While it’s never a good idea, there are certain maintenance items that won’t wreak havoc if you miss the manufacturer recommended maintenance interval specified in your owner’s manual. However, timing belts are not one of those items. At Nott's Automotive in Sarasota, we understand first-hand the importance of replacing your timing belt before it’s too late.
A timing belt is not the belt you see on the front of your engine. Instead, it’s a belt that runs inside a cover on the front of the engine. The external serpentine belts you see perform different functions than the timing belt. The timing belt essentially connects the bottom half of your engine to the top half, driving the camshafts which open the valves at precisely the right moment. In the majority of cars, the timing belt drives the water pump, which replacing can become very pricey. Issues with the timing belt can also cause major internal engine problems and even engine failure, which just adds more and more to the necessary services. Any amount of slack causes a decrease in performance, and in most cases, a broken timing belt will cost you an engine, or at least an expensive repair.
Don't wait until the timing belt breaks! Like other belts on your vehicle, timing belts wear out due to mechanical wear and age. Dry rot and constant movement are both factors in timing belt failure. The difference is, a timing belt can’t be readily seen just by popping the hood, and it isn’t as simple as installing a new one if yours snaps or falls off. For this reason, it is essential to have yours replaced at the recommended age or mileage, or sooner, typically in less than 100,000 miles. If the belt breaks, then the car will not start and you may hear a squeaking noise. Knowing this will equip you with the knowledge to get the right service for your vehicle. This preemptive measure is one you won’t regret, as it’ll save you a lot of money and anxiety in the long run.
If it’s time to replace your timing belt, or you aren’t sure when or if your timing belt has been replaced before, have one of our expert mechanics at Nott's Automotive in Sarasota, FL take a look. We want your car to have the most longevity as well as durability. Bring your car, truck, or SUV by anytime and let one of our professional technicians take care of you. Whether it’s something as important as a timing belt, or as routine as an oil change, we have you covered.
Timing belts are a critical component of the engine of your car or truck. It keeps the engine valves opening and closing at the correct time, which is critical for your engine to run properly. In some engines, they also turn your oil pump or your water pump, which are equally important jobs.
How Can I Tell If My Timing Belt Is Bad?
While it can be difficult sometimes to tell if your engine has a bad timing belt, below are some common symptoms you can look for.
- Engine misfires
- Lack of power
- Knocking sound from engine
- Smoke in the exhaust
- Engine won’t turn on
If any of these conditions arise, it is time to have your car evaluated by a professional mechanic. You should also talk to a mechanic if your car is past the recommended service mileage for your timing belt.
Can I Fix The Timing Belt Myself?
Replacing the timing belt is a very involved process on most cars and trucks. While many backyard mechanics have no problem replacing a serpentine belt on the front of their engine, the timing belt is much more difficult. It requires the removal of several engine components and accessories. If not done properly, you could cause permanent and irreparable harm to your engine—one of the most expensive parts of your vehicle. For this reason, this is a repair usually best left to the professionals.
What’s The Cost To Replace The Timing Belt?
The cost to replace the timing belt on your car will vary, based on your specific vehicle. A majority of the expense is for the labor involved since many components must be removed to get the timing belt. It can take several hours for the mechanic to complete the job.
While your timing belt itself may cost less than $100, the labor involved will add several hundred dollars to your cost. You should expect to pay around $400-950 to have a mechanic replace your timing belt. The average is around $600, but it depends a lot on your specific vehicle.
If you wait until the belt breaks, you will usually pay more. Expect at least double the cost. You also risk causing so much damage that your engine needs replacing if you wait that long. Be proactive and replace it at the recommended interval.
How Long Does It Take To Replace The Timing Belt?
The time it takes for the mechanic to replace your timing belt is typically 4-6 hours. This will depend on the model of vehicle you have. In some cases, it will take up to ten hours for the replacement, but you can usually expect the mechanic to have your car most of the day. Depending on the time they begin your repair, you may get your car back the same day or the following day.