When To Change A Timing Belt
When to Change a Timing Belt?
One of the overlooked parts of a car by an owner for regular maintenance is the timing belt. If you bought a used car it is even more important to know when to change a timing belt. The timing belt is located behind a protective shield which makes it difficult to see if it is worn to the point that replacement is necessary. Therefore, as preventative maintenance it is recommended to change a timing belt, and related hardware, every 50,000 – 80,000 miles. If the car has a manufacturer’s handbook it will have a recommended service schedule for a timing belt. The handbook will most likely recommend replacement of other parts such as the water pump, gaskets, drive belts, serpentine belts. If you do not have the manufacturer’s handbook, your mechanic can look it up for you. The reason for this is that all these parts are located in an area that is difficult to access, which makes it hard to inspect and ascertain wear. It will vary by make/model but to change a timing belt is labor intensive due to accessibility. It will typically take 2 – 8 hours based on the make and model of your vehicle. As you can imagine the cost is fairly high due to labor costs – it can be anywhere from $300.00 to #1000.00. This is why it is recommended to replacing all the parts located in the vicinity. Many repair shops will offer a package which includes changing out all the hardware.
The importance of preventative maintenance when it comes to the timing belt cannot be stressed enough. Cars that have an interference engine can have catastrophic damage if a timing belt breaks which will usually require a very expensive fix – replacing valves, gaskets and possibly an entire engine. We encourage you to speak to your mechanic and discuss when it is time to replace a timing belt in your vehicle. For an approximation click on the link below – it will bring you to a list of car manufacturers and their recommended intervals for when to change a timing belt.