What is involved in your Timing Belt Replacement?

Timing Belt Illustration

Timing Belt Components

At Richardson Auto Care, we’ve been performing Timing Belt replacements on all models of vehicles for over 20 years.  Let’s take a minute to discuss what’s involved in your timing belt replacement, and how to make sure your timing belt is being replaced properly to save your money down the road.    Let’s first take a look at the vital job your Timing Belt plays during it’s role in your engine.  The Timing Belt on your vehicle connects the Crankshaft (which turns when the pistons move up and down), to the Camshafts (which make the valves move up and down when it turns) .  The job of the Timing Belt is to keep the camshafts “in time”, or to make sure the valves open and close when the piston is in the proper position.  A timing belt failure will cause the camshaft and crankshaft to get out of time, which can lead to valve crashing into a piston and causing severe engine damage.  The Timing Belt Tensioner assembly keeps the proper tension on the belt at all times.  On most all Timing Belt equipped vehicles, the timing belt also serves the purpose of driving the water pump, and one or more idler pulleys guide the timing belt to make it fit properly under the timing cover.

Timing Belt in Vehicle

Timing Belt in vehicle, with parts removed for access.

So what’s actually involved in properly replacing the Timing Belt on your vehicle?  Generally, quite a few accessories and other parts have to come off of the engine to access the timing belt cover, which then has to be removed to access the belt.   This work can be quite labor intensive, which is why most timing belt services have a much higher labor cost than parts cost, so while the accessories and cover are off is the proper time to address all of the components inside of the timing cover.

The speed at which the crankshaft turns is the Engine RPM, and will fluctuate between 600 and 6000 revolutions per minute, meaning it can turn over 100 times per second during your drive.  The water pump, tensioner pulley, and idlers pulleys spin at basically the same speed as the crankshaft at all times. By the time the average Timing Belt is replaced (generally recommended at 90,000 miles on most vehicles), all of these pulleys have spun over 350,000,000 times on the average vehicle.  A failure of any of these components will require removing the timing belt again (and may cause severe engine damage if it causes the belt to come off or break).  As such, replacement of the water pump, tensioner pulley, and idler pulleys is recommended at the same time as Timing Belt Replacement on all vehicles equipped with these parts.  The timing belt replacement interval is usually at the same time as other recommended maintenance and fluid changes.  Due to some overlapping services, you will also save money by completing all of this maintenance together at one time (for example, the coolant must be drained and replaced to replace the water pump, saving you the cost of a separate coolant service).

Come see the Experts at Richardson Auto Care, or give us a call or e-mail, to get a quote on your complete timing belt service and 90,000 mile maintenance package.  We’ll be happy to show you how proper maintenance, and completing the job right the first time, can save you plenty of money in the long run.

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One Response to What is involved in your Timing Belt Replacement?

  1. mikey says:

    Very informative, thank you for explaining this. I had no idea what was involved.

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