Novice Shoe Horner
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Alberta, Canada
Re: When to replace timing belt on 2001 Escort ZX2?
Your ZX2 is likely powered by a Zetec 2.0l, which is a non-interfering design. This means if your timing belt goes, it shouldn't bend a bunch of valves and kill your engine, but you could be stranded and need a tow.
I would recommended you change the belt every 60,000 miles (100,000 to km) or every 4 years. This may be conservative, but engines here are starting at -40 in the winter.
Having just changed the belt a few days ago, I can say it's not a hugely fun job, but is rewarding to know it doesn't have to be done for a while. The last mechanic to change mine put a white paint strip on the top timing belt cover and I put another stripe on. At least someone can figure this code out years down the road. You may want to consider the whole kit. While everything's apart the water pump and idler pulley et al can be replaced quite easily.