The repair shop is telling me I need a timing belt kit for my 2002 Kia optima and then they can do a compression check to make sure engine is good.
My car has 154000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.
The recommended replacement interval for your vehicles’ timing belt is every 60,000 miles. A compression test is typically only done when there is an issue with the vehicle, and it is suspected that there is an engine issue. I don’t know what precipitated the trip to the repair shop, so I cannot speak to whether the compression test is needed. With normal maintenance, and no issues present, the compression test can be done before the timing belt is removed. If the timing belt has broken, and this is the reason the vehicle is in for repairs, this would explain their reasoning. This engine is an "interference" engine, meaning that when the timing belt breaks, it is possible that the valves can come into contact with the piston and do damage to the engines’ internals. If you need further assistance, or a second opinion, contact a certified mechanic, like those available at YourMechanic.com.
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