May 28, 2023

Mechanic Escape

Built for the human race

10 Cars with Timing Belts and Non-Interference Engines

Interference Engine vs Non-Interference Engine Types » NAPA Know How Blog

Timing belts are essential to keeping your car running, but when they break, they can cause a lot of damage to other parts of the engine. While regular maintenance and replacing your timing belt whenever it shows signs of wear can reduce the risk of breaking, it can also snap with little to no warning. Engines can use timing chains in place of belts to provide a sturdier option.

A non-interference engine is designed to minimize the damage from an unexpected timing belt failure, and they are rarely seen with timing chains as they don’t have the same risks. Non-interference engines are slowly becoming less common as fuel efficiency and emission standards become stricter and more difficult for these engines to meet. However, they are still available, predominantly in used vehicles. 

If you’re interested in having a car with a non-interference engine, as well as a timing belt, here are some options for you to consider.

Acura SLX

Offered from 1996 to 1999, the Acura SLX is the only non-interference engine marketed under the Acura name. This was a heavy, boxy vehicle designed to be Honda’s entrance into the American SUV market in partnership with GM. Unfortunately, this vehicle may be hard to find now as it sold very poorly and was discontinued after a few short years in production.

Ford 2.0L DOHC

You can find this engine in several models, including the popular Ford Escape and Ford Focus. While these models only had a non-interference engine from 2001-2004 and 2000-2004, respectively, they are popular and relatively reliable vehicles, meaning you’ll likely be able to find one from those model years that’s still in good condition.

Chevrolet Nova 

Another car no longer in production, the Chevy Nova was made from 1962-1979 and again from 1985-1988. It had five different generations made and was a stylish compact for its era. These may be more difficult to find given the years they were produced, but there are still some driving out there on the road.

Mazda 626

The Mazda 626 has intermittently had a non-interference engine since 1983, only featuring an interference engine from 1988-1993 with a diesel interference engine option from 1984-1985. This car was discontinued in 2002, but this sporty car is still available as a used vehicle.

Subaru SOHC Engines

While Subaru isn’t currently making any new vehicles with non-interference engines, any of their vehicles with a SOHC engine made before 1997 have non-interference. Considering the longevity and reliability of this make of car, there’s a good chance you can find one that’s still in excellent condition with this type of engine. 

Jeep Grand Cherokee

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is still releasing new models yearly and has several different engine options. A 4.0L straight 6 non-interference engine was available from 1980-2004. While you can’t buy a brand-new Grand Cherokee with a non-interference engine, plenty of used ones are available.

Chrysler Sebring

Another car with multiple engine options, the Chrysler Sebring has had interference engines exclusively since 2007. Before that, a mix of both interference and non-interference options was available. A 2.4L non-interference engine was available from 1996-1999 and in 2006, while a 2.4L DOHC non-interference engine was available from 2001-2005.

Mitsubishi Outlander

While it no longer has a non-interference engine, the Mitsubishi Outlander had two different non-interference engines in its early days. From 2004-2006, there was a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine; from 2007-2009, there was a 3.0L V6 engine. These should be easier to find than some of the others on this list since its non-interference engines were discontinued more recently.

Dodge Caravan

The Dodge Caravan was built with non-interference engines for a long portion of its life with non-interference options. From 1984-2010, the engine size slowly increased from 2.2L to 4.0L, all with non-interference engines. These cars are pretty reliable, so even though they’ve moved on to interference engines with timing chains, you’ll likely be able to find one with a non-interference engine in good condition.

Lexus RX300

Produced briefly from 1999-2003, the Lexus RX300 exclusively had a non-interference option. Lexus made this luxury car with sturdy, high-quality materials, so a good amount of them should still be in relatively good condition. 

Choosing The Right Vehicle For Your Needs

Even though a non-interference engine experiences less damage than interference engines in the event of a timing belt failure, the timing belt will still need to be repaired, and you’ll likely need your engine re-timed. These expenses can add up, especially if you’re paying out of pocket. 

You should always check your car’s warranty to see how much of these repairs will be covered, as well as consider an extended warranty to help cover unexpected breakdowns like these.