While few people are aware of what a timing belt is (or that it even exists), it plays a critical role in the mechanics of your vehicle. A broken timing belt can lead to a dead vehicle, extension engine repair, and potentially even engine replacement. Most timing belts are located in the front of the engine and play a key role in ensuring all the components work together in sync. Read below to find out more about what a timing belt is, why it’s important, and when to replace it.
What is a Timing Belt?
The timing belt, a toothed belt, is a component of the engine that connects the crankshaft to the camshaft and controls the opening and closing of the valves. It helps to keep all of these important parts in sync. Most timing belts are made from sturdy rubber, such as molded polyurethane, neoprene, or urethane. Timing belts have a high-tensile cord of fibers running its length and a facing fabric covering its teeth.
Why Are Timing Belts Important?
The timing belt is essential to the operation and function of your vehicle’s engine. It connects the two main shafts in your engine – the Crankshaft and the Camshaft. The timing belt ensures these two shafts turn together at the right “time” so that all other components in the motor, such as valves and pistons, are jumping and hopping at just the right time. This is why it’s called the “timing” belt.
How To Care For Your Timing Belt
When we talk about timing belt maintenance, we’re talking about replacing your timing belt at the recommended intervals. If the timing belt is not replaced when recommended, it can break – causing valves to hit pistons and serious internal engine damage. A broken timing belt can leave you stranded with a massive engine repair bill looming ahead. You may even be looking at engine replacement. For most vehicles, it is recommended that timing belts be replaced every 60,000 – 100,000 miles. Check your car’s owner’s manual or ask our expert technicians at Main Street Mechanic to find out the recommendations for your specific vehicle.
Signs of a Bad Timing Belt
At Main Street Mechanic in American Fork, our ASE-Certified Technicians have helped hundreds of people repair and replace their worn out timing belts. If you notice any of the below symptoms, you may have a bad timing belt that needs to be inspected and possibly replaced:
- You hear a ticking noise coming from the engine
- Your car’s engine won’t turn
- You notice an oil leak near the motor
- You experience exhaust issues, such as expelling excess smoke
- Your revs start acting up
Unfortunately, there’s not always clear signs that it’s time to replace a timing belt. This is one of the reasons it’s important to keep your car regularly maintained and inspected, as well as follow your vehicles recommendations for timing belt replacement intervals.
Cost to Replace a Timing Belt
As of this writing,basic timing belts can run around $400 - $500 while a full replacement (which often includes a water pump replacement as well) can go up to $800 or more depending on model. We have financing available for those who are due for a timing belt replacement but may not currently have the cash on hand.
In conclusion, please check your mileage and stay on top of your timing belt replacement intervals. If it’s been 60,000 – 90,000 miles or 6+ years, you should plan on getting that belt replaced. Now that you’re a timing belt expert, you can help us help you keep you on the road safely and keep your vehicle running smoothly for as long as possible!