When To Replace The Timing Belt

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What is the recommended interval for changing your timing belt? Car makes and models will dictate this. Furthermore, the time you spend driving the vehicle is a factor. To find out what the manufacturer recommends for mileage, check the car's handbook.

It's important to change the belt when needed to avoid damage to your vehicle. Many people don't know the signs to look for when it's time to change one. Here we will explain what they are and when it's time to replace the belt.

Timing Belts: What Do They Do?

There is a belt inside your engine called the timing belt, which revolves around the camshafts which operate your engine. Valve openings and closings are timed precisely for smooth operation. With the help of the belt, the camshaft is rotated in time with the crankshaft.

Depending on the vehicle, a timing chain or gear may be used, and they tend to be more durable. However, rubber timing belts perform more efficiently and are quieter than steel ones. Additionally, they do not require lubrication.

Depending on the engine, when a timing belt breaks, valves will remain open for longer than they should, and the pistons will strike the valves, damaging the engine. To prevent it, you must take all measures possible.

When changing the broken timing belt, you might also want to replace the water pump. Pumps last about as long as timing belts, and removing the belt makes it easy to get to them. Waiting will result in a higher installation fee.

Do You Have a Belt or Chain?

Despite the use of a belt being the most common part, it's also possible that the engine in your car might be using a timing chain.

A timing belt is not installed on every car. The timing chain replaces the belt in many newer cars. A timing belt needs to be replaced at a certain mileage because of wear and tear. In most cases, timing chains do not need to be replaced unless they malfunction or have a problem. In some cases, timing chains are as long-lasting as engines.

What Is The Best Way To Determine When A Belt Needs To Be Replaced?

Before a belt breaks, there are usually no warning signs. The following are some indications that your belt might need to be replaced:

  • Power reduction of the engine
  • Heat overload
  • Shaking or vibrating
  • There is a problem starting the vehicle
  • Belts making squeaking or rubbing noises
  • The engine is making a ticking noise
  • There is an oil leak
  • The 'check engine' light is displayed on the dashboard of the vehicle

It's possible to obtain information about your belt's condition from your vehicle's repair history. Especially if your vehicle is six to eight years old and you have not had your belt serviced for more than six months, then you need to look into this right away.

An auto mechanic checks the condition of an old timing belt for various defects

What Is the Typical Period for When The Belt Needs Changing?

The answer is not as simple as it seems. Make sure you follow the maintenance schedule recommended in your owner's manual. Timing belts are recommended to be replaced every 30,000 miles, but some recommend replacing them every 20,000 miles. The belt replacement should take several factors into account, including:

  • The performance of the engine: If the engine runs poorly, it can be caused by a loose belt which skews the timing of engine valves.
  • When an engine misfires due to a bad spark plug wire or coil, the belt is under undue stress, shortening its life.
  • Getting squealing, whining, or clicking noises from your engine: A belt with missing teeth may cause the belt to click. Belt tensioners that are defective or weak or have glazed idler pulleys will make high-pitched squeaking or vibrating noises.
  • Typical driving conditions: Intermittent city driving, accelerated driving, and temperature extremes can cause timing belts to be subjected to additional stress.
  • A common sense approach: Do not buy a car with an old belt if it has more than 50,000 miles and is without good repair history.

Do I Need to Replace My Timing Belt?

The belt should be changed on time. Otherwise, you may experience complete engine failure, bent or broken valves, damaged cylinder heads, damaged camshafts, and damaged cylinder walls. A non-interference engine will suffer less damage, but either way, you'll be stranded when the engine stalls.

Is It Expensive to Change a Belt?

There is a high cost associated with the replacement of rubber belts. The average cost will vary for each auto mechanic and depend on how intricate and labor-intensive the job is. Depending on the vehicle, it can take anywhere from four to eight hours for the entire process to be completed. However, the timing belt needs to be replaced before it breaks because it will prevent further engine damage and expenses.

Is a Timing Belt Replacement a DIY Job?

It is not a good idea to replace the belt yourself because unless you have an in-depth knowledge of the engine of your car that you can depend on, it is best to let the professionals handle it. Belt replacement is generally recommended by your mechanic when diagnosing a problem with the engine because the belt is located deep within the engine.

They may replace your radiator and water pump since both last the same amount of time and wear at the same rate. The sooner you get these things checked, the less likely you are to experience a breakdown.

Conclusion

Ensure you don't waste your time and money rebuilding your engine because of one tiny part that could have been fixed. Invest in a new timing belt to avoid thousands of dollars in mechanical costs. In the first place, belt inspections are important for safety reasons and as a means of protecting yourself and your family.

While driving or idling, a failing belt could damage the engine, causing the car to stop or stall driving. It is important to note that this may be very dangerous in certain circumstances.

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