Is it important to replace my timing belt?Posted on: 03, May, 2016
Do I really need to replace my timing belt?
Yes, timing belts really do need to be replaced. In fact, they are critical for your engine’s function.
How often do I need to replace my timing belt?
It depends on your manufacturer’s recommendation, which can be found online by model or in your owner’s manual. Overall, we see the need about every 60-110,000 miles.
How much does it cost to replace my timing belt?
It will again depend on the make and model. A good tool to discover the answer for your model and location is RepairPal.com. It is important to know they only provide a general estimate and Airport Automotive will give you a true cost once we see the vehicle. Additionally, other parts may have been effected, or could benefit from repair or replacement that are near the timing belt, such as the water pump, pistons and/or valves.
Because it isn’t recommended to reinstall an old timing belt, it is recommended to have your timing belt replaced when your water pump is repaired or replaced. The water pump requires the timing belt to be removed and it isn’t good practice to put the old timing belt back on.
The same is true when you are replacing the timing belt: it is recommended to have the water pump replaced if it is at the end of its life. If not, you will replace the timing belt again, and incur the cost of labor again, when it is replaced in the future.
What are the warning signs of timing belt failure?
Not all cars have a timing belt- some have a timing chain. Check your owner’s manual to determine which one your specific vehicle has.
Warning signs, if you have any, include loss of power, misfires, slow pick-up, engine vibration, loss of fuel economy, and/or a mild chatter or rattling when idling.
If you inspect the timing belt and notice it is coated in oil or see any cracks, worn out teeth, or stretching, it should be replaced. If you purchase a used car, ask about the condition of the timing belt or have the car inspected for a timing belt issue prior to purchase or immediately after.
What are the consequences if I don’t replace my timing belt?
The timing belt is an often overlooked part of the car but it plays an important role. If it fails, your car will shut down from engine failure. If the timing belt does break, you could suffer damage to valves and pistons. In bad cases, we have seen rods, valves and pistons push through oil pans and engine covers, destroying the engine. If the crankshaft breaks or warps, the engine will need to be replaced.
How do I check my timing belt?
It isn’t easy to check, so it is best left for a professional mechanic. It is located under a cover that is difficult to remove and other parts are nearby that can be damaged if you aren’t sure what you are doing. When the recommended service time is coming due, ask for it to be checked. It is also a good idea to check it if you are taking a long road trip and are between the recommended service mileage and your trip will take you over it.
What does the timing belt do?
Basically the timing belt is a rubber belt that controls camshaft and crankshaft rotation as well as the opening and closing of engine valves. The valves push the pistons down when the fuel is ignited. Without the timing belt, the valves don’t open and close to allow the fuel to ignite and the car doesn’t run.
“The valves have to be in the correct position as well as the pistons. The valves open at different times for each cylinder. When the timing belt breaks, the valves, which are very light, will open at the wrong time and hit the larger pistons and cause damage.” SOURCE: ANGIE’S LIST
In some vehicle models, the timing belt will also affect the water pump, injection pump and oil pump.
If you have questions about auto repairs, recommended services or general automotive safety, give us a call, we are happy to help you understand your vehicle and make better informed decisions.