Astra timing belt

14 July 2005

I DRIVE a 2003 Holden Astra SRi that recently needed a 60,000km service. I was told by two service departments it needed to have the timing belt changed for an estimated $950, including the service. I wasn't happy with the cost and checked with a mechanic who discovered it had a timing chain that doesn't need servicing at all. I called Holden's customer line and they told me the car needs a timing belt. Can you solve this mystery?

Kirsti Haupt

WE ASKED Holden to clarify the situation. Holden recommends that toothed belts and tensioners be changed as per the owner's handbook, which is now at 60,000km intervals after being at 120,000km, but timing chains do not require replacing as part of regular standard maintenance. Your SRi is fitted with a Z22SE engine that has a timing chain, so it doesn't need servicing. Astras have four engine variants. The other three -- the X18XE1, Z18XE and C20LET turbo -- have belts that require service at 60,000km. If you're in doubt about which engine is fitted to your Astra, check your owner's manual.

, Carsguide

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