First of all, we should define what a timing belt is. The cam belt, or timing belt, on an automobile is a part of
the car's engine that controls the timing of the valves within the engine. In case you were wondering, timing belts replaced the chains that were featured in
cars until the 1970s and 80s.
All engine components need to have perfect synchronization in order to preserve mechanical integrity. When your
timing belt isn't adjusted correctly, it can "skip a tooth", causing a reduction in engine performance. A failure in the timing belt can lead to expensive
consequences such as valve and piston damage. As you might guess, the timing belt replacement cost that you might be facing is a necessary
Auto manufacturers recommend that these belts be replaced after the car is driven a certain distance or time, so it
might be wise to understand everything that is involved in your vehicle's timing belt replacement cost before even purchasing a car. In general, manufacturer
recommended replacement is every 60,000 to 90,000 miles. If the item is not replaced, it can fail due to stripped teeth or when the fiber cores become
delaminated and unravel. It is very uncommon for the belt to actually snap, but it is important that belts have proper tension. But when a belt does break,
it happens without warning and can leave you stranded because the engine stops running.
At the time the belt is replaced, the tensioner is usually also replaced. If the tensioner, relevant idler or gear
bearings fail, the belt can derail. Therefore, a mechanic usually inspects the status of each of these items during a tune-up appointment. Some belts are
sold aftermarket and are designed to alter the performance of the engine. Be careful with those as they often stretch at a high RPM, which retards both the
cam and ignition.
Replacing the belt is not cheap, but it is much less expensive than dealing with the damage that can result from
not replacing it. Costs typically range between $250 and $850, depending on the labor rate and how much labor is involved. The process is very labor
intensive and can take between two and six hours to complete.
Though your timing belt replacement cost can be rather high, there are ways to save some money.
During the replacement process, about 90 percent of the labor required to change a water pump is already done so some mechanics recommend pump replacement at
the same time. This can save on costs to replace it separately. You can also save money by going ahead with these recommendations: replace the front engine
seals, idlers, and drive belt at the same time. This obviously will increase the timing belt replacement cost but will save money in the long run on
Part of the reason for the lengthy labor time is the need to disassemble the front end of the engine first. The
mechanic will also need to move fan belts and pulleys to access everything. So if labor at your chosen shop is $90 an hour, you can spend over $500 in just
The timing belt replacement cost you will experience also depends on the make, model, and year of the vehicle. For
example, with certain single-overhead cam 4-cylinders, you might only have to spend about $300.00. A single-overhead cam four-cylinder engine timing belt are
not difficult to deal with and are therefore on the cheaper side. A very expensive car will cost you more because the labor charge is usually higher for
The timing belt itself is actually a small part of the overall cost. Timing belt prices are not excessive; they
usually cost between $15 and $75. When sold together with a replacement kit, it will cost a little more. They range in price based on where you buy a timing
belt from, and also on the vehicle it is being bought for. The Kia timing belt replacement cost will not be identical to A Nissan or Passat timing belt
replacement. A timing belt for a 4-cylinder car is cheaper than one for an 8-cylinder because it is shorter. You will find that some of the more popular
brands are the Dayco and Unitta timing belt.
Inspecting your timing belt can save you a lot of headache. Your timing belt really should be inspected at about
the 3-4 month timeframe when you get your oil changed.
You can inspect the belt yourself by opening the upper timing belt cover and checking for any of the following
issues: cracks on the surface of the belt, oil or other fluids on the belt (certain fluids might cause deterioration), excessive belt wear, excessive wear
on the belt teeth, more than a millimeter or two of a gap between the base of the flange on the tensioner and the edge of the belt. If any of these are
true, take your car to a trusted mechanic soon.
If the belt is just plain old or if the vehicle has reached the stated mileage limited from the owner's manual,
it's time to be replaced. Following the replacement interval recommendation is very important!
If cheap timing belt replacement is your goal, you may want to do it yourself. If so, you can usually get a
better price by buying the belt directly from a dealer as opposed to an auto parts store. You may also want to visit the website Nextag to price compare
different stores or order parts online. AutoPartsWerehouse is another good site where you will find a wide variety of belts. You might want to check out
timing belt kits as it should be cheaper to buy all the parts you want that way instead of buying them individually.