Many vehicle owners are unaware that they should be replacing the timing belt in their vehicle. In many vehicles, timing belts are considered maintenance repairs just like tune-ups, brakes, and oil changes. Some vehicles are equipped with timing chains instead of belts.
Timing chains are considered non-serviceable items. This means that they are internal parts that you don't really mess with unless there is a problem.
In the case of timing belts, if the belt were to break, it could result in bent valves, rendering the vehicle inoperable and causing permanent damage. These are known as interference engines. If damage occurs, the motor will need to have extensive repairs made to the internal components or be replaced entirely—a costly expense to be sure.
When to Replace Timing Belts
Replacing the timing belt in your car can be an expensive repair. The total estimate will depend on the vehicle’s make and model, but in any event, it is considerably better than replacing a motor or buying another car. The recommendations for replacement of timing belts vary, but they can range from 60k to 120k mile intervals. You will need to consult your vehicle's manufacturer recommendations to find out when the timing belt in your vehicle should be replaced.
Replacing the water pump and timing components at the same time that you are replacing the belt is standard practice, and your mechanic should make that recommendation to you. Since this repair is labor intensive and falls within the higher end of repair costs, it makes sense to replace these other parts while they are doing the belt.
If the water pump were to develop a leak after you have the timing belt replaced, you are essentially looking at paying that high cost again, because the same amount of labor and time is involved in replacing the water pump. It is best to do everything at the same time and only pay once.
How do I Know if my Vehicle Has a Belt or a Chain?
If you are unsure if your vehicle is equipped with a timing belt or chain, a simple call to your local dealership or an internet search can answer that question for you. Another great reference source is your vehicle's owner's manual.
Once you have determined that your vehicle does indeed have a timing belt, RepairPal can assist you with locating a reputable and affordable mechanic in your area to provide you with an estimate for the cost of having the work performed.
RepairPal is working to fix an industry not known for trust and assurance and arm consumers with individual knowledge when it comes to getting their cars repaired.
We want to make the auto repair process less stressful and much more trustworthy. Our website features our Fair Price Estimator, eliminating that impending “am I being ripped-off?” feeling, while also providing matches to Certified shops, guaranteed to do the work at that fair price with quality parts and a trained, awesome staff.
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