When you hear from your mechanic that the timing belt on your car needs to be replaced immediately for more than $1,000, you may think that perhaps this is nothing but a scam. But replacing the timing belt is very crucial. Unlike the shady mechanic who always tries to change the engine filter in every oil change, this one could be right on the timing belt.
The timing belt is an essential component of the engine. If it’s not in good condition, the entire engine will fail and shut down your car.
You’ll find the timing belt safely protected inside our car’s engine, where it will be removed when the replacement takes place. For smaller vehicles, timing belt replacement cost is usually between $300 and $500, whereas a minivan or SUV timing belt replacement will set you back about $700 on average. For high-end cars such as luxury and sports cars you can expect to pay as much as $1,000 just to service the timing belt.
How Much Does the Timing Belt Replacement Cost?
When it comes to timing belt replacement costs, most of what you’re paying for is the labor, because replacing a timing belt is a time-intensive job that can easily take hours of manpower to complete. As a result, you may end up paying as much as $200 to $900 just for the labor, whereas the actual timing belt price is usually between $25 and $50 apiece. For the best results, get a professional to replace the timing belt, as it’s definitely not a DIY job for an amateur.
What’s A Timing Belt?
The timing belt is part of the engine’s internal combustion system. It’s designed to connect the crankshaft and the camshaft. The belt allows the engine valves to open and close in a timely manner during the intake and exhaustion of strokes. The timing belt will also prevent the pistons and valves on the engine from colliding. The belt can also be used to run the oil pump and the water pump too.
However, not all vehicles come with a rubber timing belt, as newer, modern vehicles operate with a timing chain instead. But, if your vehicle is from before 1995, then it will most probably have a timing belt, and the owner’s manual will let you know in what intervals it should be replaced.
It’s comparable to the serpentine belt, although they’re not the same. And it’s not the drive belts you see when you pop open the hood of the car either, as they have less of an effect on the car’s function when they default. Still, you need to familiarize yourself with all of these components, including common breakdown symptoms and serpentine belt replacement cost.
If you’re not quite sure when your car’s timing belt should be replaced, consult with the owner’s manual to find out, or if you can’t find it there, consult with a professional who’ll be able to give you a definitive answer of the specific intervals at which your car’s timing belt should be replaced.
When to Replace the Timing Belts?
The sad thing is that you will not see many clear-cut signs that could indicate your timing belt is failing. Most of the time, it will simply break without notice. However, mechanics recommend that the belt should be replaced every 60,000 to 100,000 miles. You can also check the car’s owner manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Many drivers used to ignore the timing belts in car maintenance. But things have now changed. It seems that more and more people are now aware of the timing belt, its role, and the need for regular maintenance. In addition to this, mechanics are also doing a good job in raising awareness on the issue.
Luckily, your timing belt will most likely warn you before it fails by making an unusually high-pitched squeak, or it will cause the engine to make weird sounds that it has never made before. This is usually the beginning of the end for your engine, and the next thing you know, it will shut down completely.
Important Things to Note
As you replace the timing belt, make sure that the water pump, the pulleys, and the tensioner are also replaced.
Pulleys and tensioners are essential in the operation of the timing belt. If they fail, especially after a new belt has been installed, they may damage the valves and the pistons of the engine.
This will incur more expensive repairs to restore the engine to its previous condition. In this case, it’s always better to replace the entire set. However, our mechanics will only replace the water pump if it’s propelled by the timing belt. The great thing is that this is true for nearly 60% of all cars.
What Happens if a Timing Belt Breaks?
As soon as the timing belt breaks down, the pistons and valves in your car’s engine will start to clash violently. Not only will these components get damaged as a result, but they will take surrounding parts like the cylinders with them. If left unchecked for too long, the breakdown will also damage the camshaft, whose repair costs are so expensive that you don’t even want to know how much!
If you have a non-interference engine, then the timing belt damage won’t cause other parts of your vehicle to malfunction, which is a good thing. But it will completely immobilize the vehicle though.
Our Recommendation On Timing Belt Change
It’s important to follow the maintenance guide offered by the car’s manufacturer very carefully. 60% of all car brands use the timing belt to drive the water pump. The total cost of replacing the pump is relatively higher compared to the cost of a new pump. We also recommend that the tensioners and pulleys are replaced as part of the timing belt replacement.
The tensioner will keep the belt tight while the pulleys will ensure the belt remains in line. The two components are however sealed units. Even though they contain bearings, the fact that they are sealed means that lubrication on a regular basis is not possible. This means that the rate of wear and tear may be higher. When the wear and tear becomes too much, replacement is highly advised.
How to Change the Timing Belt?
In order to change a timing belt, you need to be very skilled and knowledgeable when it comes to auto mechanics, as the process includes the disassembly and reassembly of many different moving parts, which are a crucial part of your car’s basic functionality.
The following steps will help guide you through the process, but you need to already have prior knowledge of the procedure, or else hire a professional to do the job for you.
- First, you need to remove anything that might be blocking your view of the timing belt cover.
- Then, take the cover out so that you can inspect the belt’s current condition.
- Next, you have to swap the belt with the suggested part number.
- While you’re at it, make sure you replace the pulleys, tensioners, and water pump as well.
- Lastly, reinstall the different parts and cover, and you’ll be good to go!
How long does it take to change a timing belt?
Usually, a timing belt replacement job takes a few hours of manual labor to complete.
In this guide you will find: