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The timing belt ensures all the various parts of the engine are synchronized. The Camshaft timing belt connects the crankshaft at the bottom of the engine to the camshafts at the top of the engine. The teeth on the belt and on the crankshaft and camshaft sprockets ensure that the valves open and close at exactly the right times. The intake valve opens to allow fuel and air into the cylinder, then closes as the mixture is compressed then ignited, then the exhaust valve opens to allow the waste gasses out.
Skipping your timing belt service interval can be costly in the long run.
Timing belts are lighter, quieter and more fuel efficient than metal timing chains, but require replacement at manufacturer recommended intervals. If the belt breaks when the engine is running, it is possible that valves can become stuck in the open position, and bent by contact with the piston. Your vehicle will not run and it can costs thousands of dollars to repair if your timing belt breaks. Don't skip maintenance!
Something to keep in mind is that not all vehicles have a timing belt.
Most vehicles used to have timing chains; however, because of manufacturing costs and to save money they were replaced with belts. Belts are quieter than their chain counterparts.
But now, the problem has shifted from manufacturers spending more money installing a timing chain to consumers needing to replace the timing belt at designated intervals.
We are starting to see this trend reverse as manufacturers bring costs down all around which allows them to return to timing chains.
These parts are called hardware parts. Hardware parts include but are not limited to, depending on manufacturer: the tensioner, the water pump, and the idler pulley (or pulleys). These parts have been running just as long and under the same extreme conditions as the timing belt.
The cost of replacing timing belt hardware parts is negligible compared to the labor and certainly to the cost if the component fails after you have replaced the timing belt. Most vehicle manufacturers claim that if the timing belt hardware parts are not replaced at the same time as the timing belt then the newly installed timing belt's life can be reduced by as much as 50%.
Timing Belt, Water Pump Replacement, Houston Auto Repair, Timing Belt Change, Repair Timing Belt
Very rarely are there warning signs or noises indicating your timing belt or a timing belt related component is going out. Even if the belt slips one notch, it can cause as much damage as if it had simply snapped. In some cases a cover can be removed so a technician can visually inspect the belt. (See video further down this page where the top timing cover has been removed for a visual inspection of a defective timing belt).
The best thing to do is to check your owner's manual or call to speak with an ASE Certified Service Consultant to go over your options. If you do hear a slapping noise coming from your engine it is best to have it immediately examined by an automotive service professional.
Timing Belt Replacement, Houston Auto Repair, Timing Belt Change, Repair Timing Belt
A standard timing belt replacement alone can range anywhere to a few hundred dollars to well over a thousand. It depends on amount of labor to remove your particular belt and the configuration of your motor and also whether or not additional hardware parts recommended by the manufacturer and auto repair shop are being replaced at the same time or not. Studies have shown that by failing to replace additional hardware parts, the new timing belt life is cut in half. If those recommended-to-replace components fail in the future, they will require lots of labor to replace, which can cost quite a bit. If you have plans to keep the vehicle for a few more years, it is highly recommended to replace all related components in the same area. (Visit the "What are Timing Belt "Hardware Parts" page for more information)
Replacing the timing belt can be costly and is by no means a simple maintenance procedure. You will be without your vehicle anywhere between half a day and a full day. Because there are so many different makes and models which are equipped with timing belts, it is difficult to say exactly or roughly how much one will cost you. It is typically a very labor intensive job. However, replacing your timing belt is MUCH CHEAPER than the repair costs caused by a failure. You can request a quote from our facility with this form!
It depends on what type of engine you have in your vehicle. In an interference engine the damage could be extremely serious: the valves will fall down into the path of the pistons. On a non interference engine the vehicle will stop running. Now this can be extremely dangerous depending where you are when this happens, but there is usually no internal damage.
Damaged timing components cause the timing belt to slap. You will see the belt doing a slapping/jumping motion.
See the pictures below from a Kia which experienced a timing belt failure shortly after the recommended service interval mileage for replacement.
Check out the fuel system in action! Posted with the permission of Virtual Vehicle MD.
This is a video we took here at Professional Auto Care. A new client came in and was complaining of a thumping/slapping noise. One of our ASE Master Certified Technicians took off the timing cover to expose the timing belt to view. You can actually see the timing belt slapping!
The unfortunate part of this story is he had gotten the timing belt replaced not too long ago but had opted out of replacing the hardware parts. This Acura's interval is every 60,000 miles or every 7 years...
Professional Auto Care is Houston's premier auto repair and car maintenance facility. All our timing belt replacements are performed by ASE Certified Technicians. We save all the old parts to show our clients during pick up! We love to share our passion with others and help our clients keep their vehicles in tip-top, efficient shape.