Timing Belt Replacement
The timing belt is vital to the operation of your car’s engine. There are two main shafts in your engine, the Crankshaft, and the Camshaft. The timing belt connects these two shafts and makes them turn together at the right “time”. This makes sure all the valves and pistons are moving at just the right time to maximize engine performance and efficiency.
The timing belt is made of rubber, eventually the rubber breaks down and the timing belt snaps. When this happens, your car stops. You have to get the car towed because it won’t start until the belt is replaced and the engine is “re-timed.” With some cars you can simply replace the belt and your vehicle is back up and running; however sometimes when the belt snaps it can create an environment where the valves get bent.
Even though you have replaced the timing belt at this point, the engine will still not run right because of the bent valve’s poor health. You have to fix this condition or decide that it’s time to go car shopping.
Timing Belt Damage
In order to fix this, a valve job is required. This costs anywhere from $2500 to $3500, depending on the make of your car, and how many other issues are discovered that you need once the engine is torn apart. The good news is….
You can save the valves!
All you have to do is replace the timing belt when it’s due, instead of waiting until it has broken. It may not be cheap to replace the timing belt, but it is a lot cheaper than a repairing or replacing an engine.
The old standard interval for timing belt replacement was every 60,000 miles. Even if you don’t drive much, you should replace it every 6 to 8 years because age and decay will weaken it just as much as mileage and use. Today, new materials are used and sometimes they can go 100,000 miles or more.
Although belt life may vary depending upon driving and temperature conditions, among other factors, the manufacturer guidelines are a good place to start in determining when to change your timing belt. When the automaker doesn’t make a specific recommendation, we suggest changing the timing belt between 75,000 and 90,000 miles.
The water pump ties into the timing belt system. The water pump is responsible for driving coolant throughout the vehicle. As you can imagine it’s an important job and over time the internal bearings and seals have a tendency to wear out.
We typically recommend replacement of the water pump when the timing belt is replaced because they are in the same area and it’s a labor intensive process. By replacing both at the same time you can save hundreds of dollars versus replacing them at different times.