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Auto Maintenance: Timing Belt Replacement

Auto Maintenance: Timing Belt Replacement

TIMING BELT REPLACEMENT

Most of the vehicles on the road operate with a timing belt which needs to be replaced at certain increments just as the serpentine belt needs to be replaced.  If a timing belt breaks on an interference engine you can almost guarantee the engine will be ruined.  When you come to Bays Complete Auto Repair and Salon, we will let you know when it is time to replace the timing belt. 

WHAT IS A TIMING BELT?

A timing belt is a large belt like much like the smaller serpentine belt, that synchronizes the rotation of the crankshaft and the camshaft(s) so that the engine’s valves open and close at the proper times during each cylinder’s intake and exhaust strokes.   The timing belt also regulates the power steering and the water pump.  This timing is crucial to an engine operating properly.  If not replaced perfectly to specifications, you risk damaging the motor.  Often this is the best time to replace the water pump if it is near the timing belt otherwise you will be paying for labor again to replace when it goes bad.

HOW IS A TIMING BELT REPLACEMENT DONE?

The process for replacing your timing belt is timely as it often requires removing the serpentine belt and all the components involved with it.  Then removing the timing belt cover and then replacing all the timing components such as idler pulleys, guides and tensioners.  Also, a good time to replace the water pump even if it shows no signs of failure. 

RECOMMENDATIONS

Spark plugs are such a vital component of your vehicle it is critical to keep them well maintained. Your owner’s manual should have a recommendation as to how often your spark plugs should be replaced.

AVERAGE COST

The timing belt is a costly job, the if you don’t replace it and it breaks you could be looking at purchasing a new motor. 

WHEN SHOULD I REPLACE THE TIMING BELT?

The manufacturer has tested the timing belt and knows when it will typically break.  Always use the manufacturer’s recommended mileage for replacement.  Also, when the timing belt is replaced the mechanic typically puts a sticker somewhere under the hood the indicates the mileage and date of change out.  Symptoms that a timing belt needs to be changed are squeaking noises that comes from the timing cover area.  Usually a mechanic can spend 30-45 minutes and gain sight to the belt to see what shape it is in.  If this belt breaks your vehicle will not start and very well could be damaged permanently. 

CAN I REPLACE MY TIMING BELT?

No, unless you are a trained mechanic comfortable with taking on the task.  Timing belt jobs are one of the more difficult jobs to perform with a lot of risk to damage the motor if not done properly. 

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