When Should I Replace My Car’s Timing Belt?

A timing belt should be replaced at regular intervals.

A timing belt may show signs of wear, but often there’s no warning before the belt breaks.

Does your car having a timing belt? Do you know when it was last changed? Not every car has a belt. Some rely on a timing chain. Your car’s owner’s manual will tell you whether your vehicle needs a belt and how often the belt needs to be replaced. Car manufacturers often recommend replacing a timing belt every 60,000 miles or so.

What Does the Timing Belt Do?

The timing belt keeps various components in sync with one another. Timing belts control the camshaft and crankshaft. They also open and close the engine valves at the proper time. In some engines the timing belt also controls the water and oil pumps. A timing belt may have teeth or ribs.

What Happens When a Timing Belt Breaks?

If a belt breaks while you’re driving, it can damage the engine. At the very least, your car will need to get towed to a repair shop. The engine won’t start without a working belt.  If your car has an interference engine, you’ll want to replace the belt before it breaks. A broken belt in an interference engine can ruin the motor.

Are There Signs A Belt Is About to Fail?

Belts wear out over time. A timing belt may give you clues that it’s failing. Often, however, there are no warning signs. You can take a look at the timing belt, if you know your way around a car’s engine. If you need help, we’d be happy to check a timing belt for you.

Here are some signs of a failing timing belt:

  • Visible wear: Look for cracks, chips, fraying or missing teeth. An old belt might not look damaged but may be loose. A belt should be clean and free from oil or coolant. Any visible damage means it’s time get a new belt.
  • High-pitched sound: A worn timing belt may emit a high-pitched sound. This often happens when you’re starting the engine, but you may hear it at idle, too.
  • Hard starts: A car that has trouble starting may need a new timing belt.

What’s Involved in A Timing Belt Replacement?

The timing belt, water pump, tensioners and pulleys are often replaced at the same time. Why? Since these parts work together, they wear out together. In addition, you’ll save money on labor if your mechanic replaces everything during the same visit.

Because a timing belt may not show any symptoms, it’s important to replace it at the recommended intervals. Not sure how old your timing belt is? Grease Monkey can help you in a couple of ways. When you visit us, we’ll keep records of your car’s maintenance schedule. If it’s your first time in, we can inspect the timing belt and surrounding components to look for signs of wear.

The trustworthy mechanics at Grease Monkey keep your car’s engine running smoothly. If you need a new timing belt or another fix for your car, visit Grease Monkey today.