Timing belt replacement and timing belt repair generate a lot of questions for us here at Christian Family Automotive. Many vehicles from the 1990’s and 2000’s came with timing belts inside the engine instead of the timing chain that was common on nearly all cars from the 60’s and 70’s. Timing belts generate a lot of questions from owners. What is a timing belt? What does a timing belt do? What happens if a timing belt breaks? What will a timing belt service cost?
Let’s try to answer some of these questions. First, what is a timing belt and what does it do? The short answer is that the timing belt is a rubber belt inside the motor that keeps the bottom moving parts “in time” with the upper moving parts. Simply, this rubber belt keeps everything in the motor synchronized correctly.
This description leads into another question: what happens if a timing belt breaks? The top parts stop moving and the bottom parts keep moving. On some engines, this just leaves you on the side of the road with a car that doesn’t work. Most cars, though, are known as interference motors meaning that the top parts will interfere with the bottom if the belt breaks. That means broken engine parts and very expensive repairs if a belt ever fails.
So how do we prevent expensive engine repairs or a car broken down on the side of the road? Every timing belt vehicle has a recommended replacement service usually listed by time and miles. For example, Honda recommends changing most belts every 105,000 miles or 7 years, whichever comes first. Older vehicles can need a belt every 60,000 miles. It’s important to check your owners manual or, call us up and just ask. Most shops have the time available for every car and can look it up for you.
Finally, cost. How much does a timing belt service cost? The belts themselves are fairly cheap, but the labor to reach the belt is where the cost is usually found. Additionally, there are often many other repairs that you’ll want to do while changing the belt out, such as replacing a water pump. Here in Matthews, NC I have seen timing belts changed for as little as $200 and I have seen services on some specialty vehicles reaching well over $1,000. Typically, the cost is specific to the individual vehicle and can vary depending on the needs of the owner and the condition of motor mounts, seals, and other parts in and around the timing belt. Many times it will be cheaper to combine other repairs with a timing belt replacement because the labor has already been done to access the belt and these repairs would cost more down the road. At Christian Family Automotive we inspect each vehicle and explain everything in full detail to our clients. We like to offer several options so that you can make the choice best for your vehicle and your family.
Call us today to schedule an appointment for a timing belt inspection in Matthews, NC.