Your timing belt is a toothed, primarily rubber belt that times the movement of your cylinder heads and camshafts alongside the movements of your crankshaft and the pistons of your engine. That’s an essential task, and for that reason, a slipping or snapped timing belt could total your engine in a matter of seconds. It’s necessary to be wary that your timing belt should be replaced regularly. Be sure to check your owner’s manual for replacement requirements, and keep a record of the last time that you had your timing belt replaced — after all it could save you from damaging your vehicle..
Your timing belt is located within the engine compartment, and it weaves around a series of gears, pulleys, and tensioners. Every engine timing belt has a different configuration, based on the build of the engine itself. Since your timing belt resides within the engine compartment, your mechanic will have to open up your engine to inspect or replace your timing belt.
Timing belts are made of rubber, and like your tires, they aren’t impervious to damage over time. As you rev and engage your engine, you’re putting your timing under stress. While your belt is built to handle these stresses, over time your belt can tear, crack, snap, or lose teeth. While tears, cracks, and lost teeth won’t stop your engine from running, they will slowly damage your engine, shaving years of life and tens of thousands of miles off the longevity of your car.
If your timing belt should snap, then you’ll have a much more damaging issue on your hand. Your pistons will slam into their valves, causing irreversible engine damage — it’s more than likely that you’ll have to replace your engine entirely.
If your timing belt is on its last leg, you may notice a few different signs. Be wary of a rapid ticking sound coming out of your engine. This sound may be an indication that your pulleys, camshaft, and crankshaft aren’t working in unison. Take note a clicking noise may also be an indication that your oil pressure is low or components of your engine aren’t properly lubricated — so you’ll have to take your vehicle into a mechanic to assess the problem at hand.
You may also notice that your engine misfires as well. Since your timing belt determines your engine’s firing rate, a slipping, stretched, or damaged belt can result in misfires. Misfiring is an indication that your cylinders aren’t opening in a rhythmic succession. A stutter in your cylinders’ opening cycles will cause a misfire in your engine, which means that you have a serious issue that should be taken care of immediately.
Also, be wary of any oil leaks from your engine. While an oil leak may be an indication of a number of issues, your timing belt may be to blame. If you don’t notice the oil leak, you’ll eventually notice that your engine overheats (since it lacks the oil to lubricate its components and reduce heat-causing friction).
Finally, if your timing belt snaps and fails entirely, your engine will no longer drive your wheels, and you won’t be able to start your engine. This can be an especially frightening event if you’re driving, since you’ll lose all power from your engine. You may not even notice any of the aforementioned signs before your belt snaps, which is why it’s so essential to stick to the replacement interval guidelines in your owner’s manual. If you’re curious about the cost for your particular vehicle make and model, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
Depending on the model of your vehicle, your timing belt could cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars. Costs vary depending on the complexity and accessibility of the engine, as well as the cost of the timing belt itself.
Well, the timing belt itself isn’t usually an expensive component, but it is very difficult and time-consuming to replace or inspect a timing belt, since your mechanic will have to disassemble part of the engine just to get a look (let alone remove and replace the belt). Again, if you’re curious about the cost for your particular vehicle make and model, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
While timing belts should usually be replaced every 50,000 to 100,000 miles, the recommended interval will vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle. As we mentioned, engine configurations can vary from model to model — as such, your timing belt will wear out at a rate that is unique to the model of your vehicle. Consult your owner’s manual for the best interval advice for your specific vehicle.