How long should you wait to replace the timing belt in your car, how much does a new timing belt cost, and why is timing belt service important?
When to change a timing belt:
Most manufacturers recommend timing belt service at 60,000 miles. If you aren’t sure when you last had your car’s timing belt serviced, your auto technician can visually inspect it for signs of wear.
What does a timing belt service include?
A timing belt service normally includes a new timing belt and components, which include idler and tensioner pulleys. Timing belt service is also commonly referred to as a “timing belt replacement” or “changing the timing belt.”
How much does it cost to replace a timing belt?
The average timing belt service usually costs $400-$600, depending on the vehicle and the extent of the service. For example, you may opt to replace just the timing belt itself or your vehicle may need other components in addition to the belt. Your auto technician will determine what is needed and should discuss your options with you at the time of inspection.
Why should I replace my car’s water pump at the same time as the timing belt?
If you have a water pump that is driven by the timing belt, you should definitely consider replacing the water pump at the same time as your belt replacement. We recommend this because of the close proximity of these two engine components. If the water pump should fail, it can ruin the new timing belt. A new water pump usually costs around $200 for parts and labor if you replace it with the timing belt. If you choose not to replace it at the same time, the total expense could end up being more than $1,200 if you have to replace two timing belts and a water pump. Because this is a fairly common issue, we definitely recommend opting for the water pump at the same time to save money in the long run.
Why is timing belt service so important?
If you have an interference engine (relating to piston-to-valve clearance), it is especially important to service the timing belt. In an interference engine, if your belt breaks, the pistons will contact and bend the valves. In some cases, this may damage the pistons as well, causing a catastrophic engine failure. A timing belt service is one of the more expensive maintenance services, however, a new engine may cost anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000, depending on the vehicle.
Better yet, give us a call at 207-213-4336 or shoot us an email and we can tell you.
Can I replace my timing belt myself?
It is important to have a qualified automotive technician perform maintenance on your vehicle, especially your timing belt, because it is a very intricate part with many small teeth that need to line up exactly with the teeth on the engine’s corresponding timing pulleys. For example, if you are off even by one tooth, your engine may run roughly or not run at all. Worst case scenario, if you have an interference engine (see above), you can bend your engine valves and damage your engine’s pistons.