29th May 2006, 00:38
Well, I have a 1999 Dodge Intrepid ES with the 3.2L engine, and I had an issue with my timing belt at 90,000 miles. I was driving along back home from work one night going about 35 miles per hour, when my car just died out. When attempting to start it back, it wouldn't.
I had it towed to the dealership and they told me that the timing belt (which is a rubber belt on the 3.2L and 3.5L, and a metal chain with the 2.7L) split about 5 teeth, enough where it would not grip to start. They told me I would have to replace the timing belt for sure, and recommended that I replace the water pump and the tensioner for future preventative maintenance.
The way they look at it, is that all the parts in that area will be new and would save you money in the long run, as the water pump and tensioner will most likely need replacing soon after.
As far as when the timing belt and water pump should be replaced, the maintenance book says 102,000 miles with the 3.2L, and 3.5L engines. But with my car it went out sooner than expected. And I was also lucky that it didn't snap while I was on the freeway, because I hear that at higher speeds, if it snaps, it could cause serious engine damage.
So I would ask him why he thinks it needs replacing, maybe he took apart that part of the car and saw enough wear on the belt where he feels it might snap soon. I would ask him to take a look at it if he didn't do so already. If it's in OK condition, then I would suggest replacing it at least 10-12 thousand miles before the maintenance book suggestion, which is 102,000 I believe. It's good to take care of it sooner if you do lots of stop and go driving as well, as the book gives an example for taxi cabs. I believe around 75,000 for excessive stop and go/ city driving.