What is a timing belt?
Simply stated, the timing belt is a moving part inside the engine that functions to keep everything in sync. Specifically, it controls the timing of the crankshaft and camshaft. Due to its frequent movement, it wears out over time and must be replaced.
When should it be replaced?
A timing belt should be replaced immediately if you notice warning signs like rough engine idling, engine smoke or misfires, decreased oil pressure, or broken pistons or valves. Even if these signs of a failing timing belt aren’t present, it should be replaced every 75,000 -100,000 miles or according to manufacturer recommendations. Your safest bet is to replace it before it starts showing wear and tear, not after.
Why does timing belt replacement cost so much?
Timing belts themselves are not very expensive, with the part costing about $50. The real cost increases, however, due to the labor involved. It takes several hours to access the belt, do the replacement, and get everything put back together properly.
The average cost of a timing belt replacement is around $300-$500, but it could be more for larger vehicles or if other repairs are done at the same time. For example, it is often recommended that the water pump and tensioner be replaced at the same time since they are located in the same area. Yes, you’ll pay more money at one time but save money in the long run because you’ll be saving on labor.
Can I replace it myself?
Yes, you could … but it’s only recommended if you’re an expert auto mechanic yourself. Replacing a timing belt is a far cry from doing your own oil change. As mentioned earlier, it’s a very labor intensive job that requires expertise and a great deal of knowledge about the engine and its parts. Save yourself the time and aggravation and gain peace of mind when you have your trusted mechanic do the replacement instead.
Is it really that important?
YES!! When your engine’s timing is off, it’s left gasping for air, pistons and valves can get out of sync and bump into each other, and you’re left with a very expensive engine repair. So, why not do a little preventative maintenance NOW to avoid serious, costly repairs LATER?
So, the bottom line is … timing belt replacement is not a maintenance item that should be put off until a more convenient time. Instead, the longer you put it off, the more inconvenient it could become. Save time, save money, and get the most out of your vehicle … schedule an appointment for expert auto repairs today!