Vigor

1986-89 2.7L Legend

1990 2.7L Legend

1991-95 3.0L NSX

1991-95 3.2L Legend

1996-98 2.2L CL

1998-? 2.3L CL

1998-? 2.0L V6 CL

1998-? 3.5L V6 RL


1970-93 All Except 1970-77

1970-73 1.8L 1.9L &

1992-98 2.8L V6 90 100 Quattro A4 A6


1987-95 2.5L 325I 525I

1994-95 4.0L 740I


1993-95 1.5L Colt

1987-88 1.5L Colt

1992-95 1.5L Eagle Summit

1987-88 1.6L Colt

1989-92 1.6L Eagle Summit

1994-98 2.0L Neon Stratus

1990-95 2.0L Eagle Talon

1995-97 2.4L Cirrus

1995-98 2.5L V6 Cirrus

1995-98 2.0L & 2.5L V6 Sebring & Avenger

1998 3.2L V6 Concorde & Intrepid


1988-92 1.0L Charade

1988-92 1.3L Charade

1990-92 1.6L Rocky


1974-79 1.3L 128 Series

1979-82 1.5L Stranda

1974-78 1.6L 124 Series

1974-78 1.8L 124 Series

1974-78 1.8L 131 Series, Brava

1979-82 2.0L Brava, Spider


1981-85 1.6L Escort, EXP

1981-83 1.6L LN7, Lynx

1984-85 2.0L Escort, Tempo

1993-95 2.0L Probe

1986-88 2.0L Ranger

1984-87 2.0L Lynx, Topaz Diesel

1985 2.2L Ranger

1989-92 2.2L Probe

1986-88 2.3L Ranger

1986-87 2.3L Diesel Ranger

1991-98 4.6L Crown Victoria

1993-98 2.0L Probe


1986-95 1.0L Geo Metro

1989-91 1.0L Firefly (CANADA)

1985-88 1.5L Sunburst (CANADA)

1985-89 1.5L Spectrum

1990-93 1.6L Prizm, Storm

1981-84 1.8L Diesel (CANADA)

1982-86 1.8L Buick Skyhawk

1990-98 1.9L Saturn

1987-88 2.0L Buick Skyhawk

1988-95 2.3L Quad Four

1985-87 3.0L Buick

1979-95 3.8L Buick

1996-98 3.4L V6 Lumina & Monte Carlo


1986-87 1.0L Prelude

1973-78 1.2L All

1973-78 1.3L All

1980-84 1.3L All

1973-78 1.5L All

1985-89 1.5L Civic

1988-95 1.5L Civic, CRX

1993-95 1.5L Civic Del Sol

1979-84 1.5L All

1985-87 1.5L CRX

1993-97 1.6L Civic Del Sol

1973-78 1.6L All

1980-82 1.6L All

1988-98 1.6L Civic, CRX

1984-87 1.8L Prelude, Accord

1979-83 1.8L All

1986-91 2.0L Prelude

1990-91 2.1L Prelude

1990-95 2.2L Prelude, Accord

1992-98 2.2L Prelude

1986-88 2.0L Accord

1990-96 2.2L Accord

1998 2.3L Accord

1998 3.0L V6 Accord


1984-95 1.5L Excel Scoupe

1995-98 1.5L Accent

1992-95 1.6L Elantra

1993-98 1.8L Elantra

1992-98 2.0L Sonata

1989-91 2.4L Sonata

1990-98 3.0L Sonata


1990-92 3.0L M30


1987-89 1.5L I-Mark

1990-93 1.6L Stylus Impulse

1987-89 2.0L Impulse

1981-87 2.2L Diesel Truck

1986-95 2.3L Truck Trooper

1988-95 2.6L Truck Rodeo Amigo

1991-96 3.2L Trooper Rodeo Amigo


1995 2.0L Sportage


1984-85 2.0L 626

1988-92 2.2L 626 MX6

1989-93 2.2L Pickup

1988-97 3.0L 929 MPV


1985-95 1.5L Mirage Precise

1990-92 1.6L Mirage

1989-98 2.0L Galant Eclipse

1983-86 2.3L Diesel Pickup

1991-97 3.0L V6 3000GT

1994-95 2.4L Galant

1993-97 3.0L V6 (DOHC) Diamante


1982 1.5L Centra

1983-88 1.6L Sentra Pulsar

1987-89 1.8L Pulsar

1982-89 2.0L Stanza 300ZX

1984-98 3.0L Maxima 300ZX

1994-98 3.3L V6 Pathfinder


1976-83 2.0L 924 (Note: some non-turbo engines may be non-interference)

1976-89 2.5L 944 Series

1989 2.7L 944 Series

1989-91 3.0L 944 Series

1976-83 4.5L 928

1984 4.7L 928

1985-91 5.0L 928

1992-95 5.4L 928


1985-94 1.3L Samurai Sidekick

1989-94 1.3L Swift


1986-95 1.5L Tercel

1981-83 2.2L Pickup

1984-87 2.4L Pickup

1982-88 2.8L Celica Cressida

1987-94 3.0L 4-Runner


1976-91 All Except 1.9 2.1L Engine

1990-92 1.6L Golf (CANADA) Jetta

1990-95 2.0L GTI Jetta GLI Passat


1993-98 2.3L 5-cylinder C70 S70 V70 850

1993-98 2.4L 5-cylinder 850 V70

1991-93 2.3L 5-cylinder 940 (Canadian)

1986-94 2.3L 4-cylinder 240 740 760 780 940

interference engines More Timing Belt Articles:

Aftermarket Timing Belt Warranty Warning

GM Timing Belt Service

Chevy Aveo 1.6L Timing Belt Replacement

Ford Timing Belts & Chains

Toyota & Honda Timing Belts

Variable Valve Timing

OHC Head Repairs

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