WHY AND WHEN SHOULD YOU REPLACE YOUR TIMING BELT?
If an auto mechanic told you that your car’s timing belt needed immediate replacement and it was going to cost more than $1,000, you might assume it’s a scam.
But unlike the shady mechanic who attempts to change your engine air filter every oil change, replacing the timing belt is absolutely crucial.
The timing belt is an integral part of your engine and, if it fails, so does your engine, causing your car to shut down and in many cases (depending on manufacturer) can cause serious damage to your cars engine.
“You don’t want to be driving 75 miles per hour on the highway if it breaks. “It’s definitely a safety issue.”
How the timing belt works
The rubber timing belt is part of most internal combustion engines and is responsible for synchronizing the engine’s functions. It controls the rotation of the camshaft and crankshaft and the opening and closing of the engine’s many valves to allow air and gas in and out, which causes the fuel to ignite in the combustion chamber. During this explosion, the valves push the pistons down.
“In order for the process to take place, the valves have to open and close at the right time,” The valves have to be in the correct position as well as the pistons. The valves open at different times for each cylinder. It’s a mechanical ballet of sorts.”
When the timing belt breaks, the valves, which are very light, will open and stop altogether and the larger pistons, still in motion, will make contact with them and cause expensive and time consuming damage.
When to replace the timing belt?
Unfortunately, in most cases, there are no obvious signs the timing belt is near death; it will just break. That’s why highly rated auto repair shops like Red Rock Auto & Cycle recommend replacing it every 60,000 to 100,000 miles. Always check your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Timing belts used to be a relatively ignored maintenance item by many drivers. Replacing a broken timing belt used to be common, but now most replacement jobs are for preventive maintenance.
People are a lot more aware of the timing belt, and the mechanics are educating drivers more about them, Now, more people know about it and what can happen when it breaks.
The cost to replace
Replacing a timing belt for preventive reasons typically costs $500 to $900. However, replacing a broken timing belt may cost up to $2,000 or more if it caused damage to the valves, pistons or water pump.
Many vehicles use the timing belt to also drive the water pump and or engine balance shafts. (SEE THE PICTURE ON THE LEFT) in these cases we will recommend that you replace the timing belt and water pump as a kit. A timing belt kit comes with the timing belt, idler pulleys, belt tensioner and a water pump. when you install a new timing belt and not the water pump, the tension is going to be different and usually leads to the water pump leaking within a short time after the replacement of the timing belt, then you will have to pay for the labor all over again. because the timing belt will have to be removed again to gain access to the water pump.
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