To keep the camshaft functioning in perfect timing with the pistons in your engine, a timing belt is necessary. The timing belt is like the maestro of the gas combustion orchestra: all of the engine components needed to provide power to the wheels rely on the timing belt to keep everything performing in sync with each other. If there is a fault with the timing belt, critical functions of the engine will be interrupted, and the result could be a complete engine breakdown.
If your timing belt has been used beyond the manufacturer-recommended mileage (between 60,000 and 100,000 miles, typically), it’s time to have it inspected for wear or replaced with a new one. If you are unsure about the condition of your timing belt, we can perform an inspection and testing to make sure that your engine is functioning as it should.
If you think it’s time to bring your vehicle into the shop to have your timing belt inspected or replaced, don’t hesitate to stop by or schedule an appointment online or over the phone. We’d be happy to take a look under the hood, and we’ll get you back on the road as soon as possible.
Also, if you’re further curious about your timing belt, continue reading to learn about related components to the timing belt, and find the answers to frequently asked questions that we receive here at our Denver auto shop.
Because accessing the timing belt of a vehicle can require extensive removal of multiple engine parts, it’s a good idea to replace other components at the same time, if needed. If the labor being performed requires dissecting your engine anyway, you could save thousands by replacing equipment that is at or near the end of its life. An example of such related components are water pumps, crankshaft seals, and camshaft seals.
Taking action and replacing faulty inner-engine components is important to get ahead of problems which may present themselves down the road. A blown water pump, for example, will result in your engine overheating and, potentially, seizing up completely. When crankshaft seals or camshaft seals go bad, overall engine performance suffers dramatically, and ongoing damage can be dealt to even more hardware within your engine.
Common Timing Belt FAQ
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.
It's Time to Make an Appointment
As we mentioned, a timing belt that is bad or failing may not even exhibit symptoms. Worn components such as bearings or tensioners may make noise, or oil leaking from front engine seals may compromise the integrity of the timing belt, but in most cases you will not have any warning that the belt is going to break. Furthermore, the timing belt is covered by the timing cover and cannot be easily inspected. These are all reasons to be sure your belt is changed at the manufacturers recommended intervals. If you are unsure when or if your timing belt has been replaced, bring it in to Thompson Automotive today and let our expert technicians help you determine what’s right for your vehicle! Schedule an appointment today.
At Thompson Automotive, we will never try to “sell” you on a repair or service that your vehicle doesn’t need. We make sure that we inform you of all your options, whether that be a simple, routine service like an oil change, or a more complicated service like a timing belt replacement. In any case, you can feel confident that you are working with trained automotive professionals who have you and your vehicle’s best interest in mind.